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5 College Football Teams That Shouldn’t Be Playing In Bowl Games

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Five College Football Teams That Shouldn't Be Playing In Bowl Games

Georgia Tech 2
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Every year, there is inevitably the argument made that there are just too many bowl games. The bowl season is so saturated with meaningless games, that teams that have no reason to celebrate a postseason get pushed into games simply to fill out the schedule.

As it stands now, there are 35 bowl games, which means 70 teams, of the 120 FBS football programs around the country, get a chance to play in the postseason. That’s over 58 percent of the eligible field that gets rewarded for their season, making it not that special to go bowling these days.

With several teams not eligible to go bowling this year, like the Ohio State Buckeyes (12-0), Penn State Nittany Lions (8-4), North Carolina Tar Heels (8-4), Miami Hurricanes (7-5) and the UT San Antonio Roadrunners (8-4), it further dilutes the pool of bowl teams. Add in the blundering of Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (9-3) AD Bruce Van De Velde, and it was more difficult not to make a bowl this season than ever.

Of course, teams shouldn’t be punished for taking advantage of the system. The players worked just as hard as anyone else in the country, got to the required six-win mark (just barely in some cases) and will now reap the rewards for doing so. But if we’re truly honest with ourselves, there are just some teams that do not pass the eye test as “bowl-caliber” teams.

This year, at least five teams are doing a pretty good job making that argument legitimate. Now, we count down the five teams playing in bowl games this year that should most definitely not be bowling following mediocre 2012 seasons.

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5. Iowa State Hawkeyes, AutoZone Liberty Bowl

Iowa State
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The Iowa State Cyclones started off 2012 very strong. With wins over the Tulsa Golden Hurricane (who they will play again in the Liberty Bowl), in-state rival Iowa Hawkeyes and then No. 15 TCU Horned Frogs, the Cyclones were sitting at 4-1 (1-1 Big 12) following the first weekend of October.

Then the wheels fell off as Iowa State got into the meat of their conference schedule. While they played tough against the Kansas State Wildcats, Oklahoma Sooners and West Virginia Mountaineers, the Cyclones won just two of their last seven games. Their only win in the month of November came against the lowly Kansas Jayhawks (who couldn’t beat anybody this year).

At 6-6, Iowa State qualifies as a bowl team. But at 3-6 in conference play and 2-5 in their last seven games, with two of their six wins coming against Kansas (1-11) and FCS Western Illinois, they are far from looking like a team that should be in a bowl game.

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4. Purdue Boilermakers, Heart of Dallas Bowl

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After a 3-1 start, with the one loss coming in a 3-point heartbreaker against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the Purdue Boilermakers fell apart in the Big Ten. They dropped their first five games in conference to plummet to the bottom of the Big Ten standings. A three-game winning streak to close out the season against the Indiana Hoosiers, Illinois Fighting Illini and Iowa (the only three Big Ten teams not bowl eligible) saved their season and got them into the Heart of Dallas Bowl by the skin of their teeth.

The winning streak at the end of the year may have saved their bowl chances, but it wasn’t enough to save the job of head coach Danny Hope. Anytime you feel the need to axe the head man of your football program, it’s safe to say that it hasn’t been a successful season. Yet, somehow it was successful enough to go bowling against the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

With three non-conference wins against the FCS, low-tier MAC and Conference USA, the Boilermakers 6-6 record is a bit inflated. Add in their poor 3-5 record in Big Ten play, with the three wins coming against the bottom of the conference, and Purdue is without a single impressive win on their resume. All in all, Purdue’s season is anything but bowl-worthy.

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3. Pitt Panthers, BBVA Compass Bowl

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The Big East is widely recognized as one of the poorer football conferences at the FBS level, and the Pitt Panthers finished fifth in it. If there was ever a conference that didn’t deserve five bowl teams, this year’s Big East would certainly be up there. Pitt didn’t do much to bolster its own resume out of the conference, either.

They opened the season with a 14-point loss to the Youngstown State Penguins of FCS (who didn’t even make the FCS playoffs this season at 7-4). They pulled off a surprising upset of the then No. 13 Virginia Tech Hokies 35-17, but then went 1-4 to start their Big East schedule. Back-to-back wins against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and South Florida Bulls pushed the Panthers to 6-6 and just barely made them bowl eligible.

Failing to have a winning record in conference while playing in the worst BCS conference in college football is strike one. Having two FCS opponents on your schedule to help boost your win total is strike two. Losing to one of the FCS opponents on your schedule to boost your win total is strike three and Pitt should be out of the bowl season.

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2. Minnesota Golden Gophers, Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas

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The Minnesota Golden Gophers started the season 4-0, which looked promising. However, upon closer inspection, that fast start was fool’s gold. Close victories over a bad UNLV Rebels, woeful Western Michigan Broncos and Big East middle-of-the-pack Syracuse Orange, along with a blowout of FCS New Hampshire did little to prepare the Gophers for the rigors of the Big Ten, even the down Big Ten we saw in 2012.

Minnesota dropped their first three conference games, including a blowout loss to Iowa, en route to a 2-6 conference record. Their only wins since the last weekend of September have been against Purdue, whose awfulness has already been discussed, and Illinois, who failed to win a single game in the Big Ten this season.

All in all, Minnesota beat one team with a winning record (and one 6-6 team) this season and their only win in the last month came against hapless Illinois. They haven’t even been keeping games close this year with an average margin of defeat over 18 points with three losses of 20 points or more. While the Texas Tech Red Raiders likely appreciate the scrimmage they’ll get December 28, the Gophers should not be playing this postseason.

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1. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Hyundai Sun Bowl

Georgia Tech
Bob Donnan - USA TODAY Sports

One word: waiver.

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets had to request a special waiver to participate in this bowl season because they finished with a losing record (6-7) after losing to the Florida State Seminoles in the ACC Championship game. Anytime you need a special waiver to get into a bowl, you probably don’t belong there.

The only reason that Georgia Tech had the opportunity to lose their seventh game in Atlanta is because while North Carolina and Miami both also finished 5-3 (with better overall records), Tech was the only one who wasn’t under a postseason ban this year. So by default, they were allowed to represent the Coastal Division, though how proudly they did it is left to be debated.

Of the Jackets’ six wins, only one came against a bowl-eligible team (the 6-6 Duke Blue Devils) with one win coming against an awful Presbyeterian Blue Hose (2-9) team of the FCS. They had just one win over a team with a winning record (North Carolina), though they gave up 50 points in the “win” and had losses of double digits against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, BYU Cougars, Clemson Tigers and in-state rival Georgia Bulldogs (who crushed them 42-10).

Nothing about this Tech team paints a picture of a club that is worthy of a bowl-bid. The fact that the NCAA granted them access through a loop-hole supposedly closed last season makes Georgia Tech the most undeserving team of a bowl bid this bowl season.