Bowl Breath – adj. 1. on the brink of exhausting all possibilities of becoming bowl eligible. 2. to be utterly desperate to become eligible for a bowl game to the extent that you can taste it, while other teams can smell it.
If bowl breath was truly a word in the American dictionary, the Stanford Cardinal and the California Golden Bears would be the epitome of the term. When division title contention is no longer an option, debuting in a bowl game is the only thing that matters. Anything short of this exemplifies absolute failure for the season in college football. There’s no way around it, especially if you’re a top-tier team.
The Cardinal knows this first hand, as they finally clinched bowl eligibility with their 38-17 win over California. If they had lost this game, they would have one final shot at a bowl game against the UCLA Bruins. The outcome of such a meeting could possibly end adversely, since the Bruins are now playing exceptional football, and on a clear path to securing the South.
Obviously, the Cardinal’s record (6-5, 4-4 Pac-12) is not coach David Shaw’s idea of the type of Stanford football they’ve grown accustomed to. At least they will get a little bowl action from this win, which is more than others can hope for.
This leaves the Bears with the worst case of bowl breath in the conference – so dire need with so little time. Considering their failed attempt against Stanford to quench this hunger, they are now left with only one shot during their season finale against BYU in a non-conference game.