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Monday's question: Other than Alabama, Texas and Florida, which two teams are happiest and unhappiest with their bowl pairing?

December 7, 2009 |  9:27 am

Other than Alabama, Texas and Florida, which two teams are happiest and unhappiest with their bowl pairing? Reporters from around the Tribune family tackle the question of the day, then you get a chance to chime in and tell them why they are wrong.

Andrea Adelson, Orlando Sentinel

On the day two non-BCS teams made history, there was no reason to celebrate. Because they had been marginalized.

Are we surprised?

For the first time ever, two schools from non-automatic qualifiers wrangled BCS berths in the same season. But Boise State and TCU will face each other in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 4 in a Poinsettia Bowl rematch.

As much as Fiesta Bowl president and CEO John Junker and BCS executive director Bill Hancock want to believe this is a good thing, it is not.

The whole point of the non-AQ schools playing in BCS games is to prove they belong. Utah proved it belonged last year against Alabama. Boise State proved it belonged when it beat Oklahoma in 2007.

What is a win in the Fiesta Bowl going to prove? That one team can beat another from a "weak" conference? No matter what happens in the game, few will be convinced that the winner would have a chance against a BCS team.

That is a shame. Because TCU and Boise State deserve a shot to play for a national title, not to play against each other.

Mark Wogenrich, Allentown Morning Call

Penn State and LSU have played a combined 2,344 games over 237 years of football sponsorship but only one against each other – and that was 35 years ago, when John Cappelletti won the Heisman. Of all the games on Jan. 1 and beyond (Texas vs. Alabama, notwithstanding), this matchup in the Capital One Bowl has the most crossover appeal: big, regional powers with teams that, with a bounce or two, might have staked a legitimate claim to a BCS bid. Host city Orlando has to be thrilled.

   As blue as blue-and-white Penn State fans might be about losing a beauty contest to Iowa for the Orange Bowl (and that’s a healthy sting), they’ll feel better about getting into a scrum with Les Miles, who flirted with one of their arch-enemies (Michigan) a few years ago. Further, if the teams tie, maybe they can break it with a 40-yard-dash-off between each team’s diminutive speedster (LSU’s 5-5 Trindon Holliday vs. Penn State’s 5-7 Devon Smith).

   Elsewhere, on Dec. 26, Pitt gets North Carolina in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. How about that kick in the teeth for the Panthers, who were a botched extra-point and a blown coverage from beating Cincinnati to earn a $17-million payday against Florida in the Sugar Bowl?

   Instead, Pitt lost 45-44, which sent it freefalling to Charlotte, where the Panthers get home-state hero North Carolina. That would have been a doozy in the Final Four last March -- if only Pitt hadn’t lost 78-76 to Villanova in the previous round. What did Pitt to do deserve this ironic torture?


Desmond Conner, Hartford Courant

Cincinnati and TCU can’t be all that pleased. No national championship chance for these undefeated teams.

The Bearcats (12-0) ripped through the Big East and beat Pittsburgh on the road Saturday in dramatic, come-from-behind fashion. They took down the likes of a good Oregon State team in non-conference play. Cincinnati flashed one of the most potent offenses in college football.

The Bearcats’ reward for the effort is a date with Florida (12-1) in the Sugar Bowl, a big game to be sure. But not the game.

Texas Christian (12-0), of the Mountain West Conference, was probably the most complete team in the county in all phases (offense, defense and special teams). Very few people got to see the Horned Frogs. The team they’ll face in the Fiesta Bowl is Boise State (13-0), another unbeaten non-BCS team going to a BCS bowl.

Who is happier than Texas (13-0)? If it weren’t for Alabama and Florida playing each other in their last game, Texas likely watches the title game like the rest of us.