Thursday, December 28, 2006

How Big is the Bowl Streak?

From the BC perspective, a lot of the interest in this weekend's Navy-BC third tier bowl centers around whether BC can extend its longest-in-the-nation bowl winning streak (which Utah tied for the time being with their win over Tulsa last Saturday). I for one have never been that impressed with it. The streak has a lot more to do with the expansion of the bowl slate and, how shall I say it, BC's "unique situation", than it does with BC's talent or game preparation. BC is a northern school with minimal appeal outside the northeast and a bad reputation for "traveling well." As we have painfully learned the last couple of years with the move to the ACC, BC is a lot less bowl attractive than any of their southern brethren. As a result, they always go to a lesser bowl than they deserve, and in turn square off against a lesser opponent whom they should beat. The pessimist in me also observes that TOB's annoying penchant for yearly WTF losses always knocked the Eagles down a slot or two in the bowl pecking order as well.

There is an interesting dichotomy between BC's bowl streak and that of Notre Dame (Notre Dame has lost 8 straight). ND, in contrast to BC, because of their misnomer nickname (the school was founded by a French order of priests) is wildly popular with all the yahoos across the country with Irish backgrounds. They fill seats and get good ratings, and have parlayed that appeal into an exclusive television contract with NBC and a special arrangement with the BCS (if memory serves, they get into the BCS if they have 8 wins and are ranked in the Top 10). So ND always goes to a better bowl than they deserve because of knee-jerk AP voters, which is why the Irish have lost 8 straight bigger bowls, some in embarrassing fashion; they constantly play teams that have gotten to the game on the merits.

BC has not exactly been world beaters during the streak. Look at the teams they've beaten: Arizona State, Georgia, Toledo, Colorado State, UNC, and Boise State. BC was heavily favored in every one of those games except Georgia. And the year they beat Georgia, the Bulldogs missed out on a January 1 bowl the last weekend of the season, were pretty unhappy to be in the Music City Bowl, and played like it.

So that's the real story with this glorious streak the BC Sports Information Department gets so excited about.

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