Bowls and Signings by Bob Ryan

college rankingsIt’s that time of the sports year…..crunched in around the Holidays….football bowls have been set while MLB teams attempt to woo players for signings of unheard of numbers just a few years ago…..


…ya know it wasn’t that many years…OK…maybe decades ago…that signings and bowls were closely intertwined….I still recall Joe Namath signing his pro contract after the 1965 Orange Bowl Game (Bama vs Texas) with the NY Jets as he was walking off the field after the game ….it was a much simpler world!


Some thoughts on the current MLB signings/trades…

….Cards’ first 2 acquisitions are intended to strengthen their bench….I assumed that Jedd Gyorko was an upgrade over Reynolds….but as I read about him…I’m not so sure….he still has a lot of swinging & miss AB (330 strikeouts in 1307 MLB AB), has a lifetime AVG of .236 (.247 last year) his OBP is just .293. The Padres sent him back to the minors in June for a short stint…a headline last summer in San Diego was that “Padres Trying To Attach Gyorko Contract To Pitcher Trade”….Gyorko’s contract is $4mil/2016; $6mil/2017; $9mil/2018 and $13mil/ 2019…even though the Cards get $7mil …any takers that Gyorko will NEVER see in 2018 or 2019 as a Cardinal ?

…other than hitting left-handed …to provide better matchups and mix up the day’s off (not just Sundays)…Is Pena is really any better than Cruz?

….on the other hand…..I have the feeling that the Cards will attempt to get Cargo (Carlos Gonzalez) of Colorado…he has only 2 years remaining on his contract ($17mil & $20mil)…so it’s not like it’s a long term, $200+million deal…I’ll continue my trek down “guessing lane”….Matt Adams, Tommy Pham, Tim Cooney, Marco Gonzalez, Seth Manness as likely candidates to be Packing their bags… while they’ve talked about pitching…the real weakness was hitting…we need some more pop in the middle of the lineup….now Gonzalez has been injured a lot in the past few years…

….I don’t want to throw any water on the red-hot sizzling hire of Barry Odum…who I think was a good choice…but maybe…the ONLY real choice..if AD Mark Rhoades spends the time and money to fly out west to interview 3 candidates and comes home with an empty seat next to him…could it be that all 3 rejected the offers due to the unrest @ Columbia and the additional recruiting challenges facing the new coach? (this is the rumor floating around Columbia) This is not to denigrate Odum who already has put his “stamp” on the team by hiring back only 3 of the coaches from the previous staff…don’t have any data but that seems like quite a few for a returning coach ?! Sometimes the best choice is the one right in front of you.

…the Rams looked like they’ve “packed it in” on Coach Fischer….the last two games made them appear to be listless, less energetic and just plain ol’ bad.

So Frank Cignetti becomes the sacrificial lamb to be provided to the fans (and ownership) to buy even more time for Coach Fish

…Tony LaRussa …and/or someone else @ Arizona….have really made a splash in the off season. Getting Greinke was a bold, expensive move meant to acquire a pitcher at the very top of the rotation. Now….they’ve hunted down another starter as LaRussa acquires Shelby Miller….Shelby’s probably a strong #3 in the rotation.

…along those same lines…AZ signs the LA dodger pitcher as the Cubbies sign Lackey…it’s a “twofer” …. You strengthen your team and weaken your divisional opponent”

…Cubs acquire Zobrist and bid adieu to Starless Castro….remember Castro was benched last year by Joe Madden after being the starting SS on losing Cubs teams for 5 years…Castro returned later in year as starter at 2B….I always thought he was a “dog”…hotdog, weak in defensive fundamentals, swing was too long, didn’t understand some of the subtleties of advancing runners…I suspect he was a pain…well…now as the Cubs are winners…instead of being the anchor of the infield…he’s sent afloat….like Capt Bligh


….on the fly….

….DeMarco Murray looked too slow to run the outside run game of Philly coach Chip Kelly. The starting quickness of Darren Sproles seems like a better fit than the north-south style of Murray.

…Mark Richt assumes the coaching duties at the “U” (i.e. U of Miami)..I recently heard some severe criticism of Richt…that since 2005 Georgia had the most NFL players but had never won a championship (see Bob’s theorem 1.1—just because you have pro players doesn’t translate into a championship college team); secondly—much worse in my opinion, this radio “expert” claimed to have seen many of the Georgia stars taking plays …and entire games…”off” from the maximum effort pedal…maybe he needed a fresh start


Some have inquired about my NCAA ranking system that I published a few weeks ago…I’ve felt compelled to add two addendums …If a team A loses to a lower ranking team—team B; then the ranking of team A moves beneath team B (this only applies to top 10 schools). The other adjustment was to make the margin of win for an OT win to be just .5 points.


Now the numerical system that I devised rewards teams for playing good…very good top 10 type teams….if they lose to them by a narrow margin, they do MUCH better in my system than the teams that go hunting for Sun Belt, Southern, Ohio Valley type teams to scalp them. I they beat them, it’s a huge gain. Remember the lowest total is the best…This was my original top 10

  1. CLEMSON 16.76
  2. STANFORD 17.307
  3. Ohio State     17.33
  4. ALABAMA 17.38
  5. Notre Dame 17.91
  6. Oklahoma 18.45
  7. Florida St 18.48
  8. MICH STATE 19.69
  9. Iowa 19.76

10 N. Carolina   20.88

Since Ohio State lost to Mich state…they would drop behind….then it looked like this

1 CLEMSON       16.76

2 STANFORD     17.307

3 ALABAMA      17.38

4 Notre Dame   17.91

5 Oklahoma       18.45

6 Florida St        18.48

7 MICH STATE   19.69

8 Ohio State     17.33-loss to Mich State

9 Iowa                19.76

10 N. Carolina   20.88

My system really rewards playing higher quality teams from top conferences…..teams points suffer when playing low, very low tier non-conference opponents.


So…I have Stanford and Notre Dame instead of Oklahoma and Michigan State…..I’ve watched all four of these teams on the tube…I really do feel like Stanford & ND are better than OK & Mich State…however, you couldn’t leave out TWO of the power five conferences….but at least it’s a good debate….it won’t take long…we’ll have the champions of the power 5 conferences and 3 “at large” teams to round out the field of 8 NCAA Championship bracket teams.


Let’s talk about Bowling for Dollars….no not the ol’ fashioned stuff of knocking down pins…. but the stuff that has evolved for 80 NCAA teams…some with their heads barely bobbing above the .500 waters…many have teams that don’t deserve any post-season honors of playing in a bowl….some long-time “big names” with so-so records are in again….some teams with lesser recognition are trying to follow the Boise State path to the “big name” recognition circle..for you convenience…I’ve listed them all with a Red –not worth watching or Green-good game

Bowl games that could/should be eliminated

Good Bowl matchups—20 games (1/2 of the current bowl total)—3 for “smaller” schools—or lesser names)

Dec. 19

Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl Alcorn State vs. North Carolina A&T  

Gildan New Mexico Bowl                              Arizona vs. New Mexico  

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl                        BYU vs. Utah Raycom

Media Camellia Bowl                      Ohio vs. Appalachian State

Cure Bowl                                                      San Jose State vs. Georgia State 

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl                Arkansas State vs. Louisiana Tech

Dec. 21

Miami Beach Bowl Western Kentucky (11-2) vs. South Florida (8-4)

Dec. 22

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl  Akron vs. Utah State

Marmot Boca Raton Bowl  Toledo vs. Temple

Dec. 23

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl   Boise State vs. N Illinois

GoDaddy Bowl           Georgia Southern vs. Bowling Green

Dec. 24

Popeyes Bahamas Bowl Middle Tennessee vs. Western Michigan

Hawai’i Bowl                 San Diego State vs. Cincinnati  

Dec. 26

St. Petersburg Bowl                              Connecticut vs. Marshall

Hyundai Sun Bowl                   Miami vs. Washington State          

Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl               Washington vs. Southern Miss

New Era Pinstripe Bowl                    Indiana vs. Duke    

Camping World Independence Bowl   Tulsa vs. Virginia Tech

Foster Farms Bowl          UCLA vs. Nebraska                         

Dec. 28

Military Bowl presented By Northrop Grumman Pittsburgh vs. Navy

Quick Lane Bowl          Central Michigan  vs. Minnesota                         

Dec. 29

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl   California vs. Air Force

Russell Athletic Bowl              North Carolina vs. Baylor                 

NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl          Nevada vs. Colorado State

AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl                 LSU vs. Texas Tech  

Dec. 30

Birmingham Bowl              Auburn vs. Memphis                                   

Belk Bowl                          NC State vs. Mississippi State                                      

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl  Texas A&M vs. Louisville

Holiday Bowl                      USC vs. Wisconsin                                     

Dec. 31

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl             Houston vs. Florida State                                     


College Football Playoff Semi @ Orange Bowl    

#4 Oklahoma vs. # 1 Clemson

College Football Playoff Semi @ Cotton Bowl Classic 

#3 Mich St vs. # 2 Alabama

Jan. 1

Outback Bowl                                  Northwestern vs. Tennessee

Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl    Michigan vs. Florida

BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl                    Notre Dame vs. Ohio State

Rose Bowl Game :                             Stanford vs. Iowa

Allstate Sugar Bowl                           Oklahoma State vs. Ole Miss

Jan. 2

TaxSlayer Bowl                                  Penn State vs. Georgia

AutoZone Liberty Bowl                      Kansas State vs. Arkansas

Valero Alamo Bowl                            Oregon vs. TCU

Motel 6 Cactus Bowl                            West Virginia vs. Arizona State

Jan. 11

College Football Playoff National Championship Presented by AT&T

Glendale, Arizona | University of Phoenix Stadium 8:30 p.m. on ESPN



  1. Tim Miller says:

    From: “Ken Gabel”
    I agree with your four. Doesn’t the fact that #2 Alabama is 9.5 point favorite over #3 Mich State tell us we do not have the best four teams? Would Alabama be 9.5 point favorites over Notre Dame or Stanford? Just sayin’.

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