With 31 of the 35 bowl games in the books, it's a good time to take stock of the current status of college football.
Here is what I have learned -- and in some cases "re-learned": I love college football, but there are just too many bowl games. Too many are simply scheduled for ESPN-TV. Attendance continues to dwindle (down 2 percent from last year). On TV, some stadiums appeared to have more than half of the seats empty. In order to qualify for any bowl, a team should be required to have a winning regular season record. Florida and Ohio State, both at 6-6, did not belong in a bowl game. So far, the three most impressive bowl victories were by Boise State (12-1 after a 56-24 victory over Arizona State), Houston (13-1 after beating Penn State, 30-14) and South Carolina (11-2 after routing Nebraska, 30-13). All three should finish in the top 10 in the final polls. The two best games were the Rose Bowl (Oregon over Wisconsin, 45-38) and the Fiesta Bowl (Oklahoma State over Stanford, 41-38 in overtime). All four teams deserve to be rated in the top six in the country along with LSU and Alabama. After Oregon coach Chip Kelly's victory and Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly's 18-14 loss to Florida State, are Irish fans wondering if ND hired the right Kelly? Baylor's Robert Griffin III is a terrific quarterback, but Stanford's Andrew Luck is the best player in college football and should have won the Heisman Trophy. Speaking of quarterbacks, Oklahoma State's 28-year-old Brandon Weeden, who gave up a baseball career with the New York Yankees in order to return to college, put up some great numbers in the Fiesta Bowl. He threw three touchdown passes (37 for the season) and should be an interesting NFL draft pick. And how about Justin Blackmon? There wasn't a better wide receiver in college football this season. Monday night he made one big play after another in crucial situations as he caught eight passes for 186 yards and three Oklahoma State touchdowns. I'll say it again, the Southeastern Conference is by far the best in college football, but the LSU-Alabama rematch Monday night does not excite me. If you are not an Alabama fan, wouldn't you love to see what Luck or Weeden/Blackmon could do against LSU's great defense? In the interest of moving closer to a playoff system, I am rooting for a decisive LSU victory. That just might drop 'Bama (11-2) to No. 4 in the Associated Press poll behind Oklahoma State (12-1) and Stanford (11-2). Two other blows to the BCS: The conference most opposed to a playoff system, the Big Ten, went 1-4 in Monday bowls. And the Rose Bowl, which Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany insists would be hurt by a playoff, had its lowest TV rating ever. Finally, if the Crimson Tide wins Monday night, as I expect they will, shouldn't LSU be entitled to a best-out-of-three rematch? Sounds fair to me. But, then again, whoever said that the BCS system was fair?