Ohio State completely deconstructed Michigan last week, upending the “established” order of this years football final four. And the fallout has created a real opportunity if the MAC and Buffalo are willing to work hard enough for it.
Firstly If Alabama beats Georgia and Ohio State beats Northwestern then it’s very likely that Ohio State lands in the playoff and Michigan ends up playing in the Rose Bowl.
There is even an outside chance that Penn State can steal a bid to the Peach or Citrus bowl.
That would leave the Big Ten short on bowl teams and typically that would normally mean a MAC team (Probably Buffalo or WMU) to the Quick Lane bowl in Detroit.
But this is a what if year, so here is a what if for you...
What if, instead of the Quicklane Bowl, three conferences could agree to send Buffalo to the Pinstripe Bowl to face Syracuse. And send 6-6 Purdue to the Quick Lane bowl.
It would be a “New York, New York” Bowl game on the East Coast and a four hour drive to the Bowl game for Purdue fans.
The biggest obstacle to all of this is that the Pinstripe (2M) is a slightly higher payout than the Quick Lane (1.2M) so unless some monitory agreement could be made it would cost the B1G 400,000.
The MAC would have to find a way to “make up the difference” to the Big10.
The second obstacle is the perception that the Pinstripe is a more prestigious bowl.
I say perception because the current projected matchup by CBS is 6-6 Minnesota at 7-5 Virginia. This is not exactly going to grab any eyes other than fans of those teams (who would watch them in any Bowl) and the people who would watch the game because they watch every Bowl game.
When setting up Bowl matchups there are multiple parties involved. Each conference, the teams involved, the Bowl committee, and most of all ESPN (sad world, I know).
Let’s see how everyone makes out by sending Syracuse and Buffalo to NYC.
Syracuse and Buffalo:
The Orange are 9-3 and ranked 18th in the Nation, Buffalo is 10-2 (potentially 11-2 after the MACC) and getting votes in the AP poll.
Each team is having for themselves a very good year compared to their usual football performance.
Each school is in New York State and has a solid Alumni base in New York City. Adding to the fun the schools have a Basketball game on December 18th, eight days before the Bowl.
MAC and B1G:
The B1G would be out some money, but the MAC could offer to offer up the difference using the money they get from the Pinstripe.
So for both it would be a financial push.
But on the other side, for the B1G, this would allow Purdue to play in the Quick Lane which is a much easier trip for their fanbase to make.
I don’t think there could be a better sell for the Bowl than these two teams. You could make a case for Army, and a good case at that, but for a Buffalo based company like New Era I think UB / Syracuse is the ideal matchup.
When Buffalo played at Toledo this season it was broadcast locally on Channel2 and the Buffalo / Toledo game beat out the Ohio State / Purdue game.
When the Buffalo Bulls played in the Toronto Based “International Bowl” the game was one of the top-20 Buffalo sports events of all time in terms of local Nielsen ratings. Nationally it was in the middle of the pack among all of the non “new years day” bowls.
It was the International Bowls finest hour.
College football has been angling to get New York City to tune in hard for more than a decade. While Buffalo vs Syracuse is not gong to seismically shift anything in the long run it will, if only for a day, make NYC care more about college football than it ever has.
I get that making this happen is very unlikely, but it would be the best Bowl Matchup for Syracuse and Buffalo, it would allow Purdue to play a game that their fans could drive to in an afternoon, and it would get more people to watch ESPN on the 26th of December than any other pairing.
So... MAC, ACC, B1G, lets make this happen.