COLLEGE PARK, MD – NOVEMBER 26: Rutgers Scarlet Knights head coach Chris Ash reacts after his team gives up a touchdown against the Maryland Terrapins in the first quarter on November 26, 2016, at Capital One Field in College Park, MD. (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Dear college football fan,

Are you suffering through withdrawal? Do you perspire uncontrollably and have the shakes due to a deficiency of your one true love? Are you annoyed that you must wait several weeks before seeing games that matter, such the New Year’s Six bowl games and the College Football Playoff?

We at The Comeback understand you and want to help. There are too many meaningless bowl games. Everyone knows they are largely irrelevant exhibition games. (Quick Lane Bowl, New Mexico Bowl, Taxslayer Bowl, we’re looking at you.)

If you’re going to have bowl games with subpar/ bad teams, why not have a bowl game with something worth playing for? Why not have games that Joe College Football Fan would watch just for the absurdity it all?

That’s why we are proud to announce the final annual The Bowl. We would like to extend an invitation for Fresno State (1-11) and Rutgers (2-10) to play this Saturday at H.A. Chapman Stadium in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

You want stakes? We got stakes. It will pit the two worst teams in major college football to battle it out for program-enhancing prizes. Winning Bowl could save your coach, your program, your sanity. And wse give away stuff that actually helps schools.

Not ugly trophies like this:

Forget the trophies. Forget the swag. Here is what the winner of Bowl will receive in competitive advantages for the 2017 season:

** 11 extra scholarships. That’s right. The FBS 85-scholarship limit is increased to 96 for one school year. This will allow you to quickly add depth. So if your four-star wide receiver turns out to have the breakaway speed of a tortoise chained to a fence, just add another player.

** Any player who transfers in is immediately eligible. The NCAA transfer rules are draconian and punish the athletes they are supposed to be helping. The winning team will be an attractive destination for fellow FBS athletes who won’t have to sit out a year. That’s a huge selling point. Hey, former Alabama quarterback David Cornwell is available.

** The program will be allowed a one-time NCAA extra benefit waiver. Think of it as the equivalent of the Get Out of Jail Free card in Monopoly. A program is allowed to cheat once to land a key player. However, exercise extreme caution. It’s a one-time only deal. You can’t purchase cars or set up fake jobs for the entire defensive line.

And what happens to the loser of Bowl? If the rewards are considerable, so must be the punishment. We’re going to borrow a page from European soccer which regularly promotes and demotes clubs. The losing team will be banished from the FBS and relegated to the FCS.

To fill the vacated spot, the FCS champion will be promoted to the FBS. (Heck, isn’t it time for North Dakota State to be promoted? The Bison won at No. 13 Iowa in September and has six FBS victories since 2010.)

Ladies and gentlemen, Bowl: a bowl game worth watching. Desperate teams trying to salvage something from their miserable seasons and try to avoid the ultimate embarrassment.

Guaranteed to draw a better rating than the New Orleans Bowl, Heart of Dallas Bowl and Arizona Bowl combined.

Here’s how we arrived at the Rutgers vs. Fresno State matchup:


You know the story. If Rutgers were located anywhere except the East Coast and in the coveted Greater New York City market, there is no way the Scarlet Knights would be in the Big Ten.

There were six teams with 2-10 records: Rutgers, Texas State, Kansas, Massachusetts, Buffalo and Virginia. You could make a case for any of these teams to be invited to Bowl. In the final analysis, it came down between Rutgers and Texas State – owners of the worst scoring differentials in the FBS; an average of minus-27.3 and minus 27.4, respectively.

Texas State was slightly more inept but the Bobcats have a ready-made excuse. They have only been an FBS member since 2012. So we’ll pardon them.

Rutgers has no excuse to be this bad. Yes, the transition from the Big East to the Big Ten was expected to be arduous, but the Scarlet Knights weren’t even competitive this season. They had only one victory against a fellow FBS opponent (New Mexico). The other victory came against FCS Howard. Rutgers ended the year on a nine-game slide, going winless in Big Ten play and being outscored 360 to 86 during the slump. The ultimate humiliation came when Michigan beat Rutgers 78-0 in New Jersey.

It was the program’s worst season since 2002 when it went 1-11.

This was Chris Ash’s first year as coach at Rutgers. Perhaps things will get better, especially if the Scarlet Knights win Bowl.

Fresno State

Remember when Fresno State used to be good? They program had some golden moments under longtime coach Pat Hill and quarterback David Carr (11-3 in 2001). And again, thanks to another Carr at quarterback (11-2 in 2013, behind Derek Carr).

The program bottomed out and finished with the worst record in the FBS. The Bulldogs did not beat an FBS opponent, but they also lost five games by eight points or less, including their final two by a total of three points.

Coach Tim DeRuyter was fired midway through the season and interim coach Eric Kiesau went 0-4. The new man in charge is former California coach and Fresno State alum Jeff Tedford who spent last season as a staffer at Washington.

Tedford had success at California and is perhaps best known for developing Aaron Rodgers who owns the highest career passer rating in NFL history. Winning Bowl would give Tedford a leg up on this rebuilding job.

There you have it! Rutgers vs. Fresno State. Can you feel the excitement! Well, maybe not. Oh yeah. We almost forgot. Why is the game in Tulsa? Well, it seemed appropriate since Chapman Stadium is considered one of the worst football stadiums in America.


If you want to make the road trip, come to Oklahoma.

And unlike other bowl games, no ticket guarantees that will put a major deficit in your budget. In fact, no tickets. Admission is free. (Parking, concessions and tee shirts will still be ridiculously overpriced, of course).

Hey, we got to make money somehow.

About Michael Grant

Born in Jamaica. Grew up in New York City. Lives in Louisville, Ky. Sports writer. Not related to Ulysses S. Grant, Anthony Grant, Amy Grant or Hugh Grant.