Sit back and enjoy the bowls

Fans of college football find themselves in what always is considered a special time of the year.

This week is the heart of bowl season. And, while much has changed about the college game during the years, the period between Christmas and the first week of the new year means football is at center stage.

For some fans in our region, the bowl season lost a great deal of importance on Dec. 3, when the pairings for the College Football Playoff were revealed and we learned that Ohio State had been denied a spot in the four-team tournament.

Despite the snub, there’s still some excitement in store. Friday’s Cotton Bowl will look like a good, old-fashioned Rose Bowl game, which has traditionally pitted the Big Ten champ against the Pac-12 winner. And, while Dallas is a long way from Pasadena, Calif., the Buckeyes will carry an 11-2 record into their game against USC, also 11-2, in a classic Mid-west vs. Pacific Coast showdown.

A couple of area teams already completed their seasons. Ohio University finished its season at 9-4 after defeating the University of Alabama at Birmingham 41-6 in last Friday’s Bahamas Bowl. West Virginia University, meanwhile, finished at 7-6 after Tuesday’s 30-14 loss to Utah in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

Our region also has a significant number of Penn State and Notre Dame fans, and they will be looking forward to the Friday’s Fiesta Bowl, when the Nittany Lions will face Washington, and Monday’s Citrus Bowl, when the Fighting Irish will take on LSU.

And, while there will be no area representative in Monday’s semifinals at the Rose and Sugar bowls, those games will at least set the stage for the Jan. 8 national championship game in Atlanta.

Bowl season is in full swing. We hope you’ll sit back and enjoy the games.