Matchup: Minnesota vs. Syracuse
Payout: $1.7 million
Listen, we're sure Texas could host every bowl that college football's bowl season has to offer if it had to. The state loves football with a religious fervor that outsiders can't begin to comprehend, but even that love is a tough sell when you're trying to fill 71,000 seats with two middling teams from cold-weather states.
Maybe "middling" is a bit of a harsh assessment for a Golden Gophers team that went 8-4 in a tough Big 10 this year, but finishing out the season with big losses to Michigan State and Wisconsin didn't help its cause. Syracuse, meanwhile, went 6-6 in its first season after head coach Doug Marrone left for the top coaching job with the Buffalo Bills. In any other sport, that's terrible, but in Division I college football, that's bowl-worthy.
None of this means particularly great things for the Texas Bowl, which couldn't convince sponsors including ExxonMobil and Advocare to put their names on this event. Bowl organizers and college football itself seem to be hoping that enough fans will check in this year and soften the blow this event will take in 2013 before landing Big 12 and SEC teams in 2014. Yes, competitive teams that may even have regional interest!
We're sure this will at least be a nice getaway for teams from frosty Minneapolis and Syracuse, but it's not exactly the break this bowl was looking for. It's already gone through incarnations as the Houston Bowl, the Meineke Car Care Bowl and the galleryoffurniture.com Bowl. It needs some stability, but it's still a long year away.