McCollum’s Column: Rose Bowl gave bowl season a nice fragrance

The way the second half exploded on the University of Arkansas notwithstanding, Bowl season 2016-17 was generally a dud.

Too many ho-hum games or decent games in contests with only niche interests.

Bowls are tricky to gauge because they are a separate season. Some teams benefit from the break between the end of the season and the bowls. Some don’t.

Some teams are out of rhythm.

Others are out of sorts.

Attitude is a big thing. Some teams have something to prove. Some teams are just there for the trip and experience. Winning is a big deal for some teams. Just getting the chance to play one more game in a bowl is the deal for others.

Some teams are thrown out of sorts because of transition on their coaching staffs. Others are energized by the development and maturity of players and the possibility of setting themselves up for next season.

The College Football Playoff semifinals between Alabama and Washington and Clemson and Ohio State were like cotton candy — fluffy on the outside but not much substance as far as entertainment value.

On the other hand, the Rose Bowl between USC and Penn State — two teams that probably should have been in the semifinals and certainly two no one wanted to play at the end of the season — represented all that is great and exciting about college football. it was fun.

So, was the Orange Bowl between Florida State and Michigan, two teams that are resilient and tough to beat.

Several of the lesser bowls were entertaining and had exciting finishes: Appalachian State 31, Toledo 28 (Camellia), Idaho 51, Colorado State 50 (Idaho Potato), Mississippi State 17, Miami of Ohio 14 (St. Petersburg), Army 38, North Texas 31 (Heart of Dallas), and Wake Forest 34, Temple 26 (Military).

Several teams not named Alabama made cases for high rankings next season: USC, Penn State, LSU and Oklahoma.

The Atlantic Coast Conference (8-3) established itself as the top of the pack — in football. The SEC (other than Alabama) generally fell back and notch. The Big Ten flopped.

The soap opera involving Lane Kiffin stole the pre national championship spotlight.

In the end, the table is set for an interesting rematch for the CFP title between Alabama and Clemson.

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