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Pinstripe Bowl brings teams from the Heartland to play in our backyard

Submitted by on March 10, 2010 – 10:55 am5 Comments

Just in case you were left unsatisfied with the 34 bowl games, you’re in luck in 2010. ESPN and the Steinbrenner family has partnered up to bring you, the Pinstripe bowl.

Scheduled for December 30th, the blockbuster matchup between unranked Big East #3rd and the Big 12 #6th place teams will most likely be follow the equally prestigious Humanitarian Bowl. To clarify the Pinstripe Bowl will have the 3rd selection of teams in the Big East and 6th selection of teams in the Big 12 once BCS participants have been decided.

When a brand new bowl, yet to be played and still pending certification by the NCAA (until next month) manages to work its way into the Big East’s bowl lineup to snatch away the #3rd selection of teams (#4th if they get 2 BCS participants, but who are we really kidding here), it’s got to be disturbing for a conference who is clenching onto their automatic BCS spot for dear life. By comparison, the amount the Pinstripe bowl offered financially to obtain the 3rd pick from the Big East was only good enough to secure the #6th place team (#7 most years if the Big 12 sends 2 BCS teams) from the Big 12. Talk about your conference hierarchy.

Even for fans of most Big East teams, it has to be disheartening to think the reward for your team placing 3rd in the conference is a trip to the Bronx, New York in the dead of winter. It’s even worse when you consider that South Florida could very well end up being that team in most years. Fans willing to leave sunny South Florida for the winter coats and scarves of New York City deserves some sort of award.

Year 3rd Place Big East Team after BCS teams # of Big East BCS teams Projected 6th Big 12 Team selected after BCS teams # of Big 12 BCS teams
2009 Rutgers (9-4) 1 Texas A&M (6-7) 1
2008 Rugers (8-5) 1 Kansas (8-5) 1
2007 South Florida (9-4) 1 Colorado (6-7) 2
2006 South Florida (9-4) 1 Oklahoma St (7-6)/ Kansas St (7-6)* 1
2005 South Florida (6-6) 1 Missouri (7-5) / Iowa State (7-5)* 1

*With 2 divisions, it is much tougher to project the #6 selection after BCS participants especially when more than 1 team have equal win-loss records. Both possible candidates for the Pinstripe Bowl are thus listed.

Aside from the actual football game that will take place in the Pinstripe Bowl, little else was planned with football in mind. The bowl game, title included, was manufactured with a clear intention of showcasing Steinbrenner’s brand new $1.5 billion baseball palace and the Yankees (MLB) brand. Even its sponsor, for the first four years at least, is geared towards it’s long running baseball fan base. New Era Cap Co Inc, is the primary supplier of major league baseball caps and this sponsorship is its first major foray outside of it’s baseball heritage.

And if further proof that football was indeed the last priority of this bowl game is needed, a standard college football field might not even fit inside Steinbrenner’s new palace.

The official dimensions of Yankee Stadium should offer just enough room for a 120-yard/360-foot football field, end-to-end — it’s over 400 feet from home plate to dead-away centerfield. The question if you’re trying to put one end zone at the backstop and the other in the outfield is width at the corners: At Yankee Stadium, the right-field (314 feet) and left-field poles (318 feet) are both well short of the necessary distance; the end zone baseline wouldn’t stretch from pole to pole, but the outfield wall would still threaten to cut off the corners as it curved back towards the plate on either end. The other end zone is a bigger problem when you consider that you need 60 yards from pylon to pylon in the back corners of the end zone, and more for sideline space. Even conservatively speaking, if you lay the field with the end zones at the backstop and the outfield wall, is it 75 yards between dugouts? As the drawing shows, it’s likely both end zones are going to be cut off.

This would probably force the Pinstripe bowl to take the Emerald Bowl route in AT&T park (another MLB ballpark) route and force both teams to share one sideline. What better way to showcase both conferences than to have teams from Texas, Kansas and Missouri huddled around heating lamps shoulder to shoulder with their Big East counterparts.

Then you have to wonder if fans of Texas A&M, Missouri, Baylor, Kansas, Texas Tech, Colorado and Oklahoma would be eagerly awaiting to snatch up tickets to a bowl game in the Bronx in late December. Sounds about as inviting as the “Little Caesars Papajohns Pizza Factory Bowl” in Detroit for people who actually get to see the sun for half the year. But really, who wouldn’t want to fly halfway across the country to the frozen tundra of the Northeast to watch two unranked teams from the Big East and Big 12? Though it would be fun watching Big 12 teams attempt their high flying offenses in weather most of us are accustomed to.

Had the Pinstripe Bowl existed this season, we would have been treated to the blockbuster matchup between perennial title contenders Rutgers and Texas A&M. Last year, 68 bowl eligible teams were required for the 34 bowls currently certified by the NCAA. There were 71 bowl eligible teams in 2009, 70 if you exclude Notre Dame whose players voted themselves out of attending a bowl.

The Pinstripe bowl will make it 35 requiring 70 bowl eligible teams. Basically every team to reach .500 will receive a chance to participate in the post season.

It might be time for the Steinbrenners to rethink their PR strategy for Yankee Stadium. I understand you just spent $1.5 billion and want to show it off, but there’s got to be a better strategy than shoving a square peg into a round hole. They might even have a better shot in successfully showcasing their brand new venue by simply sticking to hosting concerts in the offseason. Think Jay Z rocking out in the Bronx hours before New York explodes with a Times Square New Years Eve celebration. Now that is entertainment.

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  • Stu

    Dude. It's New York City. The day before New Year's Eve. People from all over the world flock to Times Square to watch a ball drop in the freezing cold. You bet your ass (you know, that place where your head is buried) that people from the Heartland would travel to see their team play an extra game and then ring in the new year, even if they do have to spend it with Ryan Seacrest.

  • psujustin

    Been to the Times Square celebration. We weren't there a full day ahead of time so when I got there we were directed into a cordoned pen about 4 blocks off of Times Square. We couldn't see Times Square itself during the countdown, but were able to see fireworks just above some of the buildings. Now how exactly does that sound enticing for 25,000 fans from Oklahoma again?

  • psujustin

    Been to the Times Square celebration. We weren't there a full day ahead of time so when I got there we were directed into a cordoned pen about 4 blocks off of Times Square. We couldn't see Times Square itself during the countdown, but were able to see fireworks just above some of the buildings. Now how would that be exciting for 25,000 fans from say Oklahoma? It was an experience the first time, but won't personally won't try it again.

  • formerlyanonymous

    Why the pull of the baseball post? I was looking forward to that, especially as I went to last night (Tuesday)'s game. It was rough, but definitely promising with Walter on the mound. A&M is a good team, and the first loss actually BOOSTED Penn State's RPI.

  • Charlie

    I wanted to wait for the results of the second A&M game. It's up now. But agreed, losing to A&M actually helps our RPI, somehow we currently have the strongest RPI of Big Ten teams. Our next series against last year's NCAA regional participant should help as well.