"Hey, I really need to see a matchup of MAC and Sun Belt teams. Who will make this happen?" This is not a thing that is often said. Nevertheless, a new postseason game in Little Rock, Ark., of all places, the Rice Bowl, featuring teams from the two power conferences is looming.
If approved, "Rice Bowl" in Little Rock, Ark., will pit MAC vs. Sun Belt starting in 2014. Would be 36th bowl— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) June 14, 2013
I'm actually torn on the name. Part of me loves that it features a food item, a throwback to bowls of years gone by. Another part says, "Rice? Hmm, it's pretty boring and often flavorless. Is this what you want people thinking of your bowl game?" Then again, that's also a pretty good description for an annual MAC-Sun Belt matchup, so maybe the committee that picked the name knew exactly what it was doing. Plus, the state of Arkansas has a rich tradition of rice cultivation, so the name has that nice cultural tie-in.
The Rice Bowl is the first of what could be several new postseason games aimed at giving smaller conferences a bigger piece of the pie. What about the Pie Bowl? Sounds like a winner!
In all honesty, it's the middle of June, and most college football fans would tear off their arms for a live MAC-Sun Belt game right now. We should remember this when we're mocking the Rice Bowl in December or January or whenever it's played.