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Bowled Over: A Non-Football Fan’s Rankings of 2024 CFP Games

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Washington chapter.

I’m not going to lie to you: I don’t care about football. I care about “Husky Pride” and being better than the University of Oregon, but I don’t care about football. However, when the prospect of Bowl season comes into conversation, my ears perk. For my confused readers, Bowl season is not in reference to the new line of Williams-Sonoma dishware. Rather, it’s the average American male’s Eras Tour. Michael Penix Jr., Bo Nix, and JJ McCarthy are to men the equivalent of our Taylor Swift, Rihanna, and SZA. College Football Playoffs are everything.  

So, why am I writing an article about football when I could care less about twenty-two men running back and forth to catch an oddly shaped ball? Travel. I will happily fly to support my Huskies in this sport if it means I get to explore a new city for a weekend. Therefore, I have committed to myself (in my Notes app) that if UW does go to a Bowl game this year—which is more likely than rain in Seattle this week—I will attend the game. There might not be another opportunity for me to do so in my undergraduate career. And, as a result, you will find me on ESPN in full purple and gold gear during whichever Bowl game UW plays in.

I have decided to rank the cities of Bowl games based on how much I would want to travel there. Please note that there are over 40 Bowl games across the country, and I only selected to rank the ones that UW is actually contending for. This list was further verified by my 18-year-old brother, an expert in the field. Pun intended. 

8. Fiesta Bowl – Glendale, Arizona. Dead last place. If UW played in the Fiesta Bowl, I would actually de-commit from my Notes app goal and watch from my couch. From my Google Maps view, Glendale looks like the kind of city my family would drag me along to for baseball tournaments. The only reason I would willingly go to Arizona would be for MLB’s Spring Training, a sport I actually invest energy into following. Not for the lack of urban landscape, not for the heat, and certainly not for football.

7. Pac-12 Championship – Las Vegas, Nevada. Controversially, I am not a Vegas fan. I’ve visited Sin City for a volleyball tournament once, but Vegas had more unfriendly energy than sinful. I only remember casinos, smog, the M&M museum, and not playing well that weekend (no biases involved in this ranking system, clearly). Nonetheless, the flight to Vegas would have to be cheap for me to actually enjoy the trip.

6. Alamo Bowl – San Antonio, Texas.  UW played in the Alamo Bowl last year against UT-Austin and won. I think we can do better—in terms of football and the game city. San Antonio is known for its Spanish-style architecture and hipster breweries that would be fun to explore. I would definitely go to the Alamo Bowl if UW were to play here again, mostly to make up for my looming regret from last year for not going.

5. Rose Bowl (College Football Playoffs Semi-Final) – Pasadena, California.  Pro: near Los Angeles. Con: near Los Angeles. I understand that the Rose Bowl is a legendary game. However, I’m already flying to LAX for the UW-USC game and would rather not have to go through that airport again. Also, LA does not have the most superb transportation in the world, and as someone who does not want to Uber everywhere, I think the Rose Bowl game would do the most damage on my wallet relative to the other Bowl options. But, money comes back, Rose Bowl does not—I would still go.

4. Cotton Bowl – Dallas, Texas.  I’ve been through the Dallas-FW Airport once at 2 AM freshman year when my roommate and I went to Waco, Texas, and were stuck at arrivals for longer than we should have been. I would like to reclaim this experience and actually explore the nightlife and cowboy culture of this metropolitan area with the excuse of supporting the Dawgs.  

3. Sugar Bowl (College Football Playoffs Semi-Final) – New Orleans, Louisiana.  NOLA would be in first place on this list without question if I was 21. I would like to go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras one year; again, when I am 21. Until then, the Sugar Bowl ranks 3rd.

2. CFP National Championship – Houston, Texas. Like every Husky fan, I want to see UW win it all. For the sake of Dubs, the sake of Michael Penix Jr., and for the sake of my ego. Without hesitation, I would go; the football atmosphere would be top tier and this game would seriously be a core college memory. January would be an excellent time to visit the food and cultural hub of the Southwest while the weather is manageable. Houston, we have a problem: the Dawgs are in town.

1. Peach Bowl – Atlanta, Georgia. There is no foreseeable future for me to visit Atlanta. Yet, Atlanta is perpetually on my To-Travel-To-When-I-Can list. The food scene is allegedly unmatched, there is a ton of American history, and many of my favorite rappers were born in Atlanta. There must be something to this city!  

We won’t find out what Bowl the University of Washington will be participating in until mid- to late-November. Until then, we can only hope Penix leads the Huskies to more victories—and an interesting playoff season. Here’s to anticipation, infectious football camaraderie, and a potential excuse to travel. And, as always, go Dawgs!

Maggie is a junior at the University of Washington from San Francisco, California. She is majoring in Public Health - Global Health, and doubling minoring in Data Science and Nutrition. Maggie is a tour guide for UW and the social media coordinator for the Food Pantry. She is super excited to continuing on this project as a writer for Her Campus this year, and be able to share her writing pieces with other like-minded women!