Who doesn’t like free? And who doesn’t like great iPad apps? When the two come together it’s good stuff. With that in mind, we’d like to share our Best Free iPad App of the Week here every weekend.
This week’s pick is College Bowl Guide 2011-2012 from the publishers of The Daily, the first iPad-only newspaper. It’s been put together by The Daily in collaboration with Fox Sports and it offers a wealth of information on all 35 college football bowl games coming up this month and next – from the New Mexico Bowl set to be played today (Temple vs. Wyoming) to the National Title Game rematch between LSU and Alabama.
The app will be updated daily with new content – and offers news, photos, analysis, predictions and more on all of this season’s bowl games.
I should mention that I don’t think this is a flawless, outstanding iPad app. There are things I don’t like that much about it – for instance, it often takes a little too long to load (an issue that plagued The Daily for a long, long time) and it works only in portrait mode. But … I’m a big college football fan and I imagine lots of other iPad owners are as well, and this is the best guide to the college football bowl season – and it’s free, hence it’s inclusion in this series.
Here are some of the good things about the College Bowl Guide 2011-2012:
The intro video, ‘Let’s Go Bowling’, has a great section on some of the most famous team mascots, including LSU’s Bengal Tiger, Mike, and my hometown team’s cute little fella.
Navigation in the app is easy. You can just swipe through all the pages, tap to go to a particular section, or tap on the contents slider at the top of the page to see thumbnails for individual pages, or tap the app title at top left to go to the table of contents. The main sections in the app are Intro, December games, New Years Eve, BCS Games, and Our Picks.
The bowl games in each section are shown in order of when they’re played, so you can swipe through as the days go by between now and the national title game on January 9. Every bowl gets a page to itself with an overview of the game that includes date and TV coverage details, teams’ helmet logos, a poll on who will win which you can submit a vote in, the betting line, small photo gallery of star players in the game, and three keys to the game.
At the end of the December games section there’s a fun little quiz called the Final Exam.
There are some great photos dispersed throughout the pages showing many memorable moments from this year’s college football regular season.
There are a few videos in amongst the pages as well – including a roundtable discussion covering topics like how the long layoffs will affect bowl teams, one on some of the great traditions surrounding college football teams around the country, and one breaking down the BCS games this year.
Each of the BCS Bowls – the Rose Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Sugar Bowl, and Orange Bowl – gets multiple pages devoted to it. These include profile info on each of the teams, trivia and stats on the bowl itself, three key things about each team, a look at each team’s cheerleaders, and a quick take on the reasons why each team will win the game (presumably written by different writers for each team). There’s also a very Memorable Moments section for each of these bowls. These include this moment from the 2006 Rose Bowl which is the best bowl game I’ve ever seen, and one with the just the right result.
The National Title Game – the epic rematch – gets a whole section to itself.
At the end of the title game section there’s a cool page titled ‘What If … There Were a Playoff’. The Daily seeded the top eight teams in the country and gave the info to the folks at whatifsports.com to simulate each playoff game based on each team’s key statistics. The games will be simulated starting on December 20 and the page will be updated with the results with the playoff final due to take place January 6.
Then there’s the Our Picks section, with latest betting lines on all the bowls, lots of news and info from oddsmakers and experts, as well as predictions for each game from The Daily.
Finally, there’s a couple pages of College Bowl Stats, with all sorts of milestone numbers from throughout the history of college football.
If you’re a college football fan looking forward to the bowl season, this looks like a very good companion app to have around. It will give you everything from TV coverage details foe each game to all the good contents mentioned above.
If you’re after more great free iPad apps, be sure to check out our previous choices for Best Free iPad of the Week.