To Bowl or Not To Bowl

by Bryan Z. on December 15, 2012 · 1 comment

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All Bowl Games

Remember when winning the Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, or Orange Bowl was a glowing accomplishment? Now all it means is you weren’t good enough to play in the national title game.  An interesting thing happened the other day. I sat down to write about the upcoming bowl season and breakdown the best and worst of the games when I found myself at a cross roads. I am a huge college football fan. Count me amongst the fans in this country that call it the best sport on earth. So imagine my surprise and disappointment when I started to write my reviews and realized that I do not care, at all, about these bowl games. There is one exception, the national title game; which brings us to the heart of this topic. Can a college football playoff system and bowl games coexist? The short answer is yes. If it’s packaged and sold correctly, it can work. The long answer (see below) is no. Not if the “money people”, networks, universities, and coaches insist on selling the games like they did 25 years ago.

Bowl games lost their luster long before a playoff system finally came around. The arrogance and greed of the universities and bowl officials make politicians blush. Year after year we were bombarded with more and more awful games, with more and more awful teams playing in them. College football has become the ultimate “everyone gets a medal” league. If you bring this topic up on radio shows, or to the universities themselves, you will often get the same response. It’s something along the lines of ‘the games make money’ or ‘it’s for the players and fans.’ They got it half right. The games do make money, but to say these wretched games are for the players or fans is self-serving hogwash. I challenge you to tune into any game before January 1st. You’ll see half empty stadiums and players giving it their all…to impress the NFL scouts that largely make up the number of people in attendance. The players do not care about these games, and fans have better things to do then fly all over the country to watch their team play in a bowl game that will have a different corporation’s name all over it next year.

I am beyond thrilled that we finally have a playoff. We can debate all day whether or not it should be a four or eight team playoff. Judging by the NCAA’s history, the playoff system will have more work done to it over the years than Michael Jackson and Pam Anderson combined. At least we’re to the point that we’re tweaking a system that will actually give us something college football has lacked since the very beginning; a way to determine a true champion on the field. When the playoffs arrive, the interest in the bowl games will drop even more than it already has. There is a way from them to coexist, and since I never like to complain about a topic without offering a resolution, here is my fix on the situation. Are you ready? This is really mind-blowing stuff. The answer is…wait for it…fewer bowl games.

Bing Bing Bing!

That’s right sports fans; I went all Jerry McGuire on you. The answer is so simple, it’s been right in front of our faces all along. If the powers that be insist on having a playoff (and they should), then please do not insult the intelligence of the fans by manufacturing hype and interest in games that make root canals seem fun by comparison. Fewer bowl games put fewer teams in the post season. Winning six games in the Big Ten doesn’t deserve a trip to a bowl game, it deserves the dismantlement of your program and your stadium knocked down and turned into a Jamba Juice. The only way for a playoff and bowl games to mutually coincide is to have fewer bowl games. Give me a four team playoff and 10 bowl games all on New Year’s Day. Now you have a viable bowl product that still has some sort of meaning even though there are no national title implications.

This isn’t rocket science. I also realize that my solution won’t be popular amongst the corporate brass that has greed in their hearts and cash registers in their heads. It is, however, good for college football, the fans, players, and networks. I would love to see the revenue projections on the Bowl. If that game makes more than six dollars, the people who are in charge of these games should be sent to Washington to help get us off the fiscal cliff. This idea will also not be popular amongst the Kent States and Michigan States of the world. They, however, do not get a vote. Try winning more than six games in an awful conference before you beat your chest and demand a spot in a bowl game. Bowl games are for winners. The playoffs are for the teams that are superior to those winners.

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Dave December 15, 2012 at 3:02 pm

4 team playoff isn’t enough to cut the bowl games to 10. 8 team playoff is a must, and when they see how much money they are going to make, it will be a 16 team playoff – maybe not until 2030, but it will happen. Screw the bowls.

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