And so it begins…
Christmas behind us, we now find ourselves in the midst of the occasionally entertaining, more often boring, College Football Bowl Game Series! 41 gridiron match-ups for our viewing pleasure. As if we don’t already have enough football right? I mean we’ve got college games on Saturdays, pro football all day Sunday, then there’s Sunday, Monday and Thursday night football! And at this time of the year there are pro games on Saturdays as well. Add the 41 Bowl Games to the mix and you’ve got a severe case of football overload! A fan’s delight? I think not. Even for the most ardent fan that’s a hell of a lot of football!
Now if these bowl games actually played a part in the national title picture I’d be inclined to make more of an effort to watch as many as possible which would make ESPN extremely happy, but that’s far from the case. The vast majority of these bowl games are not play-off or championship games, and are really nothing more than meaningless exhibition games. There are only 24 ranked teams playing in bowl games and only 6 bowl games are actually part of the College Football Playoff system Those are the games I’ll make a point of watching. Many of the remaining games are match-ups between teams with mediocre records and in several cases losing records, teams who in my opinion have no business being in bowl games.
With 19 games already played I’ve managed to watch only one complete bowl game, The Las Vegas Bowl and nearly an entire quarter of today’s National Funding Holiday Bowl. Two 8-4 teams just didn’t do it for me. I thought about watching the Motel 6 Cactus Bowl, I’m not really sure why. When I read the name my first thought was off the thin, scratchy towels they have in their rooms. The games on now, but I chose to write instead. I don’t even have it on in the background. A 10-2 Boise state vs a 6-6 Baylor doesn’t sound very promising. Probably not missing much.
The next big bowl games are on Saturday. The Playstation Fiesta and The Chick-Fil-a-Peach Bowls. Winners advance to the National college championship game. Woo-Hoo! Being a USC fan I’ll be watching them on Monday at the Rose Bowl. One less loss and they might have been in the running. Oh well, woulda, coulda, shoulda.
I can remember when making it to a bowl game had meaning. Only top twenty teams went to bowl games. In 1969, my senior year, there were only 10 bowl games. 10! By 1979 there were 15 and by 1999 there were 25. Two years ago there were 35 and this year 41! And you can expect the number of bowl games to continue to rise. The bowl system is big business. It’s all about the money. ESPN is making bank with their coverage of these games and they’re not alone. Colleges and bowl sponsors do quite well for themselves. Selling the game name to the highest bidder brings in big bucks, so we have the “Allstate Sugar Bowl”, “Capital One Orange Bowl”, Popeyes Bahamas Bowl”, “Taxslayers Bowl” or the “Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl”! It’s just a matter of time until the company Toy- let.net (yes it’s a real web based company) has the resources to sponsor a bowl game. Can’t you see it? The “Toy-let.net Bowl”! Now that would be classic!
Adding more bowl games means means more money to be shared by schools and sponsors. Schools and Athletic Departments love it. They all get a piece of the action. This is the reason there will never be a true playoff system in college football. Colleges say they don’t want to kill off the bowl tradition, but that’s simply not true. The real bowl tradition has been dead and buried for years now. This is about one thing only, money. Going to a playoff system would shrink the money ball and that just ain’t gonna happen! Who wants to see a legitimate champion who earns the title through a true series of play-off games when you can see dollar signs instead? So If you don’t like them don’t watch them or just kick back and enjoy the bowl games they’re going to be around for awhile.