Too many bowl games

It wasn’t–and shouldn’t be–a big deal. Just another off-season college football announcement about a bowl arrangement between the American Athletic Conference and Sun Belt Conference, starting in 2015.

The bowl will be called the Cure Bowl and benefit breast-cancer related charities. That’s the good news.

The bad news? Come on folks. It’s ANOTHER bowl game, No. 40 in case you are counting. And in case you are counting, the 2014 college football season will have 39 bowls (76 teams) and 78 teams in 2015. The discrepancy in the total is that the College Football Championship game will be a second post season game for two teams.
The Cure Bowl will be played in Orlando, which will give that city three bowl games–Russell Athletic and Capital One Bowl are the others.

Forty Bowls is too many. 39 is too many. 35–the number of bowl games played last season–is too many. Bigger is not better. Better is better and 40 bowl games does make anything better.

Right now the FBS level of college football has 125 full members and 3 transitional members. Under the expanded bowl arrangement, 61 percent of the teams will be playing in bowl games.

Remember when bowl games used to be a reward for a season well done? The standards used to include a winning record. That was adjusted to a .500 record. And that was adjusted to a sub .500 record in certain instances–such as filling a conference’s requirement for bowl teams.
If you used a 7 win minimum last season only 70 teams would be bowl eligible, which would be a more reasonable (still too many).
If you really wanted to make it risk-reward system and use a minimum of 8 wins to achieve bowl eligibility, the number would shrink to 56, 27 or 28 bowls which is probably about right.
Think about how more meaningful the regular season would be if teams had to win 8 games to become bowl eligible. And yes, there would be a lot of up front loading of Cupcake U non-conference games, but the SEC has been doing that for years to boost SEC team records and confidence.

I can’t wait to see the American-Sun Belt Conference showdown in Orlando between 5-7 SMU and 6-6 South Alabama.

Give the American some credit for scheduling games in nice places in the winter such as Orlando, Miami and the Bahamas.

No one deserves any credit for adding another bowl game and contributing to mediocrity.

Coaches want more bowl games because it looks good on their resume and it adds extra practice time.

Players want more bowl games because it gives them a chance to play a post season game in a nice place. But there are also places such as Boise and Detroit on the bowl schedule.

Presidents and administrators want more bowl games because they see extra money opportunities–although most of the second tier bowls are money losers.

Television–primarily ESPN–wants more bowl games because it provides additional programming opportunities.

The fans? Ah, you don’t really factor in. The theory being that if television shows it, someone will watch.

The gap between haves and have nots will be even bigger this season with a two-tier bowl system. Four teams in the big boy playoffs. A few games between high quality teams in major bowls and a bunch of “Are you serious?” bowl games squeezed into the week between Christmas and New Year’s.

More is often better than less.
Not in this case. So be prepared.

I think if ESPN really wanted to have fun, it could stage a bowl between the two WORST teams in college football each year.
Call it the Irrelevant Bowl and play it in rotating series of cities battling image and perception problems like Detroit and Cleveland.
The winner of the latest Biggest Loser Competition could be brought in as Grande Marshall of the Bowl activities.

Or even better. Play it in ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Ct. The world wide leader can build an indoor arena, hire the extras to fill the place up and stage its own bowl game with its own cast–minus the players, coaches and a few assorted extras, of course.

Last year, the bowl could have been a match up between 0-12 Georgia state vs. 1-11 Idaho.

What did Clemson QB Chad Kelly (nephew of Hall of Fame QB) Jim Kelly do to get thrown off the Tiger football team? QB’s almost never get thrown off the team for anything. Kelly did throw two interceptions in the Clemson spring game…Someone paid $11,700 to coach the Arkansas State spring game.

© 2014, Mark. All rights reserved.

  1 comment for “Too many bowl games

  1. Chris Columbo
    April 16, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    I agree there are too many bowls. On the other hand, it is good for the AAC to have this arrangement in place and a plus for the conference.

    I think what would really be helpful is if the bowl system outside of the playoffs was structured on some kind of financial parity. That way the lesser bowls would have a shot at lining up teams and games that would have some interest. In general I think the public really only cares about the teams they follow in the bowl games so it is an uphill climb in any event.

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