By Luke Robinson
There will have been a total of 40 bowl games played when this college football season concludes. Forty. That means 80 teams needed to be bowl eligible (i.e., at least 6-6).
Having that many mediocre teams (some even below .500 because the bowls were short a few teams) get to play post-season ruffled more feathers than Big Bird’s exotic masseuse. In a sense, I get it. You don’t like today’s athletic mantra of rewarding participation versus success. I feel the same way. We pass out trophies like church bulletins and it has become an epidemic. After all, college football isn’t a 5-year-old’s soccer team. (“…And Timmy gets the award for ‘Best Kick That Didn’t Actually Go in the Goal.’”)
Certainly the bowl games are generally meaningless. And I agree that watching Ohio University take on Utah State isn’t exactly a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon in December. However, I don’t get the national outcry to do away with these contests despite them being totally irrelevant to the grand scheme of a championship. I mean, who do the bowl games hurt? There is a venue that wants a game. There are two teams that want to play. There are TV stations willing to pay to broadcast the contest and advertisers willing to sponsor it. Where’s the problem?
If bowl games were part of some incredibly bloated 16-team playoff, I would be against them. However, bowl games that aren’t part of football’s current playoff are really just glorified spring games complete with extra practice. Unlike the NCAA Basketball Tournament, bowl season in football is just more of the sport without damaging the integrity of naming a champ.
Now I do enjoy the NCAA Hoops Tournament; don’t get me wrong. However, I enjoy it for the wrong reasons. I like the drama, but hate that middle-of-the-road teams end up playing for (and sometimes winning) a title when their regular seasons were so blah.
The bowl games outside of the playoff do not affect the national crown and I think that is just fine. If Western Kentucky and East Carolina want to play in the Quilted Northern Bowl in South Dakota to determine which compass point is best once and for all, what do you care?
If you don’t like it? Don’t watch. Chances are, though, you will bet on it (or at least have it in a teaser). Just keep in mind that you are not forced to watch these games! There are around 500 other channels on TV showing something besides San Diego State taking the field against Louisiana-Lafayette. I am sure there is a half-naked Kardashian having a nip-slip on somewhere.
Look, by the time March or April rolls around, you will be desperate for football, so soak up these moments while you can. Feel free to flip to QVC or TBS or, God forbid, do something fun with your family instead. (That Depends Undergarment Bowl is starting to sound pretty dang good now, isn’t it?)