• phil cantor/@osgphil

The SEC should be embarrassed and so should "Bowl Season"



How many times can we say how bad College Football's "post-season" bowl and playoff system are before something gets done? Tens? Hundreds? Thousands?


The people have spoken and 2020 continues providing perfect examples of how screwed up it is.


Quietly during the season, we got a new "branding" campaign. The "Bowl Season". Yes, that's right, the gap between conference championship games and the playoff now has its own marketing slogan.


And much like the antiquated and out of touch games that they are, we're getting a continual reminder of just how bad a joke it is.



Just look at the list of SEC teams who are playing in the remaining 28 bowl games this year to fill out their "contractual arrangements".


This years Gasparilla Bowl, a game we all are clamoring to see will feature at 2-8 South Carolina team playing UAB. (ed note: game PPD roughly 3 hours after I published this due to COVID)


Mississippi State, yeah, they are 3-7. They'll be featured in this years Armed Forces bowl against Tulsa. Oh, boy, can't wait to see that.


Kentucky, hey, they were 4-6. And they get to play in the Gator Bowl against North Carolina State.



I can go on, but the point here is we have everyone in the SEC except Vanderbilt playing in a bowl game. Oh, except Tennessee who got a bid, but had to opt out due to COVID-19 issues.


The SEC should be flat out embarrassed. There's no other way to say it. There's no good excuse for the worst of the worst teams playing in a bowl game. Even if the faithful say "well what if they win"? It doesn't matter. We shouldn't be having the conversation. A shitty SEC team winning a bowl game is still a shitty team.


Listen, we've talked about this ad nauseam in our College Football podcast "The Review". Bowl games exist because they always have. They exist for ESPN and bowl committee purposes. They allegedly exist to promote the cities they are played in.


That's a load of horse-poop.


It's time to end the bowl system. Bowl season should be dead right out of the gate. It doesn't matter if 2020 has changed things and made college football programs do things they wouldn't normally do.


Even in a regular year, the bowl system is idiotic. It's one of several reasons we can't have a real playoff to find out who the best team in the game is. All the 'Powers that be' are deferential to the system and the system is completely unfair to everyone but the most elite programs.


Don't give me this crap that "It gives teams exposure" or "they make money". The 100,000 or or so estimate of holiday viewers is meaningless. You can't convince me most of that number are people with the game on in the background. They're not paying close attention. It doesn't in any way, shape or form tell a recruit "I gotta come play at xxx school playing in Frisco, Texas. No...


The argument about the College Football Playoff is nobody can beat the teams in it. And yes, this year, like every other year, Alabama and Clemson are light years ahead of everyone else.


Why? Because they have all the money and get all the publicity and free marketing that the schools not playing can't have. Do any of us really think a recruit says; "I gotta go to South Carolina because they played UAB in the Gasparilla Bowl?" No...


Those same 4 and 5 star recruits that go to Alabama or Clemson won't ever go to the UAB's or Coastal Carolina's of the world because they don't get the prime-time stage with all the publicity. They never will. We now know the Group of 5 Schools will NEVER play in the playoff and rarely will get a New Years Six game. It matters.


The mid-level and poorer teams in the game continue to get poorer because they have zero chance of EVER being in the spotlight. There are rare seasons where a team comes out of nowhere and runs the table. Cincinnati, I and many others would argue are as good as anyone in the Top 8 this year. Yeah, they barely qualified for the New Year's Six, I think they are a playoff team.


But they will never, ever get the opportunity and because of it will never ever get the best of the best recruits to stay at that level. Don't try and excuse it by saying they need to get better recruiters. Ask an 18-year old if they'd rather play in the AAC or the SEC? Go on, ask them.


They'll never choose the AAC first because they won't get a chance to showcase on the national stage there. And that's the problem.


You'll never get parity in the sport until everyone has a chance at shining in the spotlight. The way the current system is set-up, there's ZERO chance of that every changing.


Sure, the "Bowl Season" is the alleged reward for those teams but I said it earlier and I'll say it again, it's meaningless. It's an antiquated system from a bygone era. The world is different now and so is the game.


If you eliminate bowl games and go to a 8 or 16 game playoff, you have excitement around the game throughout the month of December and January. You build excitement and widen the pool of potentially competitive programs.


It gives them a chance. Yeah, the likelihood of a "cinderella" story is remote, but the odds increase with more teams given the chance to try. That's what I'm trying to say.


But with ESPN, the Bowl Committee's and the College Football Playoff committee dictating the way the seasons go, change is not likely any time soon. The next contract comes up in 2026 and maybe by then we might see something give, but I seriously doubt it.


Change is not an easy thing to do. People don't like giving others a chance to cut into their "golden goose" or money pit. It's human nature. We live in a world now where the rich get richer and don't want to share with those less fortunate, college football in many ways is mirroring that.


It's going to take someone with some super large balls to step up and say we've got to do something to create parity before it will change. There has to be a groundswell of fans saying we don't want the same four teams playing every single year. There has to be a group of smaller schools saying we want better than knowing we have a zero percent chance of winning a national title.


Knowing before the games kick off at the end of every August that at most 10 of the 130 teams in the FBS have a shot at big-time game is depressing. How do you sell the other 120 schools on hey, you can always win your conference and play in the R+L Carrier bowl in New Orleans, congratulations.


Please make something change. Please make College Football become a 21st century game. I know there are a ton of people my age who say it should go back to what it used to be with a bunch of New Years Day bowl games but that day, time and era is long, long gone. Just because things were done a certain way when my generation grew up doesn't mean it is the best way to do it now.


If only we could get the millionaire corporate executives who control all of this to understand that...

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