Does College Football Really Need 41 Bowl Games?
It's December, we just finished Conference Championship Week, we know who is "In" the College Football Playoff--and we're about to hit...the Bowl Season.
41 Bowl Games involving 82 of the 130 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams all of whom finished with at least 6 wins. The games will take place in the span of slightly over two weeks, most televised on or sponsored by ESPN.
There was a time, not too long ago where the College Football bowl season gave most teams a reward for a successful season a chance to play an extra game and be feted by locals in a town far away during their school's Holiday Break.
So, yeah, this video might be a slight exaggeration--but we're talking about games like the Cherbundi Bowl in Boca Raton, Florida, the Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl in Frisco, Texas, the Vrbo Citrus Bowl and So-Fi Hawaii Bowl are games that make you wonder "Who the heck are these sponsors"?
Listen, I get it, for Group of 5 teams and slightly above average Power 5 teams with no chance of ever winning their conference--getting to play a bonus game in a far away small town in front of hundreds of fans on ESPN, it's kind of a reward. It's an opportunity to say you earned an extra game.
But what point does it serve in 2019?? The College Football Playoff is pretty much the only game which gets mountains of publicity. For casual fans, most December Bowl Games are background noise. For many programs--they are still responsible for buying and selling game tickets and prompting alumni to show up in such far off places as Frisco, Shreveport, Boise, Montgomery, Detroit or Albuquerque.
Here's an honest question I'd love someone to answer: If you are going to one of these mid/late December games, why are you going? What is in it for you to spend your hard-earned money to travel there just before Christmas? I get it in places like Orlando or Tampa, Dallas or Phoenix or Las Vegas, heck I even get the Bahamas, but why would anyone willingly travel to Boise for a game January 3rd??
I know this all comes off sounding snarky and condescending and I'm sorry for that. My point is really this...
I want to understand, I want to know what motivates people to go to bowl games? If you look at the stands during most of them, not a lot of people go. Which is why I ask the question of why they are worth it.
The only people who can answer that to me are those who attend.
For those of you who say "It's tradition"....yeah, 1979 called, they are looking for you. The world has changed, College Football has changed and it bears little to no resemblance to the holiday tradition Bowl Games once were.
Sure, ESPN makes money off the telecasts, people will put the games on while off on the holidays. Yeah, the Bowl Committees make a lot of money on them because they force the schools to buy tickets and get paid for empty seats no matter what. They get sponsor and TV money and make small donations to local charities all in the name of "Football".
But what do the schools get out of it? What do the fans going to Detroit in late December get out of it? The players--they get free "Beats" Headphones and electronics and nice sweats.
And quite honestly---while its great for them, if those are the only reason these games exist--we might need to re-examine some priorities....