Are you suffering from bowl game overload? I certainly am! Back in the 1969 when I first began watching college football there were only 10 bowl games. I only remember 5 of them, the Orange, Sugar, Cotton and Gator Bowls and the granddaddy of them all, the Rose Bowl. Now there are 35 different bowl games! Really! Can you believe that?
Right now I’m sitting here watching the Russell Athletic Bowl featuring two top teams (Lol) Rutgers with 9 wins, 4 losses against powerhouse Virginia Tech who has a 7 win, 6 loss record. And they’re in a bowl game? Please? Anyway it’s the 4th quarter, 6 minutes left and a 10 – 10 tie. What could be more exciting? Actually just about anything else! The fact is I have no idea why I’m even watching this silly bowl game other than maybe to kill some time before going out to dinner. I actually could care less who wins this game. I can’t imagine anyone other than the hometown fans who do. What a joke.
Since the 15th of December there have been 14 bowl games played with only 21 more to go! Woo – Hoo! What is this? I remember when making a bowl game had real meaning. Only top twenty teams went to bowl games. Like I mentioned earlier in 1969, my senior year, there were only ten bowl games. By 1979 there were 15 and by 1999 there were 25. This year like last year there are 35 certified bowl games! Incredible!
And these bowl games all have corporate sponsors, even the Rose Bowl! Of course old grand dad presents their corporate sponsor a little more subtly. Instead of the corporate name followed by the bowl name or the corporate name simply being the bowl name the Rose Bowl puts its sponsor at the end of the title “The Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio.” Now that’s class, much better than the “Allstate Sugar Bowl”, “Discover Orange Bowl”, Tostitos Fiesta Bowl”, “Taxslayers.com Gator Bowl,” the God-awful “Little Cesar’s Pizza Bowl” and a host of others! It’s just a shame that the company Toy-let.net (yes it’s a real web based company) doesn’t have the resources to sponsor a bowl game. Can’t you see it? The “Toy-let.net Bowl”! Now that would be classic!
So what is behind many of these meaningless bowl games? That’s easy, it’s all about the money. Sell the name to the highest bidder brings in big bucks. Adding more bowl games means more colleges which means more money to be shared by schools and sponsors. Athletic departments love it. They all want a piece of the action. This is the reason creating a true playoff system in college football is so difficult. My bet is that even if we get a playoff system in place in the near future these money making sponsor bowls will still take place.
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, only a handful have any credibility at all. It’s all about one thing and one thing only, making money. Let’s face it going to a true playoff system would shrink the money ball and that just ain’t gonna happen! They don’t want to see a legitimate championship playoff system, they want to see dollar $igns….