This used to be one of the best times of the year for me and college sports…the College Football Bowl Season! In my mind, it ran neck and neck with March Madness (College Basketballs “bowl season” for the lack of a better description).
College football had it right in the 80’s and 90’s with a good mix of bowl games and the “Big Four” on New Year’s Day. Now because of the money there is to be made, they’ve been watered down. Now there are bowl games as early as mid December and go all the way through the first week of January.
So we’re stuck with a bunch of mediocre teams playing each other in the John Jacob Jinglehimer Schmidt Bowl sponsored by the Flo-bee by Renko in Podunck U.S.A.. Games that the average fan wouldn’t give a second look too during the regular season, games that only the mother or father of a participant would watch. Now teams with .500 (or just above) records are playing in a Bowl.
Take for example last night Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando, Fl. Rutgers took on Virgina Tech. Both schools have seen better days, and eventhough this game went into overtime with the Hokies edging the Scarlet Knight 13-10 it was a real KLUNKER and a waste of time.
Quarterbacks for both teams combined for 40% passing (32 of 79) for a whopping 322 yards through the air which included 3 interceptions. The ground attack wasn’t much better with both teams combined for 99 yds…The game also set a bowl record with 20 punts, surpassing the previous record of 19 in 1991 between Alabama and Colorado.
In other words a VERY forgettable game…
I remember in the 80’s and 90’s when you had your handful of Bowl games, the Garden State Bowl, Music City Bowl, etc…leading up to New Year’s Day and the “Big Four” (with out sponsor names). Late morning it was the Cotton Bowl, then in the afternoon the Rose Parade was followed by the Granddaddy of them all – the Rose Bowl. Then with nightfall, a channel “flip fest” began (this was before DVRs obviously) between the Sugar Bowl, and my personal favorite the Orange Bowl.
I can still remember those great Orange Bowls with Miami, Boston College, Nebraska, Notre Dame, they were classics. The reason why is because those teams worked their butts off during the regular season to make it to a bowl. Once there, had pride in their school to win the game and leave “it” all on the field, because they knew that may not make it to a bowl again during theirtime at school. It wasn’t just given them for being average, like it is today, because some corporation wants to slap their name on some meaningless game, just to have a game.
I get that it’s all for the money, just like the crazy conference jumping that’s going on (that’s a blog for another time), but in the long run it hurts the final product… it waters it down, and make the games less memorable, which eventually will hurt the sport. Leaving the average sports viewer unsatisfied…
Maybe in a few years they won’t even keep score… YES!!!…Everyone PLAYS…Everyone WINS! ….and no one will be watching.