The College Football Bowl System Sucks Big Time

The Cotton, Orange, Rose, and Sugar once meant everything on January 1st!

Years ago, before we knew any better, New Years Day meant the coming of college football’s “Big Four” bowl games, the contests that would pretty much help those lucky elitists with a vote pick the next national champions of college football, based on the results of whatever happened on New Years Day. Well through the 1950s and early 1960s, we were all a lot younger and far more naive about these things – and the television network-corporate sponsor money had yet to take over the major bowls and to proliferate, mutate, and water down the significance of bowls to the point of making sure we had at least one game on the tube every evening for nearly two-thirds of all the days in December leading up to New Years Day.

We had to have a bowl game for every brand of corn chip, car company, and insurance giant in the nation. It didn’t matter a rat’s ankle that few beyond the parents of the players involved cared about the outcome of these games, all a college needed to get into one of these bowls was a group of fans who “traveled well” and a “bowl eligible” regular season record that contained, at least, an even number of wins and losses on the game outcome tally sheet.

Who could ask for anything more?

From about 1970 through 2010, the new system brokers have been readjusting the significance of these bowl games with the infusion of new power and big money as the corporate payoffs to the most desirable colleges (those with the biggest free-spending travel alums and largest dent-makers in the home television shares market following.)

Bigger money bumped the Cotton down a few notches, replacing it with the Fiesta as the new “Big Four” companion to the Rose, Sugar, and Orange. A new system also came into play for making the computer a participant in picking the two most likely candidates for participation in a post-season national championship game. This Bowl Championship Series (BCS) set-up even found a way to throw a rope around the wealth so that the annual big game rotated annually from of the “Big Four” bowls to another – while also making sure that all the power schools had the best chances of getting selected every time.

Once in a while, a TCU or Boise State comes along and is welcomed by the BCS crowd with all the enthusiasm of a River Oaks host for a couple of cockroaches at a dinner party. In this case, it isn’t politically correct for the BCS hosts to call Orkin. All they can do is try to place the intruder at a dinner table where he is most likely to get smashed by the other invited guest. Today, January 1, 2011, the TCU cockroach is seated at the Rose Bowl, right across the table from Wisconsin. – Darrell Royal of UT tried to warn the world about TCU years ago. Now, here they are again – about to fall into the BCS-Rose bowl and maybe mess things up for one of those fine old monster-size Big Ten schools.

TCU-Wisconsin will likely be the only bowl game i watch. All others, including the Cam Newton-Auburn Anointment Bowl that’s set for about a week from now against Oregon have no interest for me. All these meaningless games just suck for wont of any real competitive goal connected to winning.

Hey, Deafened Ears in the Halls of Corporate Television Power, do you have to lose your entire audience before you see the rich valley of genuine opportunity that you’re missing? Before it’s too late, overhaul the bowl game system into either a 16 or 8 team playoff system that culminates in a truer national championship game. – Skip the elitist exclusion of schools like TCU and UH. Make it so that winning gets you a chance to be voted high enough in the poll to be included in the playoff mix.

Whatever you come up with will never be perfect, but it will be a damn sight better than this boring mess that now passes for the dud-filled icing on the college football cake.

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7 Responses to “The College Football Bowl System Sucks Big Time”

  1. Earl Aldridge Says:

    Bill, first of all, Happy New Year to you and the family. Also, I hope you had a birthday to remember. As for the article, I couldn’t agree more with your analysis. It has gotten to the point in my viewing, I don’t really watch any of them any more with an interest when their were only 4 major bowl games. The all mighty dollar has messed up yet another once enjoyable and anticipated New Year’s Day. I’m BOWLED OUT!!!!!

  2. neal brown Says:

    Happy Birthday first of all. YOu have the greatest day ever. The whole world celebrates your birthday, whereas mine is awful. Christmas day and no one can come to my party even if I ever have one. I agree with you about the bowls, but I can’t help but be happy that the South may rise again beating all those Yankee teams. Go Mississippi State, Alabama, Arkansas, and Auburn. We may have lost the war, but we may beat them in football.

  3. David Munger Says:

    The “Greedy” schools let it get out of hand so they could “Go Bowling”. As an LSU Grad and an SEC FAN I guess you just pull for “ONE FOR THE THUMB”. Five National Championships in a row. I didn’t create this mess, but I like the results of the past decade. HAPPY BIRTHYDAY, BILL.

  4. Wayne Williams Says:

    Happy New Year Bill: I totally agree with your analysis. The Bowls used to be for winners. Now the Bowls are for losers. How many 6 and 6 teams made a bowl? Those teams are mediocre. If I were a university president I would be embarassed to send a 6 and 6 team to a bowl. The coach should be fired instead. A team should not be eligible for a bowl unless it won its conference and won at least 75 percent of its games. I’ve watched one bowl so far, the bowl in which the USAFA played since I am retired Air Force. I will watch the Rose Bowl because it is historic, has two good teams and is a bowl I’ve attended (1958, Ohio State and Oregon). If TCU beats Wisconsin today there will be two national champions: TCU and Oregon or Auburn.

  5. John Watkins Says:

    As usual, you’ve hit the nail on the head, Bill. Bring on a playoff! By the way, I’m writing this after TCU, the pesky interloper, won the Rose Bowl. My late father, who played for the Horned Frogs in their glory days before World War II, would have loved every minute of it.

  6. Franklin Towers Says:

    Dear Bill,

    Thanks for your article. I found your piece after searching, with little luck, for something akin to, “College football sucks.” Amazing how difficult it is to find anyone who actually complains about this @#$@#% corrupt system… anyhow, great article, lucid, and very much appreciated–hell, I’m a native Oregonian, I should be pleased this year–except that it’s all BS… or BCS, or whatever… until there’s a playoff, I’m watching with at least one eye closed.

    FT

  7. Kelley Rogers Says:

    Bowl games still suck!
    If they were worth a shat, you would see baseball bowl games and soccer bowl games and so on.
    Those old timers who love those bs bowl games won’t give up on them.
    I hate them.

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