Bye, bye tradition: College football sorely lacking historical perspective


I remember the days when the word "tradition" defined college football. Well much like the days of meaningful bowl games, playing your rival every season, and actually knowing what color uniforms your alma mater is wearing, those days are gone. Twenty years ago, there were 107 schools playing Division I college football. The college football landscape consisted of 10 conferences and 11 schools playing as Independents. There were 19 bowl games in 1994. So 35% of college football teams qualified for a bowl game. This year, there will be 39 bowl games. A staggering 125 schools play on the Division I, or FBS level. That means 62% of college football teams will play in a bowl game. Playing in a bowl game used to be an accomplishment. Now more teams make the postseason than those who miss it. And bowl games used to have their own tradition and identity. Playing in a particular bowl game was treat for teams and fans because of all that was associated with the bowl game and city it was played in. The same bowl games were played in the same cities every year, which generated excitement in those host cities as well. Now with an overload of corporate sponsored minor league bowl games in places where there is no tradition associated with the bowl game played there, that annual experience and tradition of playing in a bowl game is gone. And with the National Championship no longer being decided in a particular bowl game, or one of the other major bowl games having any implication of who the will win the NCAA championship, not surprisingly, attendance for bowl games is on the decline. Keep Reading

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