12/17/14 by Matthew S. Vandriak
Remember back in the "good old days" of college football when playing in a bowl game meant something? Well those days are certainly gone, as there are 36 bowl games this year. 38 games if you count the 2 bowl games that will be part of the first ever College Football Playoff.
At what point is too much enough? 76 teams will play in bowl games this year. There are 128 teams that played football at the Division-I (or FBS) level this year. So more teams will play in bowl games than those who won't. Making a bowl game used to be an accomplishment...obviously that's not the case anymore since 59% of the teams playing college football will play in a bowl game this year.
12 of the teams playing in bowl games this year have a record of 6 and 6. One (Fresno State) comes in with a losing record at 6 and 7. Two other teams (Bowling Green at 7 and 6 and Florida at 6 and 5) come into the post season just 1 game over .500. So almost 20% of bowl teams will be 1 game over .500 or have a .500 record. Making a bowl game used to be reserved for teams that had a good season. Now, mediocrity will get you a place in the post season.
And lets take a look at some of the bowl games that are packed with tradition (note the sarcasm there). There is the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl. What? I don't even know what a Camellia is. But I'm sure it will be an exciting matchup between 6 and 6 South Alabama and 7 and 6 Bowling Green. The Popeyes Bahamas Bowl makes it's debut this year as 7 and 5 Western Kentucky takes on 7 and 5 Western Michigan...oh the excitement! Then there's the Quick Lane Bowl, pitting 7 and 5 Rutgers against 6 and 6 North Carolina. And who isn't excited about the Foster Farms Bowl? Or the fantastically named Duck Commander Independence Bowl. There was a time the Independence Bowl had meaning...that time has obviously passed.
And why are there lower tier bowl games being played after the big games are played on New Years Day? The Armed Forces Bowl, Taxslayer Bowl, Alamo Bowl, Cactus Bowl, Birmingham Bowl, and GoDaddy Bowl all will be played after the New Years Day games. Of those games, only the Alamo Bowl has ranked teams involved (#11 Kansas State and #14 UCLA). How does playing the rest of these games between New Years Day and the College Football Championship Game make any kind of sense?
And on top of there being too many games, more than a few of teams playing in bowl games will be without the head coach who led them all season. Due to coaches being hired into a new job at a different school, or coaches who were "fired" after the regular season, "interim" coaches will be as common as bowl games with awful names. Why can't coaching changes be made after the bowl game is played? Or does that just make too much sense?
Maybe one of these days bowl games will have meaning again. Maybe one day playing in a bowl game will be something special. Or maybe next year there will be 40 bowl games. Something tells me it will be the latter.
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