The last couple of weekends of December the sports watching public have been inundated with bowl games that don’t mean a hill of beans. The Pinstripe Bowl, the Peach Bowl, and many others of these post season games sometimes between teams that don’t even have a .500 record.
Meaningless bowl games is the least of the issues. Due to covid-19 outbreaks and risks lots of bowl games were either cancelled. Lots of players opted out due to not wanting to risk injury for games that were risky knowing that they could possibly get hurt before the NFL Combine and draft.
There’s also the issue of the scheduling of the College Football playoff games. Why are two of the most important college football games of the season put on New Year’s Eve?
Where many folks decide to go out and party to bring in the New Year. And they aren’t watching television but they are in bars, fancy banquet halls, spending the evening with relatives or romantic interests not sitting in front of their TV’s watching ESPN.
The College Football playoffs should be played on New Year’s day which for decades was the day of which College Football played it’s most important games. At the very least the games should move off of New Year’s Eve which is a terrible scheduling faux pas.
If you are a player with designs of becoming an NFL player heading into the Draft and combine process.
Is it now worth it to play in bowl games where a chance at a college championship is not on the line. Players of yester year on coverage of the Rose Bowl Kirk Herbstreit and Desmond Howard who were big time college football players and are major voices in the college football space opine for old times when players did not opt out of “major” bowl games.
Herbstreit and Howard said that the newer generation of players were cut from a different cloth. In the golden era of the New Year’s Day Bowl games in the 80’s there were only a select number of bowl games.
Going back to 1971 there were only 10 bowl games, in 1997 the bowl game festivities had been expanded to 20 games. Now there are over 40 bowl games. With requirements to be bowl eligible only being six wins.
There are 6-6 teams with .500 records that are in bowl games. With low requirements like that this is why there are so many half empty stadiums, in places College Football Bowl games have no business being. When Howard and Herbie were playing in bowl games they still were presitigious and meant something.
To fix this issue the standards to be bowl eligible should be raised again, teams should need to win eight games to get into a bowl game. Bowl games should only be in warm weather cities or in domed stadiums. Nobody really wants to go to sit in Yankee Stadium for the Pinstripe Bowl in December to watch two 6-6 teams battle each other in a matchup of mediocrity.
The other part of the fix would be expanding the College Football Playoff to 8 or 12 teams. If you have 8 teams you could give a spot to the winner of the Power Five Conferences and have 3 at large bid teams. If you staged a 12 team tournament you’d give the top 4 teams a bye week, and let the top 8 fight it out week 1.
Then the winners would advance to facing the top 4 seeds. You use the current bowl cities and sites to stage 7 games for the 8 team playoff. You do the same for the 12 team playoff only with 4 extra games.
Bringing in other major bowl games into the playoffs would make those bowl games worth watching, and for players contemplating the NFL, a reason worth playing.