23 Days – 35 Bowl Games: Happy Holidays from College Football
You know it's December when the temperatures start to hover around the freezing mark, your kids have got their list for Santa for you that they finished in November, your living half of your month doing some kind of shopping, Snow becomes a dirty 4-letter word, your relatives are wondering what you are bringing for holiday dinner, and college football takes over your husband's/boyfriend's life.
There may be 12 Days of Christmas, but there are 23 days college Bowl games (35 games total) between Dec. 17th and Jan. 9th - nice gift for the school's season but only 1 of these games will truly crown a national champion. So why does the NCAA do this at the Division I level? Money!
The school's benefit from appearing in a bowl game, and the games have become big business over the last 20 years. Look at the corporations who pay significant dollars to sponsor one of these events - Hell, these days most of the games are names after the sponsors now.
Look at a company called Belk. Most people may not be familiar with them, so they use their name to sponsor the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, NC (where the retail store chain is based from). Might be good marketing for the company, but how many people will actually remember the Belk Bowl?
The college bowl system has become a glut of games which has meaning to a small population when you put it in perspective, but there is still enough of an market for the system to continue the way it is. ESPN gains programming for the 23 day stretch, and stands to make decent coin off the coverage. The universities stand to gain exposure for their school for future potential students while receiving money for the invitation to play.
A playoff system would bring new excitement for Division I college football. Fact is D-1 is the only level of collegiate football that does not have a playoff system. 70 teams play an extra game, which is more then a 32-team playoff system like Division II and Division III use. This does water down the games somewhat, especially when teams with non-winning records are being rewarded.
The system has to change to make the bowl game a reward and not a right of passage for schools, plus the corporate sponsors should really match the games. Seems like the bowl committees are willing to take anyone's money as a title sponsor.
Here's a way to make this system maybe more rewarding:
- You Must have a winning record to qualify for a bowl game. 16 teams got invited for a bowl game with a .500 record. Since when should you be rewarded for mediocrity? This alone removes 8 bowl games.
- Any wins over a subdivision opponent does not count toward your totals. I know this may not be fair, but why reward a school for scheduling a so-called "easy win" game? This may knock a few more teams down - lets remove 2 more bowls for this purpose.
- A losing in your division makes you ineligible for bowl contention. This rule would only affect a few teams, but helps us for the exercise eliminate 2 more bowl games.
Now we have managed to knock the bowl schedule down to 23. This does not solve the entire problem bu makes these games a bit more special and competitive. Now the issue of title sponsors - let the sponsor match the bowl game.
What Taxslayer.com has to do with a Gator is nothing, and this may be petty but let's make the names more memorable by creating better matches - like we are doing with the teams, plus let's make the names actually represent something you can actually put in a bowl (wild concept I know).
Here is how is could look in the future:
Christmas Tree Shops Poinsettia Bowl in Detroit (where it's cold for the holiday)
Hawaiian Punch Bowl in Honolulu (Duh!)
Big Apple Bowl - sponsored by Mac in NYC (Apple = all iProducts)
AT&T Copper Bowl @ AT&T Park in San Francisco (old school salute to copper wiring)
Del Monte Peach Bowl in Atlanta (Georgia Peach right?)
Tropicana Tangerine Bowl @ Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. (get the idea with this yet?)
SaladWorks Bowl @ Rutgers Stadium in central NJ (The company was born out of Cherry Hill)
Ore-Ida Potato Bowl in Boise, Idaho (not the sexiest locale, but it works)
Florida Citrus Bowl - sponsored by Dole in Orlando, Fla.
Las Vegas Silver Bowl (the entire city will pool together the sponsorship - they can afford it)
Ortega Southwestern Bowl in Albuquerque, NM (picture a colorful festive bowl here)
Zatarain's Bayou Bowl in Baton Rouge, La. (Bayou represent great cuisine served in a bowl like gumbo)
IZOD Gator Bowl in Jacksonville (you can serve Gator in a bowl in Florida)
Sheraton Holiday Bowl in San Diego (makes a wonderful gift this season)
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl in Phoenix (The only bowl name that truly works - a bowl of Tostitos can truly be a Fiesta!)
Kellogg's Cereal Bowl in Grand Rapids, Mich. (why has this never come into being?)
Campbell's Soup Bowl in Philly (the plant is across the river in Camden)
Sunkist Orange Bowl in Miami (that is bowl's old sponsor - now it's Discover)
Discover International Bowl in El Paso, Texas (giving the credit card it's international worldwide usage exposure along the border)
1-800-FLOWERS Rose Bowl @ the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Cal. (I know Portland is known as the Rose City, but the stadium has been around for 90 years)
Joe Boxer Cotton Bowl in Texas (Cotton Underwear anyone?)
All-State Liberty Bowl @ the Liberty Bowl in Memphis (running out of ideas as you can see)
Vizio National Championship Game played at various locations depending on the year.
One more bowl game should be added for the 2 teams rated the very worst of the year - the Lysol Toilet Bowl game! The winner can avoid being called the worst college football team of the year!