College Football

If I ran the bowl games

Obviously it would be so much better right? RIGHT?

I think it has come to the point where the bowl game season has got out of hand. When you have three 5-7 teams making bowl games something is wrong.  And don’t get me wrong I love college football (perhaps too much); however, there are too many games to watch.  OK maybe I should clarify.  It isn’t too many games per se; it’s more the way they are laid out, the matchups they produce, the networks they are on, etc.  So let’s get down to my plan to fix bowl season…

My Plan

Cut some of the fat. First off, even I have to finally admit…ok this is tough but here goes…there are too many bowl games.  There I said it.  When you have multiple under-.500 teams in the postseason, you know it has gotten out of hand.  So despite the fact ESPN makes some sort of money out of these games and they can be somewhat big for the communities these bowl games are in, we have to make some cuts here.  So will the following bowl games please step forward:

    • Cure Bowl
    • Arizona Bowl
    • Idaho Potato Bowl
    • Bahamas Bowl
    • Boca Raton Bowl
    • St. Petersburg Bowl
    • Heart of Dallas Bowl
    • Birmingham Bowl

These bowl games are hereby cut from the schedule. Through a combination of relatively poor attendance, lack of big teams playing, playing in horrible stadiums that should be torn down (*COUGH*Legion Field*COUGH*), playing in places where very few people care (the Bahamas), and having brutal tie-ins, these bowl games are easy to cut since very few will miss them…even the people in the cities where these games are held.

Times of the games. OK when there are games on at 2:30 on the Tuesday before Christmas, there is a problem.  No one can watch these games.  What I have done is eliminate those ridiculous pre-Christmas times.  I have also tried to prevent too many overlaps of games since part of the idea of bowl games is for certain smaller programs to receive national audiences.  Overlapping bowl games splits the audience.  In some cases you can’t help it but a lot of times it can be fixed and I believe I have done that.  Between Christmas and New Year’s there has to be some day games and that’s probably unavoidable.  I have, however, extended the bowl season (other than the National Championship) to January 6th to allow more bowls to have their own spotlight.

A few more games on non-ESPN networks. Down to 32 games, I plan to increase the amount of games on non-ESPN networks to 6.  The Cure Bowl is gone so CBS Sports Network gets the Miami Beach Bowl instead. The Sun Bowl is still on CBS but with a tweak that will be discussed a bit later.  ABC already has the Las Vegas Bowl and the Outback Bowl.  I am also putting the Texas Bowl on ABC.  FOX now gets the Alamo Bowl.  UPDATE: I can’t believe I am already doing an update on this.  I forgot the Pinstripe Bowl is already on ABC.  So I have moved that to ABC as well.

Less bowl tie-ins. Having pretty much every bowl have tie-ins has produced an inordinate amount of at-large teams going to bowl games.  It also can create some not-so-appealing matchups.  So I have done the following:

  • Power Five conferences get five bowl tie-ins
  • The AAC, Mountain West, and Conference USA get four bowl tie-ins
  • The MAC and Sun Belt get three bowl tie-ins

Now this does not include the top Group of Five team getting inclusion into the New Year’s Six. It can get a bit sticky since two of the six NYS bowls are the College Football Playoff semi-finals.  All that means is that at least one conference will lose a true tie-in which isn’t as big a deal as you may think.

As for the tie-ins themselves, I have tweaked some a bit.  Especially when it comes to the Sun Bowl.  It has never made sense to me that CBS airs the Sun Bowl and never has an SEC team on it. I have put an SEC team to face a Big XII team which should pack the stadium pretty easily.

The creation of more at-large bids. Having less bowl tie-ins obviously means more at-large bids.  As you will see, the amount of at-large bids goes up to 14 from basically zero.  This way there’s very little chance a conference won’t have enough teams to fulfill their bowl game obligations (which I always found stupid).  This will lead to a much better Selection Sunday show.  This season, from the sounds of it, that show was pretty damn boring.  Wouldn’t it be more exciting (and a lot like CBS’s March Madness Selection Show) if not only the CFP and NYS bowls were selected, but the bowl games selected their at-large teams LIVE on the air?  I think it would.  I would actually watch that.

7 wins to make a bowl. Forget 6-6 teams.  You must win 7 and they will only go to 6 if there aren’t enough teams which usually won’t happen.  Also, if they make sure that no FBS team schedules more than one FCS team, we don’t have to worry about more than one FCS win counting towards the seven wins.

Alright so I tried to mimic what the bowl matchups this year ended up being. Most of the time it ended up being easy.  In other cases, not so much.  Here’s what we have before the at-large teams are selected:

December 31, 2015 4:00 ESPN Orange Bowl ACC #1 CFP At-Large Clemson Oklahoma
January 2, 2016 8:00 ESPN Cotton Bowl CFP At-Large CFP At-Large Alabama Michigan State
January 1, 2016 8:30 ESPN Sugar Bowl SEC #1 Big XII #1 Ole Miss Oklahoma State
January 1, 2016 5:00 ESPN Rose Bowl Big Ten #1 Pac-12 #1 Iowa Stanford
January 2, 2016 4:30 ESPN Fiesta Bowl CFP At-Large CFP At-Large Notre Dame Ohio State
December 31, 2015 12:00 ESPN Peach Bowl CFP At-Large CFP At-Large Florida State Houston
January 6, 2016 9:00 ESPN Cactus Bowl Big XII #5 MWC #1 West Virginia San Diego State
January 5, 2016 8:00 FOX Alamo Bowl Big XII #2 Pac-12 #2 TCU Oregon
January 4, 2016 8:00 ESPN Liberty Bowl C-USA #4 at-large Marshall
January 2, 2016 12:00 ESPN TaxSlayer Bowl ACC #3 SEC #3 Louisville LSU
January 1, 2016 12:00 ABC Outback Bowl SEC #4 Big Ten #3 Tennessee Northwestern
January 1, 2016 1:00 ESPN Citrus Bowl Big Ten #2 SEC #2 Michigan Florida
December 30, 2015 7:30 ESPN Music City Bowl at-large at-large
December 30, 2015 3:30 ESPN Belk Bowl ACC #4 at-large NC State
December 29, 2015 10:30 ESPN Holiday Bowl Big Ten #4 Pac-12 #3 Wisconsin USC
December 29, 2015 8:00 ABC Texas Bowl at-large Big XII #3 Baylor
December 29, 2015 7:00 ESPN Russell Athletic Bowl ACC #2 at-large North Carolina
December 29, 2015 3:30 ESPN Armed Forces Bowl at-large MWC #2 Air Force
December 29, 2015 12:00 ESPN Quick Lane Bowl MAC #3 Big Ten #5 Toledo Penn State
December 28, 2015 4:00 ESPN Military Bowl ACC #5 American #1 Pittsburgh Navy
December 26, 2015 10:30 ESPN Foster Farms Bowl at-large Pac-12 #5 Washington State
December 26, 2015 7:00 ESPN Independence Bowl at-large American #4 Memphis
December 26, 2015 3:30 ESPN Poinsettia Bowl at-large MWC #3 Boise State
December 26, 2015 2:00 CBS Sun Bowl SEC #5 Big XII #4 Texas A&M Texas Tech
December 26, 2015 1:00 ABC Pinstripe Bowl at-large at-large
December 24, 2015 8:00 ESPN Hawaii Bowl American #2 MWC #4 Temple Colorado State
December 23, 2015 8:00 ESPN GoDaddy Bowl MAC #1 Sun Belt #1 Bowling Green Arkansas State
December 22, 2015 7:00 CBSSN Miami Beach Bowl C-USA #1 American #3 Western Kentucky USF
December 19, 2015 9:00 ESPN New Orleans Bowl C-USA #2 Sun Belt #2 Louisiana Tech Georgia Southern
December 19, 2015 5:30 ESPN Camellia Bowl MAC #2 Sun Belt #3 Ohio Appalachian State
December 19, 2015 3:30 ABC Las Vegas Bowl Pac-12 #4 at-large Utah
December 19, 2015 2:00 ESPN New Mexico Bowl C-USA #3 at-large Southern Miss

Now we get to Selection Sunday. We can use the NBA Draft big plastic drum for this to determine the order which the bowls will select their teams.  A reminder that in this case the Music City Bowl and the Pinstripe Bowl have two at-large bids.  And with 14 at-large bids, there were 15 teams remaining who would be bowl-eligible under the new format.  Here we go.  First up, the at-large teams remaining:  BYU, Georgia, Mississippi State, Arkansas, UCLA, California, Miami, Duke, Cincinnati, New Mexico, Middle Tennessee, Akron, Central Michigan, Western Michigan, Northern Illinois.  And now, the selections (selections done at random):

  1. Pinstripe Bowl – Georgia
  2. Independence Bowl – Arkansas
  3. Texas Bowl – Mississippi State
  4. Las Vegas Bowl – BYU
  5. New Mexico Bowl – New Mexico
  6. Belk Bowl – UCLA
  7. Music City Bowl – Middle Tennessee
  8. Russell Athletic Bowl – Cincinnati
  9. Music City Bowl – Duke
  10. Foster Farms Bowl – Northern Illinois
  11. Poinsettia Bowl – California
  12. Pinstripe Bowl – Miami
  13. Liberty Bowl – Akron
  14. Armed Forces Bowl – Central Michigan

To be perfectly honest, I don’t think many of these matchups are too much better than the ones that are there now; however, and I hate to say this, it eliminates some teams who probably don’t deserve to be in a postseason showcase. Plus this also makes it so no conference foes will face each other (right Arizona Bowl?).  One team would be home for the holidays and that’s Western Michigan.  Row that boat a bit harder I guess.

So after all this, this is what we would have:

December 31, 2015 4:00 ESPN Orange Bowl ACC #1 CFP At-Large Clemson Oklahoma
January 2, 2016 8:00 ESPN Cotton Bowl CFP At-Large CFP At-Large Alabama Michigan State
January 1, 2016 8:30 ESPN Sugar Bowl SEC #1 Big XII #1 Ole Miss Oklahoma State
January 1, 2016 5:00 ESPN Rose Bowl Big Ten #1 Pac-12 #1 Iowa Stanford
January 2, 2016 4:30 ESPN Fiesta Bowl CFP At-Large CFP At-Large Notre Dame Ohio State
December 31, 2015 12:00 ESPN Peach Bowl CFP At-Large CFP At-Large Florida State Houston
January 6, 2016 9:00 ESPN Cactus Bowl Big XII #5 MWC #1 West Virginia San Diego State
January 5, 2016 8:00 FOX Alamo Bowl Big XII #2 Pac-12 #2 TCU Oregon
January 4, 2016 8:00 ESPN Liberty Bowl C-USA #4 at-large Marshall Akron
January 2, 2016 12:00 ESPN TaxSlayer Bowl ACC #3 SEC #3 Louisville LSU
January 1, 2016 12:00 ABC Outback Bowl SEC #4 Big Ten #3 Tennessee Northwestern
January 1, 2016 1:00 ESPN Citrus Bowl Big Ten #2 SEC #2 Michigan Florida
December 30, 2015 7:30 ESPN Music City Bowl at-large at-large Duke Middle Tennessee
December 30, 2015 3:30 ESPN Belk Bowl ACC #4 at-large NC State UCLA
December 29, 2015 10:30 ESPN Holiday Bowl Big Ten #4 Pac-12 #3 Wisconsin USC
December 29, 2015 8:00 ABC Texas Bowl at-large Big XII #3 Mississippi State Baylor
December 29, 2015 7:00 ESPN Russell Athletic Bowl ACC #2 at-large North Carolina Cincinnati
December 29, 2015 3:30 ESPN Armed Forces Bowl at-large MWC #2 Central Michigan Air Force
December 29, 2015 12:00 ESPN Quick Lane Bowl MAC #3 Big Ten #5 Toledo Penn State
December 28, 2015 4:00 ESPN Military Bowl ACC #5 American #1 Pittsburgh Navy
December 26, 2015 10:30 ESPN Foster Farms Bowl at-large Pac-12 #5 Northern Illinois Washington State
December 26, 2015 7:00 ESPN Independence Bowl at-large American #4 Arkansas Memphis
December 26, 2015 3:30 ESPN Poinsettia Bowl at-large MWC #3 California Boise State
December 26, 2015 2:00 CBS Sun Bowl SEC #5 Big XII #4 Texas A&M Texas Tech
December 26, 2015 12:00 ESPN Pinstripe Bowl at-large at-large Miami Georgia
December 24, 2015 8:00 ESPN Hawaii Bowl American #2 MWC #4 Temple Colorado State
December 23, 2015 8:00 ESPN GoDaddy Bowl MAC #1 Sun Belt #1 Bowling Green Arkansas State
December 22, 2015 7:00 CBSSN Miami Beach Bowl C-USA #1 American #3 Western Kentucky USF
December 19, 2015 9:00 ESPN New Orleans Bowl C-USA #2 Sun Belt #2 Louisiana Tech Georgia Southern
December 19, 2015 5:30 ESPN Camellia Bowl MAC #2 Sun Belt #3 Ohio Appalachian State
December 19, 2015 3:30 ABC Las Vegas Bowl Pac-12 #4 at-large Utah BYU
December 19, 2015 2:00 ESPN New Mexico Bowl C-USA #3 at-large Southern Miss New Mexico

Pretty solid lineup. More compact.  Gives most games a pure national spotlight.  And it fixes a few issues that ESPN especially seem to be ignoring with bowl season.  Easy right?  Which means it will never happen.

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5 thoughts on “If I ran the bowl games

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