College Football

If I Ran the Bowl Games Version 3

Back to this.  Oh yeah.  We know the issues.  Too many bowl games.  Potential first-round draft picks skipping games.  Major injuries during these games.  Attendance issues.  They go on and on.

I have done this before: here and here.  Third time’s a charm right?  No, this will probably never happen as it becomes more and more apparent that ESPN’s greed knows no bounds.

If you don’t want to click the links that’s OK.  I will reiterate the same points here, updated for this year’s bowl games.  First things first, we must eliminate a few bowl games.  ESPN Events is buying them up and very soon will own over half the bowl games meaning the local tourist non-profit boards get pretty much nothing out of this except for some dollars from fans coming to the game (although how much they get is always up for debate).  So the following bowls can cease to exist:

  • Quick Lane Bowl
  • Camellia Bowl
  • Boca Raton Bowl
  • Bahamas Bowl
  • Gasparilla Bowl
  • Idaho Potato Bowl

Hardly anyone will miss them.  There are others that could have been included here but I figured to take too many bowl games out would a) be too crazy and people would balk at the suggestion and b) mean less football which is, for the most part, a bad thing.  And yes, I understand that less football is a bad thing but maybe you will understand my thinking a bit more when you realize a big part of this is to give as many games their own national spotlight as possible (or at least the second half of their games…when it counts).

No more pre-Christmas daytime games.  That is so absurd it’s laughable.  Of course that bowl game won the timeslot…it’s on against soap operas and other daytime garbage.  These games are pure PVR games and to be honest, unless I’m not around to watch them, I want to watch them live.  Live sports is still the best so let’s make it so as many of these games can be watched live by a majority of people.  This also means there will never be a return of the Tokyo Bowl.

ESPN would hate this but I am moving a few more games off of the network.  Why?  So more people can watch these games and not just up here in Canada.  ESPN’s viewership is shrinking so to get more eyeballs on these games means sending more games elsewhere.  I understand that in the next few years we should expect at least one bowl game to go to an online-only platform which will change the game entirely.  Until that point we have to stick with what we have.

Bowl tie-ins have been decreased, especially since bowl games don’t even follow them anymore.  Power Five conferences get five bowl tie-ins, the AAC, MWC, and C-USA get four, and the MAC and Sun Belt get three.  Then the at-large bucket gets all the rest of the teams.  It opens up the possibility for better matchups.   And just like last time, I am putting in the incentive to win a Group of Five conference championship: you get your shot against a Power Five team.  Automatic.  Right now some conference champions get a banner and……………………….yeah that’s about it.  To get their shot against one of the big boys (like UCF, Memphis, Navy and a few others) should be the reward.  The chance to prove they belong.  It’s the only way to get more teams like TCU and Utah to get into power conferences.

Qualification is now set at 7 wins.  All 7 win teams must be placed and only if we still need to fill bowl slots that we would use 6 win teams.

Just like last year, the final thing I would do is as follows: that 4-hour marathon crapfest show on ESPN would now truly become Selection Sunday.  The schedule would go as follows (if the show started at Noon):

  • Noon-12:05 – Introduction of hosts and panel
  • 12:05-12:30 – CFP Bowls filled and analysis
  • 12:30-1:00 – NY6 bowls filled and analysis
  • 1:00-2:00 – Tie-ins filled and analysis
  • 2:00-3:30 – Selection time! Bowls are selected in random order of selection that morning (to give bowl committees time to pick their teams).  At-large selections shown every couple of minutes.  Analysis can follow every pick and at the end of this timeslot.
  • 3:30-4:00 – Final analysis of bowl games

That would be a show I would watch.  It would be like CBS’s March Madness Selection Show except with a lot less Greg Gumbel and a lot more intrigue.

So here is what we would see after the tie-ins are done and other changes like dates and times have been completed (and yes this looks shitty because I am basically copying last year’s version and I don’t care because I’m being lazy right now):

January 8, 2018 8:00 CFP Championship ESPN Rose Winner Sugar Winner
January 1, 2018 8:45 Sugar Bowl ESPN CFP Poll #1 CFP Poll #4 #1 Clemson #4 Alabama
January 1. 2018 5:00 Rose Bowl ESPN CFP Poll #2 CFP Poll #3 #2 Oklahoma #3 Georgia
January 1, 2018 1:30 Peach Bowl ESPN CFP At-Large G-5 #1 #7 Auburn #12 UCF
December 30, 2017 8:00 Orange Bowl ESPN ACC #1 CFP At-Large #10 Miami #6 Wisconsin
December 30, 2017 4:00 Fiesta Bowl ESPN CFP At-Large CFP At-Large #9 Penn State #11 Washington
December 29, 2017 8:30 Cotton Bowl ESPN CFP At-Large CFP At-Large #8 USC #5 Ohio State
January 1, 2018 11:30 Citrus Bowl ABC SEC #2 Big Ten #2 #17 LSU #16 Michigan State
December 30, 2017 Noon TaxSlayer Bowl ESPN ACC #3 at-large Louisville
December 29, 2017 4:30 Music City Bowl ESPN SEC #5 C-USA #1 Kentucky Florida Atlantic
December 29, 2017 2:30 Sun Bowl CBS SEC #3 Big XII #4 Texas A&M Kansas State
December 29, 2017 12:30 Belk Bowl ESPN at-large ACC #4 #24 NC State
December 28, 2017 9:00 Holiday Bowl FOX Pac-12 #3 Big Ten #4 #18 Washington State Iowa
December 28, 2017 5:30 Camping World Bowl ESPN ACC #2 at-large #22 Virginia Tech
December 28, 2017 2:00 Liberty Bowl ESPN at-large C-USA #4 Marshall
December 27, 2017 7:00 Texas Bowl ESPN at-large Big XII #3 #19 Oklahoma State
December 27, 2017 3:30 Military Bowl ESPN ACC #5 AAC #1 Wake Forest #20 Memphis
December 27, 2017 Noon Outback Bowl ESPN SEC #4 Big Ten #3 South Carolina #21 Northwestern
December 26, 2017 8:30 Alamo Bowl ESPN Pac-12 #2 Big XII #2 #13 Stanford #15 TCU
December 26, 2017 3:30 Independence Bowl ESPN at-large AAC #4 USF
December 26, 2017 Noon Pinstripe Bowl ESPN Big Ten #5 MAC #1 Michigan Toledo
December 24, 2017 8:30 Hawaii Bowl ESPN AAC #2 MWC #4 Houston Colorado State
December 23, 2017 8:00 Foster Farms Bowl FOX Pac-12 #5 MWC #1 Oregon #25 Boise State
December 23, 2017 3:30 Heart of Dallas Bowl ESPN Sun Belt #3 at-large Appalachian State
December 23, 2017 Noon Birmingham Bowl ABC at-large at-large
December 22, 2017 8:00 Armed Forces Bowl ESPN MWC #2 at-large Fresno State
December 21, 2017 8:00 Arizona Bowl CBSSN MWC #3 at-large San Diego State
December 20, 2017 7:00 Dollar General Bowl ESPN at-large MAC #2 Northern Illinois
December 19, 2017 9:00 Cactus Bowl ESPN Big XII #5 Sun Belt #1 West Virginia Troy
December 16, 2017 8:00 Frisco Bowl ABC AAC #3 at-large SMU
December 16, 2017 7:00 Cure Bowl CBSSN MAC #3 at-large Ohio
December 16, 2017 4:30 New Mexico Bowl ESPN at-large C-USA #3 North Texas
December 16, 2017 3:30 Las Vegas Bowl ABC Pac-12 #4 at-large Arizona State
December 16, 2017 1:00 New Orleans Bowl ESPN Sun Belt #2 C-USA #2 Arkansas State UAB

The College Football Playoff and New Year’s Six would stay the same, just like the last time I did this exercise.  There are quite a few differences below that though:

  • The G-5 conference champion process will set up the following:
    • Memphis (AAC runner-up because conference champ UCF is in the NY6) goes to the Military Bowl to face Wake Forest
    • Boise State (MWC champ) plays Oregon but in the Foster Farms Bowl, not the Las Vegas Bowl
    • The Music City Bowl gets C-USA champ Florida Atlantic and they face Kentucky
    • The Sun Belt champ (Troy) faces off against West Virginia in the Cactus Bowl.  Next year it will be easier to determine conference champs in the Sun Belt because they will be the last conference to adopt a conference championship game.
    • And finally, the MAC champ (Toledo).  They face Michigan (nice!) in the Pinstripe Bowl.  Hmmmm….wondering if I should switch it out for the Quick Lane Bowl now.
  • Some bowl matchups are maybe as good as the actual ones and some may be improved a bit.  Michigan-Toledo would be a good one, as would WVU-Troy.
  • Will getting rid of most of the 6-6 teams make the bowl games better?  Some for sure.  Again, if you are going to show three bowl games at basically the same time then you are splitting the audience so unless there’s a remedy for that, this is probably the best we can do.

So who’s left?  All those empty spots have to be filled.  Here’s the list of teams with at least seven wins that are waiting for their bowl spot: Missouri, Mississippi State, Arizona, Iowa State, Boston College, Notre Dame, Army, Wyoming, FIU, Southern Miss, Akron, Central Michigan.  Twelve teams.  This means four spots will be filled by teams with six wins.  The bowls can pick from any of the 6-win teams at any time during the process as long as no more than four teams are selected.  And yes, Notre Dame and Army are not slotted in anywhere because they are not in a conference.  So this is how they would await their fate.  This year that wouldn’t be a problem for either school.  Now we start the random draw.  So I did this, at random, and this is what I came up with (* denotes a six-win team):

  • Liberty – Mississippi State
  • Birmingham – Florida State*
  • Camping World – Notre Dame
  • Armed Forces – Army
  • Las Vegas – Texas*
  • Belk – Missouri
  • Texas – UCLA*
  • Frisco – Arizona
  • Birmingham – Iowa State
  • Arizona – Utah*
  • TaxSlayer – FIU
  • Cure – Southern Miss
  • Independence – Boston College
  • Heart of Dallas – Central Michigan
  • New Mexico – Akron
  • Dollar General – Wyoming

So after these selections this is what the new bowl schedule will look like:

January 8, 2018 8:00 CFP Championship ESPN Rose Winner Sugar Winner
January 1, 2018 8:45 Sugar Bowl ESPN CFP Poll #1 CFP Poll #4 #1 Clemson #4 Alabama
January 1. 2018 5:00 Rose Bowl ESPN CFP Poll #2 CFP Poll #3 #2 Oklahoma #3 Georgia
January 1, 2018 1:30 Peach Bowl ESPN CFP At-Large G-5 #1 #7 Auburn #12 UCF
December 30, 2017 8:00 Orange Bowl ESPN ACC #1 CFP At-Large #10 Miami #6 Wisconsin
December 30, 2017 4:00 Fiesta Bowl ESPN CFP At-Large CFP At-Large #9 Penn State #11 Washington
December 29, 2017 8:30 Cotton Bowl ESPN CFP At-Large CFP At-Large #8 USC #5 Ohio State
January 1, 2018 11:30 Citrus Bowl ABC SEC #2 Big Ten #2 #17 LSU #16 Michigan State
December 30, 2017 Noon TaxSlayer Bowl ESPN ACC #3 at-large Louisville FIU
December 29, 2017 4:30 Music City Bowl ESPN SEC #5 C-USA #1 Kentucky Florida Atlantic
December 29, 2017 2:30 Sun Bowl CBS SEC #3 Big XII #4 Texas A&M Kansas State
December 29, 2017 12:30 Belk Bowl ESPN at-large ACC #4 Missouri #24 NC State
December 28, 2017 9:00 Holiday Bowl FOX Pac-12 #3 Big Ten #4 #18 Washington State Iowa
December 28, 2017 5:30 Camping World Bowl ESPN ACC #2 at-large #22 Virginia Tech #14 Notre Dame
December 28, 2017 2:00 Liberty Bowl ESPN at-large C-USA #4 #23 Mississippi State Marshall
December 27, 2017 7:00 Texas Bowl ESPN at-large Big XII #3 UCLA #19 Oklahoma State
December 27, 2017 3:30 Military Bowl ESPN ACC #5 AAC #1 Wake Forest #20 Memphis
December 27, 2017 Noon Outback Bowl ESPN SEC #4 Big Ten #3 South Carolina #21 Northwestern
December 26, 2017 8:30 Alamo Bowl ESPN Pac-12 #2 Big XII #2 #13 Stanford #15 TCU
December 26, 2017 3:30 Independence Bowl ESPN at-large AAC #4 Boston College USF
December 26, 2017 Noon Pinstripe Bowl ESPN Big Ten #5 MAC #1 Michigan Toledo
December 24, 2017 8:30 Hawaii Bowl ESPN AAC #2 MWC #4 Houston Colorado State
December 23, 2017 8:00 Foster Farms Bowl FOX Pac-12 #5 MWC #1 Oregon #25 Boise State
December 23, 2017 3:30 Heart of Dallas Bowl ESPN Sun Belt #3 at-large Appalachian State Central Michigan
December 23, 2017 Noon Birmingham Bowl ABC at-large at-large Iowa State Florida State
December 22, 2017 8:00 Armed Forces Bowl ESPN MWC #2 at-large Fresno State Army
December 21, 2017 8:00 Arizona Bowl CBSSN MWC #3 at-large San Diego State Utah
December 20, 2017 7:00 Dollar General Bowl ESPN at-large MAC #2 Wyoming Northern Illinois
December 19, 2017 9:00 Cactus Bowl ESPN Big XII #5 Sun Belt #1 West Virginia Troy
December 16, 2017 8:00 Frisco Bowl ABC AAC #3 at-large SMU Arizona
December 16, 2017 7:00 Cure Bowl CBSSN MAC #3 at-large Ohio Southern Miss
December 16, 2017 4:30 New Mexico Bowl ESPN at-large C-USA #3 Akron North Texas
December 16, 2017 3:30 Las Vegas Bowl ABC Pac-12 #4 at-large Arizona State Texas
December 16, 2017 1:00 New Orleans Bowl ESPN Sun Belt #2 C-USA #2 Arkansas State UAB

A few games here that look a whole lot better and will be great for the media because it creates storylines like:

  • UAB opening bowl season instead of being in the Bahamas (which is nice) in a pre-Christmas early afternoon timeslot (terrible).
  • Arizona Bowl gets a boost with San Diego State and Utah heading there.
  • VT/ND is a great matchup and one that didn’t happen this year as part of the Irish’s ACC agreement.

Overall the impact this season is probably less than last season when I did this same exercise and created a much better bowl season.  This one not so much although I believe it is improved upon the current schedule.

Alright, I am hoping tomorrow I will have the NFL schedule post up and then Friday maybe, just maybe, the first bowl recap?  We shall see.  Have a great week everyone.

 

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