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Deke Bellavia

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Deke: Are there too many Bowl Games?

Traveling from Lafayette, Louisiana to New Orleans, Louisiana is not that bad at all. But what about from Buffalo, New York to Boise, Idaho?  Or Syracuse to Houston?  Those distances seem a lot further because they are.  What am I saying?  Well, with the landscape of college football about to change once again, the question that seemingly always comes up but rarely gets answered is: are there too many bowl games? 

There are 125 teams in the current FBS, which is known as the Football Bowl Subdivision.  There are currently 35 bowl games.  That means that 70 teams, well over half of the number of teams playing, advance to bowl games.  Some, including myself, have wondered at the very least how schools and teams can make it to these bowl games.  Did you know that the schools that are invited to play in a certain bowl are also on the hook for a certain number of tickets that must be sold?  Folks, this is all about one thing - and that is the dollar, dollar bill y'all!  How can a school from Buffalo afford to travel all the way across country to Boise to play in a bowl game?  And if the allotted number of tickets are not sold, then the school has to foot the rest of the bill. 

The current way the bowl system is designed is no different than a pyramid layout.  I love CFB as much as the next fan, but to me, there is something wrong when a team plays in a post-season game, they stand to lose money and they could be a losing team also.  In the 2013 Little Caesars Bowl, the University of Pittsburgh earned a bowl berth with a .500 record of 6-6.  Pittsburgh won that game but had they lost they would have finished the season with a dismal 6-7 record.  Is that right?  What about the criteria to make it to a bowl game?  Six wins is it!  I personally think that needs to be raised to at least seven wins to be invited to play in a bowl game. 

And guess who basically owns and broadcasts the overwhelming majority of the bowl games?  The Sports four-letter-lead, of course, that being ESPN.  ESPN has cornered the market on CFB, and you know why?  Because they could, and they know its a huge money maker - FOR THEM!  Only the Cotton Bowl, Sun Bowl and Capital One Bowl are carried by someone other than ESPN/ABC.  You see, not only does ESPN dictate when the bowls are aired and played, but they also determine the teams that land in those very same bowl games.  Sure, Florida State and Auburn deserve and are the right teams to play in the BCS Title Game this January.  But can we actually say that the right teams land in the other BCS games and bowl games in general?  The rules, folks, are geared to make it one sided in CFB, and for those who think that the new four-team playoff coming in 2015 will make things on a more level playing field, you're flat out wrong.  Yes, we all love the feel-good "Boise State over Oklahoma" stories of the BCS past, but the haves and the have-nots will be much farther apart in the new four-team playoff.  The alignment of power conferences has been taking shape for years, because the powers-that-be saw this coming before everyone else - because those very same powers are the ones that make all the rules! 

So folks, as you prepare to eat your corned beef, cabbage and black-eyed peas this New Years' Day, be sure to understand that when it comes to the current state of bowl games, all that glitters is not gold.  In fact, very few even have a chance to win Gold.  If you know what I mean! 

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12/28/2013 12:12PM
Deke: Are there too many Bowl Games?
Please enter your comments below.
12/28/2013 8:24PM
Bowl Games
Great article and right on. I agree 100%.
01/02/2014 10:50PM
Sure are, it just gives teams like Georgia and Alabama a chance to embarrass the SEC like they did this year.
01/02/2014 11:21PM
Now we have to live with stoops Big mouth
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