by John Furgele
Happy Hoildays, Seasons Greetings to all, so let’s clear up some last minute things before the holidays begin. First, is the unfortunate suspensions of five Ohio State players for the first five games of the 2011 season. Once again, the NCAA profits enormously from these players, yet if the players so anything to compromise themselves they get hit hard. To be sure, nobody wants the players to run wild, but there has to be some loosening of some of the rules. Pryor is certain to leave school if he can’t play almost half of the 2011 season, whether he is NFL ready or not.
Speaking of college football, once again, there are just way too many bowl games—-way too many. For some reasom, the university presidents cling to the notion that bowl season is great, yet most bowl games generate little interest. Last night the MAACO Bowl was contested between Boise State and Utah, three days before Christmas in Lax Vegas. For the record, Boise State won in a rout, but did anybody care? Furthermore, with all the 6-6 teams that made it to a bowl, means that several teams will go bowlnig yet will finish with a sub.500 record.
To add insult to the bowl’s injury is the Fiesta Bowl. Connecticut made their first ever BCS bowl and per agreement had to buy 17,500 from Fiesta Bowl organizers. But, securing airline tickets, hotel rooms and the $111 ticket is not that easy and according to Dick Weiss of the New York Daily News, the Huskies had sold only 3,000 of their allotment. Oklahoma, with a much more rabid fan base has only sold 8,000 of their repsective tickets.
What that indicates is that bowl games have lost their luster and the BCS Championship Game has taken away much of the prestige that the big bowls used to have. Not that the Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Orange Bowl are irrelevant, but they don’t count anymore as for determining a national champion. There was a time when the bowls were all played on January 1 and the next day, a team eas voted the national champion. I always cite the the 1977 and 1983 seasons as the best example. Both times, the team that came into the bowls ranked fifth ended up winning the national titles (Notre Dame, Miami). The BCS prevents that from happening because it sets up one game and crowns the winner. For the most part, fans prefer this over the old system, but it hurts the bowl games, particularly the ticket sales.
In some ways, you should root for the smaller crowds at the bowl games. Less people means less money, and as we all know, it’s all about money. Eventually, the power brokers that run college football will see that they can make more money by having a playoff and once that occurs, the bowls will be gone.
This is not a call for a playoff, because personally, it has never bothered me that college football has the system it has. The polls don’t bother me, nor does the silly BCS Championship Game. Let them do what they want to do, but money will always win out at the end.
One more thing about the bowls. Had Boise State finished unbeaten, they might have/probably wouldn’t have played for the BCS title, but no matter what anybody thinks, the Broncos are a very good football team. I’m not sure how good they would be in the SEC, but I know one thing, they’d be closer to 9-3 than 3-9. But, what rubs me is the bowl they played in. They likely didn’t deserve a BCS bowl, but they were better than the MAACO Bowl. But, because of tie-ins, they get the MAACO Bowl. Why not let them play on the Sun Bowl, or the Gator Bowl, give them a big time spotlight on a day where watching bowl games is commonplace. I’m not knocking the MAACO Bowl, but let Michigan go there and allow Boise State to go to Jacksonville.