Sports from the point view from the guy that holds the clipboard for the guy that holds the clipboard.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Fixing the Bowl Games

One bad side effect of BCS hatred is that everyone blames every problem in college football on the BCS.    The BCS has flaws, but college football has so many other problems that really would not at all be fixed with the implementation of a playoff.

I understand that the Bowls make too much money and they would not go away.  They would become part of any playoff scenario.  And maybe the lesser bowls team up to become an NIT, but I doubt that even the second and third tier Bowl games would go away.

That being said the Bowl system needs fixing right now.  It cannot wait for a playoff, and once there is a playoff they will still need to be fixed.

1) Too Many Games.  The Solution to this is several fold.
 A) Change Bowl Eligibility to 7 wins in a 12 game schedule.  If you go back to 10 or 11 games as part of a playoff (which I want to see if there is a playoff) then you can go back to 6 wins.  But a team needs to be ABOVE .500 to be Bowl Eligible.

B) Trim the Bowls based upon a formula that mixes ticket sales, attendance, TV Ratings, and tradition.  The Bowls that sell the most tickets, get the most of those ticket holders to show up, gets the most people to watch, and has the longest run in games played should stay.  I am not sure what the equation would look like, and it could and would be tweaked over time, but these 4 factors are key. The rest should all be looked at for the chopping block.  Did you see the Mineke Car Care Bowl this year?  The endzone seats were empty.  Your game is on Dec 31st and you can't sell endzone seats?  Go away, you lose your bowl game.  I hate seeing a bowl game on TV in an empty stadium.  It reminds me of how useless this game is.

C) Take away the forced amount of tickets that schools have to buy.  No team should pay to go to a Bowl.  If your game is not self sufficient then you have a problem and it is not the school's fault your game sucks.  And if it is the school's fault then maybe the previous fix will come into play and your bowl can die.

D) Go back to real bowl names.  I don't want to watch the Chick-fil-A Bowl.  I want to watch the Peach Bowl.  Stick the sponsor in front, but the sponsor's name should not be the bowl name.  If you can't come up with a cool name for your Bowl, then your bowl should not exist.  Clever Bowl names are not difficult.  The Motor City Bowl works, The Las Vegas Bowl works, the Hula Bowl.  Simple, cheesy, lame, all are fine, just give us something real, because sponsors will change.  Bowl games should have some sense of tradition, or make an honest attempt at establishing tradition.  Having a real name gives us something.

2) TV / Scheduling
 A) ESPN should not be allowed to broadcast more than 55% of Bowl games.  If you can't find another broadcaster interested then your bowl can be discarded as well.  But this is a real issue.  The launching point of this rant was my discovery that every single Bowl game on New Year's Day 2011 is on an ESPN channel.  EVERY FUCKING ONE.   Holy crap, this flat out ruins the day.  And due to rain I can't even watch the NHL's Winter Classic in protest to get my sports fix.

B)Only 1 BCS game and the National Championship game should be allowed to play after New Year's Day.  Again, at l;east pretend that tradition is important.  New Year's Day needs to be as loaded as humanly possible with Bowl Games, and if it is not going to be this way, then that will be the death of the Bowl system.  Currently we have 3 BCS games after January 1st (including the NC), and 4 other games. The BCS is a total of 5 games.  A majority of these need to be played on January 1st.  3 of 5.  It really is that simple.  The spreading out is ridiculous and only adds to the hate.  The BCS needs all the help it can get and fixing this may seem small, but it will matter. In fact we have a Bowl game being played every day from now until Jan 10th except for January 2nd and January 5th.  No Bowl outside the BCS is important enough, relevant enough, or has an intriguing enough match-up to justify playing after January 1st.  January 1st should be College Football's version of the first day of March Madness.  With so much action you cannot keep track of it all.  Having 4, 5 or even 6 games going on simultaneously would be fantastic!

Although it impacts the BCS, these issues really are separate from the BCS/Playoff debate, and I hope are things we can all agree need to be and can be fixed.

Thanks for reading,
Enjoy the football,