Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Rick Cleveland: Do we have too many bowls?

This old curmudgeon grew up in a time when there were the four major college football games: the Rose, the Sugar, the Cotton and the Orange Bowls. All were played on New Year's Day.


They also played something called the Tangerine Bowl down in Orlando and the Sun Bowl out in El Paso.

And that was pretty much that. If you didn't win at least nine games, you were home for the holidays.

Now we have 40 bowl games, plus the national championship game. And that is a lot, so many that now you don't necessarily have to achieve a .500 record to go to a bowl game.

And this gives pundits – in print, on radio and on TV – plenty to write and talk about. They deride 5-7 football teams going to bowl games. They make fun of the bowl game names: the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, the AutoNation Cure Bowl, the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, the Camping World Independence Bowl, and so on.

Here's what this curmudgeon would tell those pundits: Don't watch. It's that simple. If you don't like it, you don't have to watch it. Just. Don't. Watch.

There, problem solved.

Apparently, somebody does watch these games. And apparently these bowl games make money for somebody because they keep having them.

ESPN fills airtime with live programming. The lucky colleges that can sell enough tickets make some money. The host cities fill some hotel rooms, restaurants and bars. Who is getting hurt here?

Certainly not Southern Miss, which finished 7-6 with its 28-21 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette in the New Orleans Bowl, telecast around the world by ESPN and attended by more than 35,000 in the Louisiana Superdome. USM didn't get rich, but probably made a few bucks in the process.

Senior quarterback Nick Mullens got to play one more college game and he made it count. So did Allenzae Staggers, the wide receiver who caught a month's worth of passes in one night. And it says here that any time you get to watch Ito Smith run with the football, it is not time wasted. Nobody wearing black and gold with jersey number 25 has made those kinds of cuts in the Superdome since a guy named Reggie Bush. Watching Ito Smith play football – even when he's picking up blitzes instead of running – is a joy. He is, without question, the real deal, better this year than last when he played better than teammate Jalen Richard, now a rookie standout with the playoffs-bound Oakland Raiders.

But back to the bowls and the pundits...

National media is having a field day with 5-7 Mississippi State playing Miami (the one in Ohio, not Florida) in the St. Petersburg Bowl the day after Christmas. The Miami Redhawks surely are the first college football team to start the season 0-6 and then wind up in a bowl.

Miami lost its first six, won its last six. That's kind of cool, really. There ought to be some reward for winning six straight and losing six straight. Trying to tackle MSU quarterback Nick Fitzgerald will be that dubious reward for the Redhawks.

Turns out, Mississippi State gets rewarded for the academic success of its football players, as much as success on the field. Kudos to whomever at the NCAA came up with that idea. Finally, something more than lip service is paid to the “student” part of student-athlete.

Pundits have – and will again – make fun of a 5-7 team playing a team that lost its first six games in a bowl game.

Have at it. Just remember: If you don't like it, don't watch it.

Some of us will.

Rick Cleveland is a Jackson-based syndicated columnist. His email address is rcleveland@mississippitoday.org

Kingfish note: Guess what? I don't watch them.  New Year's Day used to be so much fun.  Then they had to spread out the big bowls over several days.  It ruined the magic of the whole day and also ruined the games. Same tv geniuses who took away Saturday NFL doubleheaders when the college football season ended and gave us Thursday night NFL games no one watches.  Then there are the semifinals that are held on New Year's Eve.  Yeah, that's real smart.  Progress.

21 comments:

PittPanther said...

Individual teams don't get money by going to a bowl. The conference takes all the money that every bowl team from that conference earns, and divides it up equally to every conference member.

Anonymous said...

11:55 that is true. However, the bowl team gets 2 shares. MSU may clear $124.10 off their bowl appearance. But OM will only make half of that.

Anonymous said...

Say what you want about the St. Pete bowl, but it will feature a Heisman contender for 2017. Miami Ohio will be in ruins after the Dawgs run over them like a freight train. And, the SEC will be on notice that the Dawgs plan to do some damage in the West next year. We are coming for you Nick!

Anonymous said...

No one mentioned the biggest benefit for teams in the lowest tier of bowls: two extra weeks of practice. Figure out how much money a school "loses" on a low-end bowl appearance, and then ask any team that's not going bowling if they'd pay that in order to have two weeks of practice for next year's players.

Anonymous said...

Hey 12:22

ONLY in your wildest dreams

Anonymous said...

11:55 Good post. People hate on Bama, but they've been bringing home the dough for the SEC on this run they've been on.

12:22 Wanna go ahead and predict 11-1 and a Rose Bowl for your team?

Anonymous said...

Things have gotten to the point where the "pundits" decide what is important and what is a waste of time. Their time. I say after the first tier bowls, the teams should be privately polled (individual player votes) to decide if they want to play in another game after the season ends. Most young men cherish the opportunity to win a bowl game even if they aren't the national champions. And it often is the last game they ever play. Just because some people don't want to watch or think it's not important doesn't matter to a young man pursuing a dream. But sometimes thirteen games can be a drag. It should be up to the young men playing the game. If there aren't enough teams interested in playing... too bad, one less game.

Anonymous said...

11-1 my ass. 14-0 baby!!! We are here to win championships!!

Anonymous said...

Apparently many of these young men do not cherish the bowl bid so much as they are choosing not to play. This trend will continue to grow for those players that are majoring in NFL Prep.

Anonymous said...

2:15 is sitting in some bar smashed out of his mind.
14-0 HA HA HA
Not looking at the schedule, I bet you will have a loss within your first 4 games.

Anonymous said...

You black bears keep on laughing. All I can say is 55-20, and it should have been worse. We are on the rise. Our coach has rebuilt this team into a national contender. Our biggest challenge next year will be Bama, and we will be ready. Once we take them down, we will not be denied a championship.

This Dog Wants 7-5 Rule.. said...

Of course there are too many bowls. Google the name of this bowl and you'll see that it's changed names every year it's existed with hardly a sponsor covering it for two years in a row. It won't last another two years.

On another note, I heard the recommendation today that the NCAA should allow redshirts to play in bowl games without affecting their shirt status. Makes great sense doesn't it?

Allowing them another two weeks of practice plus allowing the Redshirt to play in the game without affecting his eligibility is the best that could happen. Next would be trimming the bowl games by about six.....which would mean sticking with 7-5. And, yes, my Dawgs would be at home with the Bears if that were the rule.

Why even discuss.... said...

Why does that USA columnist bitch and many of you capitalists care? Call it supply and demand. If people want them great. If they don't they will lose money and die. My Bulldogs were a dismal 5 and 7. Going to a bowl. #happyandnotapologizing

Anonymous said...

4:05 6-7 at best, but you're "on the rise." What. A. Time. Y'all huffing that leftover spray paint from last Saturday's "vandalism?"

I think bowl season is a treat for the participating teams and fanbases. Didn't even care who was playing this past weekend and I still watched most of them.

Anonymous said...

The bowls games on New Year's Eve evening are NOT a treat for many females who would rather be wined, dined, dance until midnight, be kissed, watch fire works and enjoy an early breakfast or late brunch.
I remember women making this point rather strongly who were forced to watch the Sugar Bowl when in was changed to New Year's Eve in the 70's and the NCAA and major networks got the message as did more than a few husbands and dates.
I love college football, and would want to watch my alma mater play any game, anytime, but now it's not just men leaving the room to check the score anymore, the crowds got smaller and smaller . Now, there are fewer and fewer venues offering New Year's Eve packages. There are no longer New Year's Eve dances at the country clubs.
I feel especially sorry for the women who are golf widows, hunting widows AND football widows. No wonder the divorce rate keeps climbing! And, you wonder why your wives and girlfriends aren't interested when you deign to " show up".

Anonymous said...

Speaking of bowls, Kingfish, why didn't you cover a word of the Egg Bowl this year? Many years, it's the best thing either SEC school in the state can look forward to.

Anonymous said...

@6:35 AM has to be sex deprived.

Anonymous said...

9:55 if the best alternative that you had was to watch a bunch of low to mediocre college football teams last Saturday, you need to revisit you life choices. Take up knitting or something else more exciting that watching that sh!t.

Anonymous said...

Let's see? Why didn't KF cover a football game between two losing teams that no one else gave a rat's ass about? What KF should have been covering was the fact that these schools paid their coaches over $800,000 each per win this year, and at least one of the fan bases is happy enough to be clamoring for an extension/raise for their coach.

Messick said...

To answer the question posed by the author, consider the following:

There is a bowl game being played on December 26th - that's the day after Christmas - called the Quick Lane Bowl.
It will feature Maryland and Boston College, two at best middling teams. It will be played in Detroit at an NFL stadium.

Who from the east coast is willing to spend money and take the time to go watch a bad college football game right after Christmas in goshdamn Detroit in the middle of winter?

Watch and see just how many. They'll probably give free tickets out to locals just to fill some of the seats.

Anonymous said...

Word on street is that Jackson will get a bowl next year. Will be known as the "One Call That's All For the People Bowl." No word on who the actual sponsors will be. But, Old Miss and Ms Mistake will likely qualify as it will only require that you have a minimum of three wins with a coach that makes more than $4 million per year.

Should Miss. tax internet sales?

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Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

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This is definitely a Beaver production.


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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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