As big of a fan as college football as I am, I have complaints about the current bowl system. Now I’m not here to argue that we should have a playoff system, because everyone but the school presidents agrees on that. Instead I am hear to discuss how many bowls have become pointless.
The simple fact is there are just too many bowls. As good as the folks over at GoDaddy.com are, simply no one outside of the school participating want to watch Middle Tennessee St. vs. Miami (OH). With the 35 current bowls, and it seems like a new one is added every year, it takes away the thrill and elite nature of making it to a bowl game. When the only stipulation to making a bowl game is being over .500 something is wrong. The American public simply doesn’t want to watch this garbage.
Now, some argue that the TV ratings are high enough to keep these bowls going. This can simply be argued that not much other TV programming is on over the holidays. Normal TV sitcoms and drama go to re-runs so disappointing bowl games are all that’s left. But as long as the bowl system, the TV networks, and the schools keep making money on the below par competition, the large number of bowl games will stay.
My biggest argument against the BCS is the national championship game itself. Waiting over 30 days from the final game they competed in is just too long. Now if there was a playoff system, then this amount of time would make sense. But the long layoff is just too much. The NFL only uses two weeks before the Super Bowl and that’s a much bigger game.
The first week of the year, kicking off with the Rose Bowl shouldn’t change. But the other bowls should be played in that successive order, finishing with the championship game within five to seven days. Now, of course, this will never happen because ESPN and the BCS want a long time to build up the “hype” for this game, even though it doesn’t need it. The national championship game can promote itself. It’s a battle of the two best college teams that season, that’s all that needs to be said.
The long layoff actually has begun to hurt the product on the field. The last five years or so, there have been a large number of blowouts during the game itself, as the teams look out of sync. Take in account this seasons game when Oregon played Auburn. Two of the highest scoring offenses, excluding Oklahoma, were supposed to play a high scoring shootout into the 40’s. Instead, the first quarter ended scoreless, as it was obvious that the offenses had lost rhythm, something common with long layoffs.
On one hand, the BCS national championship game ended well, with a very memorable finish. On the other, it started so poorly. The most simple way to fix this is to play the game a week or so earlier. This gives plenty of time for the team to travel and prepare, give the networks time to hype the game, and still put out the best competition possible. Until a playoff system is born, this is all college football fans ask.