Unwatchable college football Bowl games are a problem that can only be solved with a tournament that includes them. A plus-one game doesn’t address the deep-rooted situation that no one seems to be talking about.
No one cares enough about an 8-4 state university team playing another 8-4 state university 2,000 miles from each other at a neutral site, except for students and some alumni.
TV ratings will tell the story best. If the Bowl games aren’t going to generate advertising, then essentially, they are worthless.
Meaningless games have to have something to watch for. It used to be they were held on New Year’s Day and that meant something. But, New Year’s Day games are seen less and less each year. (This year, there aren’t any at all due to New Year’s Day falling on a Sunday and the NFL has that day to itself.)
There are 35 bowl games this year with the culmination of #’s 1 and 2, LSU and Alabama, playing on January 9th. It is the only game that really has anything on the line, other than pride.
Pride is hard to measure and not always enjoyable to watch. Football fans show the most interest in watching a game for the suspense. When a game has something riding on it, there’s a reason to care.
Bowl Championship Series (BCS) followers will note that there has been a lot of talk for a plus-one game. There have been different derivations offered, but the most popular one has been a ‘Final Four’-like model, which has a semi-final and then a final. This is a great idea and it may work well, but it won’t solve the deadwood Bowl games dilemma.
Alumni and student bodies will support these college Bowl games, but they aren’t enough to save them. Times are changing and what used to be important is no longer of the same interest to sports fans. There are too many other options for entertainment out there.
What needs to happen is to put a limit on the amount of bowl games. It is an issue of supply and demand and there are too many Bowl games as it is now.
A one and done tournament with the top 20 teams would work best. The bottom eight teams can play for a chance at the final sixteen teams. The top 12 teams get a bye.
College football needs to shorten its season to 12 games maximum, including conference championships. It was always an 11-game season for years up to the 1990s and now it has become 13 regular season games for many schools.
So, the tournament can start in early December and continue on through the end of the month at various neutral Bowl sites, until the Championship game in the beginning or second week of January. A good idea would be to try and have the semi-final games on New Year’s Day.
A total of 19 Bowl games are needed. This is plenty and each of them will mean something.
* – Image credit: By John Terhune/Journal & Courier via JCOnline.com
Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of www.AmericanizeSoccer.com