By the Numbers: Why the College Football Bowl Season is the Most Boring Postseason in Sports

Year after year, I get overwhelmed with enthusiasm when college football season gets here. The tailgating, traditions, rivalries, trash-talk, intense match-ups, and late Saturday night games are enough to get any football fan hyped.

And yet, every single year, I always find myself disappointed at the season’s end. Not because the college football year has ended, but because of the travesty known as “bowl season” was far from entertaining.


I needed to find a yawning hippo to show just how bored I am with college bowl games. (Photo by wwarby via CC BY 2.0)

I needed to find a yawning hippo to show just how unhappy I am with many of the college bowl games. Is asking for exciting football all year long too much to ask? (Photo by wwarby via CC BY 2.0)

Anyway, I stay away from the college football postseason, mainly following the BCS bowl games, along with Big Ten games. And following this bowl season, I may not even watch these BCS games any longer, either.

Most fans of the sport either love or hate the bowl games at the end of the football season. While I have many reasons why this postseason is the most god-awful creation man has ever developed, I’ll just let the numbers speak for themselves.

  • There were 120 full member FBS teams that participated in the 2012 college football season.
  • Of those 120 members, 70 teams took part in 35 different bowl games.
  • 58.3% of FBS teams reach postseason play in college football.
  • 12 teams participating in the college football postseason entered their respective bowl games with a 6-6 record.
  • 1 team entered postseason play with a losing record (Georgia Tech 6-7).
  • 9 teams in postseason play had a .500 record in conference play.
  • 12 teams in postseason play had records below .500 in conference play.
  • 6 of those teams lost their respective bowl game, meaning 6 teams finished the season below .500 (6-7).
  • Of the 35 bowl games played, 15 games were decided by 17 or more points, including 3 BCS bowl games:
    • National Championship – (28) Alabama 42, Notre Dame 14;
    • Orange Bowl – (21) Florida State 31, Northern Illinois 10; and
    • Fiesta Bowl – (18) Oregon 35, Kansas State 17.
  • 11  bowl games were decided by 1 possession.
  • The highest margin of victory was 44 (Oklahoma State 58, Purdue 14).
  • The average margin of victory of the 2012-13 bowl season was 15.23.

So, after seeing these numbers, it clearly appears that way too many teams are rewarded with an opportunity at postseason play when, quite frankly, they’re not very good.

It would be nice to be able to rid college football of at least 15 of these bowl games, meaning only 40 teams would compete in the postseason, which is 1/3 of the college football full member slate.

Does that seem too ridiculous? That instead of watching these low key, unwatchable games, we instead get pumped up for 20 exciting games of college football?

Now, I realize that this will not completely solve the problem, as three BCS squads were trounced in their bowl game, but at least it’s a start. It would bring even more value to the most meaningful regular season in all of sports.

And that makes for exciting football all year long.


  1. The most exciting part of the National Championship game was when they showed Miss Alabama.

  2. says:

    So you are saying that the Clemson LSU game was boring? The USC Michigan game was boring? So what that both games were decided by one posession, those were extremely exciting games, where teams had to play extremely well to accomplish a win. I agree that some of the games were extremely boring, but you have to look at the bowl situation differently. Its not that the games were boring, or certain teams looked bad. It all reflects on the coaches and staff. Most teams had 3 weeks or more to review film, practice, plan and prepare for one specific game against one team. This is twice the normal preperation time that teams have to prepare a game.
    I agree with you only in one game, FSU Northern Illinois. That was an extremely bad game, that should of been a 70 to 10 win by the noles. But every other bowl game, certains teams were more prepared than their opponent, that doesnt mean that the schedule was the problem. It falls on the coaches, the BCS chooses games that should be close. The BCS doesnt coach the teams, call the plays, or prepare the teams for the games. Place blame where balme is due.

    • I think the author was making a statement about the match-ups being boring. I could not give a shit less about watching the Toledo’s, Dukes, and Fresno State’s battle it out. Even Air Force lost to Rice… Fucking Rice in the Bell Helicopter bowl. I didn’t watch crappy match-ups all year, so I don’t want to watch them in bowl season when I have nothing else to do all day. Yes there were several close games, but I don’t want to sit through a ton of mid major games or middle of the pack power conference teams so I can watch VT beat Rutgers 13-10 in OT. The fact that so many teams get to play in these bowl games that should be showcases for the best end of the year match-ups in college football makes the 3 week bowl season fairly tiresome and boring. I say fewer bowl games and more pro games on Saturdays instead.

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