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.

About the Author

Dustin Schutte

Dustin is a 2010 graduate of Manchester College and is an avid sports fans. While in college, Dustin played on the school's tennis team, wrote for the newspaper and hosted a sports-talk radio show. After graduation, Dustin found a job as a salesman for a local webcasting company. He also works as a play-by-play announcer and analyst for high school sporting events for the same company. Twitter: @Sharp_Schutter