Blog Entry

Roundtable: Changes to the bowl schedule

Posted on: December 21, 2011 6:55 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2011 7:10 pm
Posted by Eye On College Football 

Occasionally the Eye on CFB team gathers, Voltron-style, to answer a pressing question from the world of college football. Today's question is:

What changes, if any, would you make to the current bowl schedule and/or bowl eligibility requirements?

Bryan Fischer: Any time you have a team like UCLA playing in a game at 6-7, I think it underscores that there needs to be a new rule that you not only be 6-6, but 7-5 at the very minimum. I get that the bowl games are a treat for the players but shouldn't we be rewarding winners and not the mediocre? The entire bowl system seems to have turned into the college football equivalent of a participation trophy. This, of course, ties-in with the line of reasoning that there are too many bowl games. At some point we'll get to the point where there's a good number of games for good teams but right now the excess causes mediocrity. For every crazy New Orleans Bowl finish we get, there's just as many Beef O'Brady Bowl duds it seems.

Tom Fornelli: I tend to agree with Bryan in that I'm not a big fan of 6-6 teams being rewarded for mediocrity, and I usually fall in line with the "there are too many bowl games" crowd, but then a funny thing happens every year. The games start, and they feature a couple of 6-6 teams, and I love them.

Yeah, there are some duds, but there are plenty of duds every Saturday during the regular season. So I think my personal criticisms from the current bowl system come from the fact that I'd like to see some type of playoff. A plus-one being the minimum of what I'd like to see.  So while I get extremely annoyed when I see that 6-6 Florida is playing 6-6 Ohio State in the Gator Bowl, I'm sorry, the TAXSLAYER.COM (bangs head, SIGN OF THE BEAST!!!) Gator Bowl, I'll probably still watch the game. I'm just a college football junkie, there's no way around it.

Jerry Hinnen: There's an easier fix for getting the UCLA-like riffraff out of the postseason than scuttling existing bowls: re-institute the discarded NCAA mandate that bowls must take teams with winning records ahead of teams with .500 (or sub-.500, in the Bruins' case) marks. "Too many bowls" is going to be a hard sell for the folks at places like Temple -- who unfairly sat at home after going 8-4 in Al Golden's final season last year -- or Western Kentucky, who should have gotten their first-ever FBS bowl bid after 2011's second-place Sun Belt finish and 7-5 record.

Cases like Temple's and WKU's are why, personally speaking, I'm fine-n'-dandy with the Participation Trophy Bowl circuit; not every game is going to be riveting theater (and matchups like UCLA-Illinois or Louisville-N.C. State promise to be quite the opposite), but it's not like anyone's required to watch. Should the seniors on that UL-Lafayette team we saw celebrating like they'd collectively won the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes Saturday night have been denied that once-in-not-even-most-people's-lifetimes experience just because a few college football diehards don't want to risk being bored?

Is the long-since-antiquated notion that bowl berths are for no one but mid-major champions and the top handful of major-conference programs worth brilliant Hilltoppers' running back Bobby Rainey ending his career without a bowl appearance? Not if you ask me--if the players want to play them, the the local organizers want to host them, it's not my place (or any fan's) to say they shouldn't. The number of bowls is fine; the way the teams are selected could just use a little pro-winning-record tweaking. Besides, give it another month and there won't be any college football at all. I'll take whatever I can get at this stage, Belk Bowl included.

(That said, it would be outstanding if the NCAA also prohibited the exorbitant ticket guarantees that have turned bowl trips into a financial sinkhole for so many smaller schools, but that's a separate issue from the scheduling/eligibility question.)

Chip Patterson: I too would like to see limping 6-6 BCS conference team taken out of the bowl equation, particularly when there are dangerous Non-BCS teams that have been left out of postseason play in recent years. One way could be to change the requirements to 7-5, but this season I thought of another wrinkle.

Instead of changing the bowl eligibility record/win total, add a stipulation that requires a team to finish .500 or better in league play. Many times, the 6-6 team that fails to show up for a bowl game has struggled down the stretch and enters the postseason with little-to-no momentum. If schools are going to benefit from conference tie-ins, make them perform in conference play to earn that right. A 6-6 team with a 3-5 conference record likely is not playing their best football at the end of the season, and might be a part of one of the dud bowl games we have seen recently.

I would also prefer to move the "gutter" bowl games back before the BCS and traditional New Years Day games. That stretch of bowls leading up to the National Championship Game is one of the places where we find unattractive matchups and lose college football excitement after the blitz of New Years Day. If those games were moved back before the New Year and the title game was pushed back to Jan 4-5, it would arguably be a better spot for college football to capitalize on the nation's interest. Not only does the average fan have to wait, but they have to be teased with games that would be better consumed in pieces during a Dec. 28 doubleheader.

Adam Jacobi: It's important to keep in mind that most of these lowest-tier bowls are media-owned entities, which were created and staged every year because from a media perspective, live televised FBS college football is more lucrative than anything else that could be aired in the middle of a December week. As such, if you want to get rid of these bowls, you had better come up with something that produces higher ratings for that network instead, otherwise, no amount of hand-wringing about the quality of the teams playing in bowls is going to result in any meaningful change. This is not a scandal or anything that should not be, mind you, because it does not negatively affect fairness of play or anything else of vital importance. It's merely the entity that stands to gain most from lowest-tier bowls being played, making sure that the lowest-tier bowls get played by owning and organizing them. That's just good business.

Moreover, if by some chance these lowest-tier bowls happen to disappear, as much as we're tired of seeing a 6-6 (3-5) BCS-conference team get into the postseason, let's not pretend that that team's going to be the first against the wall. It's going to be the also-rans of the MAC, WAC, C-USA, and every other non-AQ conference, because 90% of the time, those non-AQ schools draw lower ratings than their BCS-level counterparts. The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl between UCLA and Illinois is going to suck, but if we're being honest about what bowl organizers really want out of a team that they invite, UCLA and Illinois are going to keep getting bowl invitations over even 8-win teams like Tulsa, Toledo, or Louisiana Tech.

So if you're asking me what I would change about the bowl system, I wouldn't possibly know where or how to begin. The bowl system is a product of media desires and inequality in FBS football, so if you want the bowl system to be any different, you'd better figure out a way to fix either the media landscape or the college football landscape first, and well... good luck with that.

Tom Fornelli: What if we replace the mid-week December games with gladiator like competitions? In which players from each school battle each other to the death. The loser, obviously, dies and frees up a scholarship for the school. The winner gets extra credit in any class of his choosing!


Adam Jacobi: Well, that would certainly be heartbreaking for everyone involved.

I wouldn't mind it if the sponsors (or bowl organizers or the stadium) had a little bit of leeway in ground rules for these games. These are silly games anyway (unless I'm supposed to take something called the Beef O'Brady's Bowl completely seriously all of a sudden), so why shouldn't the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl be played with literally a giant potato for a football? Field goals in the Holiday Bowl worth 4 points if they're from more than 45 yards out? Fine by me! Special uniforms in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl designed to look like boxes of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese? OF COURSE we should be doing that.

So yeah, as long as we're going to have ultimately trivial exhibitions end the seasons of so many teams, we might as well make said trivial exhibitions unique in ways that go beyond mere branding.

Tom Fornelli: These ideas have my full support.  Can you imagine how much better the Orange Bowl would be if they were using an orange instead of a football?

Chip Patterson: Did they change tires on car at half time of the Meineke Car Care Bowl? If not they should.  Same goes for the Belk Bowl. I think instead of a coin toss there should be a Dockers shopping spree to determine who gets the ball first.

Adam Jacobi: And if Hooters got involved, there would be... lots of wings available for attending fans to eat. And that is all.

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Since: Sep 30, 2011
Posted on: December 22, 2011 2:12 pm

Roundtable: Changes to the bowl schedule

Pit teams against each other that people actually want to see.  There is already controversy over the National Title game and who should be the champion and the game hasn't been played.  OK St has a good argument to be in the game.

Nobody wants to see a 6-7 team (UCLA, and I am Bruin fan) in a bowl game because the AD (who should be fired, he's horrible) begged for an exception.

Who on the west coast wants to see LA Tech and TCU in San Diego?  A game like that barely qualifies as something to be on for white noise while you are doing something else.

The sheer number of bowl games is out of control and ridiculous.  Clearly the BCS system is flawed, but who can possible come up with a solution?  Nobody, because the system is designed to keep the fat programs fatter, the games are about money, not who should be in them.........who generates the most cash, regardless of talent.

Since: Oct 23, 2011
Posted on: December 22, 2011 1:23 pm

Roundtable: Changes to the bowl schedule

legere864 --  even though i didn't list the Orange, Rose, Cotton, Gator, as Quarterfinals you show be able to know that.
And yes this format would only include the Conference Champs of the 6 BCS Conferences plus the Wildcard at large. Plus only 1 at Large for the highest rank school that was not a Conference Champ. Which would have been Alabama. And the reason the 1 at large team would play in the Cotton Bowl is because, as of now the Big 12 doesn't have a championship game, so they should have to play a strong ranked opponent in that Bowl Game. The schools that can not win their Conference Title or the Conference Championship Game should not be include. Except for the 1 highest ranked at large team. As for my predictions of the game winners, that's just my opinion.    

Since: Oct 11, 2009
Posted on: December 22, 2011 12:03 pm

Roundtable: Changes to the bowl schedule

I'm trying to understand your format.  Is it the top 8 teams playing or the top 4?  And if it's the top 4, why do you have Oregon and West Virginia in that group? If it's an 8-team playofff, why are the current #2 and #3 (Alabama/OSU) teams playing in the quarters while Clemson plays WVU in another quarterfinal?  Where is Stanford?  Do they lose out to Boise St. for an at-large bid or are they losing out to both Boise St. and Southern Miss. for an at-large play-in bid?  Really? Are you saying that conference champions are seeded at the top regardless of the quality of another conference's runner-up?  AND are these your playoff predictions? You are saying that OSU would beat Alabama in a playoff game? A majority of people want to see OSU in the NCG but I think very few believe they would actually win a game against either LSU or Alabama.  You do realize that the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament seeds according to ranking and performance over conference championships?  That's how you can have both Duke and UNC as #1 seeds in different regionals.  The reason being that in a rational world, we can see that certain conferences excel at one sport over another and those conferences deserve special handling.  No one seems to have a problem with the ACC and Big East being dominating basketball conferences worthy of multiple high seeds in a tourney, yet it seems many have a problem with the SEC or Pac 12 being a dominating conferences capable of producing more than one quality team in football.

Since: Dec 22, 2011
Posted on: December 22, 2011 11:44 am

Roundtable: Changes to the bowl schedule

Forget BCS conference ties, name history, or even media hype....,  How does an 8th ranked team end up in the Meineke Car Bowl and
a team outside the Top 20 play in the Orange Bowl.  Shouldn't the bowls be ranked to allow the top ranked teams play each other, that would be the closest thing to resembling any type of playoff.

Since: Oct 8, 2009
Posted on: December 22, 2011 10:54 am

Roundtable: Changes to the bowl schedule

Simply changing the criteria for bowl eligibility would be the easiest and most productive step to take.  Teams need to meet the following two criteria:

  1. Have a winning conference record
  2. Have a winning non-conference record
This year 36 teams meet those two criteria.  The number goes to 39 because No. Illinois, La. Tech, and Arkansas St would be included because they are their conference's champions.  That would require one at-large team to be selected for an even number of teams for this bowl season.

The other major change needed is a committee that ranks all bowl eligible teams: best to worst.  Using this approach would produce a better bowl game match-up. 

Having fewer bowl games is a good thing.  Rewarding bad football teams with a bowl game is bad business.  I would advocate that potential bowl sponsors could team up with existing bowls and increase their bowl payouts per team. 

Scheduling practices would change.  Small conference teams - desiring to be become bowl eligible - may choose to schedule games against other small conference teams.  The power conference teams may then have to schedule 'tougher' games against other power conference teams because of this -- that is only good for college football.

This years slate of bowl games is depressing!!!!!

Since: Feb 29, 2008
Posted on: December 22, 2011 9:55 am

Roundtable: Changes to the bowl schedule

The question should be, What would you keep? 

The system isnt what the public wants, and the stadiums show it.  Every game (before BCS) is half to 3/4 empty, and unless your gambling or a fan of either team, no one is watching. 

Since: Oct 23, 2011
Posted on: December 22, 2011 7:48 am

Roundtable: Changes to the bowl schedule

If the BCS stays around than there needs to be changes to the Top BCS Bowls. The top tier bowls could be used as a small 8 team playoff. First you add the Cotton Bowl and maybe the Gator Bowl as BCS Bowls. You then make the Sugar Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl as the semi-final Bowl Games. The Next step is tricky depending on what the MWC & C-USA does. I think the MWC and WAC should join & the C-USA & Sunbelt should join. In this scenario the winner of the MWC/WAC would play they winner of the C-USA/Sunbelt in a wildcard Bowl Game for a BSC At Large Bowl bid. They could use the Poinsettia Bowl say one year and the Liberty Bowl the next and continue to switch each year. The winner moves on the the next BCS Bowl.

Example of a New BCS Bowl Format with this years teams

The BCS At Large Wildcard Bowl- Poinsettia Bowl - MWC/WAC Boise St. Vs C-USA/Sunbelt South. Miss.

Rose Bowl - Big 10 Wisconsin Vs PAC 12 Oregon

Gator Bowl - SEC LSU Vs Wildcard at Large Bowl Winner Boise St.

Orange Bowl - ACC Clemson Vs Big East WVU

Cotton Bowl - Big 12 OSU Vs at Large = Highest Ranked Team Available - Alabama

BCS Semi-Final Bowl Games

Sugar Bowl  Match up 1&4 Ranked teams  LSU vs WVU

Fiesta Bowl Match up 2 & 3 Ranked teams Oregon vs OSU    

Championship Game




Since: Feb 27, 2008
Posted on: December 22, 2011 5:44 am

Roundtable: Changes to the bowl schedule

No bowl games after January 1 (or January 2, when the calendar and NFL scheduling dictates).  Make New Years Day mean something again.

Yes, I know that will NEVER happen.

Since: May 27, 2008
Posted on: December 22, 2011 3:02 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Jan 17, 2007
Posted on: December 22, 2011 2:09 am

Roundtable: Changes to the bowl schedule

Changing the eligibility requirement to 7-5 overall, or maybe requiring at least a breakeven conference record, or both, would completely solve the problem of "too many bowls".  They can just barely fill the bowl roster with 6-6 teams, so if you eliminate those teams, you'd instantly eliminate about a dozen or so of the lesser bowl games, and everyone will be much happier.

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