Every December, the same complaint is brought up by pundit after pundit pining for ye olden golden days of yore when men were men, women made sandwiches, and fewer than a dozen college football teams were rewarded with bowl invitations: There's too many bowl games .
Putting aside the discussion of whether more college football is ever a bad thing, this argument ignores the reason (or one of the major ones, anyway) why bowl games sprang into existence in the first place: to reward college fotball players for their effort and success. And believe it or not, those players appreciate -- really appreciate -- the chance to play in even the most low-rent of those bowl games. Just ask UCLA and sophomore free safety Rahim Moore :
"If we didn't make a bowl game, I would probably cry the whole off-season ... Freshman year, I watched every bowl game and it was the worst feeling ever. For us not to finish strong and get to a bowl game, I would probably quit football. That's how bad it would feel."Note that Moore isn't going to either cry all off-season or quit football if the Bruins don't qualify for a good bowl; they're merely aiming for a 6-6 record (sitting at 4-5, they'll need to take two of three from Washington , Arizona State , and USC ) and somewhere to go for the postseason. (Our CBSSports.com bowl projections do have the Bruins slotted for a respectable trip to El Paso for the Sun Bowl , thanks in part to the Pac-10 earning a second BCS berth with Stanford ).
It's more than a little doubtful, of course, that Moore would seriously consider abandoning his football career if the Bruins don't earn a berth to Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl . But nonetheless, the sentiment expressed by Moore (and his UCLA teammates) makes clear how badly the players on even middle-of-the-road teams want the carrot of a bowl game. It's fine to argue there's too many bowl games on the annual docket, but it has to be remembered that for each fewer bowl game, that's two more teams of Moores who have spent the weekly hourly equivalent of a full-time job during the season and gotten as a bonus the chance to spend their December watching their opponents on TV.