A bowl game invite is supposed to be a reward for a college football team with a successful season. It has grown into much more than that. Over 60 percent of all FBS (Division 1) football teams are allowed to play in at least one extra game. Yes, 80 of the 128 total teams are going to suit up over the holidays in what will be a record 40 bowls.
A bowl berth for any team with national prowess likens more to a consolation prize than a real reward. Only 77 teams are even bowl eligible this year. Going into last weekend, there were 75 teams that had recorded the required six wins.
Georgia State and Kansas State were able to defy all odds and nab that elusive sixth win. Nebraska, Minnesota and San Jose State all received bowl bids despite having only posted five victories. They were chosen due to their individual NCAA Academic Progress Rate.
Missouri actually had one of the highest scores but declined to play in a bowl.
Obviously, there is a truckload of controversy and change surrounding Missouri’s program. Still, if teams are turning down the opportunity to play in a bowl game, one can reasonably beg the question: “Aren’t there too many of these things?”
The facts are many of these teams have a hard time creating any excitement for their players and fan bases alike. It will truly be a travesty to watch Frank Beamer, one of the greatest coaches of the 90’s and 2000’s, go out in the Camping World Independence Bowl against Tulsa.
Do you think Georgia fans are going to travel back down to Jacksonville’s EverBank Field to watch what could be the team’s fourth loss in the stadium over the past three years? I think not.
Do you expect Nebraska’s fan base to travel to the Foster Farms Bowl to watch a team that surrendered 55 points to a Purdue squad that closed out the year at 2-10? Again, not likely.
34 of the 80 schools represented are not members of the Power 5 conferences or named Notre Dame or BYU. It could be argued that these teams are not deserving of a bowl berth with merely six wins. They spend most of their season playing teams the Power 5 were warming up against in September.
Concluding the season with only six wins in the MAC or Mountain West should not equate to winning six games in the SEC or Big Ten.
Even the most obsessed and passionate college football fans would be hard pressed to watch all 40 of these games. If it weren’t for bowl season pick’ems, I would confidently claim that no one could.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports