Scanning down the very long list of this holiday season’s college football bowl game schedule in the newspaper, I saw four maybe five games that I would watch on television during the next six weeks. Along with the national championship game between Alabama and Notre Dame, I will probably watch the Cotton, Fiesta, Rose and Capital One Bowls. I might watch the Outback Bowl just to root for South Carolina against That School Up North (Michigan, to non-Buckeye readers).
There are a total of thirty-five bowl games this year, meaning seventy football teams will be playing in one during the coming weeks. With one hundred and twenty division one teams, this means nearly sixty percent of all major college football programs will be going to a bowl game. With the exception of its fans and alumni, does anyone really care to watch Western Kentucky (7-5) play Central Michigan (6-6) in the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl? Or Texas Tech (7-5) play Minnesota (6-6) in the Meineke Car Care Bowl? How about Rice (6-6) and Air Force (6-6) matching up in the Armed Forces Bowl? Or maybe Pittsburg (6-6) and Mississippi (6-6) in the BBVA Compass Bowl? I mean no disrespect toward these schools, but should these teams be awarded an invitation to play in a bowl game sporting these records? There is even one school with a losing record, Georgia Tech (6-7), playing Southern California (7-5) in the Sun Bowl. In most years, there is usually one or two teams that are awarded a bowl game even after firing its head coach, presumably for having one bad year too many.
Maybe it is just me becoming more cynical as I age; however, there are fourteen teams playing in bowl games with a 7-5 record, and twelve teams playing with a 6-6 record. Once upon a time, teams were awarded bowl games because they were champions of their conference. Now days, the only requirement is that a team win six games. America no longer prides itself with greatness, we have become a nation that awards mediocrity, not only awarding football teams for winning half their games, but we now give trophies to every participant in peewee football and baseball, or television making stars out of people who possess absolutely no talent whatsoever. As a country that proudly boasts it being the all-time greatest nation ever, it seems to me that America has now settled for far less.
Steven H. Spring
The Ohio State University, Class of ‘87