The College Football Playoff – the system we’ve always dreamed about – is finally here, but it’s getting lost in the shuffle.
This year’s games were played on New Year’s Eve to ratings that were half of what the same games brought last year. New Year’s Eve was a factor to be sure, but so was the setup.
When you throw 40ish bowl games on the board and circle two of them about 4/5 of the way down the board it gets convoluted. There’s bowl games before it, and bowl games after it. Here we are watching 3-4 bowls per day for two straight weeks minus Sundays – but let’s circle one of those days in the middle and hold our most important games.
It just doesn’t make much sense.
I’m sure you’ve heard it said: college football has too many bowl games. It’s true.
How many bowl games did you watch before Christmas? I didn’t watch any. It’s not just because I was busy or my wife was forcing me to watch another Christmas Hallmark movie. It’s that the games were so uninteresting that I’d actually rather watch another old guy turn into Santa Claus for the fourteenth different time on the Hallmark channel.
There are so many bowl games that three 5-7 teams participated to fill the slots. If you go 6-6 from the Sun Belt you can bet your bottom dollar you’ll go bowling. But that goes against what makes football so successful in the first place.
It’s not that I don’t like the idea of more football. It’s that too much football makes it less desirable. Harder to focus on.
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Take baseball. 162 games is too much for most people. The NBA and college basketball’s regular season has been reduced to nothing. Football has so much success because there’s so little of it people make it a point to watch when it’s on.
But bowl season features roughly 40 games in a two week period. Games every day, and when they aren’t on it’s only to make space for the NFL so there’s even more football. If you try to watch as much of it as you can you get over-load. And when you place the playoffs right in the middle of all that it loses its luster.
I think some of these smaller bowl games should be reassigned to hosting kickoff games at the beginning of the season. Reduce the number of bowls by at least half. Make it some type of rule where you have to have eight wins to make a bowl game if you went to one the previous year, seven wins if you didn’t attend one last year, or six if you haven’t been for two or more straight years. That gives up-and-coming programs a chance to have a bowl practice and reward for building things back up, and requires some measure of being good to actually make a bowl for the others.
If the number of bowls were dramatically reduced as I’ve laid out, and the college football semifinal games were played last, it would really highlight them for the important events they are.
Have all the non-playoff bowl games wrap up on New Year’s Day, then play the playoff games during the first few days of January. It seems like the BCS was more exciting doing it that way than this year’s semifinal games on New Year’s Eve.