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The Rant

Stop whining about there being too many bowl games

Posted: Thursday December 15, 2005 10:08AM; Updated: Thursday December 15, 2005 10:11AM
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College football is filled with issues that people like to rail against. The BCS and academic standards are the ones we hear about most often. But there's one beef that I just don't understand: people complaining about the number of bowl games.

This year there are 28 bowl games, starting Tuesday and ending on Jan. 4 with a matchup that the country is salivating over. But for some reason people have a problem with the lesser bowls involving teams that have no business going to a so-called "postseason." I don't understand why this bothers some folks. Who is getting hurt by college football staging a New Orleans Bowl or a GMAC Bowl or a Poinsettia Bowl? Sure a Memphis-Akron game (Motor City Bowl, baby!) might not tickle America's fancy, but it's not ruining anyone's life.

If we're being honest, there are only three types of people who watch the bowl games before Jan. 2: die-hard college football fans, alums of the schools involved and gamblers. And don't think that last group isn't the most important. If anyone thinks the majority of the audience for Tuesday's Arkansas State-Southern Mississippi (New Orleans Bowl) barnburner isn't going to be people who have a few pennies on the game, than you don't know the real reason why the game will be shown be on ESPN at 8 p.m.

But it seems that if most people had their way, these smaller bowls would go away, denying a significant number of college kids (those on the team and those who travel to support their school) a great experience. The players have an opportunity to show their stuff on national TV and the fans get to visit a part of the country they otherwise might not have. Why should this bother anyone? I've heard the argument that the proliferation of bowl games also leads to rewarding mediocrity. But is that really the case? Does anyone (once again, outside of diehards, alums or gamblers) even remember who won last year's Sun Bowl or Alamo Bowl? And is an Arizona State win over Rutgers in the Insight Bowl going to take away from a USC or Texas win in the Rose Bowl? Of course not. So where's the harm in rewarding mediocrity?

If you feel there are too many bowls, that's fine. No one's forcing you to watch them. But for those of us who fit into one of the three categories mentioned above, let us enjoy our 28 games in peace.