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The Final Score: January

How to tackle the problem of too many bowl games

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If you’re an everyday sports fan, chances are you know that Clemson won the College Football National Championship last week. Also, chances are that that’s the only result you remember from the 3 week blitz stuffed full of 40 of bowl games prior to the national championship. I’m willing to bet none of you remember who won the TaxSlayer Bowl (Georgia Tech) or which team emerged victorious in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (Appalachian State)

And that’s just the point. Why has the College Football Playoff (CFP) expanded the bowl system to a whopping 41 bowls crammed into 17 days? All it has done is force a bunch of mediocre teams to fly to unpopular or unglamorous locations, sometimes over Christmas, to play in games that aren’t exciting or suspenseful.

It’s not even that every game is a blowout, because it isn’t. I’m sure those who watched the Poinsettia Bowl and the Gildan New Mexico Bowl were kept on the edge of their seats by the 3 point separation between the winning and losing teams. But those games are few and far between and the pure fact that there are 40 bowls to squeeze into two weeks is numbing for even the most passionate college football fans.

It might be different if these bowl games involved two teams that had great records and were quality opponents for each other. But that’s not the case either. In this past bowl season, which included 82 teams, 19 of those teams had records of 6-6 or worse.

If the CFP just eliminated the 6 win requirement to qualify for a bowl, and upped it one notch to 7 wins, 10 of those 41 bowls would be eliminated and guarantee that every team playing in a bowl is above .500.  This would be a small improvement, but what I propose would be even better for everyone, especially the fans.

In my mind, the CFP should go old school and kick it all the way back to 1977, when there were only 13 bowls. This sounds like college football heaven. Think about it, if two top 26 teams in the country competed against each other in a game, one each night from December 17th to December 30th, not only would ESPN benefit from having one primetime game every night for 2 weeks, but fans would get to enjoy genuinely good games each evening for a change. Oh, and there wouldn’t be any games on New Year’s Eve or Day to worry about missing.

While I can understand it is a big deal for a school’s football program to reach .500 and become ‘bowl eligible,’ the payoff of playing in a midafternoon game sponsored by a no name company being broadcasted on ESPN3 is not really worth it.

If we reduced the number of bowls to 13, and allowed only the top 26 teams to compete, there would be much bigger competition during the regular season for those 26 spots, and also improve the reputation of the now dreaded bowl season.  CFP, it’s time to party like its 1977.

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The student news site of Palmer Ridge High School
The Final Score: January