Bored With Bowls

bowl gamesSomeone asked me last night:

“Is this the playoffs?”

“No, this is the Sugar Bowl.”

“What are they playing for?”

“To win the Sugar Bowl.”


Now that we have the four-team College Football Playoff system, it seems that the other bowl games are now nothing more than consolation prizes for the teams which didn’t make the four-team cut.

I have heard many commentators and read articles from writers who poo-poo the idea of expanding the current playoff system.  I really don’t understand why not and I have heard all the arguments.  I know even with an 8-team field that there would still be controversy on who you would pick to be in it.  It’s true that even with the NCAA Basketball Tournament there is still debate there too even with a 68-team field, but you’re going to have the debate regardless on how many teams you put in the postseason.  That still doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a playoff system.

I have always been an advocate of an 8-team playoff system which would give automatic berths to the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC champions and three at-large berths to the next highest ranked teams.  This season it would have been Clemson (ACC), Oklahoma (Big 12), Ohio State (Big Ten), Washington (Pac-12) and Alabama (SEC) as the conference champions and then the three at-large berths to Notre Dame, Georgia and UCF who are the next highest ranked teams.

If you really wanted to be completely inclusive, you could give automatic berths to ALL of the FBS conference champions, not just the “power” conferences so then you would have a 12 conference champions when you add the AAC, C-USA, MAC, MWC and Sun Belt then four at-large berths to make it a 16-team field.   I’m not really sure we are ready for that but then that would create yet another controversial subject.

The FCS, which is the next division of the college football system, has a 24-team playoff field.

Bowl games have become the NIT-Tournament of college football.  I have to be honest and wonder if players are truly bragging about winning the “Belk Bowl” or the “Cheez-It Bowl”.  Bowl committees don’t really want to see the playoffs expanded unless they are included in the playoff games as well as trying to hold onto the traditions of the past.  Even with an 8-team playoff you can still keep them in a bowl-format with four quarterfinal games and two semifinal games.  This would add four bowl games to the playoffs.  What’s not to like about that?

Back in the old days we had to wait until after the bowl games were played to find out who the AP and UPI would vote as the champions.  And if the polls disagreed then fans would argue the entire off-season on who was the TRUE champion.  At least now we KNOW for certainty who the true champion of college football will be.  We may not agree on the teams included in the football “final four” but at least we have a real champion now.

Is there a perfect solution?  Probably not but I think just one more expansion of the current playoff system would make the post season a more realistic playoff.



Dawg Day After The Game


Dawg Fans Suffer Another Disappointment

Here it is.

The day after.

The day after Georgia lost to Alabama in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game.  Oddly enough, I’m not taking it as bad as I thought I would.  I think I’m the kind of fan that is sinking in the expectations of being disappointed.  At halftime when Georgia had dominated Alabama in the first half and held a 13-0 lead, I was expecting it to fall apart.  I just hoped that Georgia would weather the storm.  They didn’t.

Expecting to be disappointed.

That’s where I am as a sports fan.  Sure it’s nice to just make it to the championship game but you might as well win it when you get there because you never know when you will be back again.

I can tell you that I didn’t take last night’s loss as hard as the Falcons’ collapse in last year’s Super Bowl.  That one nearly did me in.  I honestly came close to calling it quits to sports after that one.  Yeah, I took that one the hardest of any loss any of my teams has had.  In fact, I haven’t followed the Falcons like I have in past years.

Of course, I remind myself that whatever the outcome, my life isn’t changed by it.  I still get up and go to work the next day.  My life goes on regardless.  It is simply entertainment.  It’s  just that recently my sports entertainment has disappointed me like watching the series finale of LOST.  (Yes, I went there.)

I’m still wondering how Alabama even got into the playoffs since they didn’t win their conference.  Yeah, I hear you talking about strength of schedule, blah, blah, blah.  I still don’t think anyone should be in the college football playoffs if they don’t win their conference.  It doesn’t matter.  I’m not in charge and nobody asked me anyway.  And, as I was reminded from one of my fellow sports friends, there is still controversy in determining the 68-team field for college basketball.

So what’s the next disappointment on my schedule?   The Tennessee Titans are 100 point underdogs against the New England Patriots this weekend.  (Actually it’s only 13.5 points but does it matter?)  I know anything is possible but I’m expecting another disappointment there.  I’m not throwing all of my emotions into it.

Losing still hurts regardless of how much “credit” the winning team gives you.  So what?  A loss is a loss.  Alabama Coach Nick Sabban gets his sixth championship.  I’m sure their fans are saying “Roll Tide” while Dawg fans are not talking.   I’m not even talking about the game with other Dawg fans because the wound is still pretty fresh.

Some would say, “Why don’t you just change to a winning team?”   Do you know how silly that sounds?  It’s about like all these Cowboy fans that only come out when Dallas is winning.  Yeah, I’m not going to do that.

Why do we go through this?  Why do we set ourselves up to be disappointed?  It’s crazy isn’t it?

When I went to sleep last night, I was doing like probably most other Dawg fans were doing last night, I was replaying the game in my head.  Thinking about missed opportunities.  Thinking about calls that weren’t made by the referees or the play calling at certain parts of the game.

I wake up to my life and getting ready for work.  Nothing has changed there.

I think we all knew that Alabama would come back last night.  Nick Sabban and his coaching staff know how to make adjustments and boy did they ever?

I’m going to stop short of congratulating them on winning the game.  I don’t care about that or being a good sport about it.  I’m not even thinking about “next year” or getting back there and winning it next year.  It’s a long season.  We will just move on to the next thing until we get there again.  We can’t forget that it’s just a game.  Our life is full of more important things than who wins and loses a game.  Especially when I have no direct involvement in the team.  Sometimes we lose sight of that in the excitement of the game.

When our teams lose, we should remember the good times.  Think back to great comebacks and thrilling wins.  I can tell you that no Dawg fans will be thinking about that today so don’t even try to console them with that but as they days pass, we will all remember that exciting win over Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl, the win over Florida and winning the SEC championship.  It will just take some time.


Happy New Bowl Year


The first Rose Bowl was played in 1902

Today is New Year’s Day but for most college football fans, it will be a buffet of bowl games to binge watch.  I’ll be honest with you, I will probably be watching one bowl game today.  That’s it.  Unless I find myself on the sofa, by myself and the remote control within reach, I will not be one of those binge watchers.

Bowl games used to be different when I was growing up.  You simply had the bowl games such as the Rose, Sugar, Cotton and Orange Bowl.  With today’s sponsorship of the bowl games, they add some advertiser to the game.  Some won’t even hide it in the title.

They are called “bowl” games because of the shape of most stadiums were similar to a bowl.  The very first bowl game was the 1902 Rose Bowl between Michigan and Stanford.  Michigan won that game 49-0.  The Rose Bowl was the only major college bowl game in 1930.  In 1935, the Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl and Sun Bowl were added.  In 1937, the Cotton Bowl began.

Today there are about 41 bowl games played when you include the national championship game.  In April 2016 there was a three-year cap put on the number of new bowl games due to the difficulty in filling the games with teams without losing records.  If this restriction is ever lifted, here are some new bowl games being proposed in the future:

  • Austin Bowl (Austin, TX)
  • Medal of Honor Bowl (Charleston, SC)
  • Myrtle Beach Bowl (Myrtle Beach, SC)
  • Melbourne Bowl (Melbourne, Victoria)
  • Christmas Bowl (Los Angeles)
  • Dubai Bowl (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
  • Ireland Bowl (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Little Rock Bowl (Little Rock, AR)
  • Toronto Bowl (Toronto, Ontario)
  • Chicago Bowl (Chicago, IL)

Personally, I would prefer to see the end to bowl games in their current format.  Instead, I would like them to all be restructured as part of a college football playoff.  I think you could arrange it so that the lower bowls had the first round play-in games and the biggest bowls get the later playoff games.  You could still use the bowl name and whoever was sponsoring the game but it would be part of the playoff system.   I’m not sure you will see anything changed in our lifetime but we also never thought they would have a four-team playoff either.

It usually boils down to watching whatever bowl game your team is playing in.  It’s still about finishing the season with a win and whatever trophy comes with it.

Enjoy your bowl buffet today.

If I Were In Charge Of The College Football Playoff…

cfpWhat is college football without some controversy?  Even with a weak playoff system, there remains controversy.  This year Alabama slips into the College Football Playoff even without  having won the SEC Championship.  Yes, I know the arguments.  Strength of schedule, quality of opponents, etc.  I think college football would benefit greatly by simply adding four more teams to the playoffs and making it a criteria that the conference champions get automatic bids.

I am not in charge of anything but I’d like to imagine what I would do if I were the king of the college football world.  No, I don’t have a degree in college football playoff management or anything important but I have a pretty good idea on how to fix this issue with the playoff selections.

Here’s how it would look if the five major conferences were given automatic bids to my playoff system:

  • ACC:  Clemson
  • Big Ten:  Ohio State
  • Big 12:  Oklahoma
  • SEC: Georgia
  • Pac-12:  USC

Based upon the current rankings, these teams would get the three at-large bids:

  • Alabama
  • Wisconsin
  • Auburn

If my playoff system were in effect, then the quarterfinal round matchups would be:

  • Clemson vs. Auburn
  • Oklahoma vs. Wisconsin
  • Georgia vs. Alabama
  • Ohio State vs. USC

I am well aware that even with my system that there would still be controversy regarding the at-large bids.  Penn State and Miami would be arguing that they should be in; however, making the conference champions mean something would go a long way to making the playoff system better as well as adding at-large teams who would still be quality teams to get into the playoffs.

When you look at this eight-team playoff idea, it really doesn’t add much more to the season.

The Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) also includes five other conferences such as the American Athletic Conference, Mountain West, Conference-USA, SunBelt and MAC but these guys should have their own division and their own playoff.  The only way you could include these guys would be if you expanded the playoff field to 16 teams but I don’t think that is something we are likely to see.

Arguments will abound on Alabama getting in without winning their conference championship and Ohio State being left out in spite of winning the Big Ten but giving all conference champions a berth in the playoffs would help.


Bowl Name Games


Yesterday, I was looking at the scores of bowl games while waiting in line at Walmart and saw that the Dollar General Bowl was being played.  I resisted the urge to break out of line and race home to watch it.

The Dollar General Bowl?  Really?

The sponsor-named bowl games have gotten out of hand in my opinion.  What happened to just the traditional Peach Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Orange Bowl?  Now they are preceded by some sponsor name.

Commercialized?  Ya think?

Bowl games started with the creation of the Rose Bowl game in 1902.  (Michigan beat Stanford 49-0.) The name “bowl” to describe the games came from the Rose Bowl stadium. Other cities saw the promotional value for tourism that the Tournament of Roses parade and Rose Bowl carried and began to develop their own regional festivals which included college football games. The label “bowl” was attached to the festival name, even though the games were not always played in bowl-shaped stadiums.

Here is a list of some of the unique bowl games:

  • Bluebonnet Bowl – played in Houston from 1959-1987.
  • Little Caesars Pizza Bowl – played in Detroit from 1997-2013.
  • Glass Bowl – played in Toledo from 1946-1949.
  • Oil Bowl – played in Houston 1943, 1945-1946.
  • Pineapple Bowl – played in Honolulu 1939-1951.
  • Raisin Bowl – played in Fresno from 1945-1949.
  • Salad Bowl – played in Phoenix from 1947-1951.
  • Famous Idaho Potato Bowl – currently played since 1997 in Boise.
  • Dollar General Bowl – currently played since 1999 in Mobile.

According to my research, these are some proposed bowl games for the future:

  • Austin Bowl – Austin, Texas
  • Medal of Honor Bowl – Charleston, SC
  • Myrtle Beach Bowl – Myrtle Beach, SC
  • Melbourne Bowl – Melbourne, Victoria
  • Christmas Bowl – Los Angeles, CA
  • Dubai Bowl – Dubai, UAB
  • Ireland Bowl
  • Little Rock Bowl – Little Rock, AR
  • Toronto Bowl – Toronto, Ontario

States with the most major college bowl games:

  • Florida (9)
  • Texas (6)
  • California (4)

There are several other smaller college bowl games as well but not enough time to list them all.

Enjoy whichever bowl game your team is playing in over the next two weeks.  I just wouldn’t brag about my team winning the Dollar General Bowl.