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More Bowls Are Coming Your Way. Who Cares?

Late last week, the NCAA announced that it had approved two new bowls for the 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 football seasons.

Starting this winter, you can look forward to the Dallas Football Classic (Big 12′s seventh selection versus Big Ten’s sixth selection) at the old Cotton Bowl.

You can also take in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl (Big East third selection versus Big 12 sixth selection) at the new Yankee Stadium.

The city of Dallas lost the Cotton Bowl — the game, not the stadium — last year to Jerry Jones’ new super-stadium over in Arlington.  And the last bowl to be played in the New York City area was the Garden State Bowl which was played at the Meadowlands until the early 1980s.

The two new bowls mean that there will now be 35 “classics” on the year-end schedule each season.  That means 70 of the 120 schools in the FBS will be playing in the postseason.  And that means someone with a losing record is about to go bowling.

Last season, 71 teams finished with a 6-6 record or better.  That would be one team to spare.  How’d you like to be the coach who couldn’t land a bowl bid in that scenario?

Currently, the NCAA states that you have to finish at .500 or better to take part in a bowl.  But the organization is now looking at ways to get around that rule should only 69 teams finish a season with their heads above water.

Obviously, if a bowl (and its corporate partners and its host city) put a year’s worth of work and money into a game, there’s no chance that the NCAA will tell someone to close their doors for a year simply because there aren’t enough bowl-eligible teams to go around.

So congratulations, NCAA.  You’re now about to reward not only mediocrity but pure failure.  A 5-7 bowl team?  That’s ridiculous. 

Then again, I think the current slate is ridiculous.  If a school doesn’t win at least seven games out of a whopping 12, it should not be in a bowl game.  Hell, I’d be okay with saying eight wins should be the minimum requirement.

But since college football already caps its season with countless second- and third-tier bowls, I’m not really in a fightin’ mood over this decision.  The postseason — aside from the BCS title game — is meaningless anyway. 

The bowls can be fun for fans.  All the pie-eats and steer-ropings and free iPods can be fun for players, too.  Bowls can provide ADs with a chance to schmooze more cash out of boosters.  They can even deliver an exciting television matchup on occasion (“Look, honey, UNC-Winston-Marlboro is about to knock off Oxnard Tech”).

But the games (aside from the BCS title game) have no bearing on the national championship.  They are just as irrelevant as the NIT, CBI or that other postseason tournament in college basketball.  That other tournament is so meaningless that I can’t even remember it’s name and I’m not interested enough to look it up.

So why not allow 70 teams to go bowling? 

Heck, why not 80?  Why not let ‘em all in?  It’s just more football to watch in December.  Bad football — yes, but still football.  Right?

The NCAA has already rendered it’s postseason moot.  Might as well just let everyone play in a bowl. 

A couple of other opinions…

Tony Barnhart of The AJC doesn’t want to see 5-7 teams in bowl games.

Ray Melick of The Birmingham News believes the NCAA is trivializing its postseason.


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