…of the bowl system as we have all known and loved it. I really believe that. Of course, I could be wrong. But it seems to me that unless high draft position eligible kids play for a team with a shot at the natty, they are opting out. I see this as getting worse. Worse to the point that fans won’t want to travel to bowls to see teams that are going to be without their top players.
If I were NCAA football King…which of course I am not…I would expand the playoff to 16 teams. Or at least 12. I have never felt the arguments against a playoff held much water. The “it will kill the bowl system” isn’t gonna be a valid argument now that the opt out situation promises to get worse. The “the students will miss too much class” is actually laughable. Baseball, volleyball, basketball – we can go on – all cause MUCH more missed class that football. And let’s be honest. The football players at lower division schools that go deep in the playoffs are traveling by bus. They are all students too. Often at really good schools. And they don’t have all the tutorial help higher div players get. And they won’t be turning pro (for the most part)…making going to class and getting a degree even more paramount. Yet to playoff games they go…and they get their schoolwork done.
I say expand the playoffs. I believe that losing in the hypothetical quarterfinals is more prestigious than winning a New Years Bowl game against a school whose roster is depleted due to opt outs.
Of course, this won’t happen. So don’t bother shouting at me and pointing that out. I know. We will keep it at 4. Then maybe expand to 6. Then MAYBE 8. 12 or 16 is just too much to hope for. But hope I shall.
King hogmaestro and Queen Mary works for me!
Even though a 16- (or at least a 12-) team CFP would likely have resulted in fewer opt-outs this year, Treylon Burks (and those dudes from Penn State) would still be missing the Outback.
Basically no impact to the one post-season game I give a flip about.
Maybe the CFP should include all bowl-eligible teams, so bowls don’t become irrelevant and fans will continue to travel to see their teams play in the post season.
I agree, the bowls aren’t totally irrelevant but If you aren’t in the championship race then it’s a glorified spring practice
or…considering my name is Rob…we can roll with Robert the Bruce and Queen Mary! Or, Mary Queen of the Irish! (Mary Queen of Scots got her head chopped off…no thanks on that one!).
I agree that the opt outs are killing the bowls. It’s time to incorporate the bowls into a playoff. The lull between the conference championships in early December to the week after Christmas is also too much. People lose interest. You could start the playoffs the week after the conference championships. I guess the only downside is that you would be having college athletes playing an NFL schedule of games almost. Might cut out a cupcake game at the beginning of the season I guess.
I agree but with a little different slant: the opt outs take control away from the coaches. If they lose control of their roster, team, and game, they will not want to go to a bowl. An opt out influenced bowl loss impacts their record, how fans/admin feel in the off-season, and ultimately their jobs.
Coaches are control freaks and losing control will be a big reason opt outs end the bowl system.
There is an interesting discussion in The Athletic today (Dear Andy: Do the bowls need saving …). Here are a couple of quotes:
Lower-level bowls aren’t dying. They aren’t failing. In fact, until the pandemic, they were proliferating. And assuming the pandemic eventually ends, they’ll keep reliably making money for TV networks.
The UAB-BYU Independence Bowl on Dec. 18 drew 3.2 million viewers on ABC. That same day, the LA Bowl — with a title sponsor that happens to be a late-night show also on ABC — between Oregon State and Utah State drew 2.9 million viewers. Also on ABC that day was South Carolina State’s Celebration Bowl win against Jackson State. That game drew 2.6 million viewers. The LA Bowl was new, but according to Jon Lewis of Sports Media Watch, that was the most viewed Celebration Bowl since 2016 and the most viewed Independence Bowl since 2015.
That group of games appeared on a broadcast network, so you have to assume a bump because of over-the-air availability. But where the bowls really flex their audience-grabbing muscle is closer to the bottom. The Boca Raton Bowl between Western Kentucky and Appalachian State on ESPN drew 1.6 million viewers. That’s essentially what an average regular-season national NBA broadcast gets on TNT this season. Turner pays $1.2 billion a year for NBA rights. That includes 65 regular-season games and multiple playoff series. Even if we heavily weight the playoff games, Turner is still paying far more per game than ESPN is paying to produce a bowl game with a $1 million per team payout and nominal facilities and production charges. That represents tremendous bang for Disney’s buck. It also gives Disney tremendous power. When ESPN is showing multiple games that will draw seven-figure audiences, that produces a lever for Disney in contract negotiations with cable providers and streamers. Earlier this month, YouTube TV couldn’t reach an agreement with Disney and all the Disney-owned channels went dark. They didn’t stay dark long, though. It took less than 24 hours of users pausing or outright canceling memberships for YouTube TV to make a deal. And what company owns YouTube TV? Google. Yes, those lower-tier bowls provided an assist to Monday Night Football to make Google blink in a contract negotiation.
This. Bowl games are essentially TV shows. If there aren’t enough viewers then they will get canceled. Plain and simple.
Even the Rose Bowl is getting hit by optouts; several Suckeyes bailed out.
Honestly, it’s no different than injuries to me. It would be the same if Burks and Tre Williams and the PSU guys all had foot fractures or shoulder surgery or whatever. You close up ranks and play with who’s left, no matter the reason.
Correct, and even the bad bowl games draw a lot of eyeballs. Most would probably be surprised to learn that Arkansas’ most-watched game of the past 10 years was the Liberty Bowl against Kansas State. ESPN averaged more than 7 million viewers and it wasn’t that great of a game.
I don’t think the bowl system is going away anytime soon. There is an appetite for college football and the bowls deliver what the consumers want.
A lot of universities are in final exams the week after conference championships.
The numbers suggest interest isn’t lost due to the layoff. Every semifinal game has topped the most watched game during the regular season, and most times by quite a bit. There have been some semifinal games that have eclipsed an average of 25 million viewers. Those are like the audience numbers for some of the biggest non-playoff NFL games.
Lot of handwringing here over a non-problem. But it gives us something to gripe about.
I was surprised how much I enjoyed seeing OU roll over the Ducks. I will be glad to see their old coach leave Soonerville and get back to pursuing his new occupation. He looks like he could challenge Saban and Smart.
Just to clarify my original comment: I never said I WANTED the bowls to go away. Nor am I saying people aren’t watching on TV. Bowl games are still generating revenue. That’s what they are still around. No question.
My point is…and boy do I hope I am wrong…but I foresee this “choosing to opt our if my team is not playing for the natty” situation getting worse. Not better. The reasons being what was just discussed on Gameday. This is the most “me” oriented generation in my lifetime. I see it in my own career. I used to be able to motivate kids with the “do it for the choir. Do it for the team.” NOW…its all about “here’s how working hard for the team will benefit YOU.” Its a very different mindset.
If…and of course this is an if…but IF top players keep not playing in bowl games I fear eventually bowls will lose luster…and tv ratings…and therefore commercial viability. Not all bowls. But some.
To use my original analogy–if I were college football King, I would expand the playoffs to 16…or at least 8…and keep some bowls for teams that didn’t make the “playoffs.” Much like the NIT exists in basketball.
All of this is just chatter. I don’t know what’s gonna happen. I do know that kids are more “me” oriented than ever before. I KNOW that. And I also know there are still some wonderful, wonderful kids out there. But the landscape has changed. How that impacts college football in the long run? Well, I guess we will all see.
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