I tried. I really tried. But I just don't care about the Bowl Season, much less some arbitrary "Bowl Bash" put on by Fox. Outside of the BCS National Championship Game, I really don't care who wins any of the bowls. I really don't even care if Notre Dame gets pasted tomorrow night (but it will still be fun to watch). Even watching Boise State beat Oklahoma was entertaining, but the question still nagged, "So what?" The Boise State-Oklahoma game was the only one of the BCS Bowls with any trace of meaning. At least that's what I gathered. The FOX commentators only mentioned "David vs. Goliath" and "Can Boise State win one for the little guys/prove they belong/run with the big boys?" every few minutes during the pre-game. And then they did. Boise State won a great victory for the small schools.
But what do they get for it? Money? Ha. The players won't see a dime of it. Bragging rights? I get bragging rights when I beat my friends in poker (which happens about as often as Boise State wins a BCS Bowl). What's that worth? Why does that warrant national television?
It just seems so...anticlimactic. Like someone hitting the game-winning shot at the buzzer of the NBA All-Star Game. Entertaining? Sure. Meaningful? Hell no.
College football has hit its heights in popularity in part because the regular season is so meaningful. The average teams scrap to get to 6 wins to be bowl-eligible. The good teams fight for bright lights and big-money BCS paydays. The nation's elite have to win every week, or else a shot at the National Title will likely vaporize. The whole season is to see who fills those Title Game, BCS, and Bowl slots. Once they do...who cares besides the fans of those specific teams? What's left to play for?
Conference bragging rights? Are there really conference bragging rights on the line between the ACC and the WAC? (MPC Computers Bowl) I mean, who started the argument that would necessitate some of even the more reputable second-tier bowl games?
[YCS Masterpiece Theater Setting: An olde tavern in the American Southeast, let's say just outside of Jacksonville, FL.]
(A fight breaks out between rival patrons)
Bartender: Easy thar boys, whyz youzall fightin'??!?!?
Billy Joe: Billy Ray here's cry-zie!
Billy Ray: NO! Youz the cry-zie one here Billy Joe!
Bartender: OK, what's the problem?
Billy Ray: Well Billy Joe har thinks that the third place team from the ACC could beat a team from the Big East, Big 12, or Notre Dame! The no-good-yella-bellied varmint!
Billy Joe: Billy Ray thinks that the Big East, Big 12, or Notre Dame team would win! He's lost his marbles! He lower than a snake's testicles!
Bartender: Alright, hold on. There's no way you two can settle this here contest unless you play 'em on the field. Tell you what, I'll get on the telly-phone with ma great uncle Cyrus (He's a millionaire you know) and we'll send out some invee-tations, and we'z gonna play this here game over in that swamp patch by downtown. We'll call it...the Gator Bowl!
Billy Joe: That's cray-zee talk! We'd lose a fortune. Better charge admission, and get Toyota to splurge for the naming rights.
And that's for one of the better non-BCS bowls. What about the lesser bowls? Are the members of the South Florida football team really going to wistfully look back, grandchildren on knee, glass of scotch in hand in front of the fire, and tell them of the glory days of 2006 when they finished 4th in the Big East, then went on to beat East Carolina in the Papajohns.com Bowl? Will they tell how they scored a spectacular touchdown to the cheers of roughly half the crowd in a half-filled stadium in Birmingham, Alabama? Not likely. Even the University likely won't profit much from the $300,000 payday that bowl brings, especially if they have to split the proceeds among the other Big East Conference members. Perhaps even including schools like YCS's own Marquette, who don't even HAVE a football team! SUCK-ERS! Free money!
Despite the glitz and prestige of Bowl Season, let's be honest with ourselves. All Bowl Season does (outside of the BCS Title Game), is to provide some after-holiday-dinner entertainment, make some corporations and investors a little bit wealthier than they were before, give the student-athletes one more game to play to either showcase their skills or get hurt, and maybe settle a few bar bets like the YCS Masterpiece Theatre scene described above. But even this could be made into a national event if all the Bowls were relatively on the same day, a veritable orgy of football, like it was when most of the bowls took place on or in the immediate vicinity of January 1.
But no. More and more meaningless bar-bet-bowls sprung up, and eventually, Bowl Games (aka College Football Christmas) became Bowl Season (aka College Football Kwanzaa), stretched out over countless days, and with little importance attached to it.
YCS readers and staff know about my support for a 16-team playoff. It comes down to the uncertainty of knockout play that makes American sports so exciting. Even the little guy (aka 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers, aka 1985 Villanova) can win it all. 2006 Boise State went undefeated. Say what you will about their strength of schedule, but Boise State just went undefeated and won't even merit any consideration for the National title.
If their basketball team did that, they'd get a second round matchup with some other juggernaut, and perhaps a certain pasting, but then Cinderella would get to dance a little longer. In Bowl Season, no dice. In the Broncos' case, Cinderella makes it to midnight, kisses fair prince, is on top of the world, only to be told, "Look, there's this other girl Jenny...and...umm...well...it's kinda getting serious...God, this was such a mistake...so....BYE!"
Sure, there will be arguments about the "tradition of the bowls," but I ask, what tradition? There are no more conference tie-ins, so Indiana farm boys don't dream about making it to sunny Pasadena, and young men on the plains of West Texas don't dream about making it to the Cotton Bowl anymore. The Bowl games have simply become neutral site venues a la the NCAA tournament already. The difference being that March Madness actually decides something after 3 weeks of play. The infrastructure is already in place with regular neutral sites with open dates in January. Just pull the trigger.
And do it quickly, because it won't be long before Billy Ray and Billy Joe start arguing over whether Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Champion Boise State could have taken a second-round matchup with Capital One Bowl Champion Wisconsin on a neutral field....well, at least sooner than it will take Oregon State's players to start showing off their "John Hancock/Wells Fargo/Vitalis/Brut Sun Bowl Champions" rings.