Let’s combine bowl games & playoffs
College football for me crossed the rubicon in 2018. There were several times in the last week or so that I felt that something was terribly wrong with this great sport.
No, it wasn’t the fact that Big Ten champion Ohio State didn’t make the top four and once again fell short of qualifying for the College Football Playoff. It wasn’t even the fact that another Nick Saban-led team managed to make it to the playoff despite not playing at the top of its game.
The point that I realized that I no longer held college football in such high esteem occurred last Monday when I took a looked at this year’s bowl schedule. I realized that on the first day of bowl games there were six games scheduled. And most of the teams looked like teams that Jim Tressel would have scheduled when he was winning those Division I-AA championships coaching at YSU.
These teams would not have even won participation trophies in the era of Woody and Bo because their records were either 7-5 or 6-6.
This holiday season there are 41 bowl games scheduled, if you count the three games of the College Football Playoff. And one-third of them — 14 — are scheduled before Christmas.
Yes, college football is going the way of college basketball, becoming irrelevant because of its excess.
There isn’t a college football fan who can possibly see all of these bowl games. There are some that are scheduled on the Friday afternoon before Christmas, like the Idaho Potato Bowl between BYU and Western Michigan. Who cares?
It has been a long time wandering in this desert of college football greed and excess. It was — almost 40 years ago — that only 16 bowl games were on the schedule and none occurred before Santa’s arrival.
After a few seconds of thought, I came up with the perfect solution. With all the controversy over teams being left out of the playoff, I thought why not have the best of both worlds and save college football from consuming itself from overexposure.
Let’s put 16 teams in the playoff and use the 16 bowl games that were around in 1981! Of course, back then the BlueBonnet, Hall of Fame and Garden State games have since morphed into the Texas, Outback and Pinstripe bowls. For those of you who say that a 16-team playoff only needs 15 bowls, well I have scheduled a third-place game for the sake of those gamblers taking advantage of the nation’s new sports betting laws.
We will keep the same timeframe with the bowls being held on Saturdays, Dec. 15, 22, and 29 and the championship game being held at the Rose Bowl on Jan. 8, with the third-place game being held at the Sugar Bowl on Saturday, Jan 5.
Here’s the first round games with the rankings taking the place of seeding:
Dec. 15 games: No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 16 West Virginia at the Music City Bowl in Nashville; No. 8 UCF vs. No. 9 Washington at the Holiday Bowl in San Diego; No. 5 Georgia vs. No. 12 Penn State at the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla.; No.13 Washington State plays No. 4 Oklahoma at the Texas Bowl in Houston.
If eight games are too many to play on one day, we can play the other side of the bracket on the Friday or Thursday or Monday night or a combination of all three days. The Ohio High School Athletic Association had scheduled seven games over three days in Canton just last weekend, so I know those eggheads at the NCAA can manage this scheduling challenge.
Let’s get back to first-round games: No. 2 Clemson plays No. 15 Texas at the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La.; No 7 Michigan vs. No. 10 Florida at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando; No. 3 Notre Dame vs No. 14 Kentucky at the Pinstripe at Yankee Stadium; and No. 6 Ohio State plays No. 11 LSU at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis.
The winners will move on to the quarterfinals to be played Dec. 22 at the Fiesta, Sun, Peach and Gator bowls. The Dec. 29 semifinals will be held as the current schedule shows at the Orange and Cotton Bowls.
There you have it: a perfect bowl season with 15 meaningful games plus one more for the gamblers. And please don’t say that these college kids will be missing too many classes! They are only playing a maximum of two more games. And for once the fans win!