Drat.. No NEW Bowl Games For Three Years.
The NCAA has instituted a new bowl licensing task force and put a three year hold on licensing new bowl games due to the Fiesta Bowl fiasco. So, if you were looking forward to watching action from the "Cure Bowl" or "LA Christmas Bowl" then you're just out of luck for the time being.
There are now 35 bowl games played each year in college football. 70 out of 120 Football Bowl Sub-Division (Formerly Division 1A) teams end up playing in the post season somewhere. Since Arkansas joined the SEC in 1992, 26 bowl games have been added (8 are now defunct). In 1990-91, only 19 bowl games were played (only up 3 from the 80-81 season).
Use to, going to a bowl game meant something. It meant you had finished a great season and you were one of the top 30 or so teams in the country. Today, just finishing .500 (6 wins) usually gets you in a bowl game somewhere if you're in one of the power conferences.
There's the GoDaddy.com Bowl, the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl, The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, the Meineke Car Care Bowl. Last year saw the creation of the Pinstripe Bowl and the Ticket City Bowl in Dallas. You know what all these corporate sponsored bowl games have in common? Hardly anyone attended or watched them because NOBODY, outside of the most diehard fans of the teams involved, cares.
Take the Ticket City Bowl in Dallas for example. Played in the Cotton Bowl (a 91,000 seat stadium), 40k fans braved the cold to watch Northwestern (7-5) and Texas Tech (7-5) play. Up in the Bronx, 38k fans watched Syracuse (8-5) beat K-State (7-6) inside Yankees Stadium (capacity 54,251 for football). The mighty Little Caesars Pizza Bowl saw Florida International (6-6) upset Toledo (8-5) in front of 32k rabid fans at the 65k seat Ford Field in Detroit. Half full stadiums are about the norm for many of these bowls. The Independence Bowl in Shreveport couldn't even fill up 53,00 seat Independence Stadium three quarters of the way for Georgia Tech (6-6) and Air Force (8-4) last year. (Now that they are no longer are affiliated with the Big 12 or SEC, do you really think Shreveport will ever see a capacity crowd for that game again?)
There's no doubt college football, as with most every sport, is driven by money. And that's why all of these bowl games have come about. (Looks to me like ESPN is the one raking in the cash on all of these bowl games now). But at some point you would think the NCAA would step in and say "ok, we've cheapened the bowl season enough". But, sadly they won't. I guess gone are the New Years Day when college football fans around the country clicked between games on all the major networks between America's elite teams. Now, we get to watch the Ticket City Bowl on ESPNU on New Years Day.. woo hoo.. Well, at least the Florida (7-5) vs Penn State (7-5) game was a good one in the Outback Bowl.
Sigh. Longing for days gone by.. or a college football playoff. I'd settle for that.