Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post Two more bowls? Great!

Monday May 5, 2008

Every time a new bowl game is introduced, someone feels the need to weep for the state of the college football bowl game and shout, "ENOUGH!"

In 1901, the young Tournament of Roses thought that a football game might enhance interest in its mid-winter festival. So Michigan came out west on New Year’s Day 1902, ran it up on Stanford, and football was dropped in favor of "Roman-style chariot races" until our great game got another shot in 1916.

There was no ESPN or BCS involved with the first Rose Bowl, but from the very beginning bowl games have been business relationships between local entities or sponsors and a pair of college football teams. They were not created to reward teams for a great season. Stanford was 3-1-2 heading into the first Rose Bowl. They were not created with deciding a national championship in mind.

Complexities have been added. Television, corporate sponsors, and conferences now all conspire to shoehorn a championship process into this loose network of exhibition games. But at their cores the nature of bowl games hasn’t changed in 106 years. We have bowl games because they work as business and civic deals. Some didn’t, and so we no longer have the Bluebonnet Bowl (among others).

Now that air travel is relatively inexpensive and ubiquitous and television networks seem to have no shortage of programming slots, the barriers to entry are getting lower and lower to the point where $350,000 might get you the title sponsorship of a new bowl. Someone’s going watch, and it beats Roman-style chariot races, poker, or whatever alternative programming they’d show otherwise. I even question the qualification that you must have a winning record. If Auburn wnt 3-8, they’d probably still draw enough interest and fans to a small market bowl game.

I’ve said it before…bring on more bowls.

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