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Bowl Season: Enough Already

Scott Haynes, College Football Senior Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - My two young daughters decided to try their hands at softball this spring.

They are both in a beginner's league, where the score isn't really kept, walks aren't a part of the game and everyone gets a trophy at the end of the season. While the whole concept of this offends every part of my sports sensibilities, I do get it. These are 10-year olds who are just being introduced to a game. They are all having fun and quite frankly, I really like the fact that they don't have to deal with the winning and losing aspect. A trip to the ice cream stand after the game is all that matters to them.

What is happening in major college football isn't far off the mark. With the addition of two more bowl games for this upcoming season, the postseason playing field will be diluted even more.

There are now 35 bowl games, meaning that 70 of the 119 FBS programs, or almost 59 percent of the teams, will enjoy another game after the regular season comes to a close. For some of those teams, ending a campaign following the regular season would be far kinder than having them play another game, especially on television.

But therein lies the rub. Television is a revenue-generating mega-machine for many of the universities that participate in bowl season, and why shouldn't the sixth-best team in the Big 12 get a piece of the pie? That team will be featured in one of the two new bowl games, as it will take on the third-best team in the Big East in the new Pinstripe Bowl. That game will take place on December 30th in Yankee Stadium. Baseball-only stadiums don't really provide the best sightlines for those in the stands for a football game, and it could be frigid in late December in the Bronx, but why let something like fan enjoyment get in the way of making a buck?

The other critical bowl game added to the docket this season is the Dallas Football Classic, to be played at the Cotton Bowl on New Year's Day. This game will feature the seventh-best Big 12 program against the sixth-best Big Ten squad. Conference USA will factor in future games as well.

I have nothing against those teams, but should a mediocre season like that be celebrated? Should a team be rewarded for struggling to a .500 finish both in and out of conference?

To make matters worse, there is the real threat of teams with a losing record accepting bids to play in a bowl game, simply due to a lack of options elsewhere.

For some of the bigger conferences, it is almost harder to miss the postseason than to earn a spot in a bowl game, an indictment of the BCS and the monster that those with the decision-making power have created.

The accepted reality is that the FBS postseason would be far more relevant if it adopted a playoff system much like the FCS, but again, the money generated from national television contracts won't permit that to happen. The conferences have gone out and landed their own lucrative deals and in many cases, created their own networks in the process.

By the way, how many out there really subscribe to the Mtn?

I guess it doesn't really matter because all the schools in a conference benefit financially from these kind of deals and taking money out of the schools' coffers isn't a way to run a successful business.

The fans, of course, are the losers in all this. They will continue to be bombarded by the likes of the Irrelevant Bowl and subparbowl.com.

Actually, things could have been a lot worse, had the Cure Bowl and Christmas Bowl not been denied access to the free-for-all this season.

Thank you, NCAA, for small favors.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Scott Haynes at shaynes@sportsnetwork.com.
Scott Haynes
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