Why We Should Condense Bowl Season into One Glorious Week
The college football bowl season has often been the subject of mockery and ridicule since expanding to 35 games that now stretch out over three weeks.
While more football is never a bad thing for the hardcore gridiron fan, the meaning of bowl season becomes diminished when you have so many games that mean very little to everyone outside of one or two fanbases.
What makes college football special is the excitement each Saturday during the regular season, where a number of channels feature games and controlling the remote becomes a test of endurance after 12-plus hours of football.
Without all these games to get excited about, does anybody really look forward to parking it on the couch and watching Ball State and UCF duke it out in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl?
Here's a thought: What if we condensed all of bowl season into one glorious week of non-stop football?
Take a look at five reasons as to why this could revolutionize the college football postseason.
1. It Would Work with the Upcoming Playoff System
With everybody looking forward to the college football playoff beginning in two years, the first logistical item of business would be finding a way to fit the new system into a single week of games.
But the solution doesn't take a degree to figure out. Kick off the week by playing the semifinals and end the week with the title game between the two winners.
This accomplishes two things. First, it would be a thrilling way to kick off the week. The past two regular seasons began with LSU playing Oregon and Alabama facing Michigan. While both were less than competitive, they still provided the perfect start to the season.
Second, it would allow those teams time to heal up for the second game. Football is a violent sport and on rare occasions a team will play Saturday and the following Thursday as well. But with the magnitude of a championship game, let's give the two semifinal winners a full week to rest up and prepare for their opponent.
Making the highly-anticipated playoff a bookend to the week of bowl games would ensure thrills from start to finish.
2. It Would Build Momentum Leading Up to Title Game
Think of the proposed one-week bowl season like a story arc.
You have your opening semifinal games which set the stage for the rest of the action. As the week goes on, the action gets better and better as the quality of teams playing increases.
It also gives everyone a chance to look forward to the title game and discuss what might happen during the climax of the week.
The best action is right at the end of the week when the other BCS games are played.
Finally, we hit the height of the drama with the championship game.
Bowl season is already set up in this fashion, but you don't necessarily feel the drama building with games being spread out over three weeks.
This new format would hold fans' attention throughout the entire week, as opposed to only truly settling into the action after New Year's eve.
By packing games into one week with the best teams playing toward the end of the week, bowl season would become a whirlwind of football getting better each day until the very end.
3. It Puts More Focus on Less-Hyped Games
With the way the system is currently set up, many early games are the only ones on at that time. That may sound like a spotlight would shine on that particular bowl game, but the opposite occurs.
Nobody sits down and plans their evening around some of the smaller bowl games. Casual fans might tune in to see the score, but people aren't exactly glued to their couch.
But putting every bowl game into one week would give every day a "regular-season" feel, where fans are flipping channels and catching bits and pieces of every game.
You may not watch the games individually, but you'd certainly watch if they were all being played on the same day. What's better than turning on the television and being able to choose from three or four different games? And being able to switch back and forth at your leisure?
It turns the entire week into a can't-miss event.
As it stands, many bowls games are "can-miss." But jamming everything into a week-long extravaganza of football would ensure that smaller games have more viewers than they do now.
4. The Postseason Is Magnified
Analysts and pundits do their best to get fans excited for each and every game of bowl season. But let's be honest: The majority of the college football really only cares about a handful of games.
Switch for a moment over to college basketball, where a game between the No. 8 and No. 9 seeds holds the attention of millions. The key difference, of course, is that college basketball teams playing in March Madness still have a chance to win it all.
But the point is that basketball's postseason is a spectacle that everyone looks forward to from the minute the previous year's tournament ends. It's like watching a space shuttle take off. The next time it happens, you're just as curious.
Bowl season, on the other hand, is like a NASCAR race. You're watching, but you really only care about what happens on the final lap.
I'm sure someone would come up with a catchy name for the week of bowl games. It would turn into a spectacle similar to the one that shines a spotlight on college basketball each March. Games would be played all day, every day, for seven days.
How do you top that?
5. Nearly Equal Practice Time for Bowl-Eligible Teams
The difference in practice time between bowl-bound teams playing in mid-December versus those playing in January makes a world of difference heading into the following season.
The NCAA rules state that there is no limit on practice time for teams participating in bowl games, though the 20-hour limit per week still applies.
Coaches can use this time to stress fundamentals and work on problems that occurred throughout the year. Obviously if a team fails to make the postseason, it's tough luck.
But the fact that Alabama and Notre Dame have more than three weeks of extra practice time compared with teams like Arizona and Nevada is ridiculous.
Some will argue that they've earned it due to their phenomenal seasons. How then would you explain Pittsburgh and Ole Miss playing on January 5? They certainly didn't have seasons that merit three weeks of extra practice time.
By jamming every bowl into a week, every team would have nearly the same amount of time to practice. Those playing at the end of the week would have a few more days than others, but that seems fair considering the success they had during the regular season.
This takes away the competitive advantage that some teams gain by playing in a January bowl game. It may be a small one, but it's important for those teams that play early on.