College Football Bowl Game Evaluation and Restructuring

David HedlindAnalyst IIMarch 28, 2009

Everyone knows that the Bowls are not about giving us good games. No, they are all about money. What teams will travel and bring their fans.

But what if the games were actually about good match-ups?

There are quite a few that are matched up well already. The records between the conferences that are linked are pretty even.

But there are also those ones out there that are just completely lopsided and should be changed.

I can’t really complain about the BCS bowls. Those are set up to put the highest ranked teams against each other.

Yes, Georgia destroyed Hawaii and Ohio State and Oklahoma can’t seem to win a BCS game, but for the most part, these are usually the games that are most looked forward to each bowl season.

One thing I don’t like is the rotation selection some conferences have. Some bowls will rotate through the fourth, fifth, sixth selection from one conference while hosting a constant team from another.

I think this rotation thing hurts because if the constant team can’t beat the lower place team, how are they supposed to beat the higher ones?

The other thing I don’t like is the bowl selection that rotates the conferences. The Sun Bowl, for example, selects from the Big 12, Big East or Notre Dame over the course of four seasons. I feel like this helps with diverse competition but at the same time eliminates any kind of chance of establishing tradition.

I would rather see the bowls establish set match-ups. If they become one sided then change them up.

I am also going to move some bowls around to make new match-ups. I also think most conferences have one too many bowls. I just don’t get all that excited for the ninth team from a conference playing in a bowl with a 6-6 record.

I think the non-BCS Champions deserve a shot at a BCS team, so I will make a few moves on that level as well.

Using the 2008 bowl list I will try to realign the bowls for some more even competition, excluding the BCS bowls of course.

These are just my opinions on how I think we might be able to see some better, more competitive bowl games if we ignore the things like travel.

Eaglebank Bowl

This one is too new to know if there is a necessary change. With only a one game history that was decided by 10 points I can’t really complain. Since it involves the Army and Navy then I would assign a fourth place MAC team here for when they are not eligible.

New Mexico Bowl

Only three games have been played and the record favors the Mountain West over the WAC, 2-1. It has included the third WAC team and the fourth Mountain West team since it started. I move the Insight Bowl to the Mountain West so I would move this one down.

St. Petersburg Bowl

In the inaugural game, the sixth selection out of the Big East, South Florida, destroyed Memphis, the fifth selection from Conference USA, Memphis. I would drop Conference USA and make this the new destination for the Sun Belt champion.

Las Vegas Bowl

I would have to leave this one as is. The current match up with the Mountain West champion and a fourth or fifth selection from the Pac-10, has a 4-4 record.

New Orleans Bowl

This one has a 4-4 record also. The Sun Belt champion and the sixth team out of Conference USA have played some very competitive games.

Since I moved the Sun Belt champion to the St. Petersburg Bowl, the New Orleans Bowl becomes the destination for their second team.

Poinsettia Bowl

The current contract sets the second selection for the Mountain West against the seventh Pac-10 selection. So it is another Bowl with the Pac-10 and the Mountain West.

I don’t think the Pac-10 will get a seventh team regularly. I would give it to the Big XII who has more teams, therefore is more likely to get more teams in bowls. This also gives the Mountain West an opportunity against another BCS conference.

Hawaii Bowl

The Pac-10 again fails to supply a team so only one game has actually featured the second WAC team vs. sixth Pac-10 team. Give it a few more then reevaluate.

Motor City Bowl

This has only featured a Big Ten and MAC team twice and so far it is a 1-1 tie. I think this should be the destination for the MAC champion since they play a Big Ten opponent.

Car Care Bowl

The third team out of the Big East plays an ACC team that is the fifth or sixth selection. This seems like it would give the Big East an advantage but they are behind 2-4 with one win coming from a Big East team that is now an ACC team.

Since the restructuring the record is 2-1 for the ACC. Perhaps we leave this one alone.

Champs Sports Bowl

This bowl has been owned by the ACC. The ACC fourth selection has won three strait against the fifth selection from the Big Ten.

I think if you reverse the order of the Big Ten selection so that the Champs Sports Bowl takes team four and the Alamo takes team five, both bowls would still be competitive.

Or maybe moving the ACC down one while moving the fourth team up to play the SEC in the Music City Bowl would help.

Emerald Bowl

The Pac 10 has a 2-1 lead on the ACC. The game matches up the fourth or fifth team from the Pac 10 against the seventh selection from the ACC. While not the most attractive teams, it is at least a competitive game.

Independence Bowl

The SEC has a 7-3 lead over the Big XII. The SEC cycles this one with the sixth, seventh, or eighth selection while the Big XII places their seventh here.

Even with the lopsided record, they have all been close according to the final score. Perhaps moving up one selection for the Big XII would help. Bowl

This one has not featured the teams it is suppose to so I would normally leave it alone but I don’t really think the SEC needs nine bowls. Leave the Big East here though. Since I moved the Sun Belt champ to the St. Petersburg Bowl, I would move Conference USA here.

Alamo Bowl

I already changed the order of the selection for the Big Ten with this one and the Champs Sports Bowl. I think this will help make both of these more competitive.

Humanitarian Bowl

This one is already being changed. The ACC is pulling out, which is probably for the best since they held a 5-2 lead over the WAC.

The Humanitarian Bowl has a deal with the Mountain West now but I think the Big XII should have moved in here. I think if the WAC champion has beat the Big XII champ before, then the WAC champ should be able to handle the seventh team from the Big XII also.

Texas Bowl

This bowl has one of the weirdest contracts and is on a rotation deal with the Big East and the Conference USA. The Big XII has a set place though. I think the Big East has enough bowls though and the Big XII doesn’t really need eight or nine bowls.

Besides which this one is on the NFL network and usually draws a smaller audience. I say give it to the WAC who only has three bowls right now.

Holiday Bowl

The second Pac-10 team is only one game behind the third Big XII team. The 6-5 Big XII lead is a good match-up.

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl

One of their affiliations is with the Mountain West. The other has jumped around. The Big XII, Conference USA and Pac-10 all have had turns in this bowl.

I think the 34-28 match-up with Houston and Air Force was a good match up so in my opinion leave the Conference USA and Mountain West here.

Sun Bowl

To be honest I don’t know what to make of this bowl game. The Pac-10 has won the last five games but against various opponents from the Big East, Big XII and Big Ten. Currently, the Big East and Big XII rotate with this and the Gator Bowl.

Since the Pac-10 plays the Big XII in the Holliday I will keep the Big East second selection here.

Music City Bowl

The fifth ACC team has not faired well against the sixth SEC team. I mentioned earlier about moving the fourth ACC team to play here instead.

Insight Bowl

The recent match-up features the Big Ten and the Big XII. So far the Big XII has won all three games. Only the first one was even close. I think the Big XII should get out. Have the Mountain West third selection go here to play the Big Ten.

Chick-Fil-A Bowl

This game is a game of streaks. The ACC won four in a row. Then the SEC won five followed by the ACC winning another four in a row. Most recently the SEC is at a four game winning streak. With this back and forth going on, I say leave it.

Outback Bowl

An 8-6 record for the SEC over the Big Ten is pretty solid and pretty safe to say leave it as is.

Capital One Bowl

The SEC edges this one over the Big Ten as well, 9-8. This is a game between the second selection for both conferences. I am ok leaving this one.

Gator Bowl

The Big XII has won the two match-ups against the ACC. We’ll see what happens in the future to know if this will change or not.

Cotton Bowl

The SEC is leading this game over the Big XII with a record of 6-5. A one game difference is pretty good.

Liberty Bowl

Since the Conference USA champion has been coming here to play a SEC team, they have not won. They have been close though. It may just be a matter of time.

International Bowl

The Big East has won every game here. The solution to make it more competitive is simple really move it down a priority and move the bowl up. Moving it down in priority would bring the competition to the level of the MAC selection.


Conference USA has won the last three games in fairly lopsided games. Before this, the MAC had won four in the same fashion. Make this one the MAC and Conference USA championship games runners up official bowl.

In Part II I will look at the new bowl affiliations.  In Part III I will look at what bowls we would have seen in 2008 under my restructure.


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