College football fans are going to be facing major decisions on January 1, 2014. The Football Bowl Association released its 2013-14 schedule and for the second consecutive year, four bowls kick off within one hour on New Year's Day.
This needs to stop.
The Gator Bowl and Heart of Dallas Bowl kick off at 12 p.m. (ET) and the Capital One Bowl and Outback Bowl kick off at 1 p.m. Three of those bowls will feature Big Ten and SEC teams—the Heart of Dallas Bowl will feature Big Ten and Conference USA teams.
Why are four bowls being played simultaneously?
January 1, 2014, falls on a Wednesday, but since it is a legal holiday, most people will be off work and tuning in to watch the games. The networks have a captive audience. Scheduling a morning game is probably ill-advised since many football fans will be recovering from the previous night's festivities. The current solution is to cram all four games in the early afternoon so as to not conflict with the the two BCS Bowls played later on that day.
Unfortunately, those four bowls will be competing against each other for viewers. ESPN and ABC win, but college football fans lose.
There is a solution that should sate most college football fans.
The BBVA Compass Bowl is scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m. on January 4. It is the only bowl scheduled that day. The ridiculousness of this is obvious. It's feast on January 1 or famine on January 4.
Scheduling the Capital One Bowl at 4:30 p.m and the Outback Bowl at 8 p.m on January 4 would solve most of the conflict, but there is a caveat. The NFL wild-card playoffs start on January 4.
The bowls don't want to compete with the NFL—that is understandable. The bowls also like their traditional dates, but that no longer makes sense. The College Football Playoff 2014-15 schedule shows major changes for some high-profile bowls:
December 31: Chick-fil-A Bowl host bowl (East).
December 31: Fiesta Bowl host bowl (West).
December 31: Orange Bowl hosts ACC vs Big Ten, SEC or Notre Dame
January 1: Cotton Bowl
January 1: Rose Bowl semifinal
January 1: Sugar Bowl semifinal
January 12: BCS Championship at Arlington, Texas.
The Fiesta Bowl has deviated from playing on January 1 twice (1980 and 1997) since 1980. In its 79-year history, the Orange Bowl has been held every January every year except for 1996 when Nebraska and Virginia Tech played on December 31. Next year both bowls will be played in December.
So much for tradition.
The Capital One Bowl, Gator Bowl, Heart of Dallas Bowl and Outback Bowl should also change their traditional scheduling. They are alienating fans.
College football fans want the opportunity to watch every bowl.
Oh sure, they complain about dreadful matchups. They complain there are too many bowls. But they complain while watching the games.
The NFL didn't force its fans to choose between games in 2012's postseason.
Neither should college football on January 1.