A Few Simple Fixes for College Football

Pete MisthaufenAnalyst IJuly 6, 2009

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 04:  Running back Reggie Bush #5 of the USC Trojans carries the football past Aaron Harris #2 of the Texas Longhorns before fumbling the ball on the play in the second quarter during the BCS National Championship Rose Bowl Game on January 4, 2006 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)


Growing up in the '70s, my favorite day of the entire year was not Christmas, but rather New Year's Day -- the greatest day for football each and every year. Even as a very young boy, I would start watching the games early in the day and watch everyone I could, mostly with my dad next to me. 

Even a few years ago, we could still enjoy the greatness of New Year's Day, wondering which team would end of the so-called national champion.  On most years, the five major bowl games played a major role in determining the AP or UPI/USA Today champion.

After watching all the best teams play on one single day, we could usually agree that one team was a little better than the rest and usually we would agree that the pollsters got it right. 

These days, I rarely watch more than the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day and only a few of the other bowls. At one time, bowl games meant something. To get to a bowl game meant a team was actually pretty good. Bowl selection itself was exciting. 


Too many cupcake games

The BCS system discourages quality OOC games.  There is no benefit if you can schedule FCS, Sun Belt, MAC, and other lower level games without consequence.  (Ex. Penn St., Texas, Florida)

Too many home games

Teams do not have to play road OOC games (again, sorry Penn St. among others), so that they have eight home games a season.

Meaningless Bowls

Bowls have multiplied and average teams with losing records in conference are going to worthless bowls, many of which are a net financial loser for the universities.

Poor BCS games

The BCS system does not enable good games--each year there are some really bad ones such as the 2008 Rose Bowl with USC-Illinois, or the 2009 Orange Bowl with Cincy-VT. 

Questionable BCS Championship participants

Most years there are mulitple teams that could be playing for the BCS Championship.

Fat cats

Bowl executives and bowl committee members are pulling down large salaries with lots of perks.  University presidents want fund-raising from fat cat alums. It is all about the perks.


Lots of coverage, but pushes its own agenda and financial interests at all costs.

Too many FBS schools

We have seen a vast increase of FBS schools in the last few years, many without adequate facilities.  A major college should a respectable stadium and good attendance.

AQ vs. non-AQ divide

Why did Cincy get a BCS bowl last year--not because of their history or tradition or great season.  Cincy went from being a Conf. USA team to BCS AQ school without major changes. They did not deserve the bid over Boise or TCU.

Some Simple Solutions

These solutions will not solve all the problems in college football, but would greatly aid in improving the sport.

1.  Ban games vs. FCS and DII.  Major college football should be against teams of equal status.

2.  Reduce the number of FBS schools. Easily done by increasing the minimum requirements--say 40,000 seat stadium with 30,000 average attendance--and road games do not count. This would drop most of the Sun Belt, MAC, WAC, and half of Conf. USA, and a few BCS schools. 

3.  Reduce the number of games to 11. The increase to 12 games has done nothing for the sport, as most schools have merely added a cupcake to their schedule.

4.  Require .500 or better in conference for bowl game. This would drop most of the meaningless bowl games.  Teams should be at least average in their conference to be rewarded with a bowl game.

5.  Require half of OOC to be away from home. No more padding the schedule with useless home games.  Maybe we would get more neutral site games even.

There are many more problems and many more fixes, but these modest changes would greatly improve the sport.


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