Of all the subjects in college football, the most interesting must be the bowl games at the end of the regular season.
The reasons are many, but most importantly, it settles the National Championship.
Others may feel a trip to an exotic location to cheer on one's team is a thrill without equal in sports.
The five great bowls of the pre-World War II era are still with us. The Rose, Sugar, Cotton, Sun, and Orange have supplied so many memories, kept alive by the passing down of lore through generations.
The Cold War era gave us three terrific bowls with the coming of the Gator in 1946, the Tangerine in 1947, and the Liberty in 1959.
This trio continues to provide thrills and suspense decades later. The Tangerine changed its name after 1982, eventually becoming the Capital One Bowl.
The Liberty left Philadelphia after 1963, ultimately settling in Memphis after a one-year hiatus in Atlantic City.
Over the years, some old names have been resurrected, such as the Poinsettia, the Peach, and the Alamo. The current bowls with those names bear little resemblance to the predecessors.
The arrival of the Fiesta Bowl in 1971 and the BCS Championship Game in 2007 are testimony to the ability of bowl committees to create a successful product of great interest if the need exists.
Big money is the central figure in the bowl games of this time. The bigger the payout, the better the bowl. Or is it?
With some conferences sharing equally in postseason payouts, the subject of location becomes a more important issue. Will the fans follow the team to faraway locations?
Does the fanbase “travel well?” This actually means, will the fans follow the team and spend money in the local economy?
Another matter that will arise this season is, who is going to put their name down in the history book as the first teams to play in the new Cotton Bowl in its nearly unbelievable setting of Jerry Jones' stadium?
With this incredible location and unequaled atmosphere, there can be little doubt the Cotton Bowl will shortly return to its rightful place at the pinnacle of the postseason.
Submitted for your approval and enjoyment, a summertime look at the million-dollar payout bowls for the 2009 season.
1. BCS Title Game: Texas vs. Florida
2. Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. California
3. Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Southern California
4. Sugar Bowl: LSU vs. Boise State
5. Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. Pittsburgh
6. Cotton Bowl: Alabama vs. Nebraska
7. Capital One (Citrus) Bowl: Georgia vs. Penn State
8. Outback (Hall of Fame) Bowl: Ole Miss vs. Illinois
9. Gator Bowl: Ga Tech vs. West Virginia
10. Chick-fil-A (Peach) Bowl: Florida State vs. Tennessee
11. Champs Sports (Blockbuster) Bowl: Miami vs. Iowa
12. Alamo Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Michigan State
13. Holiday Bowl: Oregon vs. Kansas
14. Sun Bowl: Notre Dame vs. Arizona
15. Liberty Bowl: Southern Miss vs. Arkansas
16. Music City Bowl: Vanderbilt vs. N.C. State
17. Insight (Copper) Bowl: Arizona State vs. Wisconsin
18. Independence Bowl: Auburn vs. Texas Tech
19. Las Vegas (California Raisin) Bowl: Texas Christian vs. Oregon State
20. St. Petersburg Bowl: South Florida vs. Tulsa
21. EagleBank Bowl: Maryland vs. East Carolina (Army will not qualify)
22. Meineke Bowl: Clemson vs. Rutgers
So there we have it, a breakdown of the 22 bowls with a million dollars or more as the payout.
Now realistically, who would give up all of this for a playoff that determines a champion?
Not the colleges raking in the “do-re-mi” year after year while going 6-6 on the season.
You can bank on that.