More is not always better. Money is the root of all sorts of evil. I'm sure there are other sayings, canonical and non-canonical that would apply, but these do the job.
When I was a kid, growing up in the '70s, the college bowl season was magical. From Christmas to the New Year's weekend I could look forward to parades and college bowl games. The parades were only interesting because they represented the festivities that culminated in the football.
The bowl games represented more than post season pursuits, they represented the color and pageantry that is college football. Best of all, they represented something that was watchable. The best teams played in these games. There were few enough games that a young man could actually watch most of them.
A brief look at the 1975 results (just one example) reveals 11 bowl games.
Wonderfully, there isn't a single sponsor's name included in the Bowl Game title (Rose, Orange, Sugar, Fiesta, Cotton, Sun, Liberty, Gator, Tangerine, Astro-Bluebonnet, Peach). Just enough football, and just little enough, to capture a young man's holiday imagination and make the games seem special.
By comparison, a look at ESPN's college bowl game section reveals 33 games.
Fantastic titles for these games too!
Let's see, we have the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl. That one featured the fantastic Georgia Tech squad that boasted a 6-6 record.
The Little Caesar's Bowl featured Florida International and Toledo.
What might qualify as the longest bowl game name ever, we saw the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. What's next? Maybe the Corner of 1st Avenue and Sherwood Street Anthony Joe's Pizza Shop Bowl?
I think you get the picture.
Why so many bowl games? It isn't about college football. It isn't about rewarding great seasons. The sponsor names at the beginning of each one tells the story. It is about money, plain and simple. And it is ruining the game. It is ruining the bowl season.
More is not always better, and money is at the root of what is ruining college football. While the NCAA wants to proclaim a commitment to amateur athletics, it is all much more professional than most want to admit.
I, for one, long for a return to the days of Keith Jackson, Curt Gowdy, Lindsey Nelson, and all the voices, sounds and sights that made those days special. We can't bring them back, but we could return to the simplicity that once made the bowl season memorable.
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