In 2009, two of the best teams in the country battled in what was arguably the best postseason college football game of the year. Great athletes, dominating defense, a late drive to take the lead in the fourth quarter and a defensive stop to seal the win against one of the most prolific offenses in the country.
If you haven't figured it out by now, I'm talking about TCU vs. Boise State in the 2008 Poinsettia Bowl played on Dec. 23.
About 10 days later, on what was supposed to be the most sacred day of the year for college football fans—New Year's Day—multiple mediocre teams (and that's being generous) battled ineptly. Only 3 of the 10 teams entered the day with 10 regular season wins, and two of those had records of 7-5.
Honestly, there are only five things I can remember about the 2008-2009 College Football Bowl season:
1—Florida's defense stifling Oklahoma's potent offense
2—Wondering why two top-10 caliber teams were playing before Christmas
3—Wondering if the Big-10 will ever have a team worthy to play USC in the Rose Bowl
4—Utah's beatdown of Alabama in the Sugar Bowl
5—Trying unsuccessfully to find the Cotton Bowl on New Year's Day
It's time for the bowls to get their priorities straight.
I know people are going to bring up all sorts of economic arguments about why things are the way they are, but the fact of the matter is the bowl season is officially boring and economics is the major driving force behind it.
The only reason I still watch is because there are no other games on and I love college football; however, I do have some solutions to this problem:
1—All FCS games are treated as preseason games and don't count toward a team's record, but do count toward the 12-game maximum.
This will force teams that are afraid of qualifying for a bowl game to schedule more FBS teams and give those FBS teams more leverage in either negotiating home-and-homes or two-for-ones with these teams, or getting some substantial paydays for one-and-dones. The result will be less bowl-eligible mediocre teams.
2—Give the traditional bowl games their proper place in the bowl schedule. With the adoption of the BCS, traditional bowl games like the Liberty Bowl, Holiday Bowl, Sun Bowl, and Cotton Bowl have been relegated to mediocre status.
If the Rose Bowl is the "granddaddy of them all", then the Cotton Bowl is the first-born son, but isn't getting that sort of treatment. Limit when certain bowl games can be played—as is done for the BCS games—so as not to interfere with these traditional games.
3—Go back to just one conference affiliation with bowl games and an at-large. This would open up the field for more interesting match-ups and better games. Conference affiliation should be meaningless outside of being a conference champion in being worthy to play in a bowl game.
4—Finally, if the Rose Bowl is really the biggest obstacle between this nation and a playoff system, make the Rose Bowl the championship game every year. I don't know of a program in the country that wouldn't be excited about playing in the Rose Bowl, and I don't see the Rose Bowl turning down an opportunity like that. So, kill two birds with one stone and make Pasadena the goal for every team every season.