There's No Such Thing as Too Many College Football Bowl Games

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterApril 11, 2016

Georgia Southern won the 2015 GoDaddy Bowl 58-27
Georgia Southern won the 2015 GoDaddy Bowl 58-27Michael Chang/Getty Images

Those who claim there are too many bowl games can rejoice. There won't be any more bowl games added to the postseason slate anytime soon.

According to ESPN's Brett McMurphy, the NCAA has put a halt to the addition of new bowl games and shattered the dreams of Austin, Texas; Charleston, South Carolina; and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina—all of which were in the process of adding games.

Brett McMurphy @Brett_McMurphy

NCAA approves 3-year moratorium on new bowls, sources told @ESPN. Austin, Charleston & Myrtle Beach were in process of adding bowls in 2016

That's unfortunate, because the idea that there are too many bowl games already is simply false. There's no such thing as "too many bowl games.

Sure, pundits will complain, as many did on Monday morning.

Pete Prisco @PriscoCBS

NCAA wising up limiting bowl games. Too many exhibitions already. Stars will soon stop playing in them anyway.

Jon Solomon @JonSolomonAspen

Some sanity regarding too many bowls. https://t.co/5QfH89KJPW

Rick Karle @RickKarle

Enough! NCAA to prohibit the formation of any new college bowl games for the next 3 years. #fortyisenough

Before you hit the comment section and immediately complain about 5-7 teams making bowl games and mediocre teams receiving participation trophies, take a step back and truly understand what bowl games are.

They are rewards to student-athletes.

If you want to label that as a participation trophy, fine. But in your next sentence, you can't complain that players aren't compensated enough for playing college football.

Players often receive a trip to an exotic destination during bowl week; get to have new and different experiences with their teammates (for free, incidentally); receive a swag bag that contains the latest and greatest in gaming, technology and apparel; and receive a handsome per diem on site and for travel (which is often pooled together by several players in order to save a little extra).

Bowls are a legal form of player compensation—and the compensation distributed is much more tangible than athletic scholarships.

I ask you, Mr. Bowl Cynic, do you want to take that away from student-athletes?

If you do, you better not complain that they don't get paid enough. Those two points can't co-exist. 

Appalachian State won the 2015 Camellia Bowl 31-29
Appalachian State won the 2015 Camellia Bowl 31-29Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

What's more, bowls are made-for-TV events that dominate a three-week schedule over the holiday season. If you don't care about watching the GoDaddy Bowl between Georgia Southern and Bowling Green on a Wednesday night in December, that's fine.

Don't watch it.

Others will, though. Specifically, 2.335 million people did in 2015, according to Sports Media Watch. For comparison, the 2016 MLB Opening Day World Series rematch between the Royals and Mets on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball drew 2.9 million

Think about that for a second.

A World Series rematch on Opening Day—one of the most exciting days in Major League Baseball—only outdrew a "meaningless weeknight bowl game" between two Group of Five teams by a half-million people.

The Las Vegas, Sun, Foster Farms, Pinstripe, Independence, Texas, Russell Athletic, Music City, Holiday, Belk, Citrus, Alamo, Liberty, Gator, Cactus and all New Year's Six bowls outdrew the marquee matchup on MLB's Opening Day.

You might not be watching, but others are.

What's more, strict bowl game qualification standards actually drive a bigger wedge between the college football "haves and have nots." If a team misses one, it misses out on those all-important 15 bowl practices that help develop players—particularly younger players who don't get the chance to work with the first- and-second teams during the season. The teams that make bowls accelerate that development process by taking advantage of that practice time. 

Is that a reward for teams that finish .500 or above (or, at least close considering three 5-7 teams made bowl last year)? Sure. But it's also a punishment for those that don't make it, which shouldn't be the case. The latter is the more important aspect of the qualification standard because it makes the former more difficult to attain.

In this day and age, the comparable reward to a bowl game in the 1970's is a College Football Playoff berth or, perhaps more accurately, a New Year's Six appearance. 

The other bowls are exhibitions that are meant to be fun, and more fun in the game is good for everybody. 

Plus, the three cities that were in the mix for new bowl games would be fantastic additions to the bowl schedule.

Charleston and Myrtle Beach are great coastal cities with beaches and plenty of entertainment options, and Austin's nightlife is second to none in the Lone Star State.

The more the merrier.

Quotes were obtained firsthand, unless otherwise noted. Statistics are courtesy of CFBStats.com, unless otherwise noted, and recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports.

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and national college football video analyst for Bleacher Report, as well as a host on Bleacher Report Radio on SiriusXM 83. Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.


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