2011 Bowl Games: Why College Football Shouldn't Reward Mediocrity

Brian Mazique@@UniqueMaziqueCorrespondent IIIDecember 25, 2011

CHAMPAIGN, IL - NOVEMBER 19:  Trulon Henry #9 of the Illinois Fighting Illini brings down Montee Ball #28 of the Wisconsin Badgers at Memorial Stadium on November 19, 2011 in Champaign, Illinois. Wisconsin defeated Illinois 28-17.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The college bowl season is in full effect, and we've seen a total of 14 teams in action. Only three of them are currently ranked in the Top 25. Should the entire country have to endure matchups like Temple and Wyoming in the New Mexico Bowl?

Worst of all, the snubbed Boise State Broncos, ranked seventh in the nation, were insulted with a Maaco Las Vegas Bowl berth. That insult was further driven home when they were matched up against a reeling and dysfunctional Arizona State Sun Devils team. This game was a joke—the Broncos won by 32 points, and teams like the Sun Devils should not be allowed into postseason play.

If the NCAA is about rewarding the best teams at the end of the year, then programs who have lost three or more games consecutively to close out the season shouldn't be allowed.

That would include Arizona State, which had lost its last four games, and teams like Illinois which lost its last six games. A team shouldn't be allowed to free-fall into the postseason.

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Another common denominator between those two teams is their coach had recently been fired. Ron Zook in Illinois and Dennis Erickson at Arizona State. Here is an idea for the rules-happy NCAA. No program that has fired its head coach for poor performance should be bowl-eligible that year.

Obviously, situations like Penn State would be different, but if a program deems a coach has done a poor enough job to be removed from his post, why should that team be allowed to participate in a bowl game?

A major portion of the team (coaching) has failed, so why should the NCAA reward mediocrity? They shouldn't. This would also stop the late-season firings of coaches. No athletic director would want to cost his program the money it stands to make from a bowl appearance.

Too often, bowl placement is about money for the NCAA, marketability and favoritism. The bowl selection formula should be transparent and carry stiffer guidelines than six wins.

That flimsy criteria only leaves wiggle room for the NCAA to smuggle in teams from big conferences whose seasons haven't measured up. 

Illinois is in a bowl game on New Year's Eve, (that used to mean something) on the strength of wins over Arkansas State, South Dakota State, Arizona State (its one win over a ranked opponent, before the Sun Devils started their collapse), Western Michigan, Northwestern and Indiana.

That is not a resume worthy of postseason play, especially when it's followed by six straight losses. After the regular season, we should be watching the premier programs from that year, not a conglomerate of popular teams that managed six wins.

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