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Friday, December 17, 2010

Bowl Season Q & A

In the style of Brian from Big Blue Homer, I'm going to do a little Q & A: I ask the questions, I give the answers.

There are 35 bowls this year. Are there too many?


The short answer is yes. I recognize that I say this as an alum of a school who has been to such prestigious contests as the Meineke Car Care Bowl, the PapaJohns.com Bowl, the MagicJack St. Petersburg Bowl, and the International Bowl, but yes, there are too many bowls. To be a little most specific, though, there are too many bowls after January 1. Folks older than I will tell you about how New Year's Day was once sacred, with the big name bowls playing and a national champion being decided. While I don't think we need to be there, anything occurring post 1/1 needs to be a BCS bowl (or perhaps one of the old stalwarts like the Cotton Bowl). There's no reason we should be watching the GoDaddy.com Bowl after the new year.

So you're for a playoff, right?


Well... that's where it gets tricky for me. In theory, yes, I would like to see a true champion crowned on the field, and that means including more than just two teams. Where I fall short is putting it into practice, simply because I haven't heard a solution that I'm in love with. My problem is this: Moreso than perhaps any other major American sport, college football is contingent upon the presence of fans, bands, cheerleaders, and all sorts of other moving parts to make the full experience that which we know and love. Unlike the NCAA basketball tournament, where teams can play a Thursday/Saturday or a Friday/Sunday schedule, football players need a week to recover from a games brutal beatings. If the bowls were used as playoff sites, that would mean that a team, fanbase, band, cheerleaders, and staff may have to be in New Orleans one week and Pasadena the next. One alternative is utilizing the same site, but again, with a week layoff, that's either having to house folks for a week's time, or have them travel somewhere and then travel back again. Another alternative is for all but the championship game to be played on campus sites, but in addition to the travel issues, it means that teams and fans that may have otherwise had an opportunity at a neutral site bowl game and the festivities that go with may now see their seasons end on another team's field.

So what would I like to see? My favorite option is the plus-one model, but even with that i'm not entirely convinced. One thing is sure though: More teams need a shot, and smarter folks than I can hopefully figure out how to make that work.

One last thought: Many who are against a playoff claim that it would make the regular season less meaningful. To those I say: Are you friggin' kidding me?! College football is, in an opinion that I hold and is shared by many, the most exciting sport in the world. Fears of a diminished regular season may be real for anyone not putting a quality product on the field, but then the playoffs aren't in their picture either. In fact, the fact that MORE teams have a legitimate shot at winning it all adds value to the regular season.


What bowl season band matchups are you looking forward to?


This is a question that I ask each year in the NCAA football LiveJournal community. Let's start with the BCS. There aren't any matchups this year where I know I'm a big fan of both bands, but that's mostly for lack of having seen one. You know that my bias tends to tilt Big Ten, but in addition to that, the fact that two Sudler Trophy winners will meet in the Sugar Bowl (Ohio State vs. Arkansas) makes it tough to deny. The National Championship game intrigues me as well; while I'm not as familiar with the Nike-clad Oregon band, I've sort of fallen for the AUMB this season.

Outside of the BCS, there are a few that catch my eye. First and foremost I'm excited about The Meineke Car Care Bowl (Herd of Thunder vs. the Band that Shakes the Southland) which I will be attending. Beyond that, I look forward to the Cotton Bowl (Golden Band from Tiger Land. vs. Fightin' Texas Aggie Band), Ticketcity (Goin' Band from Raiderland vs. Northwestern's Wildcat Marching Band) and New Orleans Bowl (Sound of the South vs. Marching 110).

Now that ESPN's got the BCS, I wonder how much we'll be seeing of halftime shows in the BCS and other ESPN bowls.
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