NCAA Bowl Season Must Be Fixed And It Starts With Rescheduling
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The timing on this story is suspect, I can see why you would think that I am just sad and bitter about the recent events that unfolded in San Antonio last week. I promise this thought has been dwelling for some time, long before the Utes lost to the Texas Longhorns in the Alamo Bowl.
It started back in 2014 when I was still just a lonely punter on the University of Utah football team trying to pass classes and impress enough NFL scouts that they would maybe, just maybe, give me a shot to make lots of money kicking pigskin for a living.
The regular season was over, we had finished 8-4 and were destined for Las Vegas, Nevada where we would eventually roll the 10-2 Colorado State Rams 45-10 in a game that showcased Utah’s Pac-12 talent.
We were fortunate, the game was played on December 20, some five days prior to Christmas. Myself and my teammates were able to get home in time for the Christmas festivities and relax for a handful of weeks before the grind of winter conditioning and preparation for 2015 began.
The same thing can be said for 2015. My final game of football was when Utah held off the BYU Cougars in the (yet again, sigh) Vegas Bowl.
My problem with Bowl Games is not that there are too many of them. My problem is with the timing of them. Let’s be frank, not that I would know, but a New Years Six Bowl Game would be fun to play in, the rest of them are pointless.
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) January 1, 2020
Nobody cares for them, it seems. I am talking about the players in particular. Every player has a competitive edge to them, and every player wants to win. But, when you don’t win and it does not matter, then why would you care? When Utah lost to Texas, nothing happened. They did not fall in any standings, nothing.
Well, I should not say that, the head coach of every football team cares, simply because they have bonus money attached to their contract if they win.
When you reach collegiate athletics, you play to win championships. You want to leave your legacy and help progress the football program to bigger heights. You can only do that by winning games that matter. It is a shame that bowl games do not.
Who remembers what the score was when Utah beat the Indiana Hoosiers in the Foster Farms bowl back in 2016? I thought so. If the game mattered, you would be more likely to remember the score.
Following Utah’s loss to the Longhorns on December 31, the Utah locker room was pleasant, when normally after a loss you could hear a pin drop. It was a celebration of sorts for the departing seniors and for good reason. Zack Moss, Tyler Huntley, Bradlee Anae, Leki Fotu, etc. have helped transformed the Utah program into the current power that it is today.
So if the players don’t care for bowl games, why would the NCAA not push the timing of the games forward so that they can at least spend time with their loved ones over Christmas and New Year’s.
My proposal would be to play every bowl game that is not a New Year’s Six game before Christmas Eve. Then space the following six games from the first of January to the tenth. Not only do I think that the student-athletes would care more, but I also believe that fans would be more engaged with watching and traveling to the games.
— Utah Athletics (@utahathletics) January 1, 2020
Creating more interest in Bowl games is crucial for the future of the NCAA. In today’s day and age, with the discussions of compensating student-athletes more than they already are in full effect, the bowl routine for stars is starting to change.
The best players are deciding to sit out and save their bodies for the rigors that the NFL brings. Why would they do that? How could they do that to their college team?
The answer is simple. They are starting to realize that the bowl game does not matter. Nothing happens if they lose the game, they win a pointless trophy if they win. Why would you risk so much when all that you have to win is a Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl Trophy (yes, that is a real bowl game)?
Something has to change. A start would be rescheduling the timing. It is not hard and could potentially go a long way in regathering the interest for college bowl games.
In 2015, the rivalry hiatus came to an early end when both Utah and BYU met in the Las Vegas Bowl. The Utes jumped out to a 35-0 lead before the Cougars stormed back but the team in red prevailed with a 35-28 win.#Utes pic.twitter.com/uvdyBg0ScY
— Trevor Allen (@TrevorASports) December 29, 2019
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