“That’s cutting it pretty close…”

Three more bowl games on the table – perhaps.  If all are approved, that would make for a total of 35.  Stewart Mandel wonders where all the teams are going to come from to play.

Just how low on the totem pole are these games willing to go? The Congressional Bowl’s agreement with the ACC would send the league’s ninth eligible team to D.C — but the conference has yet to produce more than eight since expanding in 2004. (The bowl’s backup partner is the MAC.) And a potential partnership with the St. Pete Bowl would give the eight-team Big East seven guaranteed slots in 2008 (though Notre Dame can take one of them).

The bowl system last expanded in 2006 with the addition of four new games: The BCS’ stand-alone national championship game, the PapaJohns.com game in Birmingham, Toronto’s International Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl. The NCAA’s coinciding move to a 12-game regular-season, along with the elimination of previous restrictions against 6-6 teams and the counting of wins over I-AA opponents, expanded the pool of eligible teams from 59 in 2004 to 73 two years later.

Last season, however, there were only seven eligible teams that did not land bowl invitations. They were Troy, South Carolina, Northwestern, Iowa, Louisville, Ohio and Louisiana-Monroe. Had the three proposed new games already existed, there would have been just one team to spare.

So why does bowl expansion keep happening?  Because there are enough interested parties – including us – fueling it.

Last year’s 32 bowl games netted an average attendance of 54,078, highest in eight years. The PapaJohns.com Bowl pitting Cincinnati and Southern Miss garnered a modest but respectable 2.26 rating on ESPN2. By comparison, NBA regular-season games on ESPN average a 1.3.

“If the market can bear it, [NCAA schools] have basically voted to have as many bowls as they can,” said Giannini. “If all bowls are stable, basically, the market is saying that having that many bowls is efficient.”

What’s not to like?

“The reality is that I’ve yet to meet a coach who doesn’t want a postseason opportunity,” said ESPN’s Derzis. “If they qualify, their season continues, they get extra practice time, they get a chance to showcase their program on national television, and it truly is positioned as a reward for the players, the staff and the fans.

“… Communities continue to embrace [bowls] and to open their arms to host new ones, and television ratings continue to show that the public has not had their fill of bowls.”

If you televise it, they will come.



Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

9 responses to ““That’s cutting it pretty close…”

  1. And the bubbly will flow in Columbia tonite.


  2. dean

    What ever happened to a bowl game being a reward for a good season? Going 6 – 6 is not a good season.


  3. And the bubbly will flow in Columbia tonite.

    Shoot, man, when Garcia steps in, the ‘Cocks are a lock for seven wins. 😉


  4. NebraskaDawg

    They can always bring back the Poulan Weedeater Bowl and the Cocks can be a lock every year.


  5. Nebraska,

    The Weedeater never left. It just changed names to the PetroSun Independence Bowl.

    Oh…and +1 to Jacksorbettor



  6. Ally

    Oh come on now, you boys are just being mean. You’re obviously jealous of SCUm’s superior coaching and talent.

    I can assure you, they will have no need to “compete” for the Weedeater, Independance, or Liberty Bowls this season. Nay, a new day has arrived in the armpit of South Carolina!

    Just ask the god of football prognostications, Lee Corso. The time has finally come for the lamecocks to see redemption from all the naysayers and take their rightful place atop the SEC. A BCS bowl is indeed in store for the mighty coots. Anything less is just an insult!

    NEXT YEAR is finally this year!


  7. NM

    I have no problem with adding bowls. If you qualify you oughta get in. It was a damn shame Troy missed


  8. NM

    sorry, something cut me off…

    I have no problem with adding bowls. If you qualify you oughta get in. It was a damn shame Troy missed out last postseason, so this is a good thing. I mean, look at it this way, if the Cocks do somehow hit 6-6, that’s another half-mil the SEC gets to split, right?

    My question, though, is what happens if there aren’t enough teams? I assume you would then go to 6-6 teams with two I-AA wins (only one counts now; yes, I’m lookin’ at you, Ga Tech 2009). But then what? What if team #70 is 5-7?


  9. Dean, the bowls have never been about a reward for a good season. It just seemed that way because there were relatively few bowls. With jet travel accessible to everyone and sponsorship/TV money readily available now, the barriers for setting up a new game are as low as ever.

    Ever since 1902 when the Tournament of Roses committee thought a football game ( and Roman-style chariot races) might enhance their event, bowl games have been about a business arrangement that works for 1) the host city, 2) the participating schools/conferences, and now 3) TV. In over 100 years, little has changed about the motivation for adding a bowl game.