“Bowl Games-Used to be Special”
You grew up watching the Grand Daddy of them all, the Rose Bowl.
You were enthralled to see the Orange Bowl.
You imagined being on Bourbon Street for the Sugar Bowl
The Cotton Bowl meant something really special.
At one time there were 18-bowl games, but as TV network coverage grew, money grew, and the clamor for more bowls for more teams grew too.
It jumped in increments, up to 24-games, then into the 30s and more recently 43-bowl games.
Everyone, anyone, who won 6-games got to celebrate by playing somebody, somewhere in a weirdly named game, in places like Shreveport or Albuquerque, at Yankee Stadium or Fenway Park.
Once you’ve been part of something like doing a Rose Bowl game, or visiting the Holiday Bowl the first time, nothing really equals that experience.
Not the Freedom Bowl in Anaheim, or the Cherry Bowl in Detroit or the Gasparilla Bowl in Tampa
My first experience in a bowl, was broadcasting Ohio U-vs-Richmond in the Tangerine Bowl. My career took me to Arizona State and the Sun Devils first Rose Bowl win over Michigan. Outside of broadcasting the NFL, and going to a Chargers Super Bowl game, no other college bowl game has caught my fancy.
Not to say the Idaho Potato Bowl does not mean something to the people of Boise. Or the Fiesta Bowl does not carry clout in Tempe when it first started.
But there is little excitement playing in cold weather in front of 15,000 fans in your so called bowl game for your (6-6) team. Now there are so many bowl games; some have to search to find a (6-7) team to slot in against some conference’s 7th place finisher.
Now this year, Covid is an opponent too, and the Gator Bowl has been bitten with Texas AM canceling out because of a serious Covid outbreak. They cannot find a team for Wake Forest, a 10-win team. This might not be a one-off issue. Other teams could be sacked by the Delta-Omicron double team variant.
Alabama has 3-of its most important coaches, led by Nick Saban, Bill O’Brien, Doug Marrone, all in isolation right now, a week away from the College Playoffs. It has gotten so bad that even the College Football Committee has issued a blueprint if one team, both teams have to opt out, or even if the championship game has to be canceled if both teams have too many positive tests.
It’s almost like we are watching what Dr. Anthony Fauci does to determine what Jim Harbaugh, or Georgia’s defense, the Crimson Tide, or what the surprise UC Bearcats do.
Just too many teams, too many games, and now too many issues to think this a good idea to play this many games with these many teams.
Even the Pinstripe Bowl or Fenway Park Bowl don’t carry the zip they did that first year.
I miss USC-Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.
Hell I miss the long deceased Bluebonnet Bowl too.
Used to be special, but too much of a good thing wears you out, and that’s where the Bowl games are now.