Yes, the College Football Season is winding down with what sports pundits call the College Football Bowl Season. In decades past, these Bowl Games used to be known by one word, like Orange, Cotton, Sugar, or Rose (the original Big Four). Something happened along the way, and by something, I mean Corporate Sponsorship. Dollar signs replaced easy-to-remember names, and we ended up with names like the Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl, the Meineke Bowl, the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl, the Capital One Bowl (What tickets are in your wallet?), the Go Daddy Dot Com Bowl, the Chick-Fil-A Bowl (if the Gamecocks can’t win a chicken-themed bowl…), and the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Pass the salsa.
Perhaps the biggest change to college football, at least since the addition of alumni fund-raising operations, is the advent of the BS – I mean, the BCS. Sports fans, coaches, and sports writers were always unhappy with the arbitrary and capricious way in which a National College Football Champion was selected, a process that involved smoke-filled rooms, a lot of mystery, and copious amounts of whisky. So, a lot of them got together and created a new arbitrary and capricious way to select the Champion. This new selection procedure took all the elements of the old procedure and added computer-based evaluation to the mix. Full of pride over their accomplishment, they christened the new selection procedure the BS.
I’m just kidding about that. The Bowl Championship Series has totally eliminated all controversy surrounding the College Football Post-Season (just ask Boise State) and has given us fine champions through a newest huge bowl game. The Tostitos BCS National Championship Game is sort of like the Super Bowl of college football, except that there aren’t any good bands at halftime. BS – I mean, BCS proponents argue that the BCS system is the best way to choose the champ. The BCS website is chock-full of supporting quotes from college coaches, like this from Oregon State’s Mike Riley:
“I like the bowl system. I like the opportunity for a lot of teams to have a successful season and to get a chance to go to a bowl game. We don’t need to limit that to whatever the playoff deal is.”
Whatever the playoff deal is??? Is there a deal, Mike? What do you know that you’re not telling us? Hmmm…
There are many who would love to see a playoff system for college football. Take the top-ranked 16 teams, place them into eight existing bowl games (they would just become part of the playoff system), and take four or five weeks to play out to a national championship. The Final Four could be New Year’s Day’s college football schedule, and one or two weeks later, we could have a legitimate Tostitos (non-BCS) National Championship Game. It looks good on paper, but…
The real reason we’ll never see a playoff system is the same reason why we started calling bowls strange names: Corporate Sponsorship. College football is big business, and with all the TV, licensing, and sponsorship revenues out there, they’d be fools for even thinking about changing the system.
And we all know that 100% of these college football players are there just for the football. Sports are the real reason we have colleges and universities; academics are just a by-product. Education is low on the list of official BCS and sponsor priorities. Who cares about that when there are gobs of cash to be made, right?
Anyway, this year’s BCS showdown pits the undefeated Auburn Tigers (13-0) against the undefeated Oregon Ducks (12-0). The undefeated Texas Christian Horned Frogs will have to settle for playing No. 5 Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.
Next year should show us an improved University of South Carolina, building upon their impressive victory over Florida State in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, and turning into a championship contender in 2011 (a man can dream).
And new Corporate Sponsorship opportunities await those interested in a bowl game of their very own. Rumor has it that Kiwi Brands, Inc., the parent company of Sara Lee and others, wants to name a game after one of their biggest brands. May we present the 2011 BCS Ty-D Bol!
See you New Year’s Eve – Storm Watch at the Key Colony Inn!!!