Bowl Recap

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


Bowl season is over (outside of the National Title game which wouldn’t effect the numbers either way) and it was not a good one by any means. While some games were close and exciting too many of the “big bowl games” were blowouts and too many were just unnecessary. Is it safe to say that there are too many bowl games? Yep.

I am not an economics professor but it’s easy to see how the 2015-2016 bowl season fell short. When compared with the 2014-2015 bowl season, there was a drop off in competitive games or games that were decided by eight points or less (one possession). In 2014-2015, 19 of the 38 bowl games (50%) were one possession games while the 2015-2016 bowl season saw only 16 of the 41 bowl games (39%) decided by one possession.

ROSE BOWL 2016Even more disappointing were the “big bowl games”. The New Year’s Six (NYS) games average score was 41.6-17.5. These are the “big” games? These were not even close. In fact one team (Michigan State) was shut out and another (Iowa) was down 35-0 at halftime thanks to Christian McCaffery who set yet another record this year.

There are a lot of theories about why these games were so lopsided but nothing conclusive.

On another front, as pointed out in an earlier post, there were three 5-7 teams that were allowed into bowl games. All three won ironically enough but the more unsettling event was the fact that conference foes had to face off against one another.

AZ BOWL WEBSITEColorado State played Mountain West rival Nevada in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl. A game that was broadcast on the American Sports Network. If it wasn’t for CampusInsiders.com live stream of the game, most die hard fans would have been unable to watch the game at all.

Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson called the matchup a “travesty”. He went on in a statement released by the Mountain West conference:

It is a travesty the Mountain West has been forced into this situation. Clearly, the system is broken. There is an excess of bowl games due in part to a disparate allocation of openings vs. conference bowl histories. The result is teams with sub-.500 records participating in bowl games. There is consensus change is needed and this year’s outcome must not be repeated.

 

It wasn’t all terrible. January 2nd featured four games and three of those were decided by one possession and one, the Valero Alamo Bowl, feature a 31 point comeback by TCU who went on to beat Oregon in three overtimes.

Appalachian State defeated Ohio on a last second field goal after scoring 24 points in the fourth quarter and Akron won their first ever bowl game with a 23-21 victory over Utah State in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

So it wasn’t all bad but it should have been much, much better. One can only imaging that if there were less bowl games then we would see more competitive games. Yes some “deserving” 6-6 or 7-5 teams would be left out but if that’s the trade off for more entertaining bowl games then that seems like a fair trade.

The Next Wave

 

By Brad Hubbard

Coaching changes are nothing new in football. In the professional ranks, replacing a coach in the middle of the season isn’t ground breaking but in college, it’s pretty earth shattering. More importantly the cracks are there for it to happen more often.

After a 30-13 at home in Week 1 the University of Houston fired their Offensive Coordinator. After a 10-7 loss at Oregon St the University of Wisconsin fired their Offensive Line coach. Before a battle against Washington the Portland State Vikings relieved their Defensive Coordinator of his duties. This is an unprecedented rate in college football.

The results haven’t been good for any of the three schools since the move. Houston has yet to win a game, Wisconsin had to rely on a missed Utah State field goal at home for a W and Portland State got taken behind the proverbial woodshed by Washington in Seattle.

Two of the three coordinators were in their first season with the schools and to last a grand total of three games is mind boggling. Coaching changes happen a lot. The past few offseason’s they seem to be happening later and later giving coaching staff’s even less time together before coaching in the limited time frame that is college football. It’s also giving them less time to recruit fickle high school athletes.

If Coordinators are being fired so quickly at the start of the season what does that mean for the Head Coaches at the end of the season? After three weeks you could argue that the SEC could see as many as four coaching changes by the end of the year. Is it too far off to believe that a Head Coach could be fired after game four or five?

I don’t believe it is.

We’ve already seen it last year in the PAC-12 when Arizona kicked Mike Stoops to the curb after a 1-5 start. This time the change will either be in the SEC or a mid-major conference like the Mountain West or Conference USA.

There is too much money on the line for schools and too much talent to go around on the field. At some point in the near future an Athletic Director will realize that they just paid a smaller school some ridiculous amount of money to be fodder and then that school turned around and played like the 1989 San Francisco 49ers. There are too many examples to go around but here are a few:

-Appalachian State upset of Michigan in 2007

-Wyoming defeats Tennessee in 2008

-UNLV beats Wisconsin in 2003

-Richmond beats Duke 2011

-Sacramento State beats Colorado 2012

-Cal Poly defeats Wyoming 2012

-Texas State beats Houston 2012

While this is still college athletics it’s about as much of a business as you can find. When a school like Colorado in a major conference like the PAC-12 gives up 55 points by halftime against a school from the WAC you have to think that the Athletic Director and even the school President have to look at making a change. If I was alumni or a major donor the last thing I would do is give money to a school that gets embarrassed like that. If I was quality player I would reconsider my options.

Whether you like it or not college football is a major promotional tool for the school.  It’s also a massive revenue generator. If the football team is being upset by a smaller school or being blown out on national TV it hurts the school financially. Head Coaches are on the hot seat like never before and they better realize it. If the losing continues after the assistants have been let go there is no one left to pin the blame on. 2012 may end up being the year the flood gates opened on in season firings.