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.

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No Polls ‘Till October

College Football is filled with anomalies and noise. Lots of anomalies and noise.

A few examples;

It is the only North American sport that does not decide it’s champion with a playoff.

There is a preseason poll that for all intents and purposes is just plain silly.

The University of Arkansas was ranked in the top 10 at the beginning of the season because of what they did last year and the players they had returning this year. They were however missing one major piece, their head coach. Bobby Petrino got fired earlier this year and was replaced in the short term by John L. Smith. They are currently 1-3 and two of the losses include an upset lose to Louisiana-Monroe (ULM) and a behind the woodshed beating by Alabama.

Meanwhile ULM is a very competitive 1-2 and they scared the living daylights out of Auburn (who they took to overtime a week after beating Arkansas) and Baylor (47-41 final). Ohio University is 4-0 with a win at Penn State and Louisiana Tech is unbeaten, currently averaging 55 points per game and is probably going to beat another big school this weekend on the road (they play at Virginia and have already beaten Houston and Illinois on the road).

Why aren’t these teams ranked? How could everyone be so wrong about Arkansas? Is the Big Ten really that bad?

It’s the old saying, past performance does not guarantee future success. Preseason College Football polls should be done away with. The first poll should come out the first week of October after the teams have had a few games to prove themselves.

It won’t even effect TV ratings. People are going to tune in for Alabama v Michigan anyway because it’s two big named schools. People will be watching Nebraska v UCLA because it’s two big name schools. Does anyone see a pattern developing here?

When the first poll comes out it won’t be all that different then it is now. Most people would have believed in preseason that Alabama was the best team in College Football and that that would be a pretty safe bet. Turns out that they would be right, at least by my estimation. Alabama will probably compete for the National Championship again this year so what does it matter if they are preseason #1 in the August?

For the smaller programs out there or the teams trying to get into the National Championship picture, being ranked would help get attention and probably help raise money too. But rank them in the first week of October. Not the first week of August.