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College Bowl Greed (AKA BCS)

In 1975 on New Years Day I fell in love with College football, the night before Penn State played Alabama in the Sugar and then the following day #1 Ohio State with two times Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin lost the Rose bowl, allowing #2 Oklahoma the National Title.  That win in Miami set in motion my Grandfather getting tickets to the Orange Bowls in 79 and 80.  The pageantry the half time shows, I will never forget, and the football was spectacular.  Nor will I forget being separated from Poppa at the shuttle trains; he was freaking out, but this kid knew where to go and we met up soon after that. He was in his 70’s and I don’t he went to too many games in person after watching Oklahoma win their 2nd Orange Bowl in a row.  The crowds were not to his liking.  Old people and kids get pushed around by others trying to get a better look at someone else doing something.

Now I am turning 50 this year and can easily see why College Football is losing this edge and will become passé over the next few decades. There are 35 Bowl games in 2013, in 1975 there were 11 total Bowls.  Not only could I name every bowl team back then, I watched every game, although a couple (Cotton and Fiesta) overlapped.  Of the 35 Bowl games this year I know FSU and Auburn are playing for the National Championship in the last Rose Bowl game of the season, but I might only watch a total of  60 minutes spread out of 2 or 3 games.  Why the big change?  Simply put, everybody had to get paid in the end.  It became big business, and now I don’t really care about it. My own Alma Mata University of Maryland is changing conferences next year so they too can get paid, even though their old group the ACC took care of them quite well for the past 61 years.

For many years that I grew up the Bowl Schedule was locked down.   Sugar New Years Eve, Cotton and Fiesta early New Years Day, followed by Rose and then the Orange.  The number one college football team was always decided by that night, and the final polls were out that morning, UPI and AP.  Now there is a BCS Poll which is made up of so many things none of us can really explain.  All the extra Bowl games are aired on ESPN who has apparently nothing better to show during the holidays so they air them all.   This of course gets Disney Company paid on their investments, and can combine marketing with other company business.  As for the Colleges they are the greediest of them all, they all get paid a little more.  They own the players and all the marketing; players have to go to College to have a better chance of making the NFL.  Tom Brady was a 6th round draft choice 199th pick in the 2000 NFL Draft.  His draft order was a fluke, an oversight, but if Tom Brady was not a collegian he would have had Zero chance making it as a walk on with a Semi-Pro team.   Football players need to go to College in order to become professionals.

All this would be A Okay except for one nagging thing in my belly.  If I don’t get excited about College Football anymore, then my daughter grows up not getting excited about College Football, and maybe just maybe her kids don’t get excited about College Football.  The College Football is approaching the height of this cycle of greed.  In future years as more conferences are split up and moved round to generate excitement, and more rivalries are canceled, like Maryland vs. Virginia, the games will become less meaningful.  I will have already found something else to do!  I know I won’t be watching 35 College bowl games this or any year.

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