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To Money-Grubbing College Football Bowl Organizers: Call Off the Dogs Before You Ruin the Game

Years ago, going to a bowling game after playing in the regular season was a huge reward and a sign of excellence. Now it has become an absolute joke.

What caused this sad state of affairs? I’m glad you asked. The answer is bowling game organizers looking for money with dollar signs in their eyes. It’s about making money at the expense of respect for the game, the players and their quest for excellence.

You see, there are only 120 major college football teams in Division 1-A, what the NCAA likes to call FBS (the Football Bowl Subdivision). The NCAA brain trust is increasingly fond of bowling games as they believe it promotes the sport and becomes a money magnet.

He also sports kills as a wounded animal running for his life after being shot by a sportsman, not realizing that even if he escapes his hunter, he will bleed to death in the process.

The plethora of bowl games will eventually cause soccer to lose its appeal as the number one spectator sport in America. It may seem unthinkable, but I have been covering or watching football for half a century and I can see history repeating itself.

I remember when baseball was king in America, and the powers that be thought it would never cease to be THE sport of choice. Then basketball became very popular with rivalries at the pro level. Then football became fashionable. I remember when professional football games weren’t even televised due to lack of demand. When you live long enough and pay attention, you see the cycles develop.

Professional baseball has made the mistake of expanding into more and more teams and more and more playoff games. Very quickly, the quality of the game declined, too much money was involved, and the game became more driven by money than the pursuit of excellence.

Baseball club owners put crummy teams on the field and people stopped coming. Some big cities wouldn’t even support a lousy team. Another sport then became more popular.

Here’s the catch: We have 120 major teams and now the bowl season has been extended to 35 games. This means that 70 of the 120 teams will play in a bowling match. The situation has gotten so bad that the NCAA is talking about waivers because there aren’t enough teams currently qualified to play in a bowling game.

The norm today is 6 wins out of 12 games – that’s just a stinking .500 record that doesn’t really deserve the reward of a bowl game. Heck, you had to win 7 games to make it a bowl game. Now there is talk of letting teams with a 5-7 record play in a bowl match because there aren’t enough of them that could qualify with 6 wins.

It does not make sense. One of the pernicious results of this is gratifying incompetence.

It reminds me of parents who almost force their child to play little league baseball when the child doesn’t care. He then plays 12 games on a team that loses every game, and as a reward they give each kid on the team a trophy so their feelings won’t be hurt by their incompetence.

Parents also feel compelled to take pictures of their little “stars” and have them put on baseball cards as if they were some kind of major league player. So stupid. The child learns that being a zero counts for everything. He feels like a nothing and is a nothing.

He is denied the blood, sweat and tears of working hard to develop skills, learn to be a team player and enjoy real, real success – a far more valuable lesson that will help him throughout his life.

Last year, 71 teams became eligible for bowling by winning at least 6 games, and 68 of them played in bowling matches. This year, 64 teams are eligible for bowling and 20 could be if they win again. Bowl selections are to be announced on Sunday, December 5.

Unless someone in authority puts their foot down, we could soon see 60 games of bowling with every major school participating. It can make someone a lot of money, but the games will be terrible and players will be deprived of something very important – the feeling of success that comes from hard work and sacrifice, and that cannot be replaced.

Copyright © 2010 Ed Bagley

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