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Trimming the Absurd Gristle of Bowl Season: A Simple Guide

Those who frequent this blog are aware I love college football. Yet, as I took in some lukewarm bowl
“action” this weekend, something happened for the first time in the course of my long love affair with collegiate pigskin. When my dad dropped his familiar (annual) “is this the who cares bowl?” refrain, I found myself quietly acquiescing. Not laughing mind you, but, in my lack of response, I was tacitly agreeing that the bowl bonanza has finally — officially — spiraled out of control.

This is not about a playoff debate. This is about preserving some bowl game integrity. It’s about how these games can retain (or regain) some pageantry. It’s about getting back to bowl games that fill stadiums, and feature premiere teams from standout conferences. This is about real bowls that are nouns and often represent common household products – like cotton, sugar and orange.

Point is, I’ve had it. In thinking more on the topic, I think the solution is simple (ignoring all the real issues, money and all that nonsense). With only a few simple guidelines, I think we can immediately reduce the number of bowl games (34 this “season”) and, in so doing, dramatically increase the quality and integrity of the bowl season. Did I mention I’ve only got three rules? Wanna hear ’em? OK, here goes. Keep track as we quickly reduce the current slate and vastly improve the roster simultaneously. I’ll provide updates on the “master counter” as we proceed. Shall we?

34 (number of current bowl games; 2009-10)
Rule #1: Eliminate all Bowl Games Named After Cities or States
Seriously, if you’ve got to name a bowl after a city or state what the hell does it say about that bowl game? Aren’t these things supposed to be about football and not giant ads for tourism authorities? I’m cool with showing off the venue city once teams roll into town, but c’mon.

Put rule #1 into effect immediately and say peace out to the New Mexico Bowl, St. Petersburg Bowl (which even with next year’s name change would still get the axe under one of my other rules to come), New Orleans Bowl, Hawaii Bowl, Music City Bowl and Texas Bowl.

Bowl Games Eliminated Under Rule #1: 6
Bowl Game Slate Down to: 28

Rule #2: Eliminate All Bowl Games Where Sponsor Has Become THE Name of Bowl
I have no problem with Chick-Fil-A wielding their massive fried chicken superpowers to slap their name alongside the always-fine Peach Bowl. They’ve got some nerve, though, taking it over altogether. Same goes for a whole slew of even more sordid characters — from pizza titans to auto care giants. Under my rule, they’re all getting the boot. That means uh-oh for the Maaco Bowl, thanks for playing Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl, tough nuts Emerald Bowl, why don’t you not go to Meineke Car Care Bowl and adios to the Eaglebank, Champs Sports, Insight, Chick-Fil-A, Outback, Capital One, GMAC and (the no .com bowl is an unwritten and imperative sub-clause of this rule).

Bowls Eliminated Under Rule #2: 12
Bowl Game Slate Down to: 16

Rule #3: Eliminate All “Adjective Bowls”
Just because it makes no sense. It just doesn’t. Don’t ask me why, but they feel weird Admit it, you feel the same way too. Yes, humanitarian can be a noun, but let’s just say so long to the Humanitarian Bowl and International Bowl (plus, the latter is played in Canada which is just ridiculous).

Bowls Eliminated Under Rule #3: 2
Bowl Game Slate Down to: 14

With the following rules implemented, the total number of bowls is decreased by more than half. The remaining bowls make complete and utter sense, at least to me. You’ve got the five big BCS games (never mind that whole deal) with the title game, Orange, Fiesta, Sugar and Rose. Add to those fellow solid, traditional noun bowls like the Sun, Holiday, Independence, Liberty, Gator, Cotton and Alamo. That’s 12. 12 old-school bowl games that have been around the block. Good, strong, American bowls. The only two left? Pointsettia and Armed Forces.

Granted, the Armed Forces Bowl may seem a bit stupid, but whom am I to be unpatriotic. The Pointsettia Bowl? Hey, it doesn’t violate any of the three major tenets above, so I guess it can stay. Plus, it sure is festive.

Whaddya think? Is anybody going to miss the MAC/Conf USA duel in the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl? Or for that matter the four-loss Wildcats and Tigers matching up at the Music City Bowl? How ’bout Middle Tennesee and Southern Miss in the New Orleans Bowl? Exactly. Someone get me Senator Hatch on the phone.


  1. Anonymous

    December 28, 2009 at 6:53 am

  2. Anonymous

    December 28, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    Canada loves the International Bowl

  3. Anonymous

    December 30, 2009 at 2:50 am

    Actually The Pointsettia Bowl, is officially called the "The San Diego County Credit Union, Pointsettia Bowl" Therefore I think it should be elmininated as well.

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