Monday, December 31, 2007

Bowling for Pigskin

Bang for the Buck

Back in the late 1800s when I was a college student and football was played with leather helmets, and there were no TV contracts and no BCS and Appalachian State would not be allowed to play Michigan. Colleges played 10 football games per year and a few conference winners got to go to a bowl game. There were a handful of bowl games - the granddaddy of them all of course was the Rose Bowl where a team from snow country got to come to the land of milk and honey to get tromped after they woke up and smelled the roses. I can remember reading about the Orange Bowl which offered all the orange juice you could drink for a dime, and the Sugar Bowl, but not many more. Seems they were all played on New Years Day. In those days the guys who completed college eligibility and went on to play professionally made, maybe $ 10,000 per year. Not bad for playing a game. The professional football season didn't end with a bowl. It just ended.

The decades since have become the age of marketing. Ever since that little black and white box was able to broadcast games clever marketers have been figuring ways to squeeze more dollars out of the sporting public. College bowl games making money? Let's add a few. No, a few more. Ok, a few more. Pigskin bowl games began to multiply like rabbits until today when the "Bowl Season" spans three weeks and some 32 bowl games are played. Gone is the conference champion prerequisite. These days a team has to have six wins out of 11, 12, or 13 in order to qualify. The bowl season has been devalued but the money keeps on pouring in. Clearly the saturation point has not yet been reached.

Oh yes, the "Granddaddy" has been replaced with a rotating system. The supposed two best college teams in the country, as determined by the mysterious magic of the BCS (although many sports fans feel the "C" has no place in BCS) now play the last bowl game of the year. This year it will be played January 7.

Wait. Did I say the LAST bowl game of the year? Whoops. No, there are more. Post-season, post-Bowl Game month finds bowls that are played by those who are nominated or elected to play in all-star type games. There are more all star candidates than the year's Democrat and Republican presidential candidates combined.

Oh, and did I mention the so-called "Super Bowl?" That's played by the real professionals. It is played a month after the other "Bowl Games" are completed but only after teams with a record of 8-8 or worse successfully navigate through the playoff season. PLEASE! I'm getting overloaded with bowl games. I think I'll hang my head over the toilet bowl and wretch over this wretched practice.

A little blogging music maestro.... anything but "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."

Dr. Forgot

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