COLLEGE PARK, MD – NOVEMBER 12: Quarterback Caleb Rowe #7 of the Maryland Terrapins is sacked by defensive end Tyquan Lewis #59 of the Ohio State Buckeyes during the second quarter at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium on November 12, 2016 in College Park, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

We all know the college football bowl game season is incredibly over-inflated. There are 40 bowl games this year and even the most diehard college football fans can’t get motivated to see half of them.

With an alarming amount of mediocrity, empty stadiums, and non-appealing matchups, bowl season needs to be fixed. And there’s no greater example of that than today’s December 26th slate of games. It is the perfect symbol for the bloated bowl season.

According to SB Nation, this is the first time in the history of bowls that we have at least three bowl games where all the teams have at least six losses. In fact, none of the three December 26th bowl games that will take place today even have a team with a winning record playing in them. Five 6-6 teams are featured and there’s even a 5-7 team! Feel the excitement!

Here’s the bowl lineup for you today..

St. Petersburg Bowl: Miami (OH) (6-6) vs Mississippi State (5-7)

Quick Lane Bowl: Maryland (6-6) vs Boston College (6-6)

Camping World Independence Bowl: NC State (6-6) vs Vanderbilt (6-6)

Is it too much to ask for the quality of bowl games to be spaced out just a little bit? Or was the idea here that everyone would still be too caught up by it being the day after Christmas or watching Boxing Day Premier League games? These are 3 of the 4 bowl games that feature a matchup between teams without a winning record. The only other similar contest was the New Orleans Bowl between Southern Miss and UL-Lafayette with both entering the game at 6-6.

Here are just a few of the cringeworthy stats about the teams that will be in action today…

– One of them (Miami University) started the season 0-6. 0-6!!! On the bright side, at least that means they’ve won their last 6 straight!
– Mississippi State allowed 40 or more points in 4 out of their last 6 games, including losses to Kentucky and Arkansas. AND that includes allowing 41 points to Samford. Not Stanford. Samford.
– While Rutgers got a lot of national press for their humiliating losses to the elite teams of the Big Ten, Maryland didn’t fare much better. They lost to Michigan and Ohio State by a combined score of 121-6. Ouch.
– Not to be outdone, Boston College played 4 ranked teams this year and (unsurprisingly) lost all of them by wiiiiide margins. Against Virginia Tech, Clemson, Louisville, and Florida State, the Eagles lost by a combined score of 202-24.
– NC State ended the season 2-5 in their last 7 games, but at least they played teams like FSU and Clemson competitively, losing by one score to both higher ranked ACC teams.
– Vanderbilt beat Tennessee in the final game of the season to reach 6-6 and become bowl eligible. Good for Vandy!

The 5 Power Five schools playing today have a combined 14-27 conference record this season, meaning the only reason they got enough wins to qualify for a bowl game was because they chalked up cheap victories over schools far down the college football pecking order like Howard, Buffalo, UMass, Tennessee State, William & Mary, Samford, Wagner, and Notre Dame. Uggggghhhhhhhh. (See what we did there?)

Look, even the NCAA knows there are too many bowl games, putting a moratorium on new games earlier this year with other cities waiting in the wings to host them. There are a whopping 20 teams this year competing in bowl games without a winning record this year. It’s just far, far, far too many games featuring teams that really just aren’t very good.

Why? Largely thanks to television and specifically, ESPN. ESPN owns and operates 12 of the 40 bowl games that are on the current slate including new games like the Boca Raton Bowl and the Bahamas Bowl. The reasoning is quite straight-forward, no matter how many people actually attend the game, ESPN can invent live sports programming out of nothing knowing that they’ll get a decent audience for any “bowl game” no matter the true quality of the matchup.

It’s hard to begrudge these teams, programs, and student-athletes taking part in these games and earning a trip to a place like the Bahamas or Hawaii. A bowl game is a meaningful experience for the players, the programs, and the cities that are able to host them. But the bigger picture problem is that otherwise, the games are becoming far too diluted and it takes away the value of a bowl game.

Is it any mystery why all of these bowl games are becoming more and more meaningless and star players are now taking to skipping them entirely? Nick Saban may want to blame the playoff, but is it the playoff’s fault that we have 3 bowl games today featuring 6 teams without a winning record? Of course not. But it’s the reality of the current landscape when there is such a high demand from ESPN and others and there isn’t a large enough supply of good teams to meet the bowl game need.

This just goes to show that sometimes too much of a good thing like bowl games can indeed be a not-so-good thing.

Comments are closed.