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If teams had to have winning records to go to bowls, we'd drop from 40 to 32 games this year

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There are probably way too many bowl games. That's fine, but here's what it would look like if there were only a few too many.

One brand-new postseason game pairs teams that went a combined 12-13.
One brand-new postseason game pairs teams that went a combined 12-13.

There are now 40 bowl games, plus the National Championship. That's a lot of football.

This overflow of football has meant the usual group of 6-6 teams aren't the worst teams to go bowling this year. This time, all of the 6-6 teams are in, plus some 5-7 teams. The idea of giving a trophy to a team that finishes 6-7 is a funny one, but everything about this sport is funny, so whatever.

In response to this, the ACC's voting to require 7-5 records for bowl eligibility, and we'll see if others follow.

If this rule had been in place this year (and actually enforced, since there's always a workaround for unfilled spots), we'd be without three 5-7 teams (Minnesota, Nebraska and San Jose State), who made it in thanks to a hastily arranged interpretation of an NCAA rule based on a suspect metric's assessment of academic performance by previous rosters at those programs, whether it was even the same coaching staff at the time or not. See? Funny sport.

We'd also be without 12 6-6 teams, slashing a total of 15 teams from the list. That would also mean an odd team out, so we'd be losing eight bowls entirely, with one 7-5 team sitting at home for the holidays.

Orange Bowl semifinal Clemson Oklahoma
Cotton Bowl semifinal Alabama Michigan State
Fiesta Bowl Notre Dame Ohio State
Peach Bowl Florida State Houston
Rose Bowl Iowa Stanford
Sugar Bowl Oklahoma State Ole Miss
Alamo Bowl Oregon TCU
Arizona Bowl Colorado State Nevada
Armed Forces Bowl Air Force California
Bahamas Bowl Middle Tennessee Western Michigan
Belk Bowl Mississippi State NC State
Birmingham Bowl Auburn Memphis
Boca Raton Bowl Temple Toledo
Cactus Bowl Arizona State West Virginia
Camellia Bowl Appalachian State Ohio
Citrus Bowl Florida Michigan
Cure Bowl Georgia State San Jose State
Foster Farms Bowl Nebraska UCLA
GoDaddy Bowl Bowling Green Georgia Southern
Hawaii Bowl Cincinnati San Diego State
Heart of Dallas Bowl Southern Miss Washington
Holiday Bowl USC Wisconsin
Idaho Potato Bowl Akron Utah State
Independence Bowl Tulsa Virginia Tech
Las Vegas Bowl BYU Utah
Liberty Bowl Arkansas Kansas State
Miami Beach Bowl South Florida Western Kentucky
Military Bowl Navy Pitt
Music City Bowl Louisville Texas A&M
New Mexico Bowl Arizona New Mexico
New Orleans Bowl Arkansas State Louisiana Tech
Outback Bowl Northwestern Tennessee
Pinstripe Bowl Duke Indiana
Poinsettia Bowl Boise State Northern Illinois
Quick Lane Bowl Central Michigan Minnesota
Russell Athletic Bowl Baylor North Carolina
St. Petersburg Bowl Marshall UConn
Sun Bowl Miami Washington State
TaxSlayer Bowl Georgia Penn State
Texas Bowl LSU Texas Tech

So let's rearrange bowl season without those 15 teams, figure out who'd get snubbed, and pay respects to the eight bowls we'd no longer have among us.

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A few things:

  • Any bowls that lose both teams (the Cure Bowl loses 5-7 SJSU and 6-6 Georgia State and the Independence Bowl loses 6-6 Tulsa and 6-6 Virginia Tech, for example) is right out.
  • Teams left without an opponent either get moved or welcome a fellow unmatched team. Let's say the bigger bowl or the bowl with the bigger conference tie does the welcoming. The other bowl departs.
  • A couple (Air Force and Cal, for example) get split up thanks to spots opening elsewhere in their conferences.
  • After sliding things around, poor Central Michigan gets left out at 7-5. CMU fans, please swap out any other team in your mind.

So here's the new list.

It's minus 15 non-winning teams, the snubbed CMU, and the Arizona, Armed Forces, Birmingham, Cure, Heart of Dallas, Independence, Quick Lane, and St. Petersburg bowls. We'd be back down to 32 bowls, not counting the National Championship, which is where we were in 2007.

Bowl
Orange Bowl semifinal Clemson Oklahoma
Cotton Bowl semifinal Alabama Michigan State
Fiesta Bowl Notre Dame Ohio State
Peach Bowl Florida State Houston
Rose Bowl Iowa Stanford
Sugar Bowl Oklahoma State Ole Miss
Alamo Bowl Oregon TCU
Bahamas Bowl Middle Tennessee Western Michigan
Belk Bowl Mississippi State NC State
Boca Raton Bowl Temple Toledo
Cactus Bowl West Virginia California
Camellia Bowl Appalachian State Ohio
Citrus Bowl Florida Michigan
Foster Farms Bowl Colorado State UCLA
GoDaddy Bowl Bowling Green Georgia Southern
Hawaii Bowl Cincinnati San Diego State
Holiday Bowl USC Wisconsin
Las Vegas Bowl BYU Utah
Liberty Bowl Memphis Arkansas
Miami Beach Bowl South Florida Western Kentucky
Military Bowl Navy Pitt
Music City Bowl Louisville Texas A&M
New Mexico Bowl Marshall New Mexico
New Orleans Bowl Arkansas State Louisiana Tech
Outback Bowl Northwestern Tennessee
Pinstripe Bowl Duke Southern Miss
Poinsettia Bowl Boise State Northern Illinois
Potato Bowl Akron Air Force
Russell Athletic Bowl Baylor North Carolina
Sun Bowl Miami Washington State
TaxSlayer Bowl Georgia Penn State
Texas Bowl LSU Texas Tech

This means eight fewer ugly trophies going out to happy players and coaches and 24 fewer hours of football for you to watch before the cold embrace of mid-January shuffles over you. I hope you're happy.