clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

What if only winning teams made bowls? 2016’s games might look like this

New, comments

We could trim off about a fourth of bowl season and get some better games, or we could just keep celebrating the sprawl.

Bowl games are good. There are too many of them. Both things are true.

We’re holding steady at 41 on this year’s schedule, counting the National Championship, and again have multiple 5-7 teams that made it in because we ran out of 6-6 teams (Mississippi State and North Texas this time).

Players and fans getting to take trips is good (though these days, some players evidently do not wish to take these trips, which is fine), and constant football on the TV is good. But toning this sloppy mess up just a little bit is a thing we’re gonna have to consider at some point. Many bowls are poorly attended, and though these things are mostly just TV product, TV is not the stablest long-term foundation.

So let’s say, just for fun (I guess), that we cap bowl eligibility at 7-5, rather than 6-6, and do away with any exemptions for teams below that mark. If we can’t fill a bowl without putting a winning team in it, we skip that bowl this year. That wouldn’t work IRL, but this is just an internet blog post.

Here’s how things might look for 2016 if we dropped all 20 .500-or-worse bowl-eligible teams and then slid some teams around, taking it down to a slightly less heaping buffet of 31 bowls:

Bowl From To Better?
Bowl From To Better?
Alamo Colorado - Oklahoma State Colorado - Oklahoma State
Arizona Air Force - South Alabama On hiatus
Armed Forces Louisiana Tech - Navy Louisiana Tech - Navy
Bahamas EMU - Old Dominion EMU - Old Dominion
Belk Arkansas - Virginia Tech Arkansas - Virginia Tech
Birmingham South Carolina - USF Appalachian State - USF Maybe
Boca Raton Memphis - WKU On hiatus
Cactus Baylor - Boise State Boise State - Stanford Yeah
Camellia Appalachian State - Toledo On hiatus
Citrus Louisville - LSU Louisville - LSU
Cotton Wisconsin - WMU Wisconsin - WMU
Cure Arkansas State - UCF On hiatus
Dollar General Ohio - Troy On hiatus
Fiesta semifinal Clemson - Ohio State Clemson - Ohio State
Foster Farms Indiana - Utah On hiatus
Hawaii Hawaii - MTSU MTSU - Troy Maybe
Heart of Dallas Army - North Texas On hiatus
Holiday Minnesota - Washington State Minnesota - Washington State
Idaho Potato Colorado State - Idaho Colorado State - Idaho
Independence NC State - Vanderbilt On hiatus
Las Vegas San Diego State - Houston San Diego State - Houston
Liberty Georgia - TCU Georgia - Pitt Maybe
Miami Beach CMU - Tulsa On hiatus
Military Temple - Wake Forest Air Force - Temple Maybe
Music City Nebraska - Tennessee Nebraska - Tennessee
New Mexico New Mexico - UTSA New Mexico - Tulsa Yeah
New Orleans Southern Miss - UL Lafayette Arkansas State - Memphis Yeah
Orange FSU - Michigan FSU - Michigan
Outback Iowa - Florida Iowa - Florida
Peach semifinal Alabama - Washington Alabama - Washington
Pinstripe Pitt - Northwestern Army - Ohio No
Poinsettia BYU - Wyoming BYU - Wyoming
Quick Lane Boston College - Maryland Toledo - WKU YEAH
Rose Penn State - USC Penn State - USC
Russell Athletic Miami - West Viginia Miami - West Viginia
St. Petersburg Miami (Ohio) - Mississippi State On hiatus
Sugar Auburn - Oklahoma Auburn - Oklahoma
Sun North Carolina - Stanford North Carolina - Utah Maybe
TaxSlayer Georgia Tech - Kentucky Georgia Tech - Kentucky
Texas Kansas State - Texas A&M Kansas State - Texas A&M

The Quick Lane Bowl upgrade alone is worth doing this.

Bowls that get cut are mostly newer, lightly attended, and/or pretty redundant (we do not need three different Orlando bowls, for example). Geographic diversity is also a factor. There aren’t many Midwestern bowls, so Detroit’s Quick Lane Bowl gets preference over a third bowl in Louisiana that no one is crazy about (the Independence Bowl).

I moved Stanford around because Utah found itself without a home or opponent, but the Utes were picked ahead of the Cardinal in the Pac-12’s order this year. Otherwise, I just plopped the few teams that needed new homes into vacated spots based on some vague combo of merit and geography, without paying much attention to current conference contracts (since those are pretty flexible anyway). The Hawaii Bowl has no geography to it at all, but that’s often the case.

Also, I made the Pinstripe Bowl worse. I’m sorry.

What do you think? Should I delete this and just put it all back the way it was? Should we go further? Could the Foster Farms Bowl beat the Browns? Was the world better off with 5-7 Mississippi State scheduled to play 6-6 Miami (Ohio) in St. Petersburg’s Dagobah Park?