Make The Bowls Great Again!

Submitted by bighouse22 on January 23rd, 2019 at 10:34 AM

The title is inspired out of humor - no political position!

The narrative for the bowls being meaningless has been established by the players not participating and the media backing that narrative.  It seems to me there are a couple of actions the NCAA could take In order to provide incentive for player participation.  One of which has already been discussed and an additional item brought up to me by a friend (perhaps discussed in the media, but I haven't heard it directly).

(1)  Creating an 8 Team Playoff - 5 Conference Champions, 3 At Large Teams.

  • Benefits 
    • Eliminates the notion/bias of the eye test, which would have led us to believe that Alabama was the greatest team in our lifetimes.
    • Eliminates the notion/bias of the eye test, which had many in the media claiming a 2 loss Georgia team should have been in the 4 team playoff because of the bias of the SEC.  Even after the outcome of the bowls the power of personal bias was still in full force when several in the media refused to back off the position that Georgia should have been in - in spite of the evidence presented on the field.
    • Nick Saban is against expanding the playoff.  Let's analyze why?  He currently has a monopoly on bias, mostly justified.  However, there is now a narrative that a 2 loss Alabama would get in whether they won their Conference or not.  He can sell to every recruit they will be in the playoffs every year they attend his school and provides a recruiting advantage.  No other team can claim that they would be in even if they didn't win their Conference - hence #1 classes for the foreseeable future.
      • Consider an 8 team playoff with Conference winners getting in every year.  This means the best teams in each conference can now make the same claims.  It opens up the opportunity to complete at the highest level in the playoffs for more schools and more players.
    • Conferences now get to prove it on the field not in the imagination of the CFB Committee or media.
    • More players competing for something meaningful, means less leaving their teams to prepare for the NFL.
    • More bowl games become meaningful by adding 4 more meaningful games.

(2)  Pay all players that participate in the Bowl Games a bonus above and beyond their scholarship benefits.  Make it a substantial enough sum that they would be willing to get a benefit financial beyond the regular season.

My belief is that the actions above are a way for College Football and the NCAA to save the sport and provide incentive.  



January 23rd, 2019 at 10:45 AM ^

They are already guaranteed a seat at the table.  Every talking head last year told us how Alabama was getting in even if they lost to Georgia in their Championship Game.  The 8 Team playoff offers a guarantee to the other Conferences they can participate as well.  This seems like a better position than having 2 out of 4 spots filled by SEC teams.

Chalky White

January 23rd, 2019 at 12:24 PM ^

If Alabama was one of the top 4 teams in the country , they should get in. I don't care how many times they lost. I'm in favor of an 8 team playoff if it only includes the top 8 teams in the rankings. I have no desire to give auto-bids to champions of bad conferences.

West Virgina and Syracuse could go back to the Big East and make an argument that they aren't any worse than the Big 12 or ACC. One of those three conferences has to be power 5. No one wants to see the champion of any of those conferences get in over the 2nd or 3rd team in the Big Ten in that scenario.

I don't care if the third best team in a real conference gets in over whoever found a way to win the PAC 12 last year.


January 23rd, 2019 at 11:25 AM ^

If all of the Power 5 Conferences have a seat at the table who cares about whether anyone wants to expand beyond 8.  They can complain at that point, but it is hollow.  Right now it is still open to debate.  The Conferences don't play each other to truly know which is better.  The only way to find out is on the field.

It gives each of the Power 5 Conferences a seat at the table to prove it on the field.  A hard pass means you are ok with the SEC locking up 25% all years and 50% of the spots more often than not!  We already saw that they so called best of the SEC was not up to the task this year. 

The #2 team in Big 12 manhandled Georgia.  Yet we heard constantly from guys like Forde and  Herbstreit that Georgia deserved to be #4 and in the playoff as a 2 loss team.  That narrative is crazy.  Even after Georgia lost their 3rd game of the year, their pride and bias got in the way and they couldn't acknowledge they were wrong!

Whether anyone wants to admit it or not, the system for picking the teams is broken.

Most years there is some unexpected result that flies against the narrative.  


January 23rd, 2019 at 11:11 AM ^

If you expand the playoffs, they have to play more games to get into the title game. So there’s an increased likelihood of an upset. They’re not going to miss it very many times with a 4 team playoff. Heck, if we still had the BCS, they’d have been in the title game four of the last 5 years. If you want Bama to miss a chance at a title, you’d be better off going back to a more exclusive system than expanding anything. But you’d also have to recognize that Michigan would rarely ever be in the title game as well. Whereas we would have been in an 8 team playoff two of the last three seasons. And in a 16 team playoff, three of the last four years. 


January 23rd, 2019 at 12:53 PM ^

I don't understand your position.

The most exclusive system was the AP declaring a winner, Alabama would be the champion every year by default.

In the BCS the SEC champion was in essentially every title game, and won, alabama would most likely win every year.

In the CFP, which is less exclusive, Bama gets in, but hasn't won every year, and the #1 seed (who would be the AP champion in the past by default) has never won.

In an 8 team playoff bama gets in every year, but has more chances of getting exposed against better scheme/coaching, and likely will win even less frequently.

The least exclusive option increases the likelihood of bama losing.


January 23rd, 2019 at 1:52 PM ^

They've also been by nearly any objective standard one of the eight-best teams in the country for nearly the entire time Saban has been there. I had more of a concern when they were getting into the two-team BCS championship when they didn't win their conference (i.e., 2011 when they beat LSU in a rematch).

It's hardly unfair if one of the best eight teams in the country every year gets into an eight-team playoff.


January 23rd, 2019 at 3:57 PM ^

The system would be set up to find out if Alabama is the most consistently excellent team by allowing all the Power 5 conferences a seat at the table.  I submit the SEC is not the end all be all that the media would suggest because some team in Conference beat another team in that Conference.  I don't agree with the notion that because Georgia played a close game with Alabama they should be in the playoff either.   

I want to see it on the field against the Power 5 and I want a system that doesn't reward someones imagination by the so called eye test biasing seeding and number of teams that supposedly deserve to be in the playoff.


January 23rd, 2019 at 10:52 AM ^

I would be all for this, assuming all conferences got rid of divisions.

Northwestern would have been utterly decimated in the playoff and the thought of them upsetting Ohio State and then getting creamed by a top 8 team does not sound like a fun time to me. Top two teams from every conference playing each other to get to the Playoff? That sounds appealing.

Perkis-Size Me

January 23rd, 2019 at 12:14 PM ^

I could see myself getting on board with this, because its aggravating to watch either an underachieving Western division where usually one team (Wisconsin) makes it to Indy every year simply by default. The tough part for me would be knowing that the UM-OSU game would lose a lot of meaning. Especially if both teams came in undefeated. 

You'd have to question how much time and effort those teams would really put into that first game if both teams knew they were going to be playing each other again the following week, in a game that decides the winner of the whole conference and possibly who of them (if not both) goes to the playoff. 


January 23rd, 2019 at 2:54 PM ^

I'm not sure I agree with that. If I am playing my rival, I want to beat them every time I face them. At that point coaches' contracts would need to have incentives (they might already have these) where every time you beat your rival(s), you get a nice payout. Say Harbaugh has a rival-win bonus of $100k. If he beats OSU twice in one season in the scenario you mentioned, he pocketed himself $200k. I don't think what you're worried about would be too much of an issue. The goal every season for every team is to go undefeated.

Red is Blue

January 23rd, 2019 at 12:46 PM ^

1) If the top 2 teams of a conference play each other to get in, isn't that sort of like a 13 team playoff?

2) Where do you get the other 3 teams to fill out the 8 team bracket? Can the loser of a conference championship game still make the playoff?

3) Shouldn't it be up to the conferences to decide how they want to crown a champ?  


January 23rd, 2019 at 1:23 PM ^

To your 2nd point the committee can select the 3 other team (allowing a UCF in).  Plus let them select seeding.  Make the 8 team playoffs like the basketball tournament which makes the regular season rankings meaningless.  Win your conference and let the committee select your seed in the playoff based on your resume.


January 23rd, 2019 at 3:02 PM ^

1.) In a way, yes. But I wouldn't mind that at all. More quality football being played!

2.) They pick from whoever is left outside of the conference champs. This could be non-Power Five, a team that didn't make their championship game (unlikely), Independent teams, etc. Yes, if a team loses it's conference championship they can absolutely still be selected to by the committee to be in the CFP.

3.) I guess. But if it gives them a better chance to have a team from their conference in the CFP, then their hands might be forced. I cannot actually think of any conferences that don't crown a champ or have a championship game.


January 23rd, 2019 at 10:55 AM ^

I mean, this isn't making bowls more meaningful, it's just increasing the size of the playoff. Currently, playoff games are very meaningful, and non-playoff bowl games aren't. Increasing the size of the playoff will just mean more meaningful playoff games, and actually make non-playoff bowl games even less meaningful, since it'll be easier to make the playoffs and more teams will make it. I think we should stop pretending playoff games are bowl games, because no one sees them as such, you can call it whatever you want, but alabama oklahoma was a playoff semifinal, not the orange bowl. 


January 23rd, 2019 at 12:01 PM ^

How much are you planning on offering? The minimum for at 2018 rookie contract was: $480,000 (Year 1), $555,000 (Year 2), $630,000 (Year 3) and $705,000 (Year 4).

You are trying to pay someone who will at a minimum make 480,000 in the next season to play in one game which could cost him more millions in the immediate future. You would need to offer something on the order of the money they could lose to make it worth it. 

Further, who are you giving this money to? Everyone who plays? Only the seniors? Only players who declare for the draft before the bowl game? Only the player who could be drafted in the first round? Only players in certain bowl games? I think this is where your plan really falls apart. 

The fact is that there aren't that many players who skip bowl games and it doesn't make sense to pay the number of players the amount of money required to keep them playing. 


January 23rd, 2019 at 10:59 AM ^

3) Cut half of the bowls to bring games to circa 2000 levels. I enjoy nonsense football and all but you should have to be good to make a bowl.

Bad teams in dumb empty bowls have done far more damage to the general bowl game reputation than the playoff. 


January 23rd, 2019 at 11:46 AM ^

This is where I am at with it too. If we're going to be on about making more of these games meaningful, then expanding the playoff might actually not be the easiest way to do it. Cutting down on the number of bowls actually might be easier, although even at that, you'll only inject a little more meaning in the remaining games perhaps. The introduction of a playoff basically determines which games are truly meaningful if a shot at being champion is the goal (which it is), and still means a lot of teams have that door effectively closed to them because of their schedule. 


January 23rd, 2019 at 11:58 AM ^

If the Peach Bowl was not meaningful enough for the players as one of the top bowls on it's own merit, than cutting them down probably doesn't do much.  I agree there are too many bowls and that they should be reduced.  That will probably do more for the viewer than the actual players though.

Playoff Games using the Bowl System and Money seem like the solution for the players.  I recognize 4 extra teams doesn't move the needle much.  Was thinking some type of financial incentive might address college player pay, but make it payable by getting into a bowl.  Reducing the number of bowls adds value to the season for all teams because getting to a bowl means something too.


January 23rd, 2019 at 11:01 AM ^

Why do we need to make bowls great again?  Before this narrative about whether its selfish of players to skip bowls, the main story surrounding the bowl system was how it is a bloated anachronism that invites teams that scrape above 0.500 to events in often uninteresting places that often costs participating teams more money than it brings in.  

The only post-season games that should count toward official records are those that contribute to determining a champion, i.e. the playoff.  Expand it if you want, but I wouldn't go above eight...  there usually aren't even that many teams worthy of a shot anyway.  

If you want to reward mediocre teams at the end of the season with a special trip, make it a true exhibition that doesn't count for anything.  And really, sub-0.500 teams should not be excluded from this.  Over semester break period, let anyone travel if they want, let anyone practice if they want. 



January 23rd, 2019 at 11:02 AM ^

Realistically, how close are we to reaching the playoffs? Is next year really "the year" or will it take at least a season to get in the groove of the offensive system and then make a run when this recruiting class is in their 2nd year... I wanna know where my expectations should lie lol

Bo Glue

January 23rd, 2019 at 11:04 AM ^

The pursuit of a unified playoff experience is the problem.

IMO the best way to make the bowl experience good again would be to remove the NCG altogether. Or have a semi-pro league with a national championship and an actual amateur league where you can just go to bowls and have fun.

Mr Miggle

January 23rd, 2019 at 11:22 AM ^

I'm confused.

How are you eliminating bias when you have 3 at large teams? If anything, I'd expect more, because as you drop down a bit the teams and resumes tend to be closer together. It's easier to pick at large teams now, when they are mostly conference champions.

I'm not sure why you think paying players in the playoffs a substantial sum is in any way practical or are thinking through the implications. They can't start paying players only in football without running afoul of Title IX. If you want to make recruiting even more skewed towards the top few schools, this would be guaranteed to do it.


January 23rd, 2019 at 11:38 AM ^

How about most of the bias.  It eliminates the debate about the SEC being more deserving if all Conferences are represented.  They get to prove it on the field, not by playing fewer in Conference games and FCS opponents mid-season. 

Still leaves something to debate and that is ok.  To some extent the debate adds emotion, which helps to fuel the interest in college football.

Mr Miggle

January 23rd, 2019 at 11:48 AM ^

The playoffs are going to move to 8 teams, probably pretty soon. The two main reasons are to add a few more high profile games for TV ($$$) and to make sure all of the major conferences are represented.

I don't expect it to end any debates about the SEC since they are already proving their strength in the current format. We all know they're going to get extra teams in. With 8 teams, it will probably happen every year.


January 23rd, 2019 at 11:55 AM ^

Alabama is proving their strength in the current format.  The SEC was 6-5 overall in Bowls and the B1G was 5-4.  The SEC is riding on Alabama's back.  I will admit more SEC teams probably get in as an at large.  I can live with it if the field is 8, I can't stomach 2 SEC teams if it is 4!  


January 23rd, 2019 at 11:36 AM ^

If the FCS and every other version of football on earth can have a legitimate playoff, then so can D-1. Stop fucking off and make at least an eight team playoff. 12 would be even better. As they say on Letterkenny, figure it out! It's not hard considering you can look at every other version of football for a real playoff example.

Like bighouse22 mentioned in an early response, none of the conferences consistently play against each other, so playoff expansion is the only way we can see how teams from different conferences truly match up with each other. 

Bowl games suck. They are nothing but a corporate jerk-off session at this point.