Potential solutions for players sitting out bowl games?

Submitted by OwenGoBlue on December 15th, 2018 at 6:48 PM

We argue about the trend often but we mostly agree it's less fun when the best players don't play. How can college football address this to better protect players and appease fans?

I'd like to see the NCAA allow schools to take out larger loss-of-value insurance policies for draft eligible players as a start. If that's not financially feasible for smaller schools, perhaps that money could come partially or entirely from a pool all of the bowls have to pay into. 

This wouldn't keep everyone playing but it could move the needle somewhat at least. What other ideas do we have?



December 15th, 2018 at 6:52 PM ^

LOL.  It's their right to sit out with millions on the line.  How about getting rid of pointless bowls against boring opponents.  And an 8 team playoff.


December 15th, 2018 at 8:54 PM ^

I hate this "meaningless exhibitions" argument.  These bowl games have thousands of times more money floating around them than any other "meaningless exhibition" in the world.  People talk tough about "pointless" on message boards when they want to appear woke about player compensation, then the next thing they post is travel plans for the game.  Pointless my ass, the place will be sold out and the players are all talking about how they want to win to get some positive momentum going into the offseason.


December 15th, 2018 at 6:53 PM ^

Get rid of bowl games, go to an expanded playoff of 16+ teams. People will worry that regular season will mean less but people still tune in to NFL games despite multiple losses not hurting you that much. And if you’re really worried about sanctity of regular season, make it so conferences can’t be bigger than 10-12 teams, play a true round robin conference schedule. No conference title games. 


December 15th, 2018 at 7:27 PM ^

I'm not sure I want this but I'm less resistant than I used to be. 

It is, indeed, probably the only solution. With the playoff drawing the oxygen the other games, even the big bowl games, are second-class and guys are going to find that sitting them out is a reasonable option. 

I am worried about the loss of the significance of the regular season, long the best feature of the sport. Restricting conference sizes won't work--the conferences run their own shows. 

The regular season is starting to lose some steam now, though--I'm mostly in for an 8-team playoff, and that will cheapen the regular season more. 16 is not that big of a stretch from that. 

I confess our inability to beat OSU has changed the flavor of this issue for me. I want beating OSU to be a huge deal... but we don't beat OSU, so it matters less than it used to. Sadly.


December 15th, 2018 at 8:35 PM ^

I think what I proposed is pure fantasy. At least the smaller conferences. Only way that happens is if auto bids are tied to power conferences. Some mid tier P5 schools might find it more attractive to be in a more winnable conference than the SEC or B1G. Even then, unlikely. But the only way to make the postseason meaningful is to make it meaningful for more teams, which equals an expanded playoff. And then the only way to preserve the regular season is to make every conference game meaningful. Round robin will do that. Divisions with an expanded playoff won’t. 


December 15th, 2018 at 8:39 PM ^

Let's not forget the origin of bowl games - it was always a commercial one - in other words, it was always a "cash grab". The Rose Bowl was started in 1902 to help attract interest to the Rose Parade and to help lower the cost and the parade itself was also a commercial venture to help attract interest in the commercial flower industry - so from the very beginning it was about commercial interests - it was a "cash grab". By the way the UM under Yost led 49-0 over a Stanford team and they reported conceded ("quit" according to Wikipedia) at the 3rd quarter. That game was so lopsided that the football game was shelved for the next 13 years and other ways of attracting interest were put in - horse races, ostrich races and even chariot races ala Ben Hur. Football came back in 1916 and it has been football ever since. 

BUT never let it be forgotten that it was originally a "cash grab" and bowl games have largely been that - often gouging the schools to line the pockets of organizers who show up wearing garish sports jackets.

A lot of things are like that - over time they acquire airs of nobility and purpose but were originally "cash grabs." Anyone who has lived in Ann Arbor over the past 60 years probably has gone to the Art Fair that usually occurs in the 3rd week of July. While it now is one of the larger art fairs of the summer and has morphed into an event that covers all of downtown and south university it too was originally a "cash grab". The business down on South University during the dog days of summer noted a huge drop off in business. The students were all gone, summer classes were not at the level they are today and in 1960 air conditioning was starting to be popular but not yet common place. So to help drive business downtown they thought about holding an art fair. Originally the Ann Arbor Art Association balked noting that "no good artist will sit in the street and there were only 132 exhibitors. Over time it grew, and the success at drawing crowds was not lost on the other merchants on State and Main Street. Soon there was an Ann Arbor State Street Art Fair, Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair and South University Art Fair joining the rebranded The Original Street Art Fair. https://web.archive.org/web/20151218091157/http://www.artfair.org/UserFiles/File/WhereWeCameFromRev.pdf

So, let's not be too dismissive of "cash grabs" nor too high and mighty about the nobility and sanctity of certain events! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all, and Go Blue!


December 15th, 2018 at 7:45 PM ^

Keep the NY6. Have other bowls bid to be the last two in. Go ahead and let all the other bowls run. They maybe not as important, but if you don't get into the tournament, then it shouldn't be a huge deal to you if your stars play.

Each conference champion (including G5) and six at-large selected by having a committee from each conference score their top 25. This way, conference bias would be countered by the other 9 committees' lists.

Seeding also determined by the lists. And seeding is important b/c getting to play a low-level G5 should effectively be a bye, but anything can happen.

Don't call it the playoffs. Call it the football tournament. After the first weekend with all the bowls, two venues the next weekend with two games each.

Then in the final four, one venue for two weekends, with two games the first weekend and the final on the second weekend. Huge week-long party, ticket of a lifetime.


December 15th, 2018 at 7:16 PM ^

If this trend continues without anything changing the math for players bowl games will basically turn into next season previews. 

We watch spring games, including the punting exhibitions, so I think big fanbases will still tune in. Hopefully the terrible bowls that put MAC teams and the like heavily in the red just become insolvent at that point.

That would fundamentally change how we think and talk about them but if Michigan is down 5 All-B1G guys as speculated in the other thread is any result much of a measure of how good they were in 2018?


December 15th, 2018 at 7:02 PM ^

The season is over. There's nothing left to achieve other than Harbaugh's first 11 win season. As far as Im concerned, we are already looking at next year. Maybe it's a good thing to get some experience for the guys who will be starting in 2019.


December 15th, 2018 at 7:18 PM ^

After the OSU game I think the volume of negative takes from fans and detractors alike will be about the same either way. 

Bowl game is just the difference between "Couldn't beat ND or OSU!" and "....or Florida!" in those same comments and articles. 

Always better to win, just don't think it changes The Narrative either way. 


December 15th, 2018 at 7:27 PM ^

I don't agree. The USC loss last year sent this place into a dive bomb. If the team loses to Florida and looks like shit doing it, it's going to raise the heat level big time. 

However, if our starting RB and almost all of our best defensive players don't play, I'm not sure how much the bowl will indicate about anything. 


December 15th, 2018 at 7:35 PM ^

I agree that a loss would make this board terrible.

The outside noise would have been just as harsh last year with a 9-4 team that won vs eh South Carolina but lost to the four teams on the schedule that mattered. The prevailing narrative was "can't finish higher than 3rd in the division" which would have been the same. 


December 15th, 2018 at 7:39 PM ^

This. I really do not care whether we win or lose this bowl game (obviously I’d prefer to win if given the choice) but it’s essentially turned into a preseason game for next season in my mind. 

As far as I’m concerned, I don’t want to see any Seniors or anybody who is leaving early for the draft. I want every practice rep and game rep to go to players who will be on the field next year. If we aren’t in the playoff, treat bowl season as an extended spring camp with a scrimmage against another team in the middle. 

Whether that’s a popular opinion or not, I don’t really care. But the difference to me between going 10-3 and 11-2 in a meaningless bowl game is nothing compared to prepping this team for next season. 

Beilein 4 Life

December 16th, 2018 at 1:06 AM ^

So should we have done this two years ago when we played Ohio State? We weren’t going to the playoffs and we couldn’t win the B10. Should Hurst and Cole and Hammer Panda have said fuck it and sat out the rest of the year to get ready for the NFL? Yeah, I’m sure our fanbase would have loved half the team sitting out the  OSU game


December 16th, 2018 at 5:41 AM ^

First of all, what the actual fuck are you talking about? Two years ago we played OSU for the division title and we were ranked #3 in the CFP playing #2 OSU. Both the Big Ten title and a CFP spot were in play. 

At any rate, The difference is, the OSU game actually matters. You’re playing for something. If we closed the year with Rutgers, yes, I’d expect (and encourage) them to sit out. If you really tell yourself it’s important that we beat Florida, you’re kidding yourself. The season is literally over and this is an exhibition game. Might as well treat it like a preseason exhibition for next year as opposed to an end of season exhibition. 


December 15th, 2018 at 7:03 PM ^

Best solution to me seems to be, allow freshmen - including early enrolees - to play without affecting redshirts. 

It's clear that, in the future, bowl games that aren't a playoff game will be viewed at the first game of the season, rather than the last.