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A modest proposal to eliminate 15 bowl games and send their mediocre teams home for the holidays

You can argue somewhere else about whether Alabama or Oklahoma State more deserves to play LSU for the national championship. But if you want to argue about whether there are really 70 teams out of 120 whose records are deserving of post-season play in one of 35 bowl games, you have come to the right place.

I'll get the football rolling by suggesting that there should only be enough bowl games to allow the top 25 and 15 honorable mention teams to play in the postseason. That's 20 bowls, featuring 40 teams. The remaining bowls would be eliminated, and the mediocre teams that would otherwise play in them would stay home during the holidays and watch better and more deserving teams play. Maybe they'd learn a thing or two.

First, let's admit why there are so many bowl games to begin with: GREED. The bowl sponsors, the communities in which bowls take place, the TV networks, advertisers, and merchandisers of junk with school names and mascots emblazoned all over it, the conferences and teams, even the coaches, whose contracts provide bonuses for bowl invitations -- all of them want to make some money off of gullible fans. It is obvious that there are many teams participating in bowl games whose seasons were a source of frustration and embarrassment to their fans. Those fans want to make the best of a disappointing season, to be rewarded for sticking with their teams, to be deluded that mediocrity is really just another word for success after all.

Second, I must admit to a personal bias against teams with losing or .500 records. Obviously, teams like UCLA (6-7), with more losses than wins, have not earned the right to a bowl invitation. But why on earth should 6-6 teams be accorded that honor, or any honor, other than a pat on the back for at least not losing any more games than they won? I will even go so far as to propose that teams with 7-5 records, which are just one game better than 6-6, should also not be invited to bowls. I mean, really, since those "winning" records are the result of cynically scheduling a couple of patsies from lesser conferences to make up for expected losses to more worthy opponents, are they really post-season material? What exactly have they proven, other than that they know how to manipulate their schedules to misrepresent their athletic achievements?

Okay, enough of the pontificating. Here's my list of 29 unbowlworthy teams this season, in no particular order, followed by a list of the bowl games that are promoting and profiting from mediocre postseason play:

* UCLA (6-7)

* Utah State (7-5)

* Marshall (6-6)

* Arizona State (6-6) Note: This team collapses and fires its coach, but still gets to play Boise State (11-1)?

* Nevada (7-5) Note: This underperforming team gets to play Southern Mississippi (11-2)?

* North Carolina (7-5)

* Missouri (7-5)

* Western Michigan (7-5)

* Purdue (6-6)

* Louisville (7-5)

* North Carolina State (7-5)

* Air Force (7-5)

* California (7-5)

* Texas (7-5)

* Washington (7-5) Note: Ah come on. This uninspiring team deserves to play high-flying Baylor (9-3)?

* Iowa State (6-6)

* Mississippi State (6-6)

* Wake Forest (6-6)

* Iowa (7-5)

* Texas A&M (6-6)

* Northwestern (6-6)

* Utah (7-5)

* Vanderbilt (6-6) Note: Improvement from abysmal to mediocre in 2011 earns them the right to play Cincinnati (9-3)?

* Illinois (6-6)

* Auburn (7-5)

* Ohio State (6-6)

* Florida (6-6)

* SMU (7-5)

* Pittsburgh (6-6)


Now for the 15 worthless bowl games that wouldn't be missed. Unless you're a fan of a participating team, you'd be better off catching a re-run of "Miracle on 34th Street," or taking a long walk in the fresh air than wasting your time watching these games. You have to pace yourself this holiday season, so you have enough energy and attention left to watch the remaining 20 bowl games. Avoid these, and you'll thank me.


* New Mexico Bowl

* Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

* Beef O'Brady's Bowl

* Little Caesars Pizza Bowl

* Independence Bowl

* Belk Bowl

* Holiday Bowl

* Music City Bowl

* MAACO Bowl

* Pinstripe Bowl

* Meinke Car Care Bowl

* Fight Hunger Bowl

* Chick-fil-A Bowl

* Gator Bowl

* BBVA Compass Bowl


The few worthy teams playing in the above bowls could be redistributed among the remaining 20 bowls, if undeserving teams in those bowls were disinvited.

Okay, yeah, yeah, I know, there's no chance that the proliferation of worthless bowl games featuring mediocre teams can be stopped, given fundamental flaws in human nature that are hardwired into our genes. I must have suffered a random mutation to even think such thoughts. Any other mutants out there?

Editors of The Daily Gopher retain the right to remove posts deemed excessively offensive or grossly inappropriate. Keep it clean and don't be mean.

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