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End college football bowl madness!

End college football bowl madness!

Credit: AP

FILE - In this Oct. 8, 2011, file photo, Arkansas' receiver Greg Childs (85) runs down field after a reception as Auburn cornerback Chris Davis (11) pursues during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game in Fayetteville, Ark. Childs' senior season has gone anything but as planned. However, the Arkansas wide receiver hopes to end his career with one final big game when the Razorbacks play Kansas State in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 6. (AP Photo/April L. Brown, File)

by Craig Cheatham

KMOV.com

Posted on December 23, 2011 at 3:06 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 23 at 3:48 PM

(KMOV) -- When I was a teenager, New Years Day was bigger than Super Bowl Sunday, at least for me. I still remember the excitement of watching the best college football teams play the biggest bowl games on that one day, virtually non-stop big time gridiron action from morning to late night. Heck, back then even the Gator Bowl was a big deal.

There won't be any college football bowl games on New Years Day this season. On January 2, you can watch Florida play Ohio State in the Gator Bowl. Both teams have 6-6 records, which means one of them will wind up with a losing record. I realize those are two traditional powerhouse programs, but does anyone really believe they deserve to play in a bowl, much less that one?

Even more absurd is the lineup of bowl games on December 30 and 31. There are 8 teams with at least 6 losses playing in 9 bowl games on those days. UCLA, which plays in something called the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on Christmas Eve, has a 6-7 record. It plays Illinois which has a 6-6 record. So, when that game is over the teams will have combined for 14 losses.

Last night, 7th ranked Boise State pounded Arizona State 56-24 in the MAACO Bowl. In the 4th quarter BSU lead by as much as 49-10. ASU finished the game with -11 yards rushing. It was clearly a mismatch. The loss gave Arizona State a 6-7 record for the season. But despite playing a game that shouldn't have been played, the conferences for those two teams will receive $1.1 million for their participation.

There are 35 bowl games this season. Overall, it's possible that as many as 9 of those teams could wind up with losing records.

I believe the current bowl system is corrupted by greed and a false sense of accomplishment. It should be an honor to play in a bowl. Now, in the case of many bowl games, it's just a series of meaningless contests that reward undeserving teams and create marketing opportunities for corporations. The postseason should be reserved for the best teams, not those with strong fan support, key demographics, and the potential to deliver big television ratings.

The major bowls used to be named Rose, Sugar, Orange, Cotton and Fiesta. Now, every bowl game has a major sponsor who often comes before the traditional name of the bowl, like the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. My personal favorite is the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsetta Bowl. 

Like President Obama, and perhaps you, I support a playoff system. In my system, you would take at least the top 8 teams, based on a ranking system that includes losses, strength of schedule and other factors. The first round of games would be played 2 weeks after the end of the conference championship games. The 2 games in the second round would be played around Christmas. The national championship game would take place 2 weeks after that.

Clearly, this would create an uproar among the bowls, but it would also give fans a much more exciting postseason, and crown an undisputed national champion. My 8 team playoff would cut bowl games from 35 to 15.

If you eliminate conference championship games, you could double the number of playoff teams to 16 by starting the postseason a week earlier. This would increase the number of playoff games to 23, and keep most of the current bowls as part of the playoffs. I actually prefer a 16 team playoff because it has the potential for more drama, and would provide a feel of "March Madness" in college football while still making sure that only the best teams participate. Even with 16 teams, every playoff "bowl game" would be meaningful.

Frankly, I don't care that much if the playoff games are sponsored. I prefer to see the Gator Bowl without Taxslayer.com in front of it, but bowl sponsorships don't keep me awake at night. I think the most important games could still be played as "bowl games" like the Orange or Sugar. Perhaps, the earlier rounds could be hosted by smaller bowls like the Gator and the Sun.  The participating teams could be paid, but they would be paid more for each round of the playoffs. Of course, there's still room for bowl games that would not be part of the playoffs, though I doubt those games could be successful.

I don't claim to have all the answers, but this bowl madness needs to end. 

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