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Bowl viewership drops to record BcS lows

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Thursday the Football Bowl Association sent out a mass media email with the following subject line: “What a Bowl Season!”

Based on the number coming out, the FBA could’ve done without the exclamation point.  Or the entire electronic missive, for that matter.

We’ve already touched on the fact that Alabama-LSU rematch was one of the lowest-rated title games of the BcS era, down roughly 14 percent from the Auburn-Oregon game the year before.  According to the Birmingham News, that was a common theme woven throughout the entire 2011-2012 bowl schedule.

After crunching the Nielsen numbers, the News has determined that bowl viewership was off eight percent from the ratings posted in 2010-2011, and is down 37 percent from the first year of the BcS in 1998.  That year, there were 13 fewer bowl games than the 35 contested following the 2011 season.

Of the 34 bowls mentioned by the paper — the ratings for the TicketCity Bowl featuring Penn State and Houston weren’t listed — 21 of them saw their ratings drop from the year before, with 18 of those seeing a double-digit decline from 2010-2011.  The only BcS bowl game to realize an increase in viewership from last year was the Fiesta Bowl’s Oklahoma State-Stanford matchup, which was up a 56 percent.  That’s an impressive jump until you factor in the previous year’s game — Oklahoma-UConn.

All told, viewership of BcS bowls — title game, Rose, Sugar, Orange and Fiesta — dropped eight percent from last year.

Of course, as noted by the News, there are a couple of mitigating factors.  One, the vast majority of the games are shown on ESPN, which is unavailable in approximately 15 million homes.  And, two, this year’s “traditional” New Year’s Day bowls were contested  Jan. 2 due to the first day of the year falling on a Sunday.  That, though, doesn’t explain the alarming drop in interest.

Yesterday, NCAA president Mark Emmert appeared to throw his support behind a “Plus-One” model for Div. 1-A football, which is nothing more than a four-team playoff wrapped in language palatable to the NCAA.  And, while he was speaking about an eight- or 16-team playoff, his words could very well have served as an indictment of the bowl system as it’s currently structured.

“The notion of having a Final Four approach is probably a sound one,” Emmert said. “Moving toward a 16-team playoff is highly problematic because I think that’s too much to ask a young man’s body to do. It’s too many games, it intrudes into the school year and, of course, it would probably necessitate a complete end to the bowl system that so many people like now.”

Too many games?  Absolutely, there are way too many bowl games rewarding mediocrity.  A system so many people like?  Combine the drop in viewership with bowl attendance that has dipped below an average of 51,000 for the first time since 1979, and the number of people liking the bowl system is dwindling by the year.

Surely it’s merely a coincidence that a drop in viewership/attendance is running parallel with a newfound interest in a four-team playoff among the men who control the game’s purse strings, right?

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60 Responses to “Bowl viewership drops to record BcS lows”
  1. geetee52 says: Jan 13, 2012 1:17 PM

    …and today the NCAA President comes out in support of a 4-team playoff.

    What a coincidence.

    I’m glad it’s not all about the money…I might be suspicious.

  2. 808raiderinparadise says: Jan 13, 2012 1:22 PM

    Awwwwww poor bowl sponsors and the affilates, this year they can’t take yatch cruises all the way around the world with servants, they can only go half way around the world this year.

    BCS is awful.

  3. woebegong says: Jan 13, 2012 1:23 PM

    I am not surprised that the Sugar and Orange bowl games were down. If not for conference affiliation would Clemson have even been there against WVU. And the Sugar Bowl was another disappointment, but I guess money speaks. Arkansas should have been in there, if not for the fact that a conference can’t have three non-championship teams in the BCS bowls. The fiesta and rose bowl games were the only exciting games in the BCS bowls, unless you count the NC bowl, between LSU and Alabama. The NC game got I believe the lowest viewership of them all.

  4. daveyjones1 says: Jan 13, 2012 1:23 PM

    Every level of college football has a playoff system except for the top one. Fix it. It should not be about the money. Make it about the student athlete. Give more teams a chance to win a title. That is going to generate plenty of money for college programs.

  5. harbourimages says: Jan 13, 2012 1:26 PM

    How are the other football divisions able to handle their playoffs, e.g., Div. II, III, etc.? Seems to me they are able to manage playoff games without it being “too much to ask a young man’s body to do.” Are Division I players that much more fragile than Div. II? What a BS, silly rationalization….

  6. boomerdt says: Jan 13, 2012 1:30 PM

    I’m tired of bowls. Why would I want to play the same conferences every year in the same bowls? Get rid of the bowl tie ins.

    This year I didn’t watch one entire bowl game. Oklahoma played at 10pm (sorry not staying up for that even though they are my team) and well…. I work for a living.

    Though I also said I’d boycott the bowls if the BCS was dumb enough to put two teams from the same conference in the championship game….

  7. suprmous says: Jan 13, 2012 1:32 PM

    The BcS and the NCAA are nothin but jokes and evil twins: they can’t see what they’re doing and don’t give a damn about they are doing. Most folks weren’t thrilled at seeing a rematch between LSU & Bama and yet without having a playoff that’s what we got: the rule that #1 team had to play #2 team. Hence, at the time Bama had not won the division and there was no clear cut way for somebody else to take on LSU. And before my brethern and others start to jump on me remember that I have said before I do make mistakes. I still maintain that I’m all for a playoff however.

  8. olskool711 says: Jan 13, 2012 1:34 PM

    OH NO!

    I wonder why? How?

    I’m sure that sec guy, michigan guy, Bill Hancock and e. gordon gee will tell us the real reasons, the “truth” on how and why this happened.


  9. olskool711 says: Jan 13, 2012 1:42 PM

    Funny how the one game that featured “complete” teams that played modern offenses was the only game that had an increase in viewership ratings.


    off tackle, off tackle, off tackle, punt. We are superior, “we are the sec.” We won’t play you, but if we did, we’d beat you. Look at what we did to Ohio State 5 years ago!

  10. briang123 says: Jan 13, 2012 1:43 PM

    Even Leno joked about them not having a playoff.

    Maybe the lower ratings is what the playoff advocates like me needed all along.

  11. Bo Darville says: Jan 13, 2012 1:44 PM

    They should just get rid of all but 32 of the best teams and organize it into two conferences with 4 divisions of 4 each. The division champs and two wild cards can then make the playoffs and the title game can be called the “Super Bowl”. Then maybe the dolts that watch too much Sports Center can understand what’s happening enough to quit whining all the time.

  12. Deb says: Jan 13, 2012 1:45 PM

    Exactly. The ratings issue this year was never about Alabama, the SEC, or a rematch. We’ve had rematches in the Super Bowl. It’s that fans are sick of a series of irrelevant bowl games followed by a title game four or five weeks after the season ends.

    I didn’t watch a single bowl game other than the Championship because they have no purpose. It’s time the NCAA recognized that fans want to see playoffs. They manage it in every other sport and in Division II and III football.

    Give us playoffs of the top 8 or 12 teams, using the BCS bowls as venues, and rotating the site of the championship. You keep more teams/fans engaged as the season concludes, make all bowls relevant, and build excitement for the final game. And you probablly make a lot more money. How hard is that?

  13. olskool711 says: Jan 13, 2012 1:46 PM

    If there was anyway to mobilize and threaten busineses that next year there will be a massive boycott, we might be able to get a real playoff.

    The time is right.

  14. wilburmills says: Jan 13, 2012 1:51 PM

    Very few of the articles about the low-ratings for the National Championship Game mention the fact that it was on a cable network-ESPN and not on regular network (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox),,,lots of folks still don’t have ESPN (shocker)…the game was one of the highest rated games ever on cable (#2?)

  15. deadeye says: Jan 13, 2012 1:57 PM

    Once there’s a four team playoff, the complaints won’t go away. But what will happen at that the system will evolve into something much, much more fair. Eventually the number will expand to 6, then to 8. And once you have enough teams competing, there will be AQ status for super-conference champions. The process of conference realignment and playoff/bowl evolution will both continue for several more years.

    Then magically, one day, college football will have a true playoff system like every other team sport in history has had.

  16. dickroy says: Jan 13, 2012 2:00 PM

    A four team playoff is better than the stupid BCS (Championship Series) do they call it? Its nothing but a two team playoff that computers and voters determine who will be in it. The other BCS games don’t mean squat, as do the other 30 some bowl games. Win 5 or 6 games and their in one. I prefer an eight team playoff.
    The final game could be rotated between the major bowls each year.
    There is plenty of time to do this, since the final is not played until five weeks after the season ends. Only three more games.

  17. lemmam says: Jan 13, 2012 2:13 PM

    what were ticket sales figures for the bowl games? fewer tickets sold and lower tv ratings hits these greedy bowl execs right where it hurts them – in the pocketbook

  18. jcarne9014 says: Jan 13, 2012 2:18 PM

    THE BOWLS SUCK!!!! There was a time, believe it or not, when the bowls meant something. When I was kid, I couldn’t wait for New Year’s Day. WAY too many bowls! WAY too much time between the end of the season and the “meaningful” bowls! Why would ANY advertiser buy time on these pieces of crap?!

  19. dawhorsefeathers says: Jan 13, 2012 2:20 PM

    It proves OK St should have been playing LSU!

    /wanking motion

  20. harleyspoon says: Jan 13, 2012 2:23 PM

    Emmert is too silly for words with his, “Moving toward a 16-team playoff is highly problematic because I think that’s too much to ask a young man’s body to do. It’s too many games, it intrudes into the school year and, of course, it would probably necessitate a complete end to the bowl system that so many people like now.”

    There doesn’t have to be a 16 game play-off…Make it an 8 team play-off system…8 major conferences…PAC, SEC, BIGXII, BIGX, ACC, BIG EAST, MAC & MTN WEST (or some semblence thereof)…8 conference champs play-off for the National Championship…that adds up to 16 games for two finalists…12 regular season games, conference championship play-off, 1st round play-off, 2nd round play-off and championship game…) ONLY 2 TEAMS PLAY THE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF GAMES..16 GAMES)

    Re the current bowl system: All of the teams with winning records can participate in the invitational bowl games as they are now…In other words, the current bowl system would not suffer…and the top 25 teams could be determined after the final championship game as it is today..

    Regarding that “too much stress on their bodies”, Texas high school kids play as many as 16 games in the upper divisions to determine the state champs in 6-man, A, AA, AAA, AAA and AAAAA and they still have to go to class…and the kids survive quite well…and still have to maintain the no-pass, no-play standard!!!

  21. goblue714 says: Jan 13, 2012 2:26 PM

    If the universities treat college football as a money maker, then they should give the fan’s what they want. A true champion based on the games and not computers and slimmy coaches.

  22. deadmanwalking47 says: Jan 13, 2012 2:28 PM

    The major networks should have carried this game because there are still millions of people who don’t have acess to espn cause they don’t have pay tv,cable or satellite acess.give everybody a chance to watch the game,not just cable/satellite users.if this had been on a network channel like abc,cbs,or nbc,it would have doubled the ratings!

  23. raysfan1 says: Jan 13, 2012 2:38 PM

    Main reason for the drop in viewership is that the BCS games are all now on ESPN instead of free TV. Same reason NBC’s Sunday Night Football crushes ESPN’s MNF.

  24. phillyb6 says: Jan 13, 2012 2:56 PM

    Emmert! It does NOT intrude on the school year! Students are on winter break. Oh, and don’t take 3,4,5,6,7 weeks off between the end of the reg. season and the bowls/playoffs! The system could be set up to end at the exact same time as it does now.

  25. says: Jan 13, 2012 3:06 PM

    College Football is the only major sport where the Exhibition Season comes at the end of the year. I’m disapointed it’s taken this long for interest to drop to the point that “they” are thinking about changing it.

    Also, contact Vizio, Discover, AllState, Buick, & Frito-Lay and tell them you will not do business with them as long as they are title sponsors for such a travashamockery.

  26. gopokes0714 says: Jan 13, 2012 3:09 PM

    The Bowls were on ESPN last year.


    the championship game was down because all the bowls were down? Not because of the rematch?

    you said you only watched the NC because that’s all that matters…..

    By that logic the BC should have the best rating of the bunch. unfortunately the BC had the worst. It would appear that it was indeed because of the rematch.

    I like Bama, and I will concede the title this year. But save me the defense rhetoric. Bama played one offense in the top 50 all year. LSU offense was #60, the definition of average. you and the SEC elitist can claim Bama as one of the best defenses of all time, but until you prove it, it means nothing to me.

    By the way, if you want to talk about history…. only one other team has ranked as high in defensive stats, and that is OU. The year OU ranked #1 in the same defensive stats, they played much tougher offenses. So the best defense of all time belongs to the BIG 12, not the SEC.

    I understand that the BCS fiasco is not Bama fault. They were deserving to be there. and they are a special team. just save me the defense BS.

  27. cometkazie says: Jan 13, 2012 3:14 PM

    Our Deb hit the nail on the head. I watched just as many games as she did.

    There are a ton of meaningless, so-called bowl games of no importance whatsoever and then the championship game (of what, pray tell?) six weeks after the season ends.

    Screw this system. There are important games on the pro side. And I like the college game better.

  28. gators56 says: Jan 13, 2012 3:23 PM

    16 team Playoff is the way to go. 4 teams still has the potential to miss a few quality teams.

    The current bowl system is a joke.

  29. starderup says: Jan 13, 2012 3:37 PM

    The BS bowls are just that. Actually, I’ll only watch college football if it is pouring down rain, and nothing else is on tv, but that’s just me. It is boring as hell.

  30. fcmlefty1 says: Jan 13, 2012 3:38 PM

    “Make it an 8 team play-off system…8 major conferences…PAC, SEC, BIGXII, BIGX, ACC, BIG EAST, MAC & MTN WEST (or some semblence thereof)…”

    This is dead on arrival. 1) Nobody that is a decision maker will get behind a system that doesn’t include a way, (even if it is a much more difficult path) for the 2nd best team from the SEC, Big Ten, PAC 12 and Big 12 to get in while allowing all of the group of “2nd tier” (ACC, Big East, the current non-AQ’s) champs to get in & 2) a system that doesn’t include an automatic provision and/or set of qualifying standards for Notre Dame doesn’t stand a chance.

  31. drummerhoff says: Jan 13, 2012 3:47 PM

    Well, a lot of people missed out on some great, great games: Rose, Fiesta & Sugar each went to the very last play. The Orange and Championship Bowls were both blow-outs … BY THE TEAMS a lot of people said did not belong in those high-profile games. HA!

  32. rolltide510 says: Jan 13, 2012 4:11 PM

    Lost in all of the demands for playoff games to fix low ratings is the fact that just about every bowl game was a silly matchup where the outcome was rarely in question. I’ve never seen a worse slate of bowl games ever.

    Add to this no New Years Day bowl games. That alone should account for a significant dip in ratings.

  33. frank booth says: Jan 13, 2012 4:27 PM

    gopokes0714 says:
    Jan 13, 2012 3:09 PM
    The Bowls were on ESPN last year.


    the championship game was down because all the bowls were down? Not because of the rematch?

    you said you only watched the NC because that’s all that matters…..

    By that logic the BC should have the best rating of the bunch. unfortunately the BC had the worst. It would appear that it was indeed because of the rematch.

    I like Bama, and I will concede the title this year. But save me the defense rhetoric. Bama played one offense in the top 50 all year. LSU offense was #60, the definition of average. you and the SEC elitist can claim Bama as one of the best defenses of all time, but until you prove it, it means nothing to me.

    By the way, if you want to talk about history…. only one other team has ranked as high in defensive stats, and that is OU. The year OU ranked #1 in the same defensive stats, they played much tougher offenses. So the best defense of all time belongs to the BIG 12, not the SEC.

    I understand that the BCS fiasco is not Bama fault. They were deserving to be there. and they are a special team. just save me the defense BS.
    I’m totally with you on this. There were several teams that deserved a shot at the championship this year, and Alabama was one of them. Their defense is good, as is LSU’s. But their defense was only OK in the NC, and much of it was due to the ineptitude of the LSU offense, and minimal gameplanning by Les Miles. Nick Saban’s simple gameplan change was superior to Les Miles’ lack of action. Saban’s move was intelligent and logical, but not some act of unforeseeable brilliance. So Alabama won the game and the championship. I suppose they deserved it by defeating LSU, but whether or not they should be there was another story.

    LSU had to play an extra game to win a conference championship. If they had lost to Georgia, they probably would have dropped by more than one slot, even though they had already beaten Alabama, who was off that week due to their loss to LSU. Other teams had to play extra games to win conference championships and risk their ranking, while Alabama sat on their asses and watched, secure in the fact that by losing to LSU, they were in the best shape of any team in the nation and had put themselves in a nearly ironclad situation of making the NC. They won by being eliminated.

    While the Bama fans are lauding their defense, they played 10 teams that had offenses that were ranked below 75th, and 5 of those were ranked betwen 100 and 120, and Georgia Southern isn’t even included in that. So after that defense defeats #27 ranked Arkansas, you have to drop another 40 or 50 spots until you get to the next toughest offense that Alabama played against.

    The game was a clunker. On the LSU side, Mathieu and Claiborne were pedestrian. No players on either team did anything special. Alabama would drive and then stall, resulting in a bunch of field goals. I just can’t get all excited about a low-powered offense that played poorly and was shutout in the process.

    I can see how Alabama fans would romanticize any championship, as any college fandom would. If the Bears won the Superbowl 28-27, fumbled twice and threw four interceptions and gave up 500 yards, I would probably tell everyone how great the game was.

  34. ogre2010 says: Jan 13, 2012 4:28 PM

    Good Job America!! The only way we can hurt the greedy BCS and Bowl System is by not watching these horrible games!! I hope that this message doesn’t get deleted

  35. Deb says: Jan 13, 2012 4:32 PM

    @gopokes0714 …

    I agree that several things contributed to the lower ratings this year for the championship game, but the point I was making is that ratings will continue to decline for the bowls overall as fans become more and more frustrated by the lack of meaningful postseason play.

    Thanks for the positive comments about the Tide. Not sure where you’re going on the defense issue. Bama had a great defense this year, but I’ve never said it was the best defense ever. I’m wary about tossing around “best of all time” designations because it’s impossible to compare people/teams from different eras.

    As for me not watching the bowl games–that’s true every year. Even with my Steelers eliminated, I’ll watch every minute of the NFL playoffs. But this bowl stuff … I just can’t wrap my head around the point of these meaningless games other than some conference bragging rights. Even the NFL preseason has a purpose. This bowl stuff is too weird. I don’t get it.

  36. Deb says: Jan 13, 2012 4:35 PM

    @cometkazie …

    I just love you :)

    @frank booth …

    Oh pooh, frank, you’re such a wet blanket lately 😛

  37. frank booth says: Jan 13, 2012 4:43 PM

    Deb says:
    Jan 13, 2012 4:35 PM

    @frank booth …

    Oh pooh, frank, you’re such a wet blanket lately
    I know.

  38. tobeexact says: Jan 13, 2012 4:49 PM

    First the BCS became a joke about 6 years ago when it stooped following its own formula that some what worked.
    For example you could have a team in the bias AP poll or not.and the same for the coaches poll which by its name its self isnt true because every coach or school doesn’t have a vote ,but would be ranked in the BCS.
    Another example a team might not be ranked in the AP but lowly ranked in the coaches poll but ranked high in the BCS and rightfully so.
    Then this year you had lots of teams that didn’t deserve to be in the bowl games they got,for instance florida n ohio st both 6&6 getting one of the respected conferences top tier bowl games according to there own pecking order bylaws, then virginia tech getting a bcs bid, then against bcs rules two teams from the same conference in the national championship game. Add that to the bad economy ,espn controlling all the games and bowl game names that take ten minutes to announce them.
    Then you have a mandatory ticket purchase for the schools playing in the bowl games and the fact the price per ticket is ridiculous to the point , most schools end up paying to go to a bowl game instead of making money .
    Some schools didn’t bring there bands or cheerleaders or only part of them because they also had to pay for them as well. Its turned from a reward for the schools to greed for the bowl sponsers ,its more of a hassle to get your team to a bowl game that costs the school money and to play in front of a whopping 5000 fans ,ya thats something i look forward to.
    And yes division 1aa and 2a schools have a playoff with the same academic schedule to deal with and they have no problem doing so.
    And If alabamas defense was so great that penn state scored the most points on them with a middle school qb running an anemic to sub par offense at best, and that also lead to almost all there points due to the fact rob bolden couldnt get out of the way of a moving barn and gave bama the ball in psu red zone at least 4 times .

  39. jackntorres says: Jan 13, 2012 4:55 PM

    32 team playoff

    cap the regular season at 9 games

    ~80 teams play 9
    16 teams play 10
    8 teams play 11
    4 teams play 12
    2 teams play 13
    2 teams play 14

    31 post season games would have to be played to crown someone, equivalent to current cash flow (most important part of course)

    except in the long run they are much more valuable

    instead of 70 teams in the bowl season there are 32 in the post season and no 500 teams

    every top 25 program is alive in december

  40. rolltide510 says: Jan 13, 2012 5:38 PM

    “every top 25 program is alive in december”

    Then why the hell bother? Whats the point in the regular season? And doesn’t it bother you that “rankings” are still arbitrary and based on voters, not objective performance?

    Some +1/final four type playoff scenarios aren’t completely ridiculous, but things like this are just “I need to find rules that give my second-rate team a chance to play for a championship despite the inconvenient fact they’re not good enough to win out their schedule”.

  41. imaduffer says: Jan 13, 2012 5:46 PM

    Simple solution, eliminate the polls, no body bag games, conference games only, conference championship game, playoffs. If you don’t belong to a conference that’s your problem.

  42. Deb says: Jan 13, 2012 6:19 PM

    @imaduffer …

    We have too many conferences–and too much disparity in the quality of the conferences–to make the playoffs about only the conference winners. The year, the SEC finished with three teams in the top five. If we really want this to be about the best teams, then it’s idiotic to say only LSU would have qualified for the playoffs, along with Clemson and West Virginia–winners of the ACC and Big East–which didn’t even finish in the top 15 of the polls. But Alabama, which finished #1, and Arkansas, which finished #5 would sit out the post-season because you can only have one team per conference. Please.

    We’re never going to come up with something that satisfies everyone. But the best solution is to take the teams that finish the regular season in the top 8 or 12–and to heck with the conference championships. The SEC started the conference championship thing to try and legitimize the post-season process. Most other conferences just instituted championship games five minutes ago. It’s not like they’re a huge tradition. The division championships of the NFL are decided by the interconference records, not by a one-off game played between two division members. NCAA conference championships can be determined the same way.

    Taking the top 8 or 12 teams will ensure you’ve got the most competitive teams in the playoff rounds.

  43. Deb says: Jan 13, 2012 6:20 PM

    Sorry, I meant by their records within the division, not by a one-off game between two division opponents.

  44. gopokes0714 says: Jan 13, 2012 7:01 PM

    I have to admit that I have never been in support for a play off until this year. I always felt that in the end the BCS got it right. And being able to match up the other games gave the viewers what they wanted. I know see that there has to be a playoff of some capacity.

    As long as there is an “eyeball test” as the biggest decider in the National Championship Game, then there is no shot at a true champion. I am starting to believe that the “eyeball test” is less about the teams and the plays being made, and more about the color of the uniform and the logo on the helmet.

    90% of the time the team that “looks” the best, is the best. It is that 10% that opened my eyes collapsed the system.

    I thoroughly believe that had OSU’s nickname been sooner, tide, or trojans then we would have been in the title game. (this isn’t a poor us, I am just analyzing the system)

    Alabama’s big claim to the title game was..
    A) Losing to the #1 in overtime
    B) Defensive stats

    The computers only take into consideration stats and games won and lost. The computers gave the nod to OSU.

    The only difference is the human polls is the “eyeball test”. What is the eyeball test? Well conveniently the “eyeball test” is what ever ESPN says it is. Kirk Humphries is a great example to this. He emphatically spoke about the SEC and the “eyeball test” in the days leading up to the vote, masquerading opinions as facts. No one will ever know how many votes were effected by this. But if even one vote is effected then the system is flawed.

    Did ESPN ever report on why the computers favored OK State? in detail? I heard alot about our offence being ranked in the bottom, but how many teams did they play with offenses in the top 20?, top 10? OSU ranked 60 in scoring defense, but did they talk about that 40% of points scored against came after OSU had established a 21 point or greater lead? Look at our defense in the Baylor game (2nd in scoring offense at the time), held to 3 points going into the 4th.

    OSU may not be a traditional power, but we are no slouch. 41 wins in the last 4 seasons. Champions of if not the strongest from top to bottom conference then clearly #2. We played everyone in our conference.

    I record every episode of College football live, the experts, and shows like. I never heard ESPN speak to any of this. Occasionally the lone guy in the corner would mention our turnover margin, and Weeden & Blackmon. but thats about it.

    this is not to take anything way from Bama. I like Bama, and Saban. again, just breaking down the current system, and the ESPN influence.

  45. imaduffer says: Jan 13, 2012 7:01 PM


    Like I said no polls. Who is to determine the top teams? You, me or someone with a agenda. If you use the NFL as an example the number one seeds don’t necessarily win the Super Bowl. It’s called competition. Just because you think the SEC is the most dominate conference doesn’t mean everyone else does. And as far as weaker conferences go, there is always room for another Division.

  46. gopokes0714 says: Jan 13, 2012 7:04 PM

    I meant our defense ranked in the bottom

  47. olskool711 says: Jan 13, 2012 8:43 PM

    Actually, everybody really like the bowl selections this year. We have been told they we all spot on.

    Certainly things continue to improve.

    We have been told that all of you are very happy with the games we let you watch.

    Anybody who didn’t watch did so because they are too cheap to buy cable. We have been told by numerous authorities that they will get cable next year, when obama’s economic policies will bear fruition, and then they are all going to watch.

    Jed, Gomer, Willie, Ma and deb will all be even more overjoyed!

    Hill Bancock

  48. rubbernilly says: Jan 13, 2012 8:55 PM

    Let’s list the problems the are obstacles to instituting a playoff:

    1) Money… not how much of it (because most everyone agrees that there is more money to be had by instituting a playoff), but rather where it goes. The fat cats who get their pockets lined in the currect system don’t want to lose that meal ticket. And by fat cats, I don’t just mean the Bowl Committees and BCS officials. I mean the conferences, especially the AQ conferences. They don’t want a system that gives opportunities to other conferences because that would require sharing a larger portion of revenue with those conferences.

    In a related vein, the major conferences would hate to open up year-in-year-out opportunities for the lesser conferences, as recruits would then have less of a reason to go to the bigger conferences and face stiffer competition. If they’re just as assured of a chance to go to the post-season playoff as a school in one of the major conferences, some recruits might opt to play at a smaller school… one that could give them more playing time and perhaps showcase their skills better.

    You know, something that might eventually lead to “parity.”

    The powers-that-be are not dumb. They can see that far down the road.

    2) Scheduling… the NFL works because the teams aren’t in charge of their own schedule. Then again, the schedule works because there is a highly structured post-season in place, and everyone operates under the same rules.

    3) The Beauty Show… let us, for a moment, reject the paradigm that we can tell anything about the relative strength of conferences, or that a highly successful team from a lesser conference (ie, Boise State) would be far less successful in a different conference (ie, the SEC). There is simply no way to judge the relative strength of teams and/or conferences with the college football landscape the way it is… specifically: without a playoff ladder and without structured interconference games.

    Think about this for a minute to understand how deeply this paradigm runs in college football. If I tell you there was a 9-6 football game, you don’t know very much about it. But… if I tell you that game was in the SEC, the response tends to be: it was a low scoring game because the defenses are so dominant. A 9-6 game from the B1G, on the other hand? “It was a low scoring game because B1G offenses are horrible and lack speed.”

    Again, stats “work” in the NFL (to the extent that they work) because there is structured scheduling to the interdivision games, and because of the parity. Yet people blindly use the same logical structures and arguments in the college game as if the numbers “work” just as cleanly there. There just isn’t a way to tell if one team’s offense was exceptionally good, or the rest of the conference’s defenses were exceptionally bad.

    4) Tradition… whether it’s the idea of going to a bowl at the end of the season, or the bowls, themselves, that have been going on for decades, or the tie-ins between conferences, or some school’s desire to be and stay independent… there are a lot of bumps in the college landscape that make the playing field different from the NFL, and difficult to navigate. If you monopolize a bunch of bowls to have the same 8 or 16 teams playing in them (in a ladder playoff), you’re removing a number of teams that can make a bowl appearance (assuming that the bowl system survives *around* the playoff relatively intact). On the other hand, if you completely scrap the bowl system, you might have another one of those unexpected consequences regarding recruits. If the only way a recruit can go to a bowl is to get to a school that typically competes in the post-season, recruits will now start heading away from the smaller schools.

    * * * * *

    Those are the problems that I see, and they lead me to this analysis:

    …Without structured scheduling, we will never be able to judge relative strength of teams (then again, *with* structured scheduling, we’d never have to, as they’d eventually settle it on the field)
    …Conference championships therefore must be the first rung on any ladder. One team playing a pool of opponents that each other team plays (at least in a large enough sample that the schedule strengths overlap) to determine a champion.
    …That might leave out a #2 or #3 team from one conference who is better than a #1 team from another conference. On the one hand, I want to say, “Tough.” There are 10 win teams that haven’t gone to the playoffs in the NFL before while they watch an 8-8 team host a home playoff game. If you’re that good, you should have won your conference. Otherwise, you can certainly expect your Conference Champion to walk all over that somewhat-lesser-#1 from another conference, right? On the other hand, I like to see quality football in meaningful games, so I want to let some #2 teams in. But how, short of the Beauty Show process, which more resembles figure skating judging than tackle football games? It’s easy to say, “The next top 4 teams as they are ranked after the Conference Championship weekend,” but that just perpetuates the polls and the notion that we know something about these teams that we really don’t.

    Not to mention the problem with rewarding mediocrity. You would be including, in those 4 teams, teams who either did not win their Conference Championship games, or, worse, didn’t even play in their Conference Championship games. Alabama was in that situation this year. They were rewarded, to put it harshly, for their mediocrity. Going into the Conference Championship game for the SEC, Alabama had more certainty that they were going to make it into the BCS Title Game than LSU did. Such a team would be into the playoff ladder without having played in the effective first round (the conference championship). That would constitute a bye.

    …In the end, we may have to keep the polls. Let the Conference Championship be the first round, and choose (from the poll) the top 4 teams not involved in their Championship games. Make them play in a side ladder that produces the best of the Bubble-4. That’s two weeks. The first week would be the same week as the Conference Championships, and the second would be a week that the Conference Champions would have off. That would level the field some, and reward teams for winning their conferences with a week off.

    Conferences might like it because they’d have at least 2 teams in (for their Championship game round), and possibly more… as many teams from their conference who are in the Bubble-4 and who are not in the Conf. Championship game.

    Then add that Bubble-4 winner into the mix of the Conference Champions. The ladder from here could be flexible to allow for however many conferences are able to hold a Championship game from year to year (yes, Big12, that means you’d have to get your sh!t together and get to 12 teams). Whatever that number is, and from whatever conference those teams come, you seed the ladder and award byes.

    Just some thoughts. If you’ve lasted this far, I’d love some feedback.

  49. herbertjablonski says: Jan 13, 2012 9:59 PM

    haha, the saturday night live skit from last week summarizes exactly why bowl viewership has dropped… youtube espn bowl madness SNL

  50. rcali says: Jan 13, 2012 10:22 PM

    I would rather watch two 6-6 teams play in a bowl game then watch 90% of the crap that is on tv these days.

  51. phillyb6 says: Jan 13, 2012 11:18 PM

    32 teams is way too many. Can’t play 9 reg season games and miss out on a bunch of home game revenue. I’m in for 8 or 16. 16 would be awesome, 11 conference champs and 5 at large bids picked by a selection committee (like bball), not a bowl tie-in committee, seeded tournament like bball, meaning the sun belt champ can clearly be seeded lower than Arkansas would have been this year… And play it out. Fifteen playoff games, office pools, general excellentness…

  52. 1historian says: Jan 14, 2012 7:39 AM

    I have the basic Dish package -I got two minor bowls and that was that. I couldn’t get any of the majors although I would have watched them if they had been available.

    IOW – I was priced out of seeing just about all of the bowl games and I’ll be darned if I’m going to pay another $300 (12 months @ $25 per) to watch a few football games.

  53. 1historian says: Jan 14, 2012 7:48 AM

    Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Cotton Bowl – the big 4 bowl games – Gone

    The National Championship game – Gone

    Thank you money people – I’ll remember this.

    WE’LL remember this.

    Does anyone out there doubt that sooner or later the NFL playoffs will be in the same category?

  54. woebegong says: Jan 14, 2012 7:56 AM

    Make every conference have a championship game, and then have a play off based on these conference champs playing in a playoff. Forget the college polls, because in theory, the cream will rise to the top in each conference. Your conference doesn’t have a playoff, you don’t participate in the chance to get a NC. You could probably add in a few independents to even up the numbers for match ups. That would have to be of course, based on some type of poll or formula, in order to have the best ones allowed to get into the competition, but I think it could work. Of course, you will then have some mistakes, possibly each year, but in the case of Alabama versus LSU, it would have meant that the earlier season meeting, would have actually been important, in the first place.
    The only people then objecting would have been the Alabama fans, and that would just have to be, although, it appears the BCS rankings, along with the human polls, missed out on pegging it this year. It would make every game during the regular season important, and that’s the way it should be.
    With the present way of doing things with the BCS in charge, there will continue to be questions and controversy every year as it is right now. No need to cut back on the 12 game schedule either, as I am sure if teams feel they have a legitimate chance of being in the big show, they will play their hearts out.

  55. jdesan says: Jan 14, 2012 11:39 AM

    “Emmert said. “Moving toward a 16-team playoff is highly problematic because I think that’s too much to ask a young man’s body to do”

    REALLY? Doesn’t anyone care about the bodies of the FCS, Div 11 and Div 111 kids? They have playoffs.

    These idiot NCAA Officials and School Presidents just can’t admit what they’re doing is wrong for the Fans, Players and Coaches. ( although most Coaches are forbiddend to voice their reall feelings)

    Just what does the Coach at Boise or other schools tell the kids? Hey, we can go undefeated but we have no shot at the Nat. Championship.

    Just plain WRONG

  56. mogogo1 says: Jan 14, 2012 5:14 PM

    I normally love all the bowl games, but it seemed to me there was a shortage of compelling matchups this year, particularly in the minor bowls. I also don’t remember this many 6-6 teams being in bowls before. And they even let UCLA into a bowl with a losing record…was there anyone who really wanted to see them in a bowl?

    They could easily have a playoff using the major bowl games, just as the BCS does, and let the smaller bowls go on exactly as they do today. That would be the best of both worlds.

  57. Deb says: Jan 14, 2012 5:37 PM

    @imaduffer …

    Honey, I have no problem letting the SEC prove their dominance on the field. Isn’t that what you keep harping about??? I have a HUGE problem with the idiotic idea of limiting the playoffs to conference champions when some of those teams are barely a half-step up from Division II. Meanwhile while truly great teams sit at home because their conferences are so competitive that they can’t all be the conference winner. That’s insane. And if you had a brain the size of a walnut that wasn’t soaked in anti-SEC vitriol, you’d know it.

    I don’t like the polls, but there should be an objective way to computer-rank teams based on strength of schedule, etc. If the top 8 teams–including all the one-loss teams–had met in a playoff this year, I think most of you would have enjoyed that more than watching three-loss teams like Clemson and West Virginia while the eventual champs, Alabama, sat at home because they didn’t win their conference. And if you claim otherwise, your main interest isn’t watching good football–it’s limiting the number of SEC competitors.

  58. cometkazie says: Jan 14, 2012 6:56 PM

    If you have a gazillion bowls and invite teams that don’t have winning records, why bother watching? None of the bowls, including the so-called championship, mean anything really. If the bowls meant anything, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. The regular season is much more interesting.

    I think the NCAA ought to take things back and devise a playoff system that means something. They do it in Div II and III. The bowls are passe’, faded roses of days gone by, and the NCAA is Delta Dawn kowtowing to them.

  59. goblue714 says: Jan 15, 2012 1:20 AM


    I totally agree with your opinion, bowls are glorified scrimmages for insane amounts of money. my question is “where does all the money go?” Who gets mega rich off of college football?

  60. Deb says: Jan 16, 2012 12:46 PM

    @goblue714 …

    Schools and conferences get billions. Not sure who else profits.

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