Bowl viewership drops to record BcS lows

60 Comments

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?

Iowa suspends starting CB Manny Rugamba for opener vs. Wyoming

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Iowa will be facing one of the top quarterbacks in the country in Josh Allen in its 2017 opener, but they’ll do so at less than 100-percent strength personnel-wise in the secondary.

Iowa announced in a press release that Manny Rugamba will not play in the Sept. 2 game against Wyoming at Kinnick Stadium. No specific reason for the cornerback’s disciplinary measure was given.

“Manny will not play in our opening game due to serving the suspension, which is related to an off-season team violation,” a brief statement attributed to head coach Kirk Ferentz read.

Rugamba played in 12 games this past season as a true freshman, missing the Outback Bowl due to injury. He started three of those contests, and his two interceptions were third on the team.

Entering summer camp, and all the way up to his suspension, the sophomore had been penciled in as one of the Hawkeyes’ two new starting corners.

Ohio State QB Joe Burrow undergoes surgery on broken hand, out indefinitely

Associated Press
Leave a comment

Well, that settles that.

While J.T. Barrett is the unquestioned starter at quarterback for Ohio State, Joe Burrow (pictured, right) and Dwayne Haskins (pictured, left) have been engaged in a competition for the backup job that began in the spring and continued on into summer camp.  At least for now, the competition is closed as OSU announced Wednesday morning that Burrows underwent surgery Tuesday to repair a broken bone in his right (throwing) hand.  The sophomore suffered the injury during a Monday practice.

While officially out indefinitely, it’s expected Burrows will miss at least a month of the season.

As Barrett’s primary backup last season, Burrows completed 22 of his 28 pass attempts for 226 yards and a pair of touchdowns.  A redshirt freshman, Haskins, a four-star 2016 recruit, has yet to attempt a pass at the collegiate level.

With Burrows out for the foreseeable future, true freshman Tate Martell has been elevated in the signal-calling pecking order as well.  A four-star 2017 recruit, Martell was rated as the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in the country for this past year’s class.

After flirting with Oklahoma, USC, others, ex-LSU OL Maea Teuhema transfers to FCS

Getty Images
Leave a comment

After being indefinitely suspended by LSU for unspecified violations team rules and granted a release, Maea Teuhema had been linked to, among others, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, UCLA and USC.  In the end, the offensive lineman decided a lower rung on the college football ladder was, at least for now, the better option.

Southeastern Louisiana has officially confirmed that Teuhema has transferred into the football program.  As the Lions play at the FCS level, the offensive lineman will be eligible to play immediately in 2017.

“We’re excited to have a player of Maea’s caliber join our program,” SLU head coach Rob Roberts said in a statement. “He brings a lot of experience and it will be good to add another talented veteran to what is already a group we have a lot of confidence in.”

Teuhema’s brother, linebacker Sione Teuhema, transferred from LSU to SLU last year and is a starter for the Lions.

Teuhema, a four-star 2015 recruit, started 21 games the past two seasons, 11 at left guard as a true freshman and 10 at right tackle last season.  He earned Freshman All-American honors following the 2015 season.

This year, Teuhema had been slated to start at right guard for the Tigers.

Dismissed Georgia Tech RB Dedrick Mills headed to 2016 JUCO champ

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Less than a week after his unexpected and abrupt departure from Georgia Tech, Dedrick Mills has found himself a new college football home.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mills has enrolled Garden City Community College in Kansas.  As his next stop, which won the 2016 junior college national championship, plays below the FBS level, the running back will be eligible to play immediately in 2017.

Very late last week, Tech announced that Mills had been dismissed from the program for an unspecified violation of athletic department rules.

Last season, Mills’ 771 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns led all Tech ball carriers., with 169 of those yards coming in the bowl win over Kentucky.  Mills put up all of those numbers as a true freshman despite being suspended on two different occasions for a total of three games.

More than likely, Mills will spend one season at the JUCO level before moving back to the FBS.  Whatever team grabs him at that time would be getting a talented player who would still have two years of eligibility remaining.