Here we are again, deep into bowl season, that time of year when fans like to brag about the conference their team plays in. I personally don’t put much weight on conference strength as it pertains to bowl game results. Now, there are instances where this does actually become relevant, but usually it has very little meaning to me. If the PAC-12 were to go 1-8 in bowl games, then you could convince me that the conference wasn’t that good. If it’s a 5-4 record against a 6-3 record, to me, that’s a push.
Bowl season used to be the highlight of my sports year. I love college football, I love everything about it. The last few years has seen my interest in it decline though, and not for the reasons most would think. I’m not of the opinion that there are too many bowl games out there. I actually love that aspect of it. With these bowl games, we get to see match ups that normally won’t take place during the regular season. To me, that’s exciting, that’s what drives the interest for me. What we’re seeing the last few years is lackluster play from teams that are not in the playoffs. We’re seeing stars sit out to ‘prepare for the draft’. Let’s be honest, they’re not preparing for the draft, they just don’t want to get hurt. And who can blame them?
Any athlete that is looking ahead to a professional career and a lucrative contract is not going to risk it all in a meaningless bowl game. Hey, I threw away millions, but check out that Outback Bowl trophy. Nope, not happening. I’ve seen fans put these players on blast on social media and, to me, that is just silly. Of course you want your team to win, but do you really want their star player to potentially throw away his future, a future that he has worked so hard for his entire life? The answer to that question should be a resounding NO. Any answer other than that reflects badly on you, not them.
My biggest complaint over the last few years, especially this year, is that fact that a lot of these teams take the field and just seemingly go through the motions. I can’t remember the last time I turned off so many games in 1 season before. It’s ugly football, it’s an overall bad look for the game as a whole. I get it, they have nothing to play for really. A trophy that will sit in a trophy case that has no other redeeming qualities associated with it isn’t worth giving your all. Or is it?
This is where pride comes in. One of the best tidbits of advice that my dad ever gave to me was to give 100% in everything you do, because everything you do has your name stamped on it. Watching some of these games, I doubt these players can hold their heads high after the performances I’ve seen. Now I’m not talking about all players on all teams, but I’m sure you’ve seen enough evidence as well. I can’t imagine trying to coach a team in one of the lesser bowls. What do you say to fire them up? That’s why they get paid the big bucks while I sit here and critique it.
I’ll still watch the bowl games. At least until it bores me or, in one case so far, it gets canceled. Don’t even get me started on that one. It’s great entertainment, it’s fun. There are a lot of players whom I want to see one more time before they head to the NFL or go on to their next phase of life. All I ask is for them to act like they want to be there. Give me a good memory, give me effort, and dammit, give me the over that I bet on.