The Good And Bad Of The SEC’s Bowl Matchups
As is usually the case the day after the bowl matchups are announced, outrage abounds on this first Monday of December. Georgia shouldn’t have fallen out of a BCS bowl. Florida shouldn’t have jumped into a BCS bowl. LSU shouldn’t have fallen to the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Vanderbilt should be allowed to leave the state of Tennessee for a bowl game.
On and on and on.
But this is what the bowl system is and what it will always be, folks. Now, maybe if there were a bowl selection draft based on bowl payouts we’d have better, fairer matchups. But currently, it’s just the same ol’ mess every year. The BCS bowls are locked into take certain small conference teams — like Northern Illinois to the Orange Bowl! — if they finish above a certain point in the national rankings. (This was done to fend off lawyers and politicians representing small-conference teams.)
Then you have all of the conference tie-ins that come into play. The leagues realized long ago that the safest way to insure a nice chunk of Bowl-Revenue Pie each year was to cut deals with the games well in advance. So before the season starts, we know where the SEC’s, Big Ten’s, Big XII’s, etc, etc, teams are heading. It’s just a matter of who falls into which slot.
After you cut through all of that automatic stuff, you then get down to the nitty gritty. Cities began hosting bowls in order to bring tourists to their hotels and restaurants in the winter. Period. That’s why bowl games came into being and that’s why the number of games has grown to the point that we barely have enough bowl-eligible teams each year. (This year, 6-7 Georgia Tech will be heading to the Sun Bowl to face Southern Cal after getting a special waiver from the NCAA allowing it to go bowling with a losing record.)
With the explosion in television coverage, the committees now consider tourism for one week versus for the entire year when picking their combatants. A committee can choose to bring in two schools who’ll bring fans to their city for a few days in December or January… or two schools who’ll get bigger TV ratings which will provide said city an opportunity to run spot after spot promoting itself as a tourism destination to millions of folks who might visit in February or June or October.
Tags: bad, bowl, georgia, january, miami, nashville, play, season, sec, team, ten, year