Bowl Games have been becoming more and more meaningless over the years, but this year with Covid-19 in the air, bowl games are just a joke.
Playoffs >> Bowl Game
For top tier teams, if you don't make the playoffs, any bowl game is a let down. A few years ago star players started opting out of bowl games. Maybe 1 player per team might opt out.
But now, players are opting out left and right.
My Gators will go into their bowl game against Oklahoma without 4 of their top 5 receivers and at least one defensive back. I haven't seen how badly the Sooners are getting hit by opt-out-itis, but the Gators will be a shell of the team they were when they played Bama a couple weeks ago.
In the past, teams who made bowl games were expected to sell a certain amount of tickets. For some lower-tier teams, making a bowl game is a big accomplishment and these teams have no problems selling their allotment.
But for the top tier teams, being selected for a 2nd-tier bowl game is more of a booby prize. Unless the bowl is being played in a destination city, many fans aren't interested in shelling out top dollars for a ticket, hotel, travel, etc. etc. Many teams actually lose money playing in bowl games because they do not sell their allotment of tickets.
The lack of enthusiasm isn't limited to just the fans either. Many players, even before Covid, started opting out of non-playoff bowl games to prepare for the NFL draft. I certainly do not blame them one bit either. Why risk getting hurt in a truly meaningless game? If I'm a potential 1st or 2nd round draft pick and my team is headed to the Shreveport Holiday Bowl I would opt out too. Little to gain, everything to lose.
How many times have you watched a bowl game between a major program vs a 2nd tier program only to watch the major program lay an egg? As mentioned above, the 2nd tier teams are thrilled to make any bowl game while the major programs are struggling with apathy and players opting out.
So Why Play?
There are good reasons to play the lower bowl games.
Teams get another month of practice, and with several of the seniors and juniors opting out, the lower class players get a chance to run with the 1s and get valuable experience.
If the bowl is in a destination city, fans and players are rewarded with a nice little vacation. Who wouldn't want to go to Hawaii, California, or Florida in December of January?
I Will Still Watch
No matter how meaningless these games are I will be watching most of them. Football only last a little over 4 months which means it will be 8 more months before it starts up again. When you are a big fan like I am, that 8 months seems to last forever.
Will you be watching the bowls? Drop a note and tell me which you are most excited to watch.