The Univer?sity of Alabama has been crowned the national champion in college football, and we finally know who is the best of the best. What we don?t know is who is best of the worst, or the worst of the worst, depending on your perspective.
In 1995, football fans could choose from 18 postseason bowl games. A decade later, there were 28.
This year we had 40 bowl games and we?ll have more next season. Never mind there weren?t enough bowl-eligible teams to fill the 80 slots this year. College football had to include 5-7 teams?teams with no hope of a winning record?playing in bowls.
The current number of bowl games means that 80 out of 128 Football Bowl Subdivision teams are now guaranteed a spot in a game.
Maybe it?s a chicken-and-egg thing. Are there too many good teams or too many bad teams? After all, a large number of eligible teams this season have not lost any games or have only lost one game, meaning the wins have not been spread very evenly. Of the top 25 teams, 17 of them lost two or fewer games this season. That?s a problem, when so many teams need at least six wins to play in a bowl and the number of bowl games is so high.
?With the recent expansion of bowl games, this has always been a possibility,? said Mark Nagel, professor of sports and entertainment management at the Univer?sity of South Carolina. It?s not unprecedented, but it?s rare to see it at this scale.
?Universities and their presidents like the idea of a bowl game,? Nagel said. ?It gives them something to take alumni and donors to. There are television revenues and exposure for the university.
?But if we add another bowl, we add another bowl, and we add another bowl, and you need two teams to play in each game, this is what can happen.?
According to an article in Inside Higher Ed, participating in bowls has clear benefits for some. For teams, it allows for 15 extra practices, giving them a jump start on off-season training. For coaches, it can mean bonuses from their institution. For conferences, it can mean a large payout.
Last year, the bowls paid out a total of $505.9 million, according to the Football Bowl Association. Account?ing for costs, that?s about $200 million in profits for athletic conferences.
That doesn?t mean everyone is getting rich, though. The payouts might not exceed the costs of playing in a bowl game for some institutions.
A 2010 analysis by Bloom?berg Business found that 13 of the teams participating in that year?s 33 bowl games spent more money to play in the games than they received in compensation. The losses for those teams totaled nearly $4 million.
But enough about the pros and cons of bowl games. Tom Fornelli, a staff writer for CBSsports.com chooses to take a humorous angle, ranking the worst teams in the FBS. Fornelli wants every team to have a chance to win at least one game.
That?s why he thought UCF and Kansas should have had one more shot at success. He feels that more fans would have watched those two teams play than some of the other bowl games.
He wrote: ?We don?t need an official bowl game. We can figure this out on our own. You can both come here to Chicago where I live and play at the high school a couple of blocks down the street from my house. They have a turf soccer field behind the school, and while I?m not entirely sure it?s a regulation-sized football field, it?s big enough.
?Let?s do this. Let?s give the players and the people what they want. Let?s give them the Botton 25 Cham?pionship Game.?
Alas, the game was never played. Instead of letting the players determining the outcome, Fornelli was forced to pick the winner, er, loser, on his own.
And your 2015 Bottom 25 Champion, according to Fornelli, is UCF, with Kansas No. 2. Don?t expect Jayhawk fans to start chanting, ?We?re No. 2.?
Hillsboro resident Joe Klein?sasser is director of news and media relations at Wichita State University. He can be reached at Joe.Kleinfirstname.lastname@example.org.