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Bowl Game Selection:The Change That Is Needed

The current “Bowl Game” model is very archaic. That can be said as getting to a specific bowl game is no easy task. With the current bowl game draw, the Fightin’ Irish get Iowa State at 7-5 heading to the Camping World Bowl. There was not an easy road for either team to get there. That is where the process gets ugly.

To think that the entire “Bowl” process started back in 1902. The name was “Tournament East-West football game,” which featured Stanford versus Michigan. That bowl game was renamed the “Rose Bowl” in 1923. As the years went on the number of bowl games grew. 1940 there was five major bowl games, by 1950 the list grew to eight, and in 2019 starting December 20th their will be 40 “Bowl” not including the College Football Playoff Championship game on January 13th. You can see the list of games here.

Photo Courtesy Erin Locaascio Shake Down The Thunder Sports

Today’s Model

Each bowl game has a signed contract with each of the conferences. The deal is set up so that a qualified contender from a conference has a landing spot in a “Bowl” game of some sort. Let’s look at a few examples of how pairings happen today. Let’s take the Camping World Bowl for example. ND land’s a spot here because the top selection from the ACC (inclusive of ND) against the second selection from the Big 12 outside of the CFP series, Iowa State drops in here. The ACC has ties to ten bowl games. The Big 12 has ties to seven bowl games. It’s a web of sorting and matching conferences to bowl games to make sure everyone get’s their piece of the pie.

Their is also a special selection criteria for Notre Dame (courtesy of wikipedia)-eligible for ACC-contracted bowls. However, Notre Dame cannot be selected by an ACC bowl if there is an eligible ACC team with two or more wins than Notre Dame. For example, a 9–3 Duke team must be chosen over a 7–5 Notre Dame team. Notre Dame was selected to the 2019 Camping World Bowl in lieu of the 3rd-place ACC team, the third time since 2014 they have taken an ACC slot. Notre Dame can also be selected to play against ACC teams in the Orange Bowl twice in the span from 2014-2025, and has no limit in playing in any other New Year’s Six bowls if selected (Notre Dame has yet to make an Orange Bowl in that time; its most recent New Year’s Six Bowl was the December 2018 Cotton Bowl Classic).

College Football Playoff Influence

When the College Football Playoff came into play in 2014/2015 season, the Cotton Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Peach Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl and Rose Bowl all rearranged their contracts so that they at some point in a rotation host a CFP game. The National Championship technically is not a bowl game. It is the result of the four teams playing an elimination “Bowl” game to reach the National Championship game. So the question remains, if six bowl games can change their contracts to become part of College Football Playoff series, why can’t other “Bowl” games change their contracts to a very simplified methodology.

Bowl Game Pairings Made Simple

Those that know me well enough, understand that I try to think in simple terms. The “Bowl” selection can be made very simple as well. As a matter of fact, the process would actually be better in the proposed state I have thought of. After the top four team’s are selected the seeding is easy. Number fives goes up against number six, seven versus eight, nine versus ten, I think you get the gist of where that is going.

As far as when the bowl games are played, the teams with the lower ranking number next to their ranking play first, as the rankings go higher, the better bowl game selection the team’s play in. After the “New Year’s Day Six” play, the only game left to play should be the National Championship game. Why should a lower ranked team play between New Year’s Day and the National Championship game? If there is a need to showcase elite programs, that is not the time to show a lower ranked set of bowl teams.

The Big Wrap Up

With the bowl game realignment, there would be no need for Notre Dame to have to join a conference. The best football program results get better bowl games to play in based upon how close they are to New Year’s Day Six games.. The competition is more evenly paired and less confusion on selections and contracts. In the end, it is a relatively simple model and it still puts student-athletes, universities, corporate sponsors, and the NCAA in a Win-WIn situation.

We would love to hear your feedback on this topic and engage in civil conversation on what your thoughts are.

Camping World Bowl Game Information

Cheers and Go Irish!🍀🏈⚡

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One thought on “Bowl Game Selection:The Change That Is Needed

  1. This is a good idea. I think the ugly part is $. So much of this comes down to who travels, buys tickets, and what the networks want.

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