Are there too many College Bowl games?
As college bowl season arrives you frequently hear people, even hard core football fans, complaining that there are too many bowl games. After all do we really need the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl or the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl or the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl featuring little known football schools like Ball State or Toledo? Let’s look at the facts before rendering an answer to this interesting question.
In 2012 there are approximately 440,000 NCAA athletes participating in a wide variety of sports. There are about 55,000 or more athletes playing football at the collegiate level. Of this number, only about 250-300 athletes will go on to play professionally. Given these hard, cold facts let’s now consider the aforementioned question about whether there are too many bowl games.
Beginning on December 15 when the first bowl of the season is played, there will be 35 college bowl games played with the last game being the BCS National Championship Game on January 7, 2013. When you consider that each team will carry on average of 85 athletes on each team that means that there are 5,950 football players who will participate in the NCAA Bowl experience after their regular season is over.
Approximately 22 percent of these athletes are seniors meaning that 1300 of these athletes are playing their last game for their chosen college or university. When you further consider that less than 19 percent of these athletes will play in the NFL you can quickly see that a college bowl game is the last time many of these athletes will ever put on the pads. Some of the athletes began playing football at age 7 so for most of their lives, perhaps fifteen years or more, these young men have played football.
While it provides an interesting perspective to view bowl games through the eyes of the athletes, it would be irresponsible if we did not view the question through the prism of the business and finance side of college bowl games. Simply stated, television drives the major sports, especially at the collegiate level. Television broadcasts of college football meets the insatiable viewing demands of football fans across the country. Moreover, advertisers pay handsomely to allow viewers to watch bowl games for free and the revenue trickles down to the participating schools and conferences.
We should also consider the needs of the student bodies and alumni groups who are always proud that their school is participating in a bowl game no matter whether it is Ball State or Western Kentucky athletes on the field. Fans love their football teams and December provides that unique opportunity to extend the season for “one more game” and the fans love it and show their support by attending the games or watching on television.
Bottom line, bowl games are good for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is financial. But for this aging former football player, the idea of playing one more game for my alma mater is very appealing. Congratulations to all the teams, coaches, athletes and fans that are lucky enough to be in a college football bowl game. Have fun. Your fans are proud of you and you have extended your season for “one more game.”