The Poulan Weedeater Bowl Story… and other Bowl Stuff…
Christmas in Shreveport has been a punch-line around here for going on ten years. It epitomizes one of the multitude of absurdities associated with partisan sports fandom with it’s 24/7 insatiable pursuit for “braggin’ rights”.
Your team manages to only lose 50% of its games, finishing the regular season at a most unimpressive 6-6. The favorite team of your obnoxious neighbor, or that creep in Accounts Receivable – the one that still wears English Leather – finishes 5-7. What “a loser”!
“Your team” gets invited to the Poulan Weedeater Independence Bowl in Shreveport to play Rhode Island A&M who also only lost 50% of its games. Obnoxious creeps’ 5-7 team does NOT get a bowl bid. Further undeniable proof that you are obviously a better human being than obnoxious creep. Ain’t Life grand.
You are not actually going to celebrate “Christmas In Shreveport” nor are you going to be inclined to purchase a Poulan Weedeater. But your team’s coaches all get bonuses for only losing half of its games.
- The players get a coupla hundred bucks worth of “bowl swag” (i.e. a gift card to Best Buy).
- The coaches get 2-3 weeks of extra practices for next year’s players to get “reps” and
- Your school’s sports promotion dept launches a campaign declaring what a Juggernaut program your school now is… for only losing half its games and playing Rhode Island A&M in Shreveport…. Oh and…
- ESPN gets 3 hours of “Live” sports programming over the Christmas holidays.
Ever wonder how The Poulan Weedeater Independence Bowl in Shreveport came to epitomize the absurdity of “The Bowls”?. ….
The give/take 40 bowl games involve 80 college FB teams / fan bases.. 40 coaches get to finish the season “on a high note” with a W. 40 others do not. But all 80 earned bonuses for “going to a bowl”.
Bowl games began as a travel incentive to get football-loving snowbirds to come to Florida and/or Pasadena over the holidays.. They would spend tourism $$$ in your resort community… and maybe Amazon would move its World HQ to “Shreveport”.
That was 60+ years and 35 more bowl games ago…
Now its 2017.. Other than a handful 6-8 Real Bowl Games, bowl games are simply programming fodder for ESPN.
ESPN now owns over half of the games. They don’t care who the participating teams are, or whether ANY of their fans travel “to Shreveport” or not.. They would be fine playing the games in a airplane hangar. All they want is live sports programming fodder.
ESPN doesn’t care how ridiculous the sponsor is. Bowl name rights are found money for ESPN.. They know about how many football watching addicts there are out there. Even if the games are meaningless exhibition games.
90% of college bowl games are the equivalent of NFL pre-season games.. Totally meaningless. Hell, give the tickets away and hope to make $$$ off concessions.
Unlike 10-15 years ago… schools are no longer forced to force their fans to purchase really awful seats for the game… saving the better seat locations for sponsors. The sponsors don’t care about tickets either… all anyone cares about is how many eyes will tune in to watch.
Even the local Boys/Girls Clubs don’t want the free tickets.
The cameramen for bowl games are instructed to NEVER do wide pans of the half empty stadiums… Keep their cameras focused down on the playing field.
The latest trend in bowl games is for top NFL prospects to opt-out to avoid any sort of injury that could affect their draft status. Good idea?. Absolutely. Top NFL prospects are stoopid to play in meaningless exhibition games.
The outcome of the game means absolutely nothing except to the head coaches record.
Another trend in recent years is for 3-5 thug-aletes on each team to be suspended during December for assorted thug-stuff. Apparently thug-aletes are thuggier in early December. Who knew?
Another 3-4 get dropped for academic reasons. Most schools end their Fall semester in mid-December. Players with no more eligibility have no incentive to keep attending “stay-eligible” classes… so they don’t.
If I was College Bowl Czar, I would…
1. Play all the games in either domed stadiums or “guaranteed good weather” locations… in attractive cities that fans might actually want to travel to… No more Shreveports.
2. Play double-headers with back-to-back games in the same stadium on the same day. Your ticket is good for both games. Yes, it is logistically possible to do this. I have it all worked out.
3. Make up goofy special bowl game rules to insure LOTS of scoring.
4. I would require a minimum of a 7-5 record but that won’t happen. Hell, none of my great ideas will happen… sigh.
I used to rail against so many ridiculous bowl games involving so many undeserving mediocre teams.. That is still the same. 50% of the bowls are glorified Little League participation trophies.. “Rewards” for only losing half of your games.. A star on your forehead for getting a “C” on your term paper.
But that is consistent with higher education in general these days. Reward mediocrity.
Read those two LINKS above. Its Good Stuff you can dazzle your buddies with…