By Jeff Caves
I love college football. I played it, make a living off it and it is my hobby.
I am invested.
The fans who follow it, enjoy attending games in person and are eager to learn more about their favorite sport are my customers.
They are very important to me.
When I chose to attend the First Responder Bowl and cover it in person, I cancelled our annual Christmas reunion with our three children. Instead, I paid about $1500 to have my daughter and wife join me in Dallas for the game. I also spent $200 on tickets to the game for everybody including my Father in Law who lives in Dallas.
I could have went to Hawaii with that money.
Now, we are getting to something College Football needs to worry about. Aloha!
Choices. We have never had as many as we do before. Hawaii has rarely disappointed me.
Bowl games have often.
I have blown off holidays before for football games. They have been mostly in good weather cities though like Las Vegas, San Diego, Hawaii and Phoenix. The Fort Worth Bowl vs TCU 12/23/2003 was a fine night for football about 50 degrees with some wind and clear skies. The 2018 First Responder Bowl was a disaster and cancelled after 10 minutes of play. On top of that , Boise State started very slow and was down 7-0 when the almost 1.5 hour delay began.
I just don’t think the game was a good idea in the first place. Why drag 2 teams with no real fan base in Texas to play a game the day after Xmas in the middle of the day? For TV? Screw that. Football players are not like tv sitcom actors able to perform in sound studios with only a laugh track. They need a live audience and a big one at that if you want the best performance and players. And fans don’t want to be alone, they can stay at home and watch tv if that’s what they want. They want Christmas with family and bowl games on their terms. And they don’t want so-so opponents. Baylor, Northern Illinois, Boston College, Arizona State, Utah, East Carolina and others were rarely having a great season when they played Boise State. The Hawaii, Cactus, Poinsettia and First Responder Bowls were played in largley empty stadiums. It’s demoralizing on some level for all involved.
How is that good for the long term health of college football?
How is it good for college football when coaches leave for other jobs before their bowl game? Or healthy players sit out the bowl game because it isn’t important enough? What the hell kind of message is that? Kill some of the bowl games unless they make sense. Give em a minimum stadium capacity they have to hit or decertify them. Fewer viewers watching more games isn’t as strong as more viewers watching fewer games. I realize it will create more “campus” bowls but at least the game will be important to somebody. And that could mean cold weather cities like Boise are outta luck. So what. Group of 5 teams can travel to Power 5 bowl sites to get a better game with a better atmosphere. Boise State could have played at Cal, TCU, Arizona State, or Oregon. It’s still a reward. Bring it on for the sake of college football.