Are bowl games relevant anymore?

Tide&True

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Sep 24, 2004
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This is really a rhetorical question. I’d like everyone’s thoughts about what you think needs to be done to either make them relevant again or do away with them.


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TideEngineer08

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As long as they make money, they will continue to occur.

I do think they are relevant even in the playoff era. Some of these early bowls that everyone trashes actually draw better ratings than regular season NBA basketball.
 
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81usaf92

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Apr 26, 2008
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No they aren't relevant. With the increasing of NFL signon contracts, I dont think playing exihibition games just for the sake of making ESPN money are really that appealing to most players. They could possibly make bowl games a little more relevant by decreasing them by half, but again I think the NFL combine is more important to many top players than having Alabama play Notre Dame in a non playoff Cotton Bowl
 

Tide&True

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As long as they make money, they will continue to occur.

I do think they are relevant even in the playoff era. Some of these early bowls that everyone trashes actually draw better ratings than regular season NBA basketball.
I just think the system is broken and at some point people won’t see the value of these games.


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TideEngineer08

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I just think the system is broken and at some point people won’t see the value of these games.


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Agreed. I just don't think the threshold has been crossed yet. The crowds aren't great. They haven't been for years though. Even before the BCS. 81 is certainly correct about the player participation. But as long as these games are drawing the ratings they draw, they will continue to be staged. I guess that's how I'm defining relevance.
 

Tide&True

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Agreed. I just don't think the threshold has been crossed yet. The crowds aren't great. They haven't been for years though. Even before the BCS. 81 is certainly correct about the player participation. But as long as these games are drawing the ratings they draw, they will continue to be staged. I guess that's how I'm defining relevance.
My theory is that people watch not because they are that appealing but because it’s something to watch that’s football related.


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BamaBoyinSC

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Oct 8, 2013
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Doesn't relevant depends on the team and perspective? TN fans are happy to get to play in a Bowl game this year. I'm a Bama fan and disappointed to go to a Bowl game rather than CFP. I still watch a lot of the gmes and are happy they are on TV. I do believe the playoffs will eventually go to 8 teams and change everything. Reduce the number of Bowl games and it would mean more to get to play in one.
 

UntouchableCrew

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Nov 30, 2015
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I guess it depends on what you mean.

I still like Bowl Games as a final send-off for that years team, testing their mettle against a supposedly similar quality team from another conference.

I also think when you're a program like Bama you sometimes forget it's a legit goal for programs that will never compete for national titles. There are 130 programs in FBS football. Realistically it might be a stretch to say there are 10 that can legitimately win a national title.

If you're, say, Purdue you will never win a national title and will rarely if ever win the Big Ten. But winning double digits and the Outback Bowl against a quality SEC team represents a high water mark worth celebrating for a team at that level.

It's not only about the playoff/national title. If it was there are 120 teams wasting their time.
 
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Tide&True

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Doesn't relevant depends on the team and perspective? TN fans are happy to get to play in a Bowl game this year. I'm a Bama fan and disappointed to go to a Bowl game rather than CFP. I still watch a lot of the gmes and are happy they are on TV. I do believe the playoffs will eventually go to 8 teams and change everything.
I know this aspect of it is true but the overall product is starting to suffer. I suppose if the networks know we will tune in anyway then they could care less.


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Guido

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Feb 24, 2017
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heck yeah, they are relevant, just maybe not to you. To most of the players and to the school, YES. If you don't like the matchup, don't watch, nobody is forcing you too. What a wimpy society we have become. The free market will determine if they survive.
 
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Tide&True

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I guess it depends on what you mean.

I still like Bowl Games as a final send-off for that years team, testing their mettle against a supposedly similar quality team from another conference.

I also think when you're a program like Bama you sometimes forget it's a legit goal for programs that will never compete for national titles. There are 130 programs in FBS football. Realistically it might be a stretch to say there are 10 that can legitimately win a national title.

If you're, say, Purdue you will never win a national title and will rarely if ever win the Big Ten. But winning double digits and the Outback Bowl against a quality SEC team represents a high water mark worth celebrating for a team at that level.

It's not only about the playoff/national title. If it was there are 120 teams wasting their time.
As players start to opt out of these games then the true value is lost, in my opinion.


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B1GTide

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Football is a sport. As such, it is played with winning championships as its primary purpose. The bowl games sit outside of that construct. They no longer have anything to do with the primary purpose of the sport.

That said, aside from winning championships, football is also a form of entertainment. The value of that entertainment is decided by the consumer. So, how do we increase the value of bowls to consumers? Make them meaningful to the consumer again.

I can only speak from my perspective, but I enjoy bowl games based on a single criteria - do I want to see the two teams play one another? If the answer is yes, I'll block time off on my calendar to watch it. If the answer is no, I probably won't even remember that it is on TV.

Do I ever watch bowl games that I am not really looking forward to seeing? Sure. Some of the lesser bowls only catch my eye if I have nothing else going on when they are on TV. I am not going out of my way to watch Boise State play Wyoming, but I might throw it on in the right circumstances. But games like that still wind up on TV because that terrible game will still draw more eyeballs than whatever reruns TV stations might consider putting out there in December.

Is there something that could be done to make these bad match-ups more valuable to me? Probably not. At least, I can't think of anything. I don't gamble, so nothing there. Maybe better half-time shows? I'm not sure - but the main product (the competition) just isn't getting home on its own.
 

Al A Bama

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The only ones relevant to me are those where the Playoffs are played.

Well, it does give players more practice time to get more experience and better. And you do not want to be placed in a situation of only others in the CFP getting more practice time, especially if you are NOT in the CFP.
 

rtr90

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Dec 7, 2018
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I would think for teams going 6-6 or 7-5 maybe still relevant

For rest of them it has lost charm
 

PA Tide Fan

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Many bowl games were never relevant. Before the BCS era the contenders played on New Year's Day so any bowl game played before New Year's Day was never relevant anyway. The only thing the BCS and playoff have done is now make those games on New Year's Day irrelevant. Still, I imagine as long as the schools make money they'll have them. Coaches probably look upon reaching a bowl game as a way to save their jobs.
 

B1GTide

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Doesn't relevant depends on the team and perspective? TN fans are happy to get to play in a Bowl game this year. I'm a Bama fan and disappointed to go to a Bowl game rather than CFP. I still watch a lot of the gmes and are happy they are on TV. I do believe the playoffs will eventually go to 8 teams and change everything. Reduce the number of Bowl games and it would mean more to get to play in one.
Sure - fans of the individual teams will value the games that their team plays in. But what about all of the rest of the games for those Vols fans?
 

bamamick

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Feb 22, 2005
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I agree with that. To a team like UAB or South Alabama a bowl game is a big freakin' deal. To any team who is serious about being in a championship hunt, with players looking at NFL careers, they are not at all relevant. How does an athletic department sell a game to it's fans where we go to Dallas at New Year's and play Memphis or Boise? They don't, not successfully, and I believe that that's the answer to the OP's question.

rtr
 

rgw

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Sep 15, 2003
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If they're good enough, they are a fine vacation for your team, team's family members, students who support the team, and fans. Outside of the NY6, if it isn't in Florida then it is usually a miserable excuse for 2 weeks of extra practice that is a drag for everyone surrounding the team and sometimes the team itself. I went to a Music City Bowl, Cotton Bowl, and Independence Bowl as a band member. The Independence Bowl was such a bad experience - from having to be up at 4am to drive to Tuscaloosa the day after Christmas to the amenities afforded us by the committee - that I decided to just focus on academics for my Senior year after that trip. Their band dinner for the MDB and Okie Lite band was just chicken tender platters from Winn-Dixie in a high school gymnasium and we were staying in a motel that seems like it had its fair share of hookers in it save this particular weekend. Music City Bowl and especially the Cotton Bowl were far better affairs that felt like their committees actually intended to treat the people they were hosting like they were happy to have them. When we overnighted for away games, our own athletic department took better care of us than this Independence Bowl committee who handles all those incidentals, food, and lodging costs for the cheerleaders, band, etc.

In summary, the lower tier bowls are more often than not pretty mediocre to bad for everyone involved. If you're going to play in a low-tier bowl, being in a big city is a huge savior for making it an enjoyable time. If you're in Birmingham or smaller places, the quality of your visit starts declining quickly. Once you arrive at a Shreveport bowl, you're basically having the depression beef n' cheddar of bowl experiences.
 
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GrayTide

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Nov 15, 2005
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Not relevant, but I don't see an end to them anytime soon. I rarely watch any bowl game that does not include Alabama or a top tier SEC team and then that depends on who the opponent is. I haven't decided if I will watch the CFP this year or not. I might watch a Clemson vs tOSU championship game, but there is no guarantee on that. I have been a college football fan a long, long time, but it is going the way of the NFL and NBA. The bowl system cannot save that.
 
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Tidewater

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I just think the system is broken and at some point people won’t see the value of these games.
When that lack of value is reflected in loss of bowls making money, then they will go away. I think that, when teams with a 5-7 record go to a bowl game, there may be too many bowl games, but overall they still have relevance. Extra practice days, players get to go and play someplace different. Fans get to follow them. the four-letter sports network gets to broadcast them.
 
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