The four teams in the College Football Playoff — Clemson, Georgia, Oklahoma and Alabama — are all deserving of postseason play.
As for most of the remaining bowl schedule? You’ll have to excuse me for being a little less than excited.
The Football Bowl Subdivision’s smorgasbord of bowl games has gotten to be way too bloated, where merely winning as many games as you lose is good enough for a trip and at least a six-figure payout. It’s great for the players and coaches, and the diehard fans. But outside of those groups, does anybody really care? Should they?
It seems to me that a lot of these games end up rewarding mere competence, rather than excellence.
I had season tickets in the student section for Utah football this year. I attended all but the last game of the season, only leaving the Arizona State debacle early in order to beat the postgame rush to the Village Inn down the hill. I can honestly tell you that the Utes simply aren’t a very good football team. Results don’t lie, either — if you’re 6-6, you are mediocre. Enough said.
To say I’m not real motivated to watch their Heart of Dallas Bowl appearance against an equally mediocre West Virginia squad is an understatement. It’s the day after Christmas, and I won’t be doing much else when the game begins, but it’s not like I have my heart set on watching it. To me, it’s the equivalent of watching a late-season Major League Baseball game between two middle-of-the-pack teams nowhere near postseason contention.
It’s a totally meaningless game. There will be no parade through downtown Salt Lake City if the Utes win. There will probably be one giant collective shrug among the Utah fan base if they lose. The only reason to watch is to see if the game’s title sponsor, Zaxby’s, is offering a special the next day based on the result.
And things aren’t much better up the road in Logan. Sure, Utah State is limited by being in the mid-major Mountain West Conference (Utes fans can relate, as that was their reality before moving to the Pac-12). Unless they become like mid-2000s Utah or the next Boise State, the Aggies are never going to get a big-time bowl assignment.
While I’m sure they’re glad to be back in the postseason, a trip to Tucson to face a long-suffering New Mexico State program in the Arizona Bowl is, shall we say, less than glamorous. At least Dallas is, well, you know, a major metropolis. Tucson is Phoenix Jr. While there are far worse places, it’s also not the most exciting destination. It’s also much closer to Las Cruces, New Mexico, than it is to Logan. The stadium will be half-full at best, and two-thirds of the crowd will probably be rooting for NMSU in a battle of Aggies vs. Aggies.
So, when it comes to these bowl games between Christmas and New Year’s Day, I think I’ll pass. Seeing whether my team can finish 7-6 isn’t motivation enough for me.
Darren Vaughan is a veteran sports writer from Moab, Utah. While he’ll pass on after-Christmas football, he won’t pass on after-Christmas leftovers. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.