Insignificant, Irrelevant, Inane: Bowl Games Are Pointless
Bowl game season is in full force at the moment, and for sports fans who only watch college football, that means the last little bit of joy and excitement before the next eight months of anticipation for the Fall of 2022.
However, with all the change happening at a rapid rate in the college football realm, there should be a new change coming: the end of bowl games... or at least, the reduction in the number of games.
I'll say it straight: bowl games are pointless. They have the same significance as participation trophies. You know the kind, those little awards given to elementary school students who finished a sports season, no matter the record. Yeah, those. The committee might as well say, "Congrats on your season, here's a game against an opponent you've barely had a history with and means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things... but you get a big, shiny trophy if you win."
Don't get me wrong, some games can be fun. For example, the UAB Blazers pulled the incredible upset against No. 12 BYU in the Independence Bowl over the weekend. But, that was fun for them due to the tragedy and triumph since 2014. That had meaning behind it. It was special to the fans who, seven years ago, thought they'd never see another Blazers football game again. A moment special for the city, the school, and for fans and locals who feel like they were a part of the story.
And, for small schools like that, that's fine -- for the teams who want to finish its season strong, get the awareness for its program, and make a little profit off of a game, good for them. There's nothing wrong with that. However, it isn't fair to force or criticize big schools for not wanting to participate or have players opt out.
College football is similar to an internship: Some pay, some don't. But the point of them is for college students or young adults to get experience in the field they want to work in, to ultimately find a decent, full-time gig. With the new NIL deals in place, some players can make bank (ex. Bryce Young), but many factors play into that, obviously, and not everyone can.
Players, especially from big schools, have a decent chance at getting that full-time gig, which is getting drafted and playing in the NFL. They do not need to risk injury in a meaningless game that only has importance to a statistics sheet and can seriously harm or halt their future altogether.
So while change continues to happen, here's an idea: Make bowl games optional. Keep the New Years Six bowls, and a few smaller games, but not 40+ games. Give players and teams the chance to opt out. No team or player should be criticized for wanting to do what's best for their future.