Proponents of the Opt-Out Have Another Place to Hang Their Hat
Football is a brutal game for all of those who play it and bowl games are no exception to that fact. In recent years, there has been a spike in the number of players choosing to opt out of their team's bowl game in order to stay healthy for the NFL Draft or the transfer portal.
Grayson McCall's injury in Tuesday night's TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl is yet another in the line that reinforces the notion that players should continue to do this.
McCall entered his name into the transfer portal in early December, but unlike many others that entered, McCall choose to play in Coastal Carolina's bowl game. McCall has played for the Chanticleers for the past four seasons and during that time has undoubtedly been the best quarterback in the program's brief history in the FBS.
Grayson playing in the game brought an entirely different dynamic to the offense that has struggled without his presence on the field over the course of the season. After getting off to a strong start, McCall called his own number and ran towards the end zone midway through the second quarter.
He was able to secure the prize he was looking for, a touchdown, but it came at a cost because he flipped into the end zone and landed on his head. Following the play, McCall did not reenter the game and without him Coastal Carolina struggled to produce at any consistent level on offense.
McCall's injury is not the first too happen to those choosing to opt into a bowl game that some might find to be a meaningless endeavor. Former Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral suffered a similar fate in the Sugar Bowl against Baylor last season.
The decision to play ultimately comes down to the player regardless of the risk associated with it. However, with the possibility of injury being sustained, it begs the question of whether or not it is worth it for these players to sacrifice the rest of their careers for a bowl game.
Fans will often point to opt-outs as players being soft and giving up on their team when it really matters.
It is these same fans that will often quickly point out that bowl games do not matter and that championships are the only thing teams should be concerned with winning.
The question of whether or not to play in games is something that only someone in that position can decide. Most players in college football will not have to worry about making a decision of this nature.
Bryce Young and Will Anderson Jr. have both decided to play in the Allstate Sugar Bowl against Kansas State on Dec. 31 to the surprise of many people around college football. Both players are projected top five picks in this year's NFL Draft so the decision to play was shocking to most.
If one or both of them were to sustain some type of injury during the game, it might be a forgone conclusion that players will opt out of any non-playoff related bowl games in the future.