We have 34 college football bowl games - Is that too many?

If you care anything about college football, you will be spending many hours in the next nine days in front of a television set watching bowl games. There are two games today, two games Wednesday, five games Thursday, five games Friday, five games Saturday, one Monday, one Jan. 5, one Jan. 6, and the big national championship game on Jan. 7 pitting the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Texas Longhorns. That's 23 college football bowl games in nine days. And that's not the full story. Counting the games that date back to Dec. 19, there are now 34 college bowl games. That's up from 25 in 2001, 23 in 1998 and 19 in 1996. How many of you remember the days in the early 1950s when there were four bowl games -- the Rose, Cotton, Orange and Sugar? Then along came the Gator Bowl, followed by the Liberty and Bluebonnet bowls, and the number of bowl games has kept growing ever since.
Which brings the questions: Are there too many bowl games? Are mediocre teams being rewarded with post-season bowls when they really don't deserve it? Some people -- mostly non-football fans -- may answer "yes" to both questions. However, we suspect the majority would say, "No, we enjoy the games. The games are just rewards for all the teams -- even those with 6-6 records." And, indeed, if there were too many games, some would likely not survive. Fans still watch the games on television. Most games are well-attended by fans. The cities that host the games love to promote their towns and draw attention. And even more importantly, television still airs all the games. If that stopped, many of the bowls would fail, but as long as sponsors will advertise, TV will help the bowls continue. Many college football fans would love to see the bowl lineup reconfigured in a way that would allow college football to have a playoff system to determine a national championship. One day -- although it won't be real soon -- such a system may be developed. In the meantime, football couch potatoes are in all their glory. The 2009-2010 bowl season is peaking. Settle down with the remote control and your favorite goodies. Enjoy.

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