Sometimes, I begrudgingly admire the people who work for the NCAA. It takes cojones.
It takes major brass ones to make decisions that are clearly, 100%, undeniably money-driven and then get in front of a microphone and shout to the rooftops about how these decisions are clearly, 100%, undeniably not money-driven.
How do I think the folks at the NCAA sleep? I think they sleep well on their pillows lined with $100 bills collected from college football player jersey sales. I really do.
Folks have been saying for years that they day when we have more bowl game slots than available bowl teams is coming. Last year there were 71 teams that qualified for bowl games. With 35 games (and 70 slots) this year, there's a strong possibility there won't be enough teams. Especially when you throw out a surefire bowl team like USC, banned from postseason play this year.
The question becomes...what's more important?
The integrity of college football and competition, which states that only teams that have earned the right to play in a bowl game shall play in a bowl game
A crapton of money
Answer: A crapton of money, as Brent Schrotenboer of the San Diego Union Tribune discovered.
The NCAA has begun discussions about the possibility of having teams with losing records play in bowl games this season -- a possibility that some say isn’t good for college football.
...If there weren’t enough eligible teams, Binkowski’s guess is that strength of schedule or proximity would factor into which 5-7 teams could be selected.
Another possibility is allowing teams with two wins against FCS teams to count both toward bowl eligibility. Currently, only one such victory counts per year. But only a handful of teams have scheduled two FCS games this year, including San Jose State (1-2) and Ball State (1-2).
Another team that's scheduled two FCS games? Syracuse! As we're all well aware, the Orange currently need seven wins (or six non-FCS wins) to become bowl eligible. But let's say there aren't enough teams to play and the Orange are 6-6...considering all of the teams available that have two FCS games on their schedule, aren't the Orange likely to be one of the most favorable choices?
It's not something SU fans should bank on or get too excited about, but its not something we'll turn down if its offered either. Syracuse should still focus on the need for seven wins, of course, but we'll keep that in our back pocket just in case.
As for the NCAA and their wonderful bowl system they've fought so hard to maintain...is this ultimately a huge change? Not really.
What's the difference between a Motor City Bowl between two 6-6 teams you've never watched before and a Motor City Bowl between two 5-7 teams you've never watched before? You're either a college football nut who will watch that game regardless or you're not. Hell, they could both be 0-12 and there's still people who would watch because its football.
If this comes to pass, which it will eventually since bowl games aren't going anywhere and are continuing to grow, you and I know its just one more reason on a pile of eleven million as to why the bowl system is uber-dumb. Of course the NCAA will find a way to spin it to make it sound like this isn't about money or pissing off corporate sponsors. They'll say this is about giving more student-athletes the chance to fulfill their dreams (which apparently consist of playing football in Washington DC in early December in front of 18,000 people). But we know better.