Leonard Fournette & Christian McCaffrey Open Floodgates To The Demise Of Lesser Bowls
It was pretty much inevitable, but wow, that happened quick!
When the College Football Playoff kicked off three seasons ago, it rendered all other bowl pretty much, well meaningless.
Of course that matters little for the little ones like the Belk Bowl and the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, but I’m talking the Orange Bowl, Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Fiesta Bowl & Cotton Bowl when those games don’t have the semifinals.
While it’s great to get the best four teams (more or less, most of the time) to battle it out on the gridiron, there’s a lack of excitement for the other games like in the good ‘ol days when fans could root for a team ranked ahead of them to lose in a game and play later that night for chance to win it all.
Heck, with the College Football Playoffs taking place on New Year’s Eve, the one-time “major” bowls don’t even play until two days later, on Jan. 2. Talk about anti-climatic; they need to switch those around to build up to the bigger games.
Interest in those bowls was bound to drop like a bowling ball off a ping pong table. But this new development surrounding bowl games is really alarming.
Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey declaring they will not play in their team’s bowl game to concentrate on the NFL is going to accelerate this disturbing – well, let me instead call it a disappointing – trend and lead to the end of the bowl games as we know them today.
First about Fournette and McCaffrey’s decision (and also some obscure running back from Baylor has joined the parade). They are quitting on their team. After all that sweat, work and workouts they did building up to now, they are basically saying to their teammates, “well good luck boys; I’m moving onto bigger and better things!”
They are also snubbing their noses as the very institution that gave them a scholarship and put them in a position to go the NFL in the first place. They are also telling the alumni, boosters and fans – the ones who basically paid for them to be in this position to go to the NFL through ticket and merchandise sales and donations – that they don’t matter.
In essence, they are saying, “my career is more important that you and my school.”
And don’t play the injury card with me – players could get injured or re-injure, say, a hamstring, in pre-NFL Draft workouts. If you’re healthy, you should play and be there for your team, your school and the fans.
So yes, I have a problem with it, but unfortunately, it’s only going to get worse. Because a lot of marquee players are going to be watching the reaction and if it doesn’t affect these players’ NFL Draft positions, then there will be a flood of players doing the same thing next year.
And the bowls will suffer. Who really wants to tune into see LSU play the Citrus Bowl without Fournette? What LSU fan would want to spend $200 for a ticket to go to it, along with a grand-plus on travel expenses?
What becomes of these bowl games in the next few years? Do they cease to even exit?
No, the big ones will always be around but their significance will be of little interest to anyone without close ties to the schools playing in them (and to bettors) because if the star players don’t care why should we care?
If this trend continues, it is indeed the end of the current bowl system as we know it today. And that’s too bad because the bowls (the big ones anyway) have been a nice season-ending reward for players, fans and students.