Getting off the couch and getting on the soapbox

Published 11:31 pm Saturday, January 3, 2009

After sitting on my couch and vegetating for the better part of two weeks — watching an amount of football that could best be described as unhealthy — I came away with the following observation.

There are way, way too many bowl games, and I would give a limb to see one that does not have its sponsor in the title.

Out of 119 Football Bowl Series teams, 68 participated in 34 bowl games. Basically, that means that 57 percent of FBS teams who field a team will make a bowl. A few of you are probably asking, “Well Barrett, what if there aren’t 68 bowl-eligible teams?”

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Good question. Don’t worry, the slot will be filled. In fact, it’s already happened once. North Texas entered the 2001 New Orleans Bowl at 5-6. But because the Mean Green won the Sun Belt, they advanced to the postseason.

That’s not my big gripe though. We’ve actually reached a point that there are not enough bowl eligible teams to meet conference tie-ins. A great example is this year’s Independence Bowl. Despite sending eight teams to bowl games, the SEC was not able to send a team to Shreveport for the second time since the tie-in was created in 1995. The Big XII couldn’t fulfill its obligation either, so Louisiana Tech — a team almost left out of the bowl picture — beat Northern Illinois.

So let’s look over some of the other offerings, shall we? There are 10 — count ‘em, 10 — bowls that are referred to as the (Sponsor) Bowl. These are the EagleBank (which I’ve never heard of), Meineke Car Care, Champs Sports, Emerald,, Insight, Chick-Fil-A, Outback, Capital One and GMAC.

Yeah, those names give me the warm and fuzzies like the Rose, Fiesta, Sugar, Orange, Cotton, Liberty and Independence. On that note, I may be in the minority, but I refuse to acknowledge some of these names listed above. They may be known as the Chick-Fil-A and Capital One Bowls, but they will always be the Peach and Citrus Bowls to me.

I can say that those sponsorships are better than some I’ve heard in the past. The Poulan Weedeater Independence Bowl still tops my list, just above the AXA Equitable Liberty Bowl. The Bowl — named after the lone Gallery Furniture store in the world, based in Houston, Texas — didn’t last long before it was redubbed the Houston Bowl. It’s now known as the Texas Bowl.

Perhaps I’m a stickler for the classics, but I have a hard time addressing some of the more prosperous bowls with their sponsor title intact.

No offense to the fine companies involved with the Rose, Sugar, Fiesta and Orange Bowls, but that is how I know them. In the future I’ll attempt to refer to them with FedEx, Allstate, Tostitos, and presented by Citi — whoops, I mean Rose Bowl presented by Citi, not Presented by Citi Rose Bowl — but I should note that I’m a moderately lazy person.

I love all the football and the distraction the bowls provide, but as the old saying goes, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a few restaurants, snack companies, and banks I need to do some business with, in addition to a few credit cards and packages I’ve got to cancel.