The Cotton, Fiesta, Peach, Sugar, Orange and Rose Bowl. When I was a kid, aside from the BCS National Championship, these were the games during bowl season that were must watch TV. I remember having butterflies on New Years Day as the Rose Bowl took place. Seeing the colors, the uniforms and the sun set over the Pasadena sky was truly breathtaking, even if I was 3,000 miles away, sitting on a couch in Jersey.
A game like the Rose Bowl was different from the rest. It just meant more. It was always between the champions of the Big Ten and the kings of the Pac 12, barring an appearance in the National Championship by either program. My first memory of the Rose Bowl came in 2009 as Pete Carroll’s led USC Trojans took on Joe Paterno’s Penn State Nittany Lions.
If you know one thing about me, it is that I am a die hard Penn State football fan. Always have been, always will be. So, one can make the connection that 11 year old me was quite excited about watching my team, play in their first Rose Bowl since 1995 (I was not even a thought for that one.) What I remember about that game was that a QB who you might have heard of named Mark Sanchez, completed torched us, setting a Rose Bowl completion percentage record of 80 percent. We lost…and we lost bad. But that wasn’t the point. The point was that I got to bring in the new year watching my favorite team play on one of the prettiest landscapes the world has to offer.
Side Note: If you think I am going to talk about the 2017 Rose Bowl, in which I got my heart ripped out 8 different ways, you are a crazy person. I am still not over it.
Okay, now lets get into how the CFP ruined the sincerity and the importance of big time bowl games such as the Rose Bowl. For starters, the players simply, do not care. By establishing a 4 team CFP in 2014, you told any high profile organization that the only goal they had in a season, was to make said playoff. By doing that, you diluted the importance and magnitude of bowl games such as the Cotton Bowl, Orange Bowl Ect. If a team comes up a eye lash shy of making the CFP, why would they care about competing in the Orange Bowl? The goal was not met, so to ask the athletes on the field to get up for a game that frankly, doesn’t matter as much anymore, is silly.
Let’s just take Texas A&M for example AKA, the odd man out. The Aggies of A&M finished the regular season as the fifth ranked team in the country, according to the CFP committee. As a result of their “Achievement” the Aggies were rewarded with a bid to the 86th consecutive installment of the Capital One Orange Bowl, where they will be matched up with the Tar Heels of North Carolina. Now, I can almost guarantee you that almost nobody on the A&M staff, nor the players on the team want to make the trip to Miami to play that game on Saturday night. Why? Because they believe they should have been rewarded with a place in the CFP. They won 7 straight SEC games, while Ohio State played a total of just 6. But that’s Semantics and is not what the purpose of this article is about. And sure, the argument can be made that this same lack of inspiration was had during the BCS Era. But it was different. Only two teams made it to the national championship a year. That’s it. Dos. So there is a big time difference knowing that there is only two seats at the table, opposed to now four. Twos a couple and four is a crowd.
My final argument as to how the CFP has essentially, ruined bowl season is the opt out culture that we are currently seeing. And this is not entirely the CFP’s fault, but is rather the fault of our current generation. Today’s college football player… and this statement may ruffle some feathers…does not care about the game as much as some once did. And this isn’t to say that all players feel this way, but there are a lot of cats out there who are just worried about securing the bag, rather than helping their team complete a successful season. Is this necessarily wrong? No, you gotta put yourself in the best position to succeed. But it is frustrating. You are in a way, letting your team down.
These NYB6 games are supposed to be THE contests of the year and now, it kinda just feels like the CFP…..and the rest. To show just how prevalent opts have become, I am going to show you a list of all the athletes who have decided to opt out of their respected bowl game this season.
NOTE: This list is of athletes who were to participate in NYB6 games ONLY.
- Kyle Pitts – TE; Florida
- Kadarius Toney – WR; Florida
- Trevon Grimes – WR; Florida
- Jacob Copeland – WR; Florida (COVID)
- Marco Wilson – CB; Florida
- Shawn Davis – S; Florida
- Ventrell Miller – LB; Florida
- Javonte Williams – RB; UNC
- Michael Carter – RB; UNC
- Dyami Brown – WR; UNC
- Chazz Surratt – LB; UNC
- Eric Stokes – CB; UGA
- Monty Rice – LB; UGA
- Ben Cleveland – OT; UGA
- Tre’ McKitty – TE; UGA
- Jermaine Johnson – LB; UGA
- Azeez Ojulari – LB; UGA
- Mark Webb – CB; UGA
- DJ Daniel – CB; UGA
- Tre Brown – CB; Oklahoma
- TJ Pledger – RB; Oklahoma
My case has been rested. I am not saying get rid of the CFP, but something has to be done in order to restore the substance of these bowl games. When I watch the Rose Bowl, I want to be taken back to that same exact feeling of anxiousness and excitement, to when I just was 11 years old.