Sunday brought on another week of new college football polls and bowl projections. Teams moving in and out of the Top 25, while others remain optimistic they’ll be invited to play in another game, extending their season with an opportunity to notch another ‘W’ on their record.
But lost in the shuffle of all the excitement and hoopla that comes with this time of the college football season is the bowl system itself. While most high-profile bowls are still waiting to be determined based on conference champions, many of the smaller bowls are jostling to determine who they want to invite that will draw the biggest crowds and highest TV ratings.
One of those teams on the outside looking in is CMU. At 6-6, the football team is eligible to play in a bowl game this year, if invited. But here lies the argument: should a 6-6 team like CMU be rewarded for beating teams with an overall combined record of 15-56?
We as an Editorial Board say no. And we’re not just picking on CMU — this is a national epidemic. It seems as if playing in a bowl game at 6-6 is the latest example of the participation trophy in sports. When everyone gets one, or 9 out of 10 Big 12 schools (1-10 Kansas is the only non-eligible team — why even leave it out?), it becomes less meaningful.
Earlier this year, CBSSports.com reported that there was “growing support” among conference commissioners, athletic directors and bowl officials to require teams to have a 7-5, or winning, overall record to become bowl eligible.
“The 7-5 discussion is percolating,” a bowl official said at the time. “I don’t know of many athletic directors or conference commissioners who think a 6-6 team has earned a bowl berth.”
And we agree. The idea that a program deserves to be rewarded with an extra game, oftentimes in a location that requires extensive travel accommodations seems a bit ridiculous.
On Sunday, Jerry Palm, CBS Sports’ resident sports geek and chief bowl prognosticator, projected the Chippewas to play 10-2 San Jose State in the Military Bowl Dec. 27 in Washington, D.C. With all due respect to both programs, without a military school in the game, how many fans would be willing to show up to that game?
Even in 2009, coming off one of CMU’s best seasons in history — a 12-2 record and ranking in the AP Top-25 poll, the Chippewas failed to attract more than a couple thousand to Mobile, Ala. for the then-GMAC Bowl, now GoDaddy.com Bowl.
We get it. It’s a chance for the team to continue its season, hold more practices and receive some sort of recognition for the season they had.
But is 6-6 really something to celebrate?