EDITORIAL: The case against CMU going to a bowl game — or any 6-6 team for that matter

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?


  1. Well thought out and written editorial. Rewarding teams for an average to mediocre season seems a bit confusing. Yes, teams will receive $ (mostly from tv contracts) to play in a bowl but it will be some off the radar location with minimal fans in the stands. It will be just like the last few home games at Kelly-Shorts this season. Having witnessed this team in person at home game this season, they should NOT be playing in any bowl game…period. The discussion should be whether Enos is the right choice to continue leading this program. If we are striving for average to mediocre results (sorry folks 6-6 against lousy competition means nothing) then Dan is your man.

  2. I’ve posted this on similar threads. They should be picked for a re-match against MSU in the Motor City Bowl, Detroit on Dec. 26th. Why? Money DUH. Both teams finished 6-6 so they are both pathetically bowl eligible, but eligible non-the-less. It’s a in-state rivalry with both schools having a strong local fan base in the Detroit Metro area. In fact, the Detroit Bowl game is SUPPOSED to feature a eligible Big 10 team vs. a MAC team (CMU vs Purdue, formerly). The bowl wants to make money, the schools want to build excitement. This is a no-brainer. Historically the Motor City Bowl gets first choice of MAC teams and they typically pick the 1st place or 2nd place team. However, they can pick ANY eligible MAC team, and should select CMU if MSU is the opponent. Just my two cents!

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