Washington State University is one win away from becoming bowl eligible for the first time in seven seasons, and possibly making a bowl game for the first time in a decade.
But isn’t celebrating six wins out of 12 games just rewarding mediocrity?
KIRO Radio’s Linda Thomas believes there are too many bowl games. She believes it is the NCAA’s version of “everyone gets a trophy.”
There are 35 bowl games this year, including the BCS National Championship game. That’s up ten games from the year 2000. Up 16 from 1990, and up 24 from 1970.
Qualifying for a bowl game used to carry a lot of prestige. Now, it seems that everyone gets a bowl game. As for the reality, more than half the programs do.
710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock Huard made it to four bowl games as a Husky. He agrees with Linda Thomas, to a point. “Yes, there’s too many bowls,” Huard said, “but for coaches and players it’s really a reward that many of them look forward to.”
And regardless of where the game is played, the trips create a lifetime of memories. “The first trip to the Aloha Bowl was one of the greatest trips I’ve ever had in my life,” Huard said. Of course, ten days in Hawaii is probably better than ten days in El Paso or Boise.
The players also get a lot of free stuff from the bowl organizers, in addition to extra practice time. “I think I still have my Sun Bowl bag,” Huard said. “I had those sweats for years. We got new shoes.”
We all know that money is driving all these games. That’s why Taxslayer.com and Royal Purple and Famous Idaho Potato sponsorships are plunked in front of the word bowl.
Jessamyn McIntyre is the sideline reporter for WSU. She disagrees that there are too many bowls. For the Cougars, making a bowl game, like the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, would be a big deal.
“That’s what the Cougars might be eligible for,” explained McI I don’t think any of those kids are like (unhappy it’s only) ‘6-and-6,’ I think they’re like ‘this is cool we get to go to a bowl game and get to experience it.'”
For people like Linda Thomas who believe there are too many bowls, and I will grant you that some of the match-up’s are awful and the games are just as bad, but people tune-in to watch them. Only one bowl game last season failed to get one million people watching.
And as Huard said, making and winning a bowl game can mean so much for a program. He did the broadcast for the R+L Carriers News Orleans Bowl last season. “Louisiana-Lafayette, just up the road, made their first bowl game in 40 years, and they traveled 30,000 people into the Superdome,” he said. “It was incredible, and it was a last-second kick, and those folks partied until 7 o’clock the next morning. For that program and that school and those fans and those kids, they absolutely loved it.”
So Linda Thomas – go and tell those kids there are too many bowl games and tell WSU they don’t deserve to go bowling this year, if they qualify. They’ll probably disagree.