Let me begin by saying that I love bowl games. Some of the most fun I’ve ever had at a sporting event has come at some random postseason event, and it’s a tradition to watch at least a few holiday games every year.
I’ve heard a lot of people ask “well who would ever want to watch a couple of mediocre 6-6 teams go after each other in the [insert brand name here] Bowl?” usually followed by a comment on how there are too many bowls and we should go back to the good ole days when playing in bowl games meant something.
As for who would ever be interested in such a thing, it’s me. I want to watch a couple of mediocre 6-6 teams go after each other in the [insert brand name here] Bowl. And I’m not the only one. Bowl games, at their core, are fun, and we should not do away with the system in its entirety.
However, that doesn’t mean the postseason isn’t without its flaws. There is no “break glass to fix college football” button, but it would help if we had some interesting bowl games that your average team could look forward to rather than your standard “win six games and go play in a game somewhere south of the Mason-Dixon Line that’s either named after a bank or something you’d buy at Walmart.”
Some of these are realistic, others are closer to a pipe dream. That’s okay. All of them would make college football more fun.
Bowl Game Idea #1: The Kansas City Classic
Location: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
Tie-Ins: Big Ten vs Big 12
Why are there so few bowls in the Midwest?
Detroit has the Quick Lane Bowl, but other than that there’s nothing but a void from Annapolis to Boise. And with so many programs located in that void, it’s time to bring another bowl into the area.
You can’t get more centrally located than a region smack dab in the middle of the country, so unlike the other two games on this list, travel costs would actually be reduced. The Midwest isn’t all cornfields and Meijer stores. There are actually some great cities, and where there are great cities, there are potential bowl sites.
My vote goes to Kansas City. Arrowhead Stadium is a solid venue, there are enough activities and attractions in the area to ensure that fans won’t be bored out of their skull, and the game would be located within a reasonable driving distance to several Big Ten and Big 12 schools.
And while we’re at it, let’s bring back the “Classic” moniker. What’s not to like?
Honestly, I’d go solely for that Kansas City barbeque. It’s hard to beat a combination of great food and good football.
Bowl Game Idea #2: The Britannia Bowl
Potential Location: Wembley Stadium, London, U.K.
Tie-Ins: Big Ten vs SEC
Take some tea and prepare to be chanted at by a mob of several thousand middle-aged men who have spent too much time at their local pub, because we’re headed across the pond for the Britannia Bowl.
This pitch is a bit like putting together a puzzle. First, let’s take a look at the pieces:
- Bowl games have been held outside of the United States before.
- Regular season games have been played in Dublin, Ireland for decades.
- The NFL holds games in London, annually.
So, let’s put the pieces together and hold a bowl game at Wembley!
The Bahamas Bowl and past bowl games in Tokyo have proven that the international aspect isn’t outlandish. Dublin’s games have proven that holding a game in Europe isn’t an insurmountable obstacle, and the NFL has shown that American football can draw a crowd in London. Assuming that somebody (or several somebodies) has enough cash on hand to handle all the things that a new bowl game needs to handle, this just might work.
Would the Britannia Bowl be a logistical nightmare compared to playing in a more traditional location? Yes, and for that reason, this isn’t the most realistic prospect. But bowl games are meant to be fun, interesting, and different. Let’s give fans just that and also give teams a game that they’ll look forward to traveling to.
Bowl Game Idea #3: The Caribbean Classic
Location: Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados
Tie-Ins: AAC/Army vs ACC
The idea of a Caribbean bowl game is not a new one. The Bahamas Bowl has been successful throughout its six-year existence and the Cuban-held Bacardi Bowl deserves its own article as one of college football’s most interesting stories.
But with Orlando hosting three games and the Dallas-Fort Worth area holding four more, I fail to see why we can’t have some more Caribbean football.
Kensington Oval does have a permanent capacity of just under 30,000, which is double that of Thomas Robinson Stadium, the site of the Bahamas Bowl. The Oval is also larger than the hosts of another handful of minor bowl games that aren’t worth mentioning. Capacity should not be an issue, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other hurdles to clear.
Would one of the West Indies’ premier cricket grounds even be open to hosting a game of American football? Perhaps, perhaps not, but it would bring in people to the island. And people bring their wallets.
America may run on Dunkin’, but much of the Caribbean runs (at least partially) on tourism revenue. Barbados and the Oval specifically might not be keen on hosting, but the idea is to host a Caribbean game, not necessarily a Barbadian one. I find it hard to believe that no other tropical location would take on the challenge of hosting a bowl.
Some Parting Words
To keep people engaged in 30-40+ bowl games, college football’s powers that be need to make them fresh and they need to make them fun. Arguing over the playoff system is all well and good, but the vast majority of programs won’t ever sniff even an expanded playoff. What are we, as a sport, as college football, going to do for them? Bowl games like this could be the answer.
Maybe these are too far-fetched, and that’s fine. In that case, throw these particular hypotheticals out the window and come up with some better bowl games and let me know. I don’t mean that sarcastically. If you’ve got what you think is a genius idea for a new bowl, send it to me! I’d love to hear it.
Enjoy this piece on three hypothetical bowl games that would help college football? Follow me on Twitter @texiancurtis for more articles like this one.
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