Lousy bowl matchups leave fans hungry

A holiday bowl game at AT&T Park sounds like a great idea. Until you hear this year’s Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl will be 6-7 UCLA against 6-6 Illinois.

Doesn’t exactly pique your interest, does it?

I was thinking about going, but now, it just seems like a waste of money. Kraft would have to give me a lifetime supply of Cheese Whiz to get me to AT&T Park on New Year’s Eve.

The standards for Bowl Games must be improved. Otherwise, these are the matchups we will be treated to.

Six wins are required to be eligible for a bowl game, but the requirements need to be tougher. Even if that means fewer bowl games. Bowl appearances should be earned by good teams that played well, not just handed out to more than half the teams.

This season, there are 35 bowl games, meaning 70 of the 120 Division I teams get to go bowling.

But if the requirement for qualification was raised to finishing the regular season with a winning record, 14 teams in this year’s bowl games wouldn’t have been bowl-eligible:

  • Arizona State
  • Marshall
  • Purdue
  • Iowa State
  • Mississippi State
  • Wake Forest
  • Texas A&M
  • Northwestern
  • Vanderbilt
  • Illinois
  • UCLA
  • Ohio State
  • Florida
  • Pittsburgh

Most of the teams listed above are major programs, but they all went 6-6 (except UCLA, which managed to go 6-7).

The NCAA needs to stop rewarding mediocrity. Unfortunately, they’ll never do that. Bowl games, even bottom-of-the-barrel ones, help schools recruit and help coaches keep their jobs.

A coach can go to his school’s athletic director and president and say, “We went to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. We had a successful year.”