Rose Bowl Stadium"> clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The NFL-ification of College Football Continues Apace: Bowl Season unearths even more parity

Good job, y’all, we did it! We made College Football suck!

<p zoompage-fontsize="15" style="">Rose Bowl Stadium

Photo by Kirby Lee/Getty Images

We fully acknowledge that bowl success is often just the luck of the draw, and pairings have little to no competitive consideration baked into them. Despite that, every year there seems to be one conference that does better than others, another that flops etc. And, from there, our national pundit class makes much to-do about a 6-6 SEC team losing to an 8-4 ACC squad, for instance.

But what happens when the conferences won’t play along? When the de facto free agency, coaching carousels, opt-outs, and simple lack of investment results in not only a dull bowl slate (as we saw in 2023-2024), but absolute toss-ups across the board? Because that is precisely the situation we found ourselves in this bowl season, as there was not a single conference that finished more than one game above .500 vs. its competitors.

Check out these bowl results:

  • AAC: 3-3
  • ACC: 5-6
  • Big 12: 5-5
  • Big 10: 5-5
  • CUSA: 2-2
  • Ind: 1-0
  • MAC: 2-4
  • MWC: 3-4
  • P12: 5-4
  • SEC: 4-4
  • Sun Belt: 5-5

The effect was not just across the power conferences — it what nigh-uniform. Not a single conference finished more than one game above .500, and only one was two-games below .500.

The effect barely cracked when it was parsed out to only New Year’s Six Bowls and playoffs — and those were hardly fair, with UGA drawing a third-string FSU roster, and the loaded Ducks getting to devour Liberty, and Michigan responsible for two of the Big 10’s five victories.

In the NY6 and playoffs games:

  • SEC: 3-1
  • Big 10: 2-2
  • ACC: 0-1
  • CUSA: 0-1
  • P12: 2-1
  • B12: 0-1

It remains to be seen if this anomaly was a one-off and the result of some particularly bizarre pairings, or if it truly is an indicator of what I (and others) fear: that the NFL-ification of college football has finally arrived. That every game becomes a crapshoot, with teams simply not caring about games on their schedule, with stars sitting, with coaches checked out...and we cloak ourselves in the shrouded fog of perfect parity.

The pessimist in me suspect it’s the latter...And you can point that Cheeto-coated sausage finger directly at ESPN and the short-sighted administrators and presidents within the NCAA.

And, if it is the latter, how many articles do you think are going to read this offseason from the self-same sports journo arsonists who enabled this mess?

Thanks, I hate this place.