For many, the bowl season is a culmination of many hard fought battles, and a reward for the athletes and coaches who got their team to that point. It's a feather on the staff's cap to use on the recruiting trail. Usually, a team gets their six wins, and finds out in early December where they are heading for a bowl. There is a delineation of what team goes where, based on how they finish in their conference. However, this is 2020, and this year won't be that simple.
First of all the NCAA announced this summer all teams will be bowl eligible this season. Meaning theoretically, a 1-6 FSU team could head to a bowl game. But on top of that, bowls have been cancelling this year at a pretty astounding, but not unexpected rate. Take the ACC for instance. The season hasn't completed yet, and the conference is already down four bowls with conference tie ins. The Holiday, Fenway, Pinstripe and most recently the Sun Bowl have all cancelled for the 2020 season.
That leaves the conference with 6 bowls and every team possibly eligible. For the sake of this part of the discussion (and because this is probably where the conference is going), let's just focus on teams that could finish .500. Just looking at the standings, there could be as many as 10 ACC teams eligible for bowls if they use this criteria. That would leave four without a game. The ACC created the "Montgomery Bowl" already to replace the Fenway Bowl, so they could theoretically just find three more neutral sites and move the ties in there. That would get the teams a game that meet the criteria.
But what happens if there are more bowls cancelled. It sounds like it would be a logistical nightmare to try and reschedule all these game--but then again this is 2020 and the conferences have dealt with bigger headaches. What if the NCAA just decides to hold the New Year 6 bowls, the playoffs, and allows all teams that want an extra game, the ability to just schedule it themselves? The teams schedule themselves, and then the conferences use their media tie ins to get them on TV.
This might be the easiest to do, and get the games on television. And for some teams that are struggling with COVID-19, or maybe they are just exhausted, they can just decline and get ready for 2021. For Boston College they could go out and try and find an attractive opponent, maybe a Stanford, Washington or a Big Ten program like Penn State or Michigan. Or out of convenience, schedule UMass and host it at Alumni Stadium.
Maybe this system doesn't work, and I'm missing something big picture. But it looks like the current bowl lineup is on the verge of collapse. If the NCAA wants to get the money for getting those games up, and we know they do, they are going to have to be creative to figure out how to schedule those slots.
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