Could We See Bowl Games Pushed into the Spring?
The 2020 college football season is going to be like none other before it due to concerns over the novel coronavirus and it's starting to look like the bowl season will follow suit.
In a recent interview with ESPN, executive director of the College Football Bowl Association Nick Carparelli said he fully expects things to be fluid and changing when it comes to the dates of bowl games.
"Once the season does officially kick off, the conferences will come together with their bowl partners and talk about when does the bowl season start, how long is it, and when does it need to end? Similar to the regular season, the answers to those are going to be different than what they typically are. I'm not so sure that just because conference championship games are played on the 19th that the bowl season can't still start on that date. Typically, teams that are playing in conference championship games are not playing on that first week of the bowl season anyway. I'm not suggesting that's how it's going to happen; it's just one example of how we all need to be open-minded and flexible this year, not rule anything out."
While the concept of playing bowl games well into January and beyond has come up, it's not the only topic of discussion when it comes to postseason contests. The question of eligibility and the selection process when it comes to teams playing an unequal number of games are also important pieces of the puzzle.
"A lot of thought has gone into those partnerships, which is the reason those bowls and conferences came together, so we feel that this year, final records should be really minimized and conferences should simply fill their bowl slots based on the final standings within their conference. I say final standings, but it's up to each conference how they want to fill their bowl spots, but we already have the system in place. We have direct agreements between conferences and bowl games and oftentimes they're predicated on final bowl eligibility as to whether or not they can all be filled, but I think this year we're discussing the notion that they simply get filled regardless of final record."
That means we could see four-win teams from the Pac 12 and ACC making appearances in bowl games this year.
There's a chance a team like Texas could lose a non-conference game, then run the table in the Big 12. Would that team have an argument to get into the College Football Playoff over an undefeated Pac 12 team that only played games within its own conference?
In a sport where the decision of who gets a chance to compete for a national title is already so subjective, there probably aren't any easy answers coming.