Meaningless Wolf Pack bowl game
Mediocrity should not have a reward. Welcome to college football where a losing record is still good enough for a bowl game.
While not possessing a sub-.500 record, the Nevada Wolf Pack finds themselves in another bowl game — this time in the inaugural Arizona Bowl on Tuesday against conference foe Colorado State. The game will not even be televised nationally like the rest of the bowl schedule … just locally on KAME.
Say what you want about Nevada and CSU being slighted because they’re playing each other in a postseason game. Or that they’re playing in a meaningless bowl that will struggle immensely in filling up half of the stadium that is home to the Arizona Wildcats.
The real issue is why is Nevada or CSU is allowed to continue playing this season? Nevada is 6-6, CSU 7-5, and yes, six wins is the requirement for bowl eligibility. But when you’re rewarding mediocrity or worse (see San Jose State getting a bowl game with a 5-7 record), it sends the wrong message and hurts the game’s integrity.
The postseason should reward the best in the country and in college football, it fails on all levels. Greed snared everyone and there are enough bowl games to cover more than half of the Division I field. If your team cannot make it to bowl season, then you know you have either hit or are approaching rock bottom.
Nevada doesn’t deserve a bowl game after the disastrous 2015 season, Brian Polian’s third year leading this group.
The Wolf Pack lost the Fremont Cannon at home. Nevada was embarrassed by a winless Wyoming team and then couldn’t hold onto a three-touchdown lead in the second half against Utah State. And while the Arizona game had the Wildcats ranked in the Top 25 (they finished the year at 6-6), Nevada couldn’t get pumped up to make it a game and was blown out at home by the Pac-12. It didn’t help that Polian’s bad behavior toward the officials led to the university stepping in to discipline its coach before the NCAA could.
This season had so much promise with an attractive home schedule and lofty conference slate. This team should have finished no worse than 9-3 with those losses coming against Arizona, Texas A&M and San Diego State. Who knows what would have happened in the finale against the Aztecs if Nevada were perfect in league.
But Nevada’s season is a microcosm of what’s wrong in college football. Mediocre and middle-of-the-pack teams are given an opportunity to compete in the postseason because of a broken system powered by greed and money. Too many 6-6 and now 5-7 teams are “rewarded” with a bowl game only because the NCAA has problems filling all the bowl games.
Only a handful of bowl games really matter while the rest is just for corporations to have their name displayed for one game in hopes that some clueless fan will visit their website and buy in to the temptation. Who in Nevada is going to look up Quick Lane for their next oil change?
The system will never change because it’s powered by the millions of money coming in from the schools and businesses. But it taints the playoff and bowl process by allowing teams with bad records participate because the field demands it.
I don’t blame you if the next game you watch isn’t until New Year’s Eve when the four-team playoff begins. Enjoy the rest of the bowl season while you can before the NCAA lets every team in the division compete in a mostly meaningless postseason.
Thomas Ranson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.