What’s next? Dolan Automotive Group Bowl coming to Netflix | NevadaAppeal.com

What’s next? Dolan Automotive Group Bowl coming to Netflix

Sports fodder for a Friday morning… Playing in a bowl game against a conference opponent (Colorado State) is the least of the Nevada Wolf Pack football team’s problems right now. The program has been spinning its wheels since 2010. Fan interest and confidence in the program is at its lowest since the Chris Tormey years (2000-03). The pistol offense, the best thing to hit Nevada since the invention of neon, appears to be headed to a glass case at Legacy Hall. The Fremont Cannon is in Las Vegas. Nick Rolovich, the only other coach to call a play in the pistol era other than Chris Ault, is now in Hawaii. Brian Polian, who could barely figure out how to stop the bleeding from a paper cut, let alone in his football program, is still the head coach. And now the Pack gets to take its sister to the prom in late December in Tucson in an embarrassment called the Arizona Bowl. It was just five years ago the Wolf Pack was near the top of the college football world. Ault was a genius. The pistol was going to take over the football world. The Pack was the new Boise State. Now, thanks to the Arizona Bowl, the Pack is an example of all that’s wrong with college football.

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Playing a conference opponent in a bowl game is bad enough. If you didn’t know how little the rest of the college football world thinks of the Mountain West, well, you should know now. But that isn’t even the worse thing about the Kissing Sister Bowl. The worst thing is this travesty, as Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson called it, has gotten little more than a passing mention nationally. Could you imagine the outrage nationally if this happened to two SEC teams or two Big Ten or even ACC teams? ESPN would have already done a 30 for 30 on it. What if I told you your bowl game could only been seen nationally on the internet? Nobody outside of the Mountain West cares two teams from the same conference are going to the same bowl. That’s because nobody cares about Nevada, Colorado State, the Arizona Bowl or the entire Mountain West. Most of the country doesn’t even know Nevada and Colorado State are even in the same conference.

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This is the harsh reality of college football. It’s a television show. Nothing more. OK, yes, the Arizona Bowl isn’t even on national TV. It’s on the internet and local Reno TV which is sort of like putting on a play in Akron and saying it’s “off Broadway.” But, hey, nobody under the age of 30 actually turns on a TV anymore so that doesn’t even matter. The Arizona Bowl is a Straight-to-Netflix movie. College football is not about competition or meaningful games for 75 percent of the schools who play the sport. It’s just about making gym teachers we call coaches and fundraisers we call athletic directors millionaires by the time their first contract runs out. It’s fake competition with fake trophies, sort of like The Biggest Loser and So You Think You Can Dance. The only thing that isn’t fake are the bonuses already overpaid coaches get for winning those fake trophies. Bowl games are merely bad sitcoms with pre-recorded laugh tracks to fool the television audiences into thinking they are funny.

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College football exists at schools like Nevada simply to pay the bills for all the other sports except men’s basketball. Nevada doesn’t have a football team so it can win a national championship. It exists so the women’s soccer team, women’s basketball team and women‘s track team can go on the road and don’t have to play Reno High to fill out its schedule. Winning national titles vanished for the Pack in 1992 when it followed the money and went to Division I-A. The Wolf Pack could have been a Division I-AA super power. National championships would have filled Legacy Hall. Reno could have been the city of champions. But that wasn’t good enough.

The money grab was too great to pass up. College football, for everyone outside a handful of schools across the nation, is simply a glorified bake sale designed to raise money. And they don’t even have to sell any cookies and cakes. All they have to do is make sure ESPN televises the bake sale or NOVA Home Loans sponsors the event. That’s why college football gives a bowl game to anyone who has deep enough pockets. Securing sponsorship — not securing two worthy teams — is the only concern. Don’t be shocked if 10 years from now we have the Dolan Automotive Group Bowl in Reno. matching two 4-8 teams.

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How greedy is everyone in college football? We saw it plain as day with the Arizona Bowl situation. The Mountain West desperately wanted to avoid sending two of its teams to the same bowl. The conference spent a week trying to avoid the embarrassment but nobody in the nation was willing to switch bowls with either the Pack or Colorado State. Nobody wanted to go to a first-year bowl with an undetermined payout that wasn’t even on national TV. Nobody in college football cared enough about the overall good of the sport to make this simple little concession. That tells us two things. One, the Mountain West has no friends in the world of college football. And, two, nobody cares about the overall good of the sport. It’s all about everyone’s own selfish interests, sort of like the Republican and Democratic parties.

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Give Thompson, the Mountain West commissioner, a ton of credit for being so honest. It took Thompson about two minutes to send out a statement criticizing the sport of college football for forcing the Mountain West to send the Pack and Colorado State to Tucson. He called it a travesty. It would have been easy for Thompson to merely tell a bunch of lies and say how happy he was to send eight of his 12 college football schools to a bowl. He could have talked about what a great experience a bowl game is for all of the eight communities. He could have said how excited and proud he was to watch the Mountain West in their seven bowls over the next few weeks. Instead, he ripped the sport. He’s truly concerned about the sport and where it’s headed even if nobody else is. You don’t find that sort of honesty in college sports anymore where everyone is merely a glorified used car salesman trying to sell you undercoating and a three-year warranty.

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Now that almost a week has gone by since we learned the Pack is playing a Mountain West team in a bowl, how bad is it, really? Is it really all that more silly and trivial than playing Louisiana Lafayette or Central Florida? Is it that much more meaningless than playing an SMU or Southern Mississippi in Hawaii or a Toledo, Ball State or Bowling Green in Las Vegas? Is there that much more honor in playing a bad Maryland, Boston College or Miami team in Boise or a baseball stadium in San Francisco? And nobody ever wants to go back to Albuquerque ever again to play anybody. Forget, if you can, the fact Colorado State is in the Mountain West. If you look at the match up on a purely entertainment basis, the game might turn out to be quite enjoyable. It’s two mediocre teams (on their good days) who don’t want to be there with nothing to lose (or win, but we won’t talk about that). And it will be watched by fans who have nothing better to do on a Tuesday night in late December. It’s the perfect bowl game that tells you straight out, ‘This is a joke and we know it’s a joke but, hey, it’s better than watching Antiques Roadshow re-runs or standing in line at Wal-Mart to return those awful Christmas gifts.” And, don’t forget, you can watch it on your phone or tablet. That alone makes it special.