Friday, December 20, 2013

Bowl protest almost over ... and fans actually won!

Saturday is an exciting day. It's the start of another college football bowl season ... and, kids, you know what that means for me!

It means one more year of not watching one second of any of them.

Not the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl.

Not the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl.

Not the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.

Not the Fight Hunger Bowl.

Not the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.

Not the Bowl.

Not the BBVA Compass Bowl.

And definitely not the Make-Believe Championship Game.

When I started my protest -- vowing not to watch one second of one bowl game until there was a legitimate playoff system -- I was still a columnist for the Copley Newspaper chain, which hadn't been bought yet by the evildoers from GateHouse Media. When I started this, the White Sox ruled baseball, Dubya was pretending to search for WMDs and -- gasp! -- most 9-year-olds still didn't have cellphones.

That's a long time to go without watching two .500 teams do battle in the Poinsettia Bowl. How did I survive?

Well, here's the good news (or bad news, depending upon one's point of view): This is the final year of my protest.

After more than a decade insisting that a playoff system absolutely, positively was unnecessary, the powers-that-be saw the light -- and the dollar signs -- and realized that, well, yes it was. So the 2014 college football season will be followed by a four-team playoff, eventually crowning an actual champion rather than a computer-generated championish team.

While the change probably won't compel me to tune in most bowl games, I might at least stop surfing channels long enough to check out a play or three. And if the playoff matchups are compelling enough, I might even watch the final quarter of games that count.

To be sure, the playoff should include eight or 16 teams, not four. But at least this is a start. Baby steps, people.

I'm not egotistical enough to think my protest led to one iota of change. Even if the few readers who said they would join me followed through on their pledge, at the height of the protest maybe a dozen of us were totally ignoring the bowl season. Still, I like to think we represented the vast majority of American sports fans who had been clamoring for a playoff system only to be told to shut up and eat our Beef 'O' Brady's.

Congratulations, fans, you dragged the college football ruling elite kicking and screaming into a new era.  

The playoffs are more than a year away, however. So, until then, enjoy watching Middle Tennessee and Navy battle for none of the marbles in this year's thrilling Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl.

As usual, I'll be in the middle of enjoying anything else. Please don't let me know how it turns out.

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