I realize that the bowls have a long connection to our beloved sport, but enough is enough. I'll wax nostalgic long enough to state that there was a time when the bowl system wasn't completely out of control. That is not to say that playoffs would not have been superior even back in those days, but there was a time when the bowls weren't complete crap. For example, in 1975 there were 11 bowl games. Today there are 35. Mediocre teams rarely made it to bowl games back then. It happened to be sure (6-5 Georgia bowled in 1974, and lost badly to a non-D1A team), but was rare. Generally if a team had more than 3 losses their chance of a bowl was very slim. Nowadays mediocrity, and worse, is the norm.
Case in point: the Godaddy.com bowl. This garbage bowl features 6-6 Middle Tennessee State against 9-4 Miami (O). I know what you are thinking "but Toby, if a team wins their conference they go bowling". True enough, but Middle Tennessee State finished 3rd in the unbelievably crappy Sun Belt Conference. In fact, MTSU didn't beat a single team all season with a winning record, and even lost to 3-9 Minnesota, 3-9 North Texas, lost by 27 points to 4-8 Arkansas State, and incredibly, even lost to 1-10 Memphis. Yet they "earned" a bowl game. Their opponent? Mighty Miami (O), which lost by 6 TDs to 4-8 Cincinnati. Miami at least won their conference fair and square, weak though it may be.
One of the funniest aspects of the bowl system is that garbage bowls like Godaddy.com play their games AFTER New Year's Day, previously the province of the big time bowl games. Who do they think they are fooling? Other garbage games played on New Year's day or after are : The Birmingham Bowl, FightHunger Bowl, Citrus Bowl, Alamo Bowl, COTTON Bowl, the "Dallas Football Classic" Bowl, and the Gator Bowl, each of which features at least one team with 5 losses or a losing record in their own conference, or both.
It's time to tighten up the qualifications here. If we're going to be forcefed bowls instead of playoffs, at least make sure only good teams qualify. Rule 1: No team with more than 4 losses qualifies 2: Must have winning record in conference play 3: Must win at least 7 games vs Div1A competition (Div1AA or D2 opponents don't count). That would reduce the number of eligible teams to 39. In other words, we'd be down to 19 bowl games...and the teams could reasonably be expected to be pretty decent.