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Oklahoma Sooners Football: Redshirts in Bowl Games? Sign Me Up

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It might be the only way to save a bloated bowl season.

NCAA Football: Oklahoma Spring Game Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Back in December, FOX Sports’ Stewart Mandel fielded a fan question about letting redshirts play in bowl games at the end of a season. If stars like Christian McCaffrey are just going to skip their bowl games, after all, why not let the hungry young guns participate in the glorified exhibition?

It was a fun idea, but seemed like nothing more — until Mandel reported last week that the American Football Coaches Association is proposing just that.

Far more than that, actually. The AFCA wants redshirts eligible for up to four games, a big change from the current rules where one snap blows the whole season (unless you get injured). But coaches seem totally behind the rule, which means it’s got a decent chance to actually go somewhere.

I don’t know about four games — that doesn’t feel like a “redshirt year” to me — but redshirts in bowl games? That would be awesome! I know Oklahoma fans, including myself, get lots of warm fuzzies thinking about recent Sugar Bowl victories over Alabama and Auburn. Bowl games can be exciting, inspiring and galvanizing for a program.

But most bowl games are just not like that. Most bowls are Russell Athletic-style bad — or worse. And while Middle Tennessee, Southern Miss and Western Michigan might get a kick out of a bowl game appearance, most Power Five schools with higher aspirations don’t even want to be there.

Other than a notional recruiting bump and some positive momentum, most bowl games are absolutely meaningless.

The solution? Throw Jon-Michael Terry out there! Let Zach Farrar catch some passes (before he transfers)! Give the fanbase a glimpse of what’s next.

Also, if the four-game rule is adopted, you can bet more guys are going to start redshirting. Abdul Adams only got 53 carries last season, and Austin Kendall played in two games. Under new rules, guys like that could extend their college careers and wait for better opportunities. This could be great for young players.

There’s still a long legislative road this rule will have to travel, and it wouldn’t be adopted before January at the earliest. But it makes a lot of sense. College football seasons aren’t 10 games long any more, and everyone should embrace the chance to create more rest for older players, opportunity for younger ones and excitement for fans.

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