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College bowl games are all about money — for sponsors, advertisers, television, university athletic departments, coaches — everybody except players (the players claim, anyway.)

Decades ago, bowl games featured top teams playing other top teams. No more. This year, there are 35 bowl games. Of the participating teams, seven had a .500 regular-season record — as many losses as wins. Another seven had .500 records in their conferences. And ten actually had losing records in their conferences, including Texas Tech, to play the National University Holiday Bowl on December 30 in San Diego; Texas Tech had a 4-5 record in the Big 12.

Of the 35 games, 31 will be televised by ESPN or an affiliate (ESPN2 or ESPNU). Almost all of the games have the name of a company in front — Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, AdvoCare V100 Bowl, GoDaddy Bowl, BBVA Compass Bowl, New Era Pinstripe Bowl, Gildan New Mexico Bowl, Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl, R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, Beef O'Brady's Bowl, Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, Belk Bowl, Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, Valero Alamo Bowl, Hyundai Sun Bowl, National University Holiday Bowl, AutoZone Liberty Bowl, Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl — ad nauseam. The national championship on January 6 is the Vizio BCS National Championship.

Oh, yes. The Little Caesars Bowl is named after the pizza company founded by Detroit's Ilitch family, which owns a casino in downtown Detroit and the Detroit Red Wiings hockey team, which is getting a fat public subsidy for an arena despite the city's bankruptcy. That bowl features the University of Pittsburgh, which had a .500 regular-season record and a 3-5 record in its conference.

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bbq Dec. 11, 2013 @ 2:46 p.m.

Don, Your obviating the obvious, the redundent redundencies of this whole diatribe are hardly worth committing to print especially by a commentator of your stature (sp).

The enormousity of this issue is most appearent right here in San Diego, two meaningless bowls, that preport to be financial boons for the city and charities!!! I wonder after all of the fixed costs, unreported costs and salaries of the Not-for-profit Board members and employees if there is much left.

Hey, "Paid Not-for-profit Staff and Board" is that an oxymoron?

Best BBQ


Don Bauder Dec. 11, 2013 @ 8:54 p.m.

bbq: It's not easy to obviate the obvious -- make the obvious unnecessary. But if you insist, I plead guilty. This item DID mention the two San Diego bowls. If they get good crowds and provide money to charities, I am all for them.

There is a good side to all these bowls. Football nuts can watch them all, one after another, and be satisfied. Think of all the potato chip sales. Best, Don Bauder


Brian Peterson Dec. 11, 2013 @ 4:13 p.m.

A few days ago I read a post on Twitter announcing the SDSU Aztecs were going to the potato bowl. I thought it was a joke. My mental image—a bowl of russet potatoes. The next day I read in the U-T the Aztecs were overjoyed to play in the “Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.” It must be true. But, this was the first I ever heard of the Potato Bowl. I checked their website (http://www.famousidahopotatobowl.com/ ). They’ve been playing the potato bowl for 17 years. That’s a surprise. Anyway, Idaho in late December should be a fun time for the Aztecs. That should teach them to play better next year.

PS: To be broadcast on ESPN.


Don Bauder Dec. 11, 2013 @ 9:01 p.m.

Brian: SDSU plays the University at Buffalo (yes, at, not of) in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Dec.. 21 at 5:30 p.m., televised on ESPN. For Buffalo, playing in Idaho in December will be like playing in a heat wave...a helluva lot better than playing in Buffalo on Dec. 21, I will wager. Best, Don Bauder


Visduh Dec. 11, 2013 @ 10:15 p.m.

Playing a bowl game in Idaho in winter is akin to cruelty to dumb jocks. If they insist on all those games, at least play them south of the 37th parallel, where there is a chance of decent temperatures, never mind decent weather. Why not have a bowl game on each of the major islands in Hawaii--those would be enjoyable.

All those sponsorship names attached to bowl games is nauseating. That is especially true when they keep changing, as often as every year. Lordy, National U sponsoring the Holiday Bowl? San Diego County Credit Union sponsoring the Poinsettia Bowl? The next bowl game added to the list should be called the Meaningless Bowl from Nobody, Nowhere, Nohow. That would describe at least half of those listed, likely many more.


Don Bauder Dec. 12, 2013 @ 7:59 a.m.

Visduh: Remember, the Holiday Bowl was once the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl. Ugh. Bridgepoint is the company that a U.S. senator called "an absolute scam" after a Senate committee did a comprehensive study on it. In October, National University stepped in to replace Bridgepoint.

The Super Bowl will be played Feb. 2, 2014 in Met/Life Stadium at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in -- fasten your seat belt -- East Rutherford, New Jersey. Warm weather is no longer a consideration in championship football games, apparently.

Incidentally, New York hotels expected to be half-filled for Super Bowl week by this time. However, it's more like 25%. Maybe some people are getting smart. Best, Don Bauder


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