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.