We live in a soft society where kids are taught that everyone is a winner. Kid’s soccer teams don’t keep score because it might be “hurtful” to be on the losing team. Everybody gets a trophy just for participating and everyone goes home feeling special.
Unfortunately, that type of thinking is not reality. There are always going to be winners and losers. Someone will always be better than the others regardless of how kids are coddled into thinking otherwise. My advice is to deal with it.
A good example of receiving undeserved rewards is the college football bowl lineup for this year. It used to be that a team had to have a good record of wins over losses to earn a coveted spot in a bowl. Today? Not so much.
In the case of college sports it is more a case of greed than worrying about feelings. The players are old enough to realize that all the coddling nonsense they got as kids about everyone being equal is silly. Now, it’s a case of putting on a bloated show for someone to make a buck.
I remember when if a team lost more than two games they could forget about being bowl bound. But, in those days there weren’t 34 bowls like there are now.
The A-list bowls were the Orange, Cotton, Sugar, and Rose. There were a few secondary bowls: The Tangerine Bowl in Orlando, the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, and the Sun bowl in El Paso. Even those bowls usually required schools to have no more than three losses.
This year’s bowl lineup shows that teams can be actually awarded for ineptitude. There is some justice though that some of these schools are being sent to bowls with names like The Belk Bowl, whatever that is.
The Belk Bowl will match my old alma mater, Cincinnati (9-3) vs. the mighty Duke Blue Devils who boast a 6-6 record that includes losses by scores of 50-13, 41-20, 48-7, 56-20, 42-24, and 52-45. It seems like the toilet bowl would be more suitable for Duke.
There are ten other teams with 6-6 records that will be going to bowls with names like the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl in Detroit, the Russell Athletic Bowl, the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Tempe, and the Heart of Dallas Bowl. I wonder if I can still get tickets to that Little Caesar’s Bowl. I’ve always wanted to see Central Michigan (6-6) play Western Kentucky (7-5) on the day after Christmas in a garden spot like Detroit in winter. Let’s see; where did I put my .38?
ASU and U of A are both 7-5 and going to insignificant bowls. With their records they certainly have as much right to a bowl as the 6-6 guys but when I watched Oregon beat ASU 43-21 in a game that could have been 100-0, I wonder how good these guys are. It was men against boys that night.
The same goes for U of A: They lost to Oregon 49-0 and UCLA 66-10. Are those the kind of games that earn a bowl trip? It will be interesting to see how many trudge to Albuquerque on December 19 to watch them play the mighty Nevada Wolf Pack.
What is my favorite bowl game? It has to be the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham, Alabama where Pittsburgh (6-6) plays Mississippi (6-6). The only appropriate score of that one should be 0-0.
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Bio: Jim McAllister has been a Plugged-In Scottsdale blogger, an Arizona Republic Sunday Plugged-In contributor, and a Scottsdale Republic columnist since 2005. He has also written for the Sonoran News and did a weekly column from 2004-2006 for the Scottsdale/Paradise Valley Independent. In 2004 he wrote a 7 part series on The History of Television for TV TOME (now TV.Com). A veteran of the U. S. Air Force, he has done hosting and commercial work in radio and TV and currently does a blog at jmcallister.blogspot.com.