This is probably the best college football news I’ve ever heard in May. Maybe ‘news’ is strong for it, but you know when the ball gets rolling on something, it’s tough to stop. You can connect the dots: Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey, Jake Butt. Take it away, ESPN!
“I can envision a time where you’re a first-round talent, your team went 9-3 and is going to play at the Belk Bowl and his agent says, ‘You don’t need to play,'” a Power 5 assistant said. “It’s not going to hurt you. You’re guaranteed right now if you don’t play another game, $15 million and now you’re going to go play in a meaningless bowl game?”
Start knocking these dominoes down, and you come up with another eventuality: Does that mean the playoff has to expand to more teams to keep making bowl games relevant? Commissioners vowed earlier this week during their playoff meetings that was not going to happen, but speaking in absolutes is no longer advisable.
The only people gulping after reading this passage? The bowl game executives who wear sport jackets and line their pockets off the backs of college football players in December and January.
For years, their exhibition bowl games were a fun end to the college football season. Then the money got bigger, the TV deals increased, bowl games flooded the market, and it was no longer college kids playing football, but … unseemly. In 2014, seven bowl game executives made over $500,000. The players received gift bags with headphones or other freebies.
I’d say at least a dozen elite prospects will have a business decision to make. Soon, hopefully bowl executives can scrap the 4-team playoff and expand it to eight or even 16.