College football • Appearance in a bowl game nobody wants to see is fool's gold
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
A possible postseason reward for Utah? A celebration for losing two more games than it's won? A deep driving dip into college football's so-called bowl pageantry?
Come on. The Utes have about as much business going bowling as Andrew Bynum.
A simple bit of truth: This isn't their year and they should turn their backs on any kind of unlikely invitation, come what may. Even if they beat Colorado on Friday and, like, who doesn't? their record of 5-7 would qualify them for a bowl only because there weren't enough mediocre teams available to fill all the slots.
That, by itself, speaks to the ridiculous proliferation of college football's postseason. It's one of the intolerable excesses of our time: 35 bowl games. That means more teams go to bowl games than teams that don't. What kind of prize is that?
It's like a participation certificate given to every player in a mighty-mite league. It's a warm token to make everyone feel good, whether or not it was really earned. Everybody gets a CapriSun and a trophy.
Good job, little Johnny.
Bad coaches love the fact that 70 teams get a reward: Don't fire me, I coached a bowl team. Well, the hard truth is, most coaches do, and most fans aren't falling for the bogus stamp of success.
The GoDaddy.com Bowl, the Heart of Dallas Bowl, the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, the Russell Athletic Bowl, the Belk Bowl, the Beef O' Brady's Bowl, the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl, the Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman, and more, just don't stir the souls of fans from coast to coast.
Those last two are reportedly considering the Utes, if their slots aren't filled by, you know, teams that have actually achieved that lofty goal of playing .500 football.
Many coaches would want to go to a bowl just for the extra practice it allows their teams. But, in this case, if you're 5-7, it wouldn't be worth it. The whole process becomes a parody of itself, a mockery. Better to call it good, wipe the slate clean, and begin anew when the right time comes.
Utah should have some self-respect and show it by declining the trophy and walking away from the CapriSun, if they are offered.
The business of bowls has less to do with making everyone feel good and more to do with making money. The business of bowls is business. And while that extends to the participants, it's often a losing proposition for them. Balancing the payout of a bowl versus the expenses of it is problematic in these lesser games.
For the Utes, the Pac-12 covers some of those expenses, and, in this scenario, where a bowl is desperate to fill a slot, negotiations can move the payout to a higher number. But that's fool's gold here.
No amount, and it's bound to be a marginal number, is worth parading your team to Shreveport or Washington, D.C., for a bowl most fans wouldn't walk across the street to watch, and that all fans know your team doesn't deserve to play in.
It's like inviting Bozo the Clown to perform at a funeral. It's like throwing a gala to celebrate a disaster. It would make Utah football a laughingstock. It's bad form and beneath the Utes, who should have the pride and good sense, no matter what happens on Friday, to kill a party of any kind for a season that hasn't earned it.
GORDON MONSON hosts "The Big Show" weekdays from 3-7 p.m. on 1280 AM/97.5 FM The Zone. Twitter: @GordonMonson.