clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Solution For Bowl Snobs

Marco Garcia-USA TODAY Sports

Bowl Snob - [bohl snob] - noun.

1. One who must always mention that there are too many bowls, and/or how appalling that a 6-6 team (or a 7-5 team for that matter) is allowed to play in a bowl game.

2. Tied for worst person on earth with the people who click on and read an article, then comment about how the article shouldn't have been written. (see blog snob)


Sure I live in Hawaii and thought about going until I saw the game was Rice vs. Fresno and decided I wasn't interested. That said, no sweat off my back, no one forces me to go, and no one forces me to watch. But bowls aren't about you or me, it's about something to watch on TV when everything else is reruns or marathons of bad movies, it's about ESPN profiting off of commercials during the telecast, it's about degenerate gamblers where the last game before the 25th is a Christmas Miracle, and it's about the kids and their teams getting a great experience.

Walking around Waikiki on Christmas day I ran into a couple of Rice players rocking their championship gear from head to toe. I asked them if they played, they did, and I congratulated them on their victory. My wife asked if they would be be going to the NFL, and I said probably not, but Rice is a great school, they'll have good futures, but they'll always talk about their journey at Rice.

Rice's seniors committed to a team that was 6-18 in their previous two seasons and 4-8 in their freshman year. As sophomores, they helped Rice go 6-6 and travel upstate to Fort Worth to beat Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl, Rice's second Bowl win since 1955. The following year as a juniors, they surged to a 10-3 season winning the C-USA West and played in back-to-back bowl games for the first time since 1961. This time they traveled to Tennessee where they were crushed by the SEC's Mississippi State in the Liberty Bowl.

As seniors, 2014 wasn't the best year. First, Rice's seniors never won the Bayou Bucket Classic against Houston. After falling 73-34 as Freshmen, Rice fell by 21 the next year, and by only 5 the next year. Unfortunately, due to conference realignment, there was no Bayou Bucket game in 2014, the Rice seniors lost their chance to own the city of Houston (ironically, Rice had a spot open for the game, and it was filled with a game against Hawaii. Rice won at home 28-14).

Rice started their season with big losses to Notre Dame and Texas A&M. The heavy hitting openers undoubtedly led to an underwhelming home debut, a 45-42 loss to ODU. Rice was very similar to UB in 2013 who traveled to Ohio State and Baylor before almost letting Stony Brook steal a win at UB Stadium. Like UB in 2013 Rice found their bearings and went on a six game winning streak, before running into the buzzsaw of Marshall. Again like UB in 2013, Rice faced Louisiana Tech in the final week of the season a win away from repeating as West Division Champions, but they failed, getting destroyed 76-31 to finish the season 7-5.

The seniors fought hard, won 5 more games than they lost, and had played in consecutive bowl games, but that would have been a very hard way to end their college careers. Instead, they received a proper send off, they made Rice history, earned a trip to Hawaii, and a chance at redemption.

Rice for the first time in school history, played in three straight bowl games. The players grabbed their redemption, ending their careers with a dominating 30-6 win over Fresno State.

Rice and 75 other schools will have amazing experiences, and if you strive to eliminate any of those games, you are truly a horrible person.

That said, if you HAVE to eliminate some bowl games, I offer a suggestion.

If most people had the opportunity to eliminate bowl teams, they would eliminate all the "unworthy" 6-6 and 7-5 mid-major teams that would have included Rice, and probably Fresno who won their division in the Mountain West. This year, out of 81 bowl eligible teams, using that method would eliminate 15 teams, and reduce the bowls from 39 to 33. However I have a better method.

1) Calculate the winning percentage of the previous three seasons

2) Eliminate teams that have performed below their baseline.

If it was determined, a team had to be within 20% of their three year win average then Stanford and Oklahoma State would be eliminated from bowl contention.

Team Three Year Win % 2014 Win %
Stanford 82.93% 58.33%
Oklahoma State 76.92% 50.00%

At a 5% threshold we get 18 teams to remove from the bowl process:

# Team Three Year Win % 2014 Win % Differential
1 Oklahoma State 76.92% 50.00% -26.92%
2 Stanford 82.93% 58.33% -24.60%
3 South Carolina 84.62% 66.67% -17.95%
4 Notre Dame 74.36% 58.33% -16.03%
5 LSU 82.50% 66.67% -15.83%
6 Fresno* 61.54% 46.15% -15.39%
7 Virginia Tech 65.00% 50.00% -15.00%
8 Ohio 65.00% 50.00% -15.00%
9 Penn State 64.86% 50.00% -14.86%
10 Texas 64.10% 50.00% -14.10%
11 Arkansas St 71.79% 58.33% -13.46%
12 Oklahoma 79.49% 66.67% -12.82%
13 Texas A&M 69.23% 58.33% -10.90%
14 Miami 59.46% 50.00% -9.46%
15 Houston 66.67% 58.33% -8.34%
16 North Carolina 57.89% 50.00% -7.89%
17 San Diego State 64.10% 58.33% -5.77%
18 Bowling Green* 58.97% 53.85% -5.12%

Fresno State and Bowling Green both won their divisions, and thus would be guaranteed a spot in the bowls. As a result, this system, requiring teams to be at least within 5% of their 3-year average, would eliminate 16 bowl eligible teams, leaving 32 bowls (and one team left out).

This system would spare some mid-major teams that went 6-6 or 7-5. Usually, two or three of their losses come from games against superior Power 5 teams on the road.

This system would thus eliminate many big name teams who underperformed including: Texas (6-6, 5-5 against power 5 teams), Penn State (6-6, 2-6 against power 5 teams), The U (6-6, 3-6 against power 5 teams), Oklahoma (8-4, 6-4 against power 5 teams), Stanford, (7-5, 5-5 against power 5 teams), Notre Dame (7-5, 5-5 against power 5 teams), and LSU (8-4, 5-4 against power 5 teams).

If this was enacted, we'd see fewer teams riding entitlement (and cupcakes) to a bowl game, and more teams that rose through years of adversity to get to a bowl, or worked hard to sustain success.

I assume many proponents of less bowl games take for granted that their team will play in a bowl every year. After a year or two left out, I assume my method would end the call for less bowl games once and for all.