Today’s 2 Cent Tuesday blog explores the latest trend in college sports – bowl dodging.
2016 Heisman hopefuls and projected NFL 1st round draft picks Leonard Fournette of LSU and Christian McCaffrey of Stanford announced that they would be skipping, or bowl dodging, their teams’ upcoming college football bowl games.
Both elite college football running backs plan to focus on preparing for the NFL Draft in lieu of suiting up and risking injury for their teams’ rather pedestrian Citrus and Sun Bowl games.
Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey
Leonard Fournette’s and Christian McCaffrey’s bowl dodging decisions have unleashed a sports media debate involving journalists, fans, coaches, alumni and even former players. Their choice to skip the culmination of their college seasons has deemed them either selfish or wise depending on whom you ask.
For example, Stanford players have openly supported McCaffrey’s decision and have tweeted their support. And, in Fournette’s case, few are decrying his choice as he is still not 100% healthy from a deep ankle sprain that caused him to sit for four games this year.
Many in the media have publicly excoriated Fournette and McCaffrey for sullying the true spirit of collegiate sports in order to shield themselves from injury. These same pundits fear that the pair has initiated a new trend of bowl skipping that will render future bowl games less exciting for fans and less marketable for sponsors.
However, others, including me, support Fournette and McCaffrey. The college football bowl system has become a farce. Schools may pocket huge money even though some teams wallow in mediocrity with .500 records only to get invited to participate in lightly attended contests that matter little.
For example, Boston College got pasted in ACC games by lopsided scores of 49 – 0 to Virginia Tech, 52 – 7 to Louisville and 56 – 10 to Clemson. Yet, the 6 – 6 bowl eligible Eagles will face equally mundane Maryland in the Quick Lane Bowl Bowl in Detroit. The 6 – 6 Terps also got waxed 59 – 3 by Michigan and 62 – 3 by Ohio State.
Like the Quick Lane Bowl, many college football bowl games hold little interest for fans and scream caution for those talented players expected to play at the next level. The risk to participate in meaningless games is huge for a handful of elite players.
Jaylon Smith of Notre Dame: Brutal Knee Injury
Sadly, in 2015 certain high 1st round pick Jaylon Smith of Notre Dame suffered a career threatening injury in his team’s Fiesta Bowl game against Ohio State. The brutal knee injury dropped Smith from a high 1st round pick to 34th overall and arguably cost him millions in guaranteed salary.
Compounding the matter is coaching hypocrisy. Some successful college football coaches jump ship at this time of the year. They abandon their teams for better gigs and bigger contracts, leaving their recruits and alumni in the lurch. Coaching at these games is left to assistants to motivate players who’ve been scorned by striving coaches pining for more money and a bigger spotlight.
Sure, I love the intoxicating spirit of college sports and eagerly await the college football playoff games which really offer true meaning to the sport.
But, the broken college football bowl game system is in need of repair. Too many games. Too little consequence. And, too many opportunities for promising careers, like Jaylon Smith’s, to be derailed.
That’s why I support bowl dodging Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey.
And, this is my 2 cents!
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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!