College Football New Normal, Part 2
Conference Only Seasons
This is awesome for this one year, but conference-only – or limited non-conference slates – won’t be even close to the new normal.
You think Missouri wants to beat its head against the wall to go 3-7 every year? You think it’s going to be fun when Maryland has to scratch and claw to go 2-5?
There’s a reason non-conference games against Central Creampuff Tech exist – wins make fans happy. Going forward, athletic directors at major football schools will keep paying for that.
This is one of the biggest, toughest college football norms that has to be exposed, and all it took was a historic plague to do it.
Bowl games … are … exhibitions.
They’ve taken on an outsized importance because bowls are as college football as it gets, but in a College Football Playoff era, it just doesn’t matter who plays in the non-playoff bowls.
Okay, so there should be a pecking order to earn a spot in the Rose Bowl, or the Orange, or some of the other non-CFP bowl games as something teams can shoot for, but if some bowl wants a 3-7 brand-name team because people will actually watch and care, okay.
Of course there’s a certain charm about a Group of Five vs. Group of Five bowl game on a random December Wednesday night, but big programs bring more attention … duh.
This year, records aren’t going to necessarily matter for the bowl games since there won’t be enough winning teams to fill out the bowl slots. It’s just for this season, but this should be permanent.
The athletic departments will need to get used to smaller crowds even when things become fine again.
1) A segment of the world isn’t going to want to be around loads of people, but the bigger issue is the 2) disposable income that’s not going to be there anymore to blow on live events – this will be an issue across the whole sports world. Also, 3) a whole lot of people are getting very used to watching things at home.
Of course all of the big games will be sellouts, but the days of assuming football crowds can pay for everything else in an athletic department might be gone.
Personally, I’m sort of enjoying the no-fan thing to a point. There’s a far more intimate feel to watching the games on TV.
The lack of energy stinks for the big moments – especially in the NBA Championship, the epic US Open men’s final, and others – but hearing the players jawing with each other and feeling like you’re on the field and in on the action has been a fun twist.
And now the biggest new normal to rock college athletics in 2020, the lack of attendance has destroyed …