In the holiday hustle and bustle, I did glance at the TV a few times and caught a few minutes of some of the pre-Christmas bowl games. But I've got to admit that Saturday's games are simply proof that college football has way too many bowl games.
Note I said "too many bowl games" and not "too many college football games". There's a big difference. Saturday's games were played college football hotbeds such as Las Vegas and Albuquerque. They were played on a soccer field and a baseball field. The game on the soccer field was named for a local bank with 15 locations across the greater Washington area. The baseball field bowl game was named for a computer gadget that allows you to plug your home phone into a computer so you can make calls without having a local phone line.
Attendance for all of the games on Saturday: 103,306. Even having a home team like South Florida playing less than 25 miles from campus didn't help the attendance in St. Petersburg. (And what was up with the glossy turf at Tropicana Field? Makes the smurf turf in Boise look downright sedate.)
Let's be honest. Fans don't want these games. The teams only play in them to get the extra practices. The payouts don't even pay the expenses for the teams to attend these games. There's got to be a better way to finish out the season. Go ahead and get an eight or sixteen team playoff in place, then match up everybody else in kind of a NIT consolation, but on home fields. Some teams just don't have the following to make a home game viable; that's fine. Send 'em on the road. Let's set up some nice intrasectional matchups across the country. How about Florida State or Miami having to play up in the midwest in late December?
Speaking of attendance: Props to the 14,000+ volleyball fans who still showed up strong on Saturday night for a Husker-less volleyball game. Those numbers go a long way towards making a case for the NCAA to not only make Omaha a regular stop on the NCAA volleyball championship circuit, but also to make Omaha simply a regular stop for all NCAA championships.
And sequeing along the lines of NCAA championships: the MNDaily from the University of Minnesota made the first prognostication of this season's Big Skate, and placed UNO in the regional in Minneapolis along side Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Still absurdly early, but UNO's hot start has gotten the Mavericks into the conversation. They'll need to bring back a couple of wins next week as they go on the road to Princeton, Yale, and Mankato.