I’ve heard a lot of “It’s too bad you can’t go to a bowl game” trash talk from a lot of football fans this year. It’s interesting that all this garbage comes from ucla or Notre Dame fans – teams that are ecstatic to get that coveted bid to the “Beef O’ Brady’s Bowl” in St. Petersburg, Florida after working hard all year to achieve that 6-6 record. You don’t hear crap like that from fans of “real” teams like Alabama, Texas or Florida. That’s because these teams know the truth: There’s only one bowl game that counts – the one that decides the national championship.
That’s right – I said it. If your bowl game isn’t going to put you at #1 or #2 for the season, it’s really just the football equivalent of the Rose Parade. Sure; people will watch it and cheer, but it’s only because they are too damn hung over to do anything else.
In 1970, there were 11 bowl games. This meant that the top 22 teams in the country got one more game. USC’s got enough swagger that finishing in the top 22 isn’t going to be anything that we brag about, but for some teams that’s a big accomplishment – and I say good for them! In 2010, there will be 35 bowl games. Let’s do some quick math; there are 120 Division I football teams in the country. 35 games will need 70 teams – so 58% of ALL college football teams will play in bowl games this year.
Every year I hear a “feel-good” story about how some crappy school became bowl eligible for the first time in 35 years. When read with the above stats in mind; this really means “This football team really sucks. Think Notre Dame the last 5 years or so.” That’s pretty bad. When you only need to beat out 42% of all other teams to reach the brass ring that is a college bowl game, it’s not really all that impressive anymore. It’s kind of like going down to Newport Beach and bragging about your college degree or your Mercedes; everyone has got one down there. In fact, they’ll probably say “It’s nice to see that classic 1992 C series that you’re driving; I really enjoy my 2010 V12.” That’s a nice way of saying, “Shut your hole, piker!”
By following that last example, and inserting some USC swagger, you can craft your answer for the next lout who mentions “no bowl games.” You see; what those other team’s fans have is significantly less prestigious than what we’ve got. That 18-year old glorified Cadillac Cimarron that is the Mercedes C Class is very similar to ucla’s bowl record since 2001; 8 bowl games in 10 years with a 3-5 record. In that same time period, we saw 9 bowl games with a 7-2 record. Oh; and our bowl games were of significantly higher quality and prestige.
My answer is this; (feel free to use this) “Yeah – that’s too bad we can’t go to a bowl game this year. By the way; what does playing in a BCS Bowl game or for the National Championship feel like? Oh – that’s right. You’ve never done that before. We played in 7 BCS bowl games in a row, including 3 national championship games, and won 6 of them. Someday I’ll tell you all about it.”
Us Trojans have this swagger because we earned it. Just look at the scoreboard.