Stroman On Sports: Bowls Galore!

College football fans are excited about the upcoming playoff, with ACC champ Clemson facing Oklahoma and Alabama’s Nick Saban taking on his old team, Michigan State. UNC missed out on a “New Year’s Six” bowl, but Tar Heel fans are gearing up for a high-profile matchup with Baylor in the Russell Athletic Bowl on December 29.

The undercard bowls, on the other hand, are a little sketchy. There are 40 bowls this season – so many that there weren’t enough qualifying teams to fill them. (Ordinarily a team needs at least six wins to qualify for a bowl game, but this year the NCAA was forced to let some 5-7 teams play.)

Is college football suffering from too many bowl games? Or – since it’s all about the payday anyway, and since the bowls give teams more exposure and a chance to travel to a fun holiday location – should we stop laughing at the “AutoNation Cure Bowl” and just let ’em play?

Deborah Stroman is a professor at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and an expert on sport analytics. She discussed that question – and more – with Aaron Keck this week on WCHL.

New Bowl Partnerships Set For ACC

GREENSBORO— The Atlantic Coast Conference has forged seven football bowl game partnerships that will be effective through the 2019 season.

On Thursday, ACC Commissioner John Swofford announced the news for a conference that is looking to improve its collective play on the football field and contend on a national stage.

“We are extremely pleased to announce relationships with this outstanding collection of future bowl partners,” said  Swofford. “Each of these premiere bowls is recognized for its excellence, and they collectively combine to offer our 15-member league more flexibility, improved financials, marquee match-ups and attractive destinations.”

The new agreements include increased net financial revenues to the Conference, reduced ticket obligations, greater flexibility in selection of bowl teams to ensure the best possible match-ups, and prioritized geographical proximity for better access for fans.

In total, the league has reached agreements with the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando; the Hyundai Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas; the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, N.C.; the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tenn.; the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla., and the New Era Pinstripe Bowl in New York City.

The ACC champion will again be headingto the Discover Orange Bowl in Miami if that team is not in the College Football Playoff. If the Discover Orange Bowl is hosting one of the semifinal games of the College Football Playoff, the ACC champion will be slotted to play in one of the other host bowls of the playoff – the Fiesta Bowl or the Chick-fil-A Bowl – if not playing in a semifinal game.