Wow. Opening up the MrSEC.com inbox today it was clear that many, many, many of you wondered why the heck three SEC teams always have to duke it out with one another for television bowl ratings on New Year’s Day. “Why do they put the Gator, Outback and Capital One bowls on at the same time?”
There are two main reasons for the placement of those SEC/Big Ten bowls:
1. The BCS bowls all air with zero competition from the other bowls. With the Rose Bowl going at 5pm ET and the Orange Bowl owning the primetime slot, the kickoff options for the SEC’s New Year’s Day bowls are limited. They basically have a window from about 11am ET to 1pm ET in which to kick off.
2. The media term for what the SEC and Big Ten do on January 1st is “roadblocking.” Basically, if a college football fan wants to watch a game on New Year’s Day — as in actual day part of the day — that fan will be forced to watch the SEC battle the Big Ten. He’s roadblocked into it. Oh, sure, there’s now something called The Heart of Dallas Bowl during that window as well, but there aren’t many folks who’ll seek that one out.
So while an SEC or Big Ten fan might prefer having his favorite league’s games spread out, that’s really not an option unless one of those three games moves off of New Year’s Day altogether. And no one wants to do that. Also, the conferences themselves like knowing that when people think “New Year’s Day football” they automatically think “SEC versus Big Ten” by default. That’s great branding and it’s great for recruiting.
That said, starting in 2014 you’ll have to get used to a whole new lineup of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day bowl games with new start times and new conference tie-ins. Yay?