At a time when college football season’s postseason appears to be in flux, one group is considering birthing a brand new bowl game. Forget the new playoff that’s now being debated/discussed. Forget that some school presidents have been talking about raising the win-level for bowl-eligible teams, a move which would result in a cut back in the current number of bowls. Folks in Show-Me State want a bowl game.
According to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the St. Louis Sports Commission is exploring the feasibility of bringing a bowl to the city. And the group’s president, Frank Viveritos, already believes the perfect matchup would be an SEC-Big Ten showdown:
“If we were able to produce a wish-list game, that would be the one. If the SEC is making a commitment to the University of Missouri, then this is a market we would like to help them develop for the league…
We want to get meaningful conference tie-ins. We want to have an event that would be considered a home run for the region in every way.”
Currently the group is gauging how much support a bowl game would get from the city and how much money the game would have to pay out to participants. The more money going to teams, the better the conference tie-ins. The better the conference tie-ins, the better the media exposure and tourism revenue for St. Louis.
The city of St. Louis is also expected to bid for at least one upcoming SEC basketball tournament. And SEC commissioner Mike Slive has recently been talking about finding new bowl partnerships for his just-expanded league. So a St. Louis bowl tied to the Southeastern Conference seems like a natural at this point.
We also don’t believe that in the end of discussions bowl-eligibility qualifications will indeed be raised. For every school president at Alabama or Ohio State or Oregon who knows they’ll go bowling each season, there are two from Utah State or even Mississippi State who need a six-win cut-off if they’re to rake in some extra exposure — which leads to more cash, better recruiting and better football in the long run — by going bowling each year. That’s no knock on MSU, their own AD, Scott Stricklin, has admitted that he’s against a nine-game SEC schedule because it might knock State from future bowl games. Would he or his boss be in favor then of raising bowl-eligibility standards? We think not.
For that reason, we would be surprised to see the number of bowl games snipped. A better way of handling things on that end might be to require games to hit a higher minimum payout, anyway. Such a move would either reduce the current number of games by just a few or lead to the replacement of smaller games by larger ones. Like, say, one in St. Louis.
If there is room for a bowl on the Mississippi, the Big Ten does make sense as an SEC foe. Unfortunately those two leagues already have tie-ins in three other games: Capital One Bowl, Outback Bowl and Gator Bowl. For that reason, it already seems that Georgia and Michigan State, for example, have met in a Florida bowl for about nine of the last 10 years, doesn’t it?
We get that “Big Ten versus SEC” would be a better draw for the city and that’s what bowls are all about in the first place — tourism. Cities don’t hold these games because they just like ‘em some football.
But in a perfect world, the SEC would line-up a new game with a brand new bowl partner. St. Louis is the Gateway to the West. Wouldn’t an SEC versus Pac-12 matchup be infinitely more interesting in a new Gateway Bowl? Heck, even an SEC-Big 12 game would be a better compromise, possibly pitting Missouri against one of its old Big 12 rivals if things broke the right way.
But then, what the heck is ever perfect about college football’s postseason?