Memo to Big Ten: Get over the Rose Bowl already
A wise man, the late Arnold Addison, former mayor of State College, once told me: “Sometime in life, you have to do things just to p— people off.”
In the context of our conversation 30 years ago, I completely agreed with him.
I get the feeling the powers that be in the Big Ten adhere to this idea, too, when it comes to their fans, and indirectly, to college football fans in general.
Even as the moribund BCS has been dragged kicking and screaming to the precipice of a real, actual, bona fide college football playoff, Big Ten commissioners just had to come out full steam this week and say they want the playoff kept within the bowl system, and want to keep the conference’s relationship with the Rose Bowl.
I’m all for having the playoffs in the bowls, which I actually think is preferable to having the games on campus sites. You can have three bowls involved every year–two for the semis, one for the championship in a four-team playoff. My preference, an eight-team field, would allow seven bowls into the party annually, but that’s another story.
Still, the Big Ten honchos affinity for the Rose Bowl must be because of all the perks and sucking up they get from the bowl committee. The game is a very long and expensive trip from any Big Ten school. It’s a home game for the Pac 12 if USC or UCLA is involved. And the whole thing was set up as a way for rich people from the midwest to hop on the train and take a nice week long holiday over New Year’s to sunny LA back in the day.
The time for this tie-in is long past. Let the bowls take whichever teams provide the best matchups, within the playoff system, and for those teams outside the playoff to face the best opponent available.
The Big Ten, due at least in part to its infatuation with the Rose Bowl, was one of the last holdouts against the playoff. Even now, when fans want to bask in something we’ve wanted for decades, the Big Ten people just have to say something to p— us off.