Has the College Football Playoff hurt the other bowl games?
You bet it has, unless you’re a bowl hosting the national semifinals or national championship game.
A perfect example is this season’s Citrus Bowl between Alabama (10-2) and Michigan (9-3).
A perceived great matchup between two of college football’s brand names.
But it all depends on how one looks at it.
For Michigan and coach Jim Harbaugh, it’s a chance to save face after another embarrassing loss to Ohio State.
But for Alabama and coach Nick Saban, the outcome of this bowl game is virtually meaningless, since the Crimson Tide is not playing for the national title for the first time since the College Football Playoff’s inception in 2014.
The question on the minds of most college pro prospects is a simple one, but a tough one to answer:
“Why should I risk injury playing in a meaningless non-playoff bowl game?”
It’s been said that Alabama has 10 starters, five on both sides of the ball, that have to answer that question. Michigan has five.
Alabama has also recently lost its outstanding starting quarterback for the season.
In that regard, Michigan couldn’t be playing Alabama at a better time.
How many pro prospects from other schools involved in the 40 bowl games are going to say, “Forget it, I’m not playing”?
Until I get a better handle on it, my bowl predictions column will have to wait a week, as always.
Other bowls of note involving area teams:
New Mexico Bowl
CMU (8-5) vs. San Diego State (9-3)
Quick Lane Bowl
EMU (6-6) vs. Pittsburgh (7-5)
MSU (6-6) vs. Wake Forest (8-4)
Camping World Bowl
Notre Dame (10-2) vs. Iowa State (7-5)
WMU (7-5) vs. W. Kentucky (8-4)
Top College Game
Navy 28, Army 20
It’s the final game, and only one of the regular season. I always watch it because it has more pomp and circumstance than any other rivalry.
Last week: 9-1, .900
Season: 552-137, .801
Al Arend is a sports correspondent for The Herald-Palladium. His football prediction column appears every Thursday throughout the season.