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Christopher Gabriel, Published January 04 2010

Gabriel: A need for more bowl games

On Thursday night, sometime around midnight Central time, the 2009 college football season will be over. In all, 34 bowl games will have been played, including the BCS Championship game between Alabama and Texas in Pasadena, Calif.

Overall, 68 out of 120 Division 1-A teams play in bowl games. Some believe that’s entirely too many teams playing post-season college football. I say it’s not enough.

I believe every team should be in a bowl game. That would be 120 teams, 60 bowl games.

No different than my daughter’s first ballet class; everyone is rewarded. It’s special. It’s beautiful. A bunch of little girls receiving trophies, a bunch of young men getting a bowl game gift bag and one more game.

We’re in the era of parity: Everyone is special, everyone is equal, everyone deserves to be placed on a pedestal.

The open hostility and insensitivity the NCAA is displaying to the 52 teams deemed inferior to the privileged 68 is downright sickening.

I remember the days in the mid-1960s when there were just nine bowl games. Only 18 teams out of 120 playing one more game with a staggering 102 teams left out in the cold. It was a horrific era in college football.

Think of those young men, the hundreds upon hundreds who suffered emotional distress. And for what?

The time has come to think progressively, to think inclusively. The time for playing 60 bowl games is upon us. By adding 26 more games, it’s almost hard to imagine the spectacle that would be college football.

In that scenario, teams with records of 2-9 would be matched up against each other, showing the nation they were far better than their records.

There could even be winless teams playing for the glory that would be their long-awaited, much-anticipated first win of the season.

No more cheap shots taken at

6-6 teams that, in our current system, barely make it into a bowl game. In the new era of Every Team Is Special, a 6-6 record would be considered top shelf.

Bowl games could begin immediately after the Army-Navy game and be scheduled through the end of February. A season that begins on or around Sept. 1 not finishing until six months later – that’s what we call “building the excitement.”

And perhaps the most important factor in this new plan: Spreading the wealth to every region in the nation.

Here in our part of the country, just close your eyes and imagine Florida Atlantic vs. Northern Illinois in the Sage Saltwater Rods Fly Fishing Bowl at Bobcat Stadium in Bozeman, Mont., or Central Michigan vs. East Carolina in the Fossil Farms Exotic Meat Bowl at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium in Brookings, S.D.

And here in Fargo, the Fargodome would be a major winter draw. Indoors, climate-controlled, great food, if we can’t have North Dakota State University vs. the University of North Dakota, why not a classic intersectional match-up like Louisiana Tech against Akron?

The excitement that would sweep over the F-M area would be near impossible to measure.

Players could have speed snowplowing races down non-emergency vehicle streets, lutefisk-eating contests at the Sons of Norway and wind-chill endurance tests at Hector International Airport.

All 120 teams and approximately 8,000 players receiving gift bags, bringing big-time revenue to a community and playing one more game.

It’s special. It’s beautiful. It’s meaningful.


Christopher Gabriel is host of “The Christopher Gabriel Program” from 9 a.m. to noon weekdays on AM 970 WDAY. Read his blog at

cgabriel.com

and preview his show at www.areavoices.com/cgabriel