Monday, December 4, 2017

2017-2018 Bowl Game Predictions

The final CFB Selection Committee rankings of 2017 were released yesterday along with the bowl game assignments.  That’s 76 different schools in thirty-nine bowl games; 37 non-CFB bowl games and 2 semifinal playoff games.
I’ve said it before.  Thirty-nine bowl games is just a smidgen too damn many.  That many bowl games have nothing to do with demand.
Disney makes money off them. ABC and ESPN broadcast almost all of them, including the whole New Year’s SIx, and ESPN even owns about a third of them outright.
I mean, would you want your company to pay money to sponsor the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl formerly known as the St. Petersburg Bowl between a 6-6 team and an 8-4 team on a December weekday?  Many of these games will be played in half-empty stadiums.
Of the 39 games, 38 will be broadcast by ESPN or one of their sister networks, ABC and ESPN2. The only bowl game that is not on a Disney-owned network is the Arizona Bowl which will air on CBS.  The real reason ESPN is willing to fork out big bucks to broadcast these games is because live programming fills in empty time slots.  In 2010, ESPN was available in nearly 100 million homes but is now only seen in 87 million with more and more homes deciding to “cut the cord”.
The 24-hour sports network is laying off 150 employees in the face of financial pressures and that action follows a round of layoffs in April of 100 employees and the departure of 300 people in late 2015.  Disney/ESPN has had a brutal fourth quarter.  Their operating income declined 12% from a year earlier making it the sixth quarter in a row they’ve shown a loss in their ledgers.
So, do people like me complain about there being too many bowl games that reward mediocrity?  Yes, they do.
I’ve decided to appropriate steal an idea from my SEC sister and blogger friend Diogenes and make some predictions about the News Years Six and CFB Semifinal Playoff games.  For the record, I am biased.  My predictions are based not on stats or series histories or even what the sports “experts” think.  They are my own feelings on which teams will emerge as victors in the important games that will bring this hard-fought season to a close.
I want to congratulate each team for their play on the gridiron, their courage and their heart.  These teams are the best of the best.  You may not agree with my picks and that’s to be expected.
NOTE:  Not all games have been included; only the ones that will establish the AP Top 25 rankings for Week One of the 2018 season.

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