Are we “bowled” over yet?

By Mike GoodsonBy Mike Goodson

Ole Miss disposed of Pittsburgh, 38-17, this past weekend in the 2013 BBVA Compass Bowl at Birmingham’s Legion Field in the 33rd bowl game of the college football season.

While bowl games produce some interesting matchups such as Saturday’s contest, has the bowl market become too saturated with the 35 games?

The Magic City’s game has struggled at the turnstiles during a five-year history that has seen it called the Birmingham Bowl, the Papa John’s Bowl and now the BBVA Compass Bowl.

The Rebels grabbed up their allotment of 20,000 tickets and asked for 20,000 more in assuring the fledgling bowl of its largest crowd ever.

The announced attendance of 59,135 was actually larger than this year’s Sugar Bowl between Florida and Louisville, which drew only 54,178.

The previous high attendance for the BBVA Compass Bowl was 42,610 for the 2010 game between South Carolina and Connecticut.         

Ole Miss fans had something to be excited about with an unexpected bowl bid and a young team and incredible recruiting momentum.

Mix that in with a short trip to a bowl game and most fans will make the journey from Oxford to 400 Graymont Avenue West.

Since the first NCAA college bowl game in 1902, such trips were intended to reward fans and athletes for a successful season.

Although today’s bowls have evolved into  big business that brings millions of dollars into the local economies and the participating universities and conferences, the  games still bring something else to the fans and families of participants in the form of memories and dreams to young and old alike.

How many people, for instance, witnessed the “Goal Line Stand” in the 1979 Sugar Bowl classic between Alabama and Penn State, or enjoyed Cam Newton’s once-in-a-lifetime season in 2010 to bring the crystal trophy home to Auburn? Bowl games are what legends are made of, and this is the way it should remain.

For a young boy who dreams of playing in one of these games and making “daddy” proud, or the young girl who dreams of marching at halftime, cheering or singing the national anthem before the game, these “insignificant” bowl games should remain.

Are there too many bowl games? Probably, but can we really have too many memories and dreams?


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