The irrepressible Neilan Tyree is a man whose personal and professional lives are deeply intertwined with the worlds of marketing, entertainment, and general fabulousness. As committed to his Tide as I am to my beloved Irish, he spent last weekend drawing very direct comparisons between the bowl games after the 1972 season and what we will experience in about four weeks. The difference is stunning; if you’ve never considered how shamelessly the NCAA milks the Final Four for advertising money, you can’t even pretend to overlook the way it leverages football.
Why did he do it? Because so much of our current system simply makes him gag. To Neilan’s mind, there are simply too many bowls with too many silly names over too long a schedule, and that hurts the product. The over abundance of bowl games basically guarantee everyone gets to go–and here I’m talking to you, Wisconsin at 8-5. To Neilan, this chart illustrates how wildly that simple fact has devalued the intrinsic excitement that once accompanied earning a bowl berth. Anyway, enjoy his astounding homework, and note his color coding of the teams: sixteen of the twenty-two that played in 1972 are back this year as well.