What. A. Mess.
That had to be the though of everyone who tuned into the second edition of the College Football Playoff semifinals and the New Years Six bowl games.
Out of the six biggest bowl games of the season, we got a grand total of zero close and competitive games.
Houston vs. Florida State? Blowout. Clemson vs. Oklahoma? Fine, but the second half was boring. Michigan State vs. Alabama? Skip. Notre Dame vs. Ohio State? Whatever. Iowa vs. Stanford? Who decided this matchup? Oklahoma State vs. Ole Miss? Watched college basketball instead.
And it appears that I wasn’t the only who thought that way. The six bowls averaged just a 7.1 overnight rating, down 13 percent from a year ago when the inaugural New Years Six pulled an average rating of 8.2, according to the USA Today.
The semifinal bowls, however, took the biggest blow from all of this. Clemson and Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl pulled just a 9.7 rating. The Cotton Bowl between Alabama and Michigan State did just a tick better at 9.9. But both were down an incredible amount from last year, when the Rose and Sugar Bowls grabbed 15.5 and 15.3 ratings respectively, the most watched college games on cable ever.
And no matter how you dice it up, the New Years Six was a complete mess.
First and foremost, the biggest screw up the College Football Playoff higher ups committed was the timing of the games, specifically the semifinal games. Despite the urging of ESPN to move the games to Saturday, the CFP remained set on having the semifinals on New Year’s Eve. Well, we saw how that worked out. People were too busy with their New Years plans to care for those games, even if they would have been good games. Instead, Saturday night, which had no other big games in it, we got stuck with the Liberty and Alamo Bowls in that time slot. Although that didn’t turnout too bad in terms of games, it would have been a great opportunity to showcase the biggest games of the year.
And then there’s the match ups, which the CFP committee completely screwed up … and that goes for more than just the semifinals. Take away any bias and the semifinal match up should have been Clemson vs. Michigan State and Alabama vs. Oklahoma. I still don’t get why Michigan State got the three seed over Oklahoma. Realistically, the Sooners would have put up a much better fight than the Spartans, and I’m pretty sure everybody knew that.
But then there’s the other four games that were terrible match ups. Iowa deserved a spot in the New Years Six, but putting the Hawkeyes in the Rose Bowl against Stanford was dumb. It really should have been Ohio State in that game and Iowa against Notre Dame, which would have made that game better. And conference allegiances aside, Ole Miss against Houston and Florida State against Oklahoma State would have been interesting games to watch, hindsight not withstanding.
But no, we were stuck with six horrendous games at horrendous times. And the worst part of it all is that the CFP is holding firm to sticking with this exact schedule for the foreseeable future. That’s a great disservice to the showcase of college football.
What a mess indeed.