The Dugout

The much anticipated College Football Playoff bracket was revealed on Dec. 3, and Clemson, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Alabama were selected as the top four teams amid controversy around the final spot being awarded to Alabama. The semi finals will be played on New Year’s Day and the Championship will be played on Jan 8, 2018, but there will be plenty of games in between to keep football fans entertained, 38 games to be exact, but what is the point of these games? In order to qualify for a bowl game, a team has to finish their season with a .500 record or above, but last season, not enough teams reached that threshold, so 20 teams were selected based on academic performance to participate in a bowl game. Bowl games are an advertiser’s dream, as every bowl game has a major sponsor that attempts to reap the benefits of hosting a neutral site college football game where two quality opponents square off, but with the games being at a neutral site, attendance sometimes lacks. These bowl games do not truly mean anything other than to be used as a boost for recruiting and money brought into the school, along with many coaches getting bonuses for getting their team to the bowl game, but what about the kids? Just a reminder that these student-athletes that millions of people devote their Saturdays to are just 18-23 year old kids. When a team makes a bowl game, their season is extended roughly a month and through the holiday and finals season. It is truly amazing what a Division 1 football player does between class and football, but more importantly, they do not have time to work and with some teams, the coaches do not allow their players to get jobs. Being a Division 1 football player is a full-time job and I believe that they should be paid for it. I understand that they are on full scholarship and receive certain benefits, but it is unfair that the universities get massive amounts of money based solely off of the performance of the student-athletes. How the players would get paid is a different discussion, as Alabama’s football program brings in more money than Old Dominion, but there should be some type of scale for player wages. The coaches get bonuses worth thousands of dollars when they make a bowl games, so why not give the players a bonus as well as they are the ones who executed throughout the season to get the team in the position it is in today. Another aspect of the bowl games now that the College Football Playoff is in place is that there is not a lot of motivation for teams to play in these games outside of the top four teams, who have a chance at the National Championship. In prior seasons, high- profile players like Christian McCaffrey and Leonard Fournette sat out of their team’s bowl game because they did not want to risk injury that would hurt their NFL draft stock. As a twenty-year-old kid, I know money is a huge motivating factor, so would McCaffrey and Fournette have sat out if they were getting paid to play in the game? It is unknown, but those games would have been better if two players who were drafted 4th and 8th overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. College football is a flawed system and I only hope it improves for the sake of the kids. Anyways, Boomer Sooner! For those unfamiliar, that is the rallying call for Oklahoma supporters. The Sooners, led by Heisman Trophy Finalist, Baker Mayfield, will take on the Georgia Bulldogs in their semi-final match up. Bulldog fans took an interesting approach to try and distract Mayfield by releasing his phone number for fans to send whatever they want to him. It’s an interesting approach that only time will tell to see how it works out.

Luke Chiasson