With all these less than intriguing Bowl games, how can we make them more interesting? What if there was something on the line for the winner: namely a chance to improve their ranking next season leading to a better Bowl game, or who knows? A shot at the Playoff?
The winner of each non-playoff bowl gets to challenge, if they wish, one team outside their conference with at least one more regular season win or the same wins that they had, to a game the next season. The team cannot already be on the schedule for 2018. The goal here is a chance for lower conference or ranked teams to improve their ranking chances next year by improving their strength of competition. Some teams would have the option to decline making a challenge, for instance teams that are changing coaches or think they will do well next year anyway and don’t see the value of an extra game versus a worthy opponent.
If more than one team challenges the same school to a game, the team with the higher ranking + quality of bowl opponent gets first choice. This prevents teams from turning down bowls against better or equal teams in favor of bowls versus stiffs just to get the Challenge Game.
The challenged team gets home field, and picks the date.
ESPN gets exclusive rights to the Challenge games, and partnering with sponsors and Dollar Store Bowl Committees pool $50-100 million in payouts to the challenged teams. Those teams could use that money to induce Bowl winners to play them. Cash is the only way to induce major programs to accept these challenges.
Sooooo lets take a look at a possible scenario based on this years Bowl games:
-Celebration Bowl: North Carolina A&T 9-2 won. NCAT could challenge Michigan but knowing that might be an asskicking, they choose local 9 win North Carolina State instead (who kicks in a cool Mil for the game to induce a local matchup).
-Cure Bowl: Tulane (7-6) wins this one. They’d love to challenge LSU but they went 9-3, so they challenge Texas A&M (8-4). A chance to play the Aggies next season? Id sign up to watch that!
-New Mexico Bowl—Utah State wins this one after an 11-2 season so they hit the jackpot! Utah State aims high and challenges 12 win Oklahoma next season in a bid to get into major bowl consideration if all else goes well.
One more, lets try a bigger Bowl: last nights infamous Cheez-It Bowl where TCU out intercepted Cal with a 7-6 record; TCU is confident in their chances next season, and not seeing a valuable 7 or 8 win opponent that they think they can beat to improve their ranking, declines to challenge.
Imagine UCF beating LSU and getting a chance to finally challenge Clemson or Alabama next year and with that win and a undefeated season finally make a case for a Playoff? Would that jack up the Fiesta Bowl to a new level? And with all this success comes recruiting opportunities and one game could spark a dynasty!
As for Seniors, school pride is on the line: Seniors wont get to play that Challenge Game, but take pride that they helped pave the way for their beloved alma mater to rise up the college rankings over the next year or two!