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Lots and lots of bowl games are on TV. As is the case with most of what is on TV, bowl games are out of control.

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Monte Dutton

I watch many of them. I like watching football, even if it involves a pair of 6-6 powerhouses from the MAC and the American. They got invited, right? I’ve got Ball State against Georgia State on right now. I’m so interested I’m writing this column.

Let’s say you think there are too many bowls, which would make you agree with virtually everyone I know who doesn’t root for South Carolina. Several bowls have been canceled by COVID. Does this make you happy? Maybe if you’re a Wake Forest fan. The Deacs get to play Rutgers (5-7), which is only bowl-eligible due to a little-known codicil in the Faber College handbook. (Hey, kids, there was this movie called Animal House; it’s on Wikipedia.) 

I don’t mind a lot of bowls. What I mind is a lot of bowls with names that change year to year. For instance, Clemson is playing Iowa State in the Cheez-It Bowl, and for at least a week, maybe two, I thought the Tigers and Cyclones were playing in Arizona, but it’s because that’s where the Cheez-It Bowl used to be. Cheez-It took its money to Orlando, Fla., and Clemson is playing in what used to be the CHAMPS Sports Bowl, and I only remember that because I went to it once. 

I think the names of some bowls may be made up by committees that are too embarrassed to admit they couldn’t come up with a sponsor. I suspect this solely because I used to write about NASCAR.

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The EasyPost Hawai’i Bowl? Sure. It’s easy to post. I do it every day. The Guaranteed Rate Bowl? Everybody gets that. Ask the guy from State Farm. Bowls serve the purpose of sending me to Wikipedia on account of I wonder what a Gasparilla is. It is not (a.) a gorilla that gasps, (b.) an exotic strain of legal weed, or (c.) a breed of armadillo native to Florida.

It is a festival derived from an island (Gasparilla) that was named after a pirate (Jose Gaspar). Central Florida beat Florida in Tampa, Fla., so most of the fans probably knew where they were and what it was. 

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While on the subject of bowls, I don’t understand why some players are “opting out” of minor bowl games because they think they could get hurt and it would affect their NFL draft status. I guess it makes sense if the only person who gives you advice is your agent and you believe there is no difference between sports and business, and if you believe that, you’re probably right, but what I don’t understand is how an athlete can do that to his teammates. Being on a team is a unifying experience, and deciding the smart thing to do is sit this one out is a lot of things, but none of them is unifying.

I constantly hear, even from TV guys talking about the game that is about to be played, that these players are “opting out” because the bowl game is “an exhibition.” An exhibition! The NFL does everything shy of issuing “cease-and-desist” letters for anyone who calls their actual exhibition games anything other than “preseason.” It’s like “a pre-owned car.” You don’t want to buy one of those untested cars off an assembly line. Try one that’s been “pre-owned” for your convenience.

What I’m doing these past few days is still in “the pre-planning stages,” which means I am planning to plan, which means I am doing nothing. I'm just writing this column so I can look at myself in the mirror.

If I’m going to watch these games, don’t tell me they’re not for real. Please. Just tell me lies. Tell me sweet, sweet lies.