Alabama football is the ‘bowling-est’ team in the history of college football. Could every ’20 FBS team get a bowl game?
Alabama football always goes bowling. Not exactly, but throughout college football bowl history, it feels as though the Tide qualifies almost every season. One reason is the Alabama football bowl record. The Crimson Tide has appeared in more bowl games than any other team.
Going back to its first, the 1926 Rose Bowl, the Crimson Tide has played in 71 bowl games. That count includes the CFB Playoff National Championship games. Closest to the Crimson Tide in total bowl games played are Georgia, Texas and Southern Cal. The Georgia Bulldogs and the Texas Longhorns have played in 56 bowl games. Southern Cal has played in 55. Only six other schools have played in 50 or more bowl games. They are Nebraska, Oklahoma and Tennessee with 53 bowl games; LSU, Ohio State and Penn State have earned 52, 51 and 50 bowl games, respectively.
The Alabama Crimson Tide also leads in bowl wins with 42. Closest to the Tide is Southern Cal with 35 bowl wins. One reason why the Tide does not have more bowl wins is Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant. From 1968 through 1975, Bear’s teams went to eight bowl games. That span’s bowl record was 0-7-1. Bryant’s Crimson Tide teams did win 12 bowl games.
The 2020 bowl season may be the most bizarre of all-time. How many bowls will be played is not known. Still on the ‘possible’ list are 41 bowl games. ESPN owns the majority of them and many of the network’s games are television events, that coincidentally include in-person attendance. ESPN will want to produce all of its games.
The biggest problem is 41 bowl games require 82 teams. Currently, only 76 teams are playing fall football. A very creative ploy could be to add a few FCS teams. With no FCS Playoffs following a fall 2020 season, FCS schools may be anxious to play.
The other issue is bowl qualification. If there becomes an established threshold of say, finishing the regular season at least no worse than, two games under .500 – some FBS schools will not qualify.
How weird it would seem for a 4-6, SEC team taking on a top-tier FCS team. Weird but intriguing, with an underdog theme ESPN would milk for every ounce. Sporting News recently projected 11, SEC football programs would go bowling. Who will be the third stepchild to join Vandy and Arkansas in not qualifying when 4-win teams are bowl eligible?
Likely, what will happen is there will not be 41 bowl games. Looking even more likely is the Big Ten and Pac 12 will find a way to play eight games and inject their teams into the bowl debate. Alabama football fans will not much care until a football power like Ohio State lobbies to delay the post-season. The Buckeyes will get little sympathy.