By Daniel Thompson and Adam Bressler
Starting with the construction of the Rose Bowl Stadium in 1923, post-season college football contests have honored local commodities. The Rose Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, and the Peach Bowl are legendary names that pay respect to regional tourist festivals. But starting in the 1990s, bowl games began to sell their naming rights to corporate sponsors, either adding a sponsor to the beginning or end of the name (“The Rose Bowl presented by Northwestern Mutual”, “Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic”) or entirely selling out (“Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl”, “Camping World Bowl”, “Cheez-It Bowl”). Here at WCBN, we advocate for the games to return to their traditional naming roots. Below, we made a list of bowls that should be renamed and then proposed some possible titles that could work.
By Adam Bressler
It’s December, which means we are blessed with peppermint milkshakes at Chick-Fil-A, non-stop Christmas music at department stores, and numerous reruns of Elf on ABC Family. But for NCAA football fans, this time of year means only one thing: postseason bowls. Before we can watch intriguing matchups such as the New Year's Six bowls and College Football Playoff games, we have to sit through an onslaught of tiresome contests. In the ten days leading up to January 1, disappointing 7-5 teams face off against each other in bowls with names that could be ripped out of a Saturday Night Live sketch.
No longer do bowl games pay homage to commodities prominent in the hosting city. Many are designated with abstract ideas, product names or whatever a “Gasparilla” is. Even classic bowls with heritages dating back over a century have taken on corporate sponsors. The Orange Bowl is now known as the Capital One Orange Bowl, while even the famous Rose Bowl is officially branded the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual. Some names have become so outrageous that they require no such explanation: The Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl; the FBC Mortgage Cure Bowl; the Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl; and the granddaddy of them all, the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl.
However, something you may not have considered is who pays to put on these bowls. And who gets to keep any profits that the games generate? It is not the company that pays for the title sponsorship of each game, nor are they operated by the NCAA or any athletic conferences. Many of the older bowls are managed by non-profit entities that are entirely focused on managing the logistics of its respective game. These non-profits were established by local civic organizations, for the purpose of promoting tourism. However, of the 40 FBS bowls, 17 are owned by for-profit companies. The National Championship Game is owned by the College Football Playoff Administration LLC, an entity held by the 10 FBS athletic conferences and Notre Dame. Three bowls (the Pinstripe Bowl, the Quick Lane Bowl, and the Redbox Bowl) are owned and managed by the professional sports team that plays in that stadium (the New York Yankees, Detroit Lions, and San Francisco 49ers, respectively). The remaining 13 for-profit bowls are owned and operated by an obscure subsidiary of ESPN, called ESPN Events.
By Adam Bressler
This past week, 568 unsigned football players, including half a dozen former Wolverines, were given the opportunity to follow their dreams in the XFL. The XFL is an upcoming professional spring football league that will begin play in February 2020. The league is financed by WWE founder Vince McMahon and Oliver Luck, former president of NFL Europe, is the Commissioner of the XFL. The general managers of the league’s eight franchises met over conference call to conduct the inaugural XFL draft.
The XFL Draft was divided into 5 phases, each comprised of separate position groups. Phase 1 featured offensive skill position players, phase 2 contained offensive linemen, phase 3 consisted of defensive front seven, and phase 4 included defensive backs. The final phase was open for any players not drafted in the first four rounds, as well as special teams players who did not have a separate phase. Additionally, each team was assigned a single “tier one” quarterback by the league administrators.
Phases 1-4 included ten rounds each, while phase 5 included 30 rounds. In total, each team drafted 71 players, which will be shaved to 52 by the start of the season in February. Phases 1, 2, and 3 took place on Tuesday, October 15 and Phases 4 and 5 took place on Wednesday, October 16.
The Wolverines were well represented in the inaugural draft. Running back De’Veon Smith was drafted in the third round of Phase 1 by the Tampa Bay Vipers. The Vipers also drafted fellow Wolverine William Campbell in the tenth round of phase 2. The St. Louis Battlehawks selected guard Juwann Bushell-Beatty in the ninth round of phase 2 and the Seattle Dragons drafted cornerback Channing Stribling in the fifth round of phase 4.
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