The Case Against 5-7
There are some in the lower part of our state that are disappointed the NCAA has banned the implementation of any new FBS bowl games for a minimum of three years. Organizations in both Myrtle Beach and Charleston had been hoping to be a part of another round of expansion in upping the number of bowl games from 40 to 43.
Yesterday on the show, Clary and I got into a friendly, but heated discussion on the matter. RC stated we have long since passed the “participation trophy” feel the lower tier games have by admitting programs that are 6-6. In fact, last year three 5-7 schools played in bowls. Thus, since we have already deemed mediocrity as being acceptable, what’s the difference if a few more schools get a post-season game to play in?
The only reason I could give is the fact that there is an aesthetic barrier that 5-7 crosses that just feels wrong. But I believe it is an important barrier because nothing happens in a vacuum. And there is a sociological element to this.
I thought it was bad when the number of bowl games expanded to the point where 6-6 teams got in. Remember when that happened? In relative terms it wasn’t that long ago: 2006 to be exact. The equation was simple: more bowl games (most of them tax exempt) wanting to make more money equalled less accomplished teams getting rewarded for succeeding less.
Last year that equation went from using an ‘equal’ sign to a ‘less than’ sign. As in if your team has less wins than losses, you can still get some candy.
Back to that aesthetic barrier. While 6-6 rubbed people the wrong way, the phrase “losing season” could not be applied to a team that finished .500. But 5-7 is……for lack of a better term…..a losing season.
We live in a time of grade inflation. Of our leaders taking shortcuts. Where the drive for profit by large companies often means things like lousy customer service, being placed on hold for months waiting on tech support, longer checkout lines while a half dozen cash registers go unmanned. Where we seemingly accept a little bit less for a little bit more everyday.
It’s a narrative that has people angry. And perhaps more to the point disappointed. So while Myrtle Beach and Charleston may be disappointed that a 6-6 team can’t battle a 5-7 team in a bowl game, the NCAA has recognized that the less than sign is a sign of the times that people are tired of seeing.
One more point. At one time we were flexible on 7-5. We then we were flexible on 6-6. Now we have wobbled down to 5-7. If no clear line of demarkation is ever drawn in the interest of adding more games, why not just get the number up to 64 bowl games?. That would mean that all 128 FBS teams would simply play a 13th game. Which would have made the 2015 South Carolina Gamecocks bowl eligible. At 3-9.
So, if 5-7 is acceptable…..what’s not?