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From Where Claibs Sits: Bowl Eligible


The new thing is college football when a coach is trying to save his job or make the statement there is progress is being “Bowl Eligible.” This term is quickly becoming on of the jokes of college football. To make sure I am clear here all you must do is load up on a soft non conference schedule and there are three wins right there at least. Then go out and beat the bottom feeders in your conference three times and you are “bowl eligible.” It getting to the point that kissing your sister is a better option and yet many reward coaches with contract extensions for all the wrong reasons especially when you look at how much some coaches are being paid to become “bowl eligible.”

Let’s take a closer look at what it means. So, if you are so bad you must scramble to get to six wins then the question should be why do you think you are worthy t continue playing perhaps a team that is bad as you? What are you really proving here? When you look even closer when you think of the amount of money you spend on the program especially salaries to coaches and personnel, when you throw in the amount of money it cost to go to a game and everyone who you have to take care of, it almost comes up as a loss financially. Yes, the bowl committee that invites you pick up a lot of the tab, but we are not talking about the big boy bowls where it covers you and helps the athletic department. When you look at some of the lesser bowls you have to ask yourself the question of how do they survive as many of the low end bowls do not come close to selling out and some schools and their fans are smart enough not to be part of such a what would be considered a disappointing season anyway. So, where do you go from here? How about home? Spare yourself the notion its about the kids because its never about them. Its about winning enough games to get into a big bowl and make real money. Six-win teams don’t garner a lot of money nor should they, yet there are some that think all is good with it.

To be clear there is a place for teams who are trying to establish a footprint and Illinois would be one of them. After being dreadful recently, Illinois has broken through where they will go to a bowl. Soft schedule for sure but here is where the Fighting Illini have a case. They won in conference and they won on the road in conference. Winning on the road is always a key stat especially when you are not expected to win. Illinois did it three times this year, one of which was against a top 15 nationally ranked opponent in Wisconsin not to mention taking out Michigan State in East Lansing. Yes, there is a place for a minimum six-win team to be “bowl eligible” but you can only hang your hat on that so many times in a coaching tenure. If you were expected to compete beyond six wins and you either scramble to get to six or come up short is a whole different discussion that would include the shelf life of the coaching staff. It’s the reality of the sport as we know it and not enough legitimate wins can be costly and in most cases a cost that should be considered when it comes to a culture change. A six win “bowl eligible coach should no longer rest easy. Less than six should create multiple sleepless nights.To be clear there is a place for teams who are trying to establish a footprint and Illinois would be one of them. After being dreadful recently, Illinois has broken through where they will go to a bowl. Soft schedule for sure but here is where the Fighting Illini have a case. They won in conference and they won on the road in conference. Winning on the road is always a key stat especially when you are not expected to win. Illinois did it three times this year, one of which was against a top 15 nationally ranked opponent in Wisconsin not to mention taking out Michigan State in East Lansing. Yes, there is a place for a minimum six-win team to be “bowl eligible” but you can only hang your hat on that so many times in a coaching tenure. If you were expected to compete beyond six wins and you either scramble to get to six or come up short is a whole different discussion that would include the shelf life of the coaching staff. It’s the reality of the sport as we know it and not enough legitimate wins can be costly and in most cases a cost that should be considered when it comes to a culture change. A six win “bowl eligible coach should no longer rest easy. Less than six should create multiple sleepless nights.