College Football: 10 Top Storylines for 2015 Season

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Jan 3, 2015; Birmingham, AL, USA; General view of Legion Field prior to the Birmingham Bowl at Legion Field. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

The Continued Decline of the Bowl Games

The College Football Playoff may have done a lot of good things in its shoving aside of the BCS, but one of the unwanted results was helping to reduce attendance and ratings for the bowl games not involved in the playoffs.

Last season saw a 4 percent drop in overall attendance at bowl games, the fifth straight year of falling numbers. It was even worse for games not associated with the College Football Playoff and for bowls that hosted teams outside the Power-5.

The average attendance was down 9 percent in such games, and 21 of the 35 returning bowls (60%) reported smaller crowds, compared to 57 percent in 2013-14 and 49 percent in 2012-13. Bowls are in trouble, and many corporations are beginning to run from bowl sponsorship.

The bowl games had been sustained for years by conference tie-ins and corporate sponsorship. The traditionally major bowls (first part of the BCS and now part of the playoff) have broken any conference ties for the most part, in favor of taking the teams that will bring the biggest draw. That leaves smaller bowls with the remnants and even teams who don’t want to be there.

If the trend continues, the expansion of the bowl calendar will begin to shrink, possibly leaving us with only the playoff games/bowls to satisfy our post-Christmas college football appetite.

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