Bowl games weathered economic turmoil

Andrew Cummins

USA Today reported a couple of days ago that bowl attendance this season was down just 1 percent – despite the economy and increased criticism against the bowl system.  The folks at NBC Sports dove deeper today by posting a table (not the greatest layout, but good data). 

An interesting Big Ten nugget: Some destinations that Gopher fans had their eyes on before the team flopped near the finish saw a susbstantial decrease in attendance, including the Outback Bowl and Capital One Bowl. But other games, like the age-old Cotton Bowl, offset losses with increased turnouts. 

The Gophers contest against Kansas on New Year’s Eve set an Insight Bowl record with just under 50,000 fans.  Worth noting: bowl officials told me while I was working on a story for a sports journalism class that they expected a sellout (56,000). 

There’s no doubt in my mind the continued popularity of bowl games will be added onto the list of obstacles for playoff system proponents to overcome in the latest installment of post-BCS Championship Game debate. Sorry, Ute, Trojan and Longhorn fans.  Speaking of the BCS, I’m interested to hear your thoughts on the current system and what system you would introduce if you were in charge. Obama wants a playoff, do you?