When did the BC fanbase's perception change on bowls?
BC's not in a bowl this year and I sort of miss it. Bad BC football is better than no BC football. While I think that most BC fans would watch any BC bowl game, I think any pride or passion related to our string of bowls is long gone. This morning I started to wonder when that changed.
Even if we didn't travel in droves, BC fans used to get excited about bowl games. I think they lost their luster to us as the number of bowls increased and some of the destinations and opponents left a lot to be desired. That travel apathy then started to hurt BC's reputation, which then started a vicious cycle of getting sent to even worse bowl games.
If you go back through BC's bowl timeline, I think things turned south with Detroit. Let's look back and see if you agree...
1940 Cotton Bowl
1941 Sugar Bowl
1943 Orange Bowl
These three were the pinnacle of BC's Bowl history. It was such a different time and place, I don't think fan interest is relevant to BC's current football program.
1982 Tangerine Bowl
1983 Liberty Bowl
1985 Cotton Bowl
The Flutie era bowl games are also of a different time and place. While not as prestigious as the BC Bowls in the 1940s, we still faced elite programs and had one of the most exciting offenses in college football. Most BC fans cared about these games.
1986 Hall of Fame Bowl
The Hall of Fame game is an interesting comparison to our current issues. It was post-Flutie and a bit of a bounce back year. We played a elite team in a typical bowl destination. BC did travel well and fan interest was good. If we were to bounce back next year and end up in a decent bowl game, I question if our fans would respond like the BC fans did in 1986.
1993 Hall of Fame Bowl
1994 Carquest Bowl
1994 Aloha Bowl
These were the Coughlin/Henning era bowls. 1993 was a big year for BC and we showed up for the Bowl. The Carquest was a major letdown after fumbling away the Sugar Bowl with the loss to West Virginia. BC fans didn't really show up. I always felt the Aloha Bowl under its older form was the perfect bowl game for BC. It was an appealing destination for the players, it usually had a good opponent, it was the only game on Christmas Day and we were never expected to bring fans.
1999 Insight.com Bowl
2001 Music City Bowl
For TOB's first bowls we did not travel. Random dates and locales made this understandable. Yet the opponents and the excitement of being back in the bowls made most BC fans still care about these games.
2002 Motor City Bowl
In my opinion, the Motor City Bowl changed it all. We played Toledo. The game was a weekday after Christmas. Our casual fans started asking "we are playing who? In Detroit?" Any reward or excitement about being in a bowl was gone. Fans watched but no one cared.
2003 San Francisco Bowl
2004 Continental Tire Bowl
2005 MPC Computers Bowl
2006 Meineke Car Care Bowl
2007 Champs Sports Bowl
2008 Music City Bowl
2009 Emerald Bowl
2011 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl
Three trips to San Francisco. Two to Charlotte. A trip to Disney World and to the Blue turf thrown in. Some of these games were actually very fun and memorable, but none of them did anything the general fanbase's attitude towards bowls.
I would love to see BC champion a playoff. It would be a much better system for a school like us, but in the meantime, I just want BC back in a bowl. My fear is that if Spaz is the coach to return us to a lower-tier bowl, fans will care even less.
Labels: Bowl games