On Tuesday morning, just one day after another bowl season came to a close, college football's leaders once again turned their attention to the task of overhauling the sport's postseason come 2014. And this time, they weren't just talking about the impending four-team playoff.
It's time to make hard changes to a bowl system that continues to be hampered by lousy matchups, an outdated business model and continued signs of travel fatigue among fans whose teams routinely play in high-profile bowls.
"Since we've made such a significant change with the playoff, it's a perfect time to look at the bowls and how they work," SEC commissioner Mike Slive said this week. "This is a very good time to take a hard look at how we do our bowl relationships and see if there's a better way."
While TV viewership for college football's postseason remains high -- ESPN's average rating for the five BCS games (9.0) rose six percent from last year, and the Outback (Michigan-South Carolina) and Chick-fil-A (LSU-Clemson) bowls drew two of the four largest non-BCS bowl audiences in the network's history -- overall attendance figures declined by more than two percent for the second straight year. According to AL.com's Jon Solomon, this year's average bowl attendance (49,222) was the lowest since 1978-79, though back then there were 15 bowls, not 35.