Back in the day, they used to have this thing in the NFL called the “Runner-Up” Bowl.
If you are a certain age—folks under 40 probably have never heard of it—it was either an interesting diversion or the most meaningless game at the end of the season.
If the “Runner-Up” Bowl existed, we’d be watching the Minnesota Vikings take on the Jacksonville Jaguars last week, maybe instead of a Pro Bowl that is also outdated. In 1967, near the end of this 1960s invention of the Runner-Up Bowl (officially called the Playoff Bowl), the Eagles lost to the then Baltimore Colts, 20-14, before 58,084 fans in Miami.
Two years later, it was over.
I thought about that while watching the Philadelphia Eagles play in the Super Bowl last night.
My second favorite team in all of sports was getting a chance at being the best in the world.
What about my favorite sports team, The Temple Football Owls?
Do they have the same shot at being the best college football team in the world?
No, and it’s not even close.
The system is so skewed against Group of Five teams it is not even funny.
If the best UCF does in an unbeaten season is No. 7 in the country, the system is stacked against the Group of Five teams so much that it should be illegal.
If Temple is set up for, in Geoff Collins’ words, a “ridiculous” season in 2018, the best the Owls can hope for is college football’s version of the runner-up bowl.
Realistically, the best Temple can hope for is to do what UCF did—beat a successful and respected Power 5 team in a NY6 bowl—and let the chips fall where they may. Maybe this year, with wins over Boston College and Maryland and rolling through the league schedule unscathed, Temple gets a better break than UCF did but that’s asking for a lot more than any organization should be asked.
What UCF did was pretty darn good and it is something the Owls should aspire to do from time to time.
According to Collins, this appears to be one of those times.
In an unfair system, and until Temple can position itself to join the big-time, that’s our Super Bowl.
Wednesday: Signing Day Primer