The latest example of why: Florida is headed to the Outback Bowl to play Penn State, thereby leaping over South Carolina (Chick-fil-A Bowl) and Mississippi State (Gator Bowl), two teams that finished with better records (UF 7-5, USC 9-4, MSU 8-4) and beat the Gators. Shockingly, I was completely wrong.
Now, this is great for UF. Instead of settling into the Gator Bowl as deserved and taking an expected payout of about $2.7 million, they'll get about $3.5 mil to play in Tampa, and if I'm not mistaken, I get a free bloomin' onion.
There is absolutely no way the Gators deserve to be there, but as Snoop from The Wire said, "Deserve got nothing to do with it." Money does. The Outback Bowl chose them for financial reasons, hoping for better TV viewership and more fans in the stands. This is all allowed and probably a smart business decision, it just reinforces that this sport isn't really about football or entertaining you, it's just about the dolla dolla bills, y'all.
Here's a look at the bowls for UF, USC and MSU, in order of prestige. Overall records, conference records and place in the SEC standings are in parentheses:
Outback Bowl: Florida (7-5, 4-4, T-6th)
Chick-fil-A Bowl: South Carolina (9-4, 5-3, T-4th, beat Florida, East Champs)
Gator Bowl: Mississippi State (8-4, 4-4, T-6th, beat Florida)
The Gamecocks and Bulldogs both got screwed here. Like I said, great news for Florida to get into this game. But at the same time, this bid solidifies my opinion that no one should pay any attention to bowls.
How do you feel about this? Does it hurt your excitement for the game knowing the Gators didn't earn their spot? Or are you so used to the crooked-ness of this sport that it's all good?