Pity Bowl 2022

It’s that time of year – college football bowl season. I’ve been a happy guy since my beloved University of Michigan Wolverines are 13-0 and in the College Football Playoffs as the #2 seed!

But let’s face it… not all bowl games are as prominent or prestigious as the Rose Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, the Orange Bowl, etc. Many bowl games are… Pity Bowls.

When I was growing up watching college football, bowl games felt relatively rare and teams only got to go to bowl games if they did well in their season — if they won. But it doesn’t take much to get invited to a bowl game these days… it’s a pity invite, and the games where these teams play each other are Pity Bowls.

Here’s the 2022 slate of Pity Bowls, where the bowl game just shouldn’t exist.

Pity Bowl gameDateTeamTeam
Bahamas BowlDec 16Blazers (6-6)RedHawks (6-6)
LendingTree BowlDec 17Owls (5-7)Golden Eagles (6-6)
New Mexico BowlDec 17Cougars (7-5)Mustangs (7-5)
Independence BowlDec 23Cougars (7-5)Cajuns (6-6)
Gasparilla BowlDec 23Demon Deacons (7-5)Tigers (6-6)
Hawaii BowlDec 24Blue Raiders (7-5)Aztecs (7-5)
Quick Lane BowlDec 26Aggies (6-6)Falcons (6-6)
Camellia BowlDec 27Bulls (6-6)Sthrn Eagles (6-6)
First Responder BowlDec 27Tigers (6-6)Aggies (6-6)
Guaranteed Rate BowlDec 27Cowboys (7-5)Badgers (6-6)
Liberty BowlDec 28Jayhawks (6-6)Razorbacks (6-6)
(exact schools not listed because it’s not their fault they got invited to a Pity Bowl.)

To be clear, the games that make up the Pity Bowl list are different each year. Sometimes an individual bowl will invite great teams; the games are on the Pity Bowl list above because neither of the teams they invited in 2022 have good records.

And yes, I know why these bowl games exist. TV stations/channels need to fill hours of airtime around the holidays, and live sports draws ratings, which means dollars. So even if two mediocre teams are playing a Pity Bowl, it’ll draw better ratings than a Law & Order re-run from 15 years ago or a re-run of a good bowl game from last year. But… it still sucks because it demeans the bowl games where the teams have actually done well.

So here’s my plea to whomever cares: college football (FBS) doesn’t need 40+ bowl games. Please, for the love of the game, just kill ten of these games so the ones that are left actually mean something.