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Nobody asked me, but ...

By Drew Markol, Contributing Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - How bad a team do you have to be to not be invited to a bowl game?

The answer, obviously, is pretty bad.

You can tell the teams that aren't going "bowling" by seeing which coaches are getting fired today. More will likely get canned after their teams lose their bowl games, but the coaches packing up now truly had bad seasons.

Coaching in college football is a brutal profession. It, sadly, has become a lot like the NFL where it's win right now or you're gone.

In the old days, say five or 10 years ago, a new coach came to his new school and was at least given the chance to recruit his "own" guys. That meant he had a full recruiting cycle, four or five years, to turn over the roster from his predecessor and try and make a winner of his program.

Today, if you stink for two years running, they can't kick you out the door fast enough. This new "system" is good for real estate agents, but not so good for coaches.

That's why you'll never hear me complain about a coach leaving a school he claimed to love for bigger bucks somewhere else.

Yes, that's not fair to the kids he brought to campus, and to the parents of those kids who were told he would look over them for a couple of years, but the shelf life of a coach is so short that getting it when you can is something most of us would do, too, if given the opportunity.

It also stinks for the alumni of the school where the good coach left - the latest example being the Wisconsin faithful who were stunned when Bret Bielema left for Arkansas - but nobody said life was fair.

(Bielema, in fairness, didn't scoot to Arkansas for the money. He did so because he couldn't pay his Badger assistants enough money to keep them around. Hmm, so, it was about the money. Always is, can't forget that).

And that brings us back to the college bowl season, which, sadly, begins Saturday and will determine if more coaches lose their jobs.

Raise your hand if you know that Nevada and Arizona kick off the bowls with the New Mexico Bowl? Raise your other hand if you know that Toledo and Utah State follow the New Mexico Bowl with the playing of the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl later Saturday afternoon.

Now, kick yourself in the butt for knowing that.

I was handed a college bowl poll at the office the other day (strictly for amusement only) and the weight of it nearly broke my hand. Four pages with 35 games (35!) listed.

My gosh, that's 70 teams who can officially say they're going "bowling." Big- time college football only has 120 or so teams. Now, my math is not great, but when well more than half of the teams get the prestige of a bowl game something ain't right. Prestige isn't the right word, but you get the idea.

And let's not forget that Penn State and Ohio State, both of whom had wondrous seasons considering their circumstances, aren't even allowed to go to a bowl. That aside, how can it be, when there are 35 games to be played over three or so weeks, that more of them aren't played Jan. 1?

There are six games on New Year's Day, but are you going to be stacking TVs on top of each other to catch the Heart of Dallas Bowl and the Gator Bowl? I don't think so. (And for those of you wondering how you stack TVs on top of each other when your fancy TV is three inches thick, you're way too young to understand).

The whole darn bowl season should end on Jan. 1 with 10 games, 10 good games. But that ship, and that argument, died a long time ago.

Instead, just enjoy the Belk Bowl and the Pinstripe Bowl. Good luck keeping them straight.

Drew Markol has been a sportswriter and columnist for several Philadelphia- area newspapers for over 25 years.

12/13 10:26:29 ET

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