The 2nd annual New Era Pinstripe Bowl will be played on December 30, 2011. The event may very well be the epitome of the message, “If you build it they will come”, made famous from the movie, “Field of Dreams”. However, in this case a game which will be pit Rutgers against Iowa State, “They”, may not come.
The Scarlett Knights sport an 8-6 regular season record and finished fourth in the Big East, while the Cyclones managed only a .500 record finishing 8th out of 10 teams in the Big 12. (Why there are only 10 teams in a conference named the Big 12 is discussion for another time.)
During an era when there are those calling for a playoff system, the Pinstripe Bowl may very well be an arguing point. Far from BCS contenders, neither team came close to what most would consider a successful season. Gone are the days where bowl games were earned on the field of play. Now bowls are awarded, or in this case created based on the size of the following the university can command.
It seems in today’s collegiate football environment all you need is a stadium, a sponsor and a couple of conferences willing to whore out their members to share in the purse. In the case of the Pinstripe Bowl, is there a facility more in need of revenue than the new Yankee Stadium in the off season? Only a couple of years old itself, kudos must be given to the promoters of the site. Next find a sponsor, in this case, “New Era”, for additional marketing fees. Another win-win as the marketing people would say. Pinning a sports head wear and apparel manufacture together with a college sporting event. Last but not least, one must find a conference to supply the watered down talent. Playing the cavalry this time is The Big East and The Big 12 conferences. Both are willing to parade their substandard product out on the field for a payday. Perhaps they are not to blame, for if they declined there would be another conference salivating to take their place. Of course one must bundle this lucrative package up by saying it’s all in the name of giving the, “Student Athletes”, the opportunity of playing in a bowl game.
One wonders why any fan base would want to travel to New York City in the middle of winter. Game time temperature should hover around 40 degrees, with the mercury dropping steadily as the game plays out. Add the cost of traveling to one of the most expensive destinations in the U.S. and I have to scratch my head.
The old adage of “If you can make here you can make it anywhere”, may be true. However, it seems like the proponents of the playoff system should be all over this game. Nowhere is today’s “bowl for hire” more apparent than the Pinstripe Bowl.