Forget Elk Grove, the Bahamas Bowl Needs to Start Thinking Buckeye Grove

By Johnny Ginter on March 27, 2020 at 10:10 am
Ohio State after winning the Rose Bowl

Elk Grove, you morons!

You absolute idiots! You incredible lunkheads!

You had done it. For the low, low price of hundreds of thousands of dollars, your tiny burg in Illinois was a sponsor of the Bahamas Bowl. You had it all; name recognition, pithy stories written about you after bowl season, and a brand that would echo throughout the ages. "The Small Town That Spent Money On Something Dumb."

There's a certain je ne sais quoi to that moniker that only a very specific amount of money used for a very specific purpose can buy. And you blew it.

Two years ago, Elk Grove Village/Makers Wanted assumed the sponsorship from Popeyes. However, on Tuesday, the village located in northeastern Illinois adjacent to O'Hare International Airport, Chicago, withdrew its sponsorship. [...]

"Elk Grove Village/Makers Wanted will not be returning as the title sponsor of the Bahamas Bowl," an ESPN spokesperson said. "We thank them for their support of our game and community over the last two years."

What's left for you, Elk Grove? Your vast groves of elks? North America's largest industrial park, which I'm sure generates a ton of cash but maybe isn't something you'd put on a travel brochure? Now who'll be around to shout "MAKER'S WANTED" into the night sky of the West Indies?

No one. It's over. The dream is dead. For them!

Elk Grove's closed door is Ohio State's open window.

Here's what I'm proposing: Ohio State University, through a combination of mercenary corporate takeovers and some Gift of the Magi circuitous logic, methodically parlays sponsorship investments in low-tier bowl games to eventually become the sponsor and host of the College Football Playoff National Championship while at the same time eliminating most lesser bowls through mismanagement and neglect.

This will solve two problems. First, there's too many damn bowls. Bowl attendance keeps dropping precipitously, and that's generally because it's hard to get amped about two 6-6 teams duking it out 950 miles away from their home campuses in a rainy municipal stadium in a semi-rural college town in the south.

Bowls used to be a just reward for an exemplary season that didn't necessarily lead to a championship. Now I'm "hah hah just kidding ...unless?" about the idea that around half of them are money laundering schemes designed to line the pockets of local officials and shady sponsors.

The second and more pressing issue is that Ohio State has too often not been guaranteed a spot in the bowls that do actually matter. Yes, the Buckeyes reached the playoff this past season (and got screwed), but frankly, Ohio State should be guaranteed a spot every year by virtue of being Ohio State. The end.



"Hey, a school can't sponsor a bowl!" is a complaint with the same kind of authority as "a dog can't play on a human basketball team!" There ain't nothing in the rules that says Ohio State can't pay the fee to slap their name on whatever the hell they want. The Big West Conference basically did this when they decided to create the Humanitarian Bowl back in the 90's, play it at Boise State, and then watch as a team from Idaho played in it four times in the first six years of its existence.

Our target is the Birmingham Bowl. The Birmingham Bowl is currently sponsored by TicketSmarter, which you just read as TicketMaster, but you need to go back and check again because I definitely wrote TicketSmarter. TicketSmarter is the hot new ticketing company that has everyone asking "is this a scam?" and "wait, did I type that wrong?"

The 2020 Birmingham Bowl had an announced attendance of over 27,000, which, as you can see from the picture above, is hilarious and a lie. Part of that can be attributed to crappy weather, but a more significant part can be attributed to the fact that it was a bowl game in Birmingham, Alabama between teams from Cincinnati and Boston.

Anyway, the Birmingham Bowl has had extreme fluctuations in attendance over the years based on whether or not a southern college is playing in the game. Thus, the path is clear: after wrestling the sponsorship away from the mighty TicketsMar(S)ter, Ohio State must consistently schedule a mediocre SEC team, lose to them, and then watch as the receipts come pouring in at the end of every season. Straight profit (assuming this is a crooked deal, which... duh), easy peasy.

Don't get upset, it'll all be worth it, I promise.


Okay, this part might hurt a little. Elk Grove paid something like $300,000 to sponsor the Bahamas Bowl, or less than half of the total amount of raises that the Buckeyes gave to their football coaching staff this past year. Paying that fee to sponsor every other garbage-tier bowl shouldn't be that big of a deal, and that's not the part that'll hurt.

No, the part that'll hurt is my multi-year plan to prop up mediocre teams by purposefully losing to them in early-season out of conference games, thereby raising the stature of minor bowls that Ohio State will now sponsor. All of a sudden the Brutus Buckeye Gasparilla Bowl sounds a little sexier when it's Temple and Florida International and both teams have beaten... Ohio State?!? Wow, I need to check that out!


The bowls might just actually let Ohio State do it. Eternally thankful for boosting revenue through years of self-sacrifice, Ohio State eventually bankrolls everything and becomes the sole owner and proprietor of every one of these dumb games. And they'll thank them for it!

“We notified DreamHouse today that we have terminated its title sponsorship agreement with the New Mexico Bowl,” ESPN spokeswoman Anna Negron said in an email to the Journal. “We remain focused on ensuring a quality experience for fans.”

The move to sever ties comes following an expose of the company by the Journal that revealed that DreamHouse had not gotten a business license with the city and that its CEO was facing several legal issues related to unpaid debts. Just as bizarre, the company was supposed to have a huge film studio in Albuquerque but was actually based out of a local residence instead.



yeah buddy?

The goal here is to make the roughly $25 million necessary to sponsor one of the New Year's Bowl Games, and it doesn't matter who the buyer is. The Russians, Google, BattleFrog, Amish Chairs Inc., who cares as long as they've got the cash. And actually, the more incompetent the better. Find some guy who won MegaMillions, pray he's a Clemson fan, and tell him you'll change the name of everything to "The Dabo Bowl." It'll work.

While every minor bowl is crashing and burning, the NCAA is now aware that Ohio State is a predatory entity looking to destroy the bowl system as we know it. This will understandably make them nervous, but it is also Ohio State's moment of opportunity to strike.


After buying the naming rights to one of the College Football Playoff Bowls and establishing that they fully intend to just ruin everything, issue these three demands:

  • A majority stake in the Playoff Selection Committee
  • Championship location must always be in Columbus, Ohio
  • Naming rights in perpetuity

That's it! Afraid of Ohio State's power, influence, and ability to fundamentally alter the bowl landscape, all parties involved will have no choice but to cede to this proposal.

And if you think that's "crazy" or "unrealistic," it's basically the same deal Boise State got with the Humanitarian Bowl, writ large. Ohio State football, now no longer obligated to lose to crappy teams in an effort to support failing bowls, can get back to kicking ass. They'll no longer be shut out of bowls that actually matter, they'll have permanent home field advantage, and even if they have a down season and obviously can't make it into the games, the name will be right there on the tin to remind people of who is really in charge.

Look, all I'm saying is that difficult problems require creative solutions. Yes, Ohio State could simply attempt to replicate seasons like they had in 2019, winning every game en route to a Big Ten championship and easily making the College Football Playoff, but that's difficult and unpredictable.

Instead, why not try this, and, at long last, cement themselves as the sole hegemon of college football.

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