Kendall Soundoff: Gamecock ‘inventory’ eager to be counted

Posted by JOSH KENDALL on December 26, 2013 

South Carolina wide receiver Shamier Jeffery arrives at the Renaissance Orlando Resort on Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013, as the Gamecocks begin on-site preparations for the Capital One Bowl.

DWAYNE MCLEMORE

— Utah State and Northern Illinois played in a bowl game Thursday night. So, sure, there are too many bowl games.

Eight bowl games are in the books. Twenty-seven more are on the slate. There is no mystery to why 35 college football postseason games are played.

Outback bowl CEO Jim McVay referred to the teams as “inventory” during a conversation earlier during bowl season. That everyone knows the term “bowl season” is example enough that this thing has become a packaged product built more around sponsorship dollars and ad sales than football.

ESPN’s family of networks has or will televise all but two of this season’s bowl games. The network owns seven of this year’s bowl games, either purchasing them or creating them to guarantee programming for the holidays.

Make no mistake, the teams involved are very well-treated “inventory.” Almost every Gamecock bounced off the bus here Thursday afternoon eager to see what Orlando had to offer them this year, and athletics director Ray Tanner said the game is a boon for his department.

“It’s a branding of your program,” he said.

Most college football fans aren’t going to complain. Heck, I wrote that first sentence Thursday afternoon knowing full well I would watch at least 30 minutes of Utah State vs. Northern Illinois.

So, sure, I’m part of the problem.

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