College football is constantly growing and with that, so is the branding of the sport. That is why the NCAA is looking to expand… to Australia.
What were mere nonsensical rumors in the last few days, now seem to be reality as it looks like the Pac-12 and Monutain West conferences are heading to Melbourne, Australia in 2016 for a post-season bowl match-up.
Now before we go over the pros and cons of this game, you have to realize that this concept of playing outside the U.S. borders is nothing new.
The NCAA currently has a bowl game in the the Bahamas (the Bahama Bowl) which is 186 miles south west of Miami, Florida in the Caribbean Sea. A few years ago there was the International Bowl which was played in Toronto, Canada from 2007-2010. There have even been regular season games that have been played oversees. In 2012 Notre Dame played in Dublin, Ireland as they beat Navy 50-10.
The NCAA has definitely done some thinking outside the box, but is this too much? Let us weigh some of the options here:
Aug 30, 2014; Colorado Springs, CO, USA; General view of a Mountain West emblem on Falcon Stadium before the game between the Nicholls State Colonels and the Air Force Falcons. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
1. Whereas it takes four-five hours to get from South Bend, Indiana to Dublin, a trip from the west coast to Australia would take up to 16 hours. Is that worth traveling with over 100 players and staff and the truck loads of equipment they need to play with in the Land Down Under? We will see.
2. I hate to say it, but fans will not travel to this game. Even if west coast fans travelled the way SEC fans do, it would be really hard to get a large number of fans from Pac-12 and Mountain West schools to go.
3. There is not a chance that this will be a premiere bowl, thusly, the Pac-12 and MWC would send the fourth, fifth or sixth place teams in their conference, which would not be a marquee match-up.
1. The branding of the Pac-12 (and their representative), the Mountain West Conference (and their representative) and the NCAA would be huge oversees. American college football can now be seen up close and personal for international fans as well as broaden the expose in that part of the world.
2. Has winter got you down while watching your favorite bowl games? No problem! With this game taking place in late December, you don’t have to worry about the cold going into this game because it is summer in the Southern Hemisphere! Yes Pac-12 and MWC fans, it should be nice and warm in Australia for this game. So, shorts and sandals?
3. $$$. I am sure the contracts for the schools, conferences and NCAA will be well worth the trip for all parties involved. (Cough*cough*except for the players*cough*cough)
Sure this bowl game may come down to money, but what doesn’t these days? But here is my question… any chance we can get these teams to play by rugby or Australian rules? How interesting would that be? Or how about AC/DC playing half-time. Now that would be something to see.