Why the Fenway Park Bowl Is Horrible for the American Athletic Conference

Let me preface this by saying that more bowl games is not a bad thing until/unless we are constantly having a massive wave of 5-7 teams playing in the post season, and we aren’t there yet.

A bowl game is an opportunity to celebrate a successful season, an opportunity to travel to somewhere you’ve never been and may never otherwise go (as a player and as a fan), and also an opportunity to start your preparations for next season a little earlier than some of your competitors.

That all being said, I think this pairing of the ACC and the AAC in a postseason bowl game at Fenway Park is an awful idea.

Yes, there is a history of football being played at Fenway Park. There is also a history of poorly-attended football being played at Fenway Park.

The game in 2015 between #4 Notre Dame and Boston College was a great game that drew almost 40,000 fans and probably would have drawn more if the stadium could hold any more people.

That was a local team against a national powerhouse. More to the point, there is a lengthy history of even local teams not drawing well when they aren’t Boston College (emphasis mine):

New England has never been about college sports,” says Tom Tasker, a middle-aged guy in a Patriots hat sitting by the Sox dugout from Boylston, Mass. “If this were a Big Ten, SEC, even ACC game — it’d be sold out. I’d say there are 10,000 people here, tops. And we’re freezing our asses off.”

We are freezing our asses off. I can’t feel mine, and half of my toes have gone numb. Tasker’s son is supposed to be sitting next to him, but Gillian’s, a bar down the street, is warmer and has cheaper booze, so he’s there instead. Tasker shrugs; this is normal. When UMass has played at Gillette in past seasons, hardly any students went. No one wanted to be stuck watching a bad team two hours away from campus.

When these folks talk about it being too cold for a football game to be worth sitting through unless it’s great, you’re talking about a game in mid-NovemberWhat we’re talking about now is a bowl game that would take place a month later.

The ACC and AAC combined have 26 member institutions; Navy, Connecticut, Temple, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Boston College and Syracuse are the only schools that are far enough north for their players, students or alumni to have any clue what the weather in Boston in December is really like.

Here we have two conferences that have 75% of their membership located in climates that are not just significantly warmer than Boston, but a significant distance away.

You’re going to ask these fans to travel not just all the way to Boston, but to “Boston at the coldest time of year”.

Do you really think that UCF versus Clemson – a great football matchup – would be well-attended? How about Tulsa versus Duke? Also probably not.

More bowl games is a good idea. Asking two generally warm-weather conferences to send two teams and fan bases to the coldest part of the country at the beginning of the coldest time of year is a horrible idea.

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