North Carolina‘s effortless performance tonight in the Quick Lane Bowl demonstrates why power conference teams should not accept invitations to lower-tier, cold-weather bowl games. The few Tar Heel fans who traveled to Detroit should be irate. It is not cheap to fly somewhere in the middle of the country with only three weeks notice, especially when the dates fall right in the middle of the Christmas season.
A decision to decline an invitation to the Quick Lane Bowl would not be well received by the ACC nor some of the Tar Heel players, but it would have been be the right move. UNC has only six seniors and a losing record; a coach has a duty to his players and alumni to decline a bowl invite, if he has doubts about his team’s motivation. UNC is all but guaranteed to lose money on the bowl game, it can’t help recruiting and it embarrasses the team on national television.
The bowl system has become a joke, there are too many teams invited to play in matchups which have little fan interest. Conferences need to thoroughly examine a bowl’s relevance before entering into contracts to send their teams to places like Detroit on Christmas, they would avoid the embarrassment of an unprepared football team that gets dominated by a lesser opponent.
North Carolina scored several late dirt touchdowns in the fourth quarter to make the box score respectable, although it was not indicative of the command that the Rutgers team possessed throughout the game, and shouldn’t save the Tar Heels any embarrassment.