Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Latest Trend: Skipping Bowls

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Latest Trend: Skipping Bowls

Article excerpt

It was interesting to check out the reaction to Christian McCaffrey's Tuesday announcement. In case you're unaware, McCaffrey has been a star for the Stanford Cardinal football team over the last couple of seasons. So much so, in fact, he landed my vote this year for the Heisman Trophy after again leading the nation in all- purpose yardage.

"Very tough decision," McCaffrey put on Twitter, "but I have decided not to play in the [Hyundai] Sun Bowl so I can begin my [NFL] draft prep immediately. Thx to all my teammates for their 100% support-it means a lot to me. Go Cardinal!"

Within moments, opinions flew like reindeer on Christmas Eve.

Most folks, it seemed, understood McCaffrey's decision. He, after all, isn't the first to decide to sit out a bowl - not even this season. LSU's Leonard Fournette, calling it "best for my future," won't play in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl against Louisville. There is, however, a tad bit of difference from McCaffrey's situation because there's a healing ankle involved.

Yes, though, we're seeing a new practice blooming. And most seem to get it. Heck, Fournette's coach, Ed Orgeron, blessed the back's decision. Smart. It's a signal to future Tigers that, hey, the coach has your best interest at heart.

Yet that's where we come to a proverbial fork in the road. Should the player and coach have the player's best interest at heart, or that of the team?

Some took strong stands for the latter.

"Football, like all team sports, is about sacrificing yourself for your teammates, tweeted basketball analyst Doug Gottlieb. "This runs counter to #Fournette and #McCaffrey.

"While I get players skipping their bowl game, tweeted football analyst Kirk Herbstreit, "what happened to LOVING the GAME and wanting to compete 1 more time [with] your boys - Disturbing trend.

With which I disagree. Perhaps, yes, it's a disturbing trend for the bowl system, but it's not for the kids simply trying to make it in this world. I'm a big Herbstreit fan, but if McCaffrey deems it's best to sit out the game for his future, how can he or anyone criticize that decision?

Here's the deal: McCaffrey has been rated by NFL draft expert Todd McShay as the 28th best overall player and fourth best running back available in the 2017 draft. …

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