Collin Carroll and his teammates on the Virginia Tech football team loved the free week in New Orleans they received as part of the run-up to the Sugar Bowl. It has been a weeklong vacation filled with complimentary meals, team outings and a generous per diem.
That's why Carroll, the Hokies' long snapper, would prefer that college football did away with bowl week.
"Whether or not distractions have played a part in our struggles, I have to give bowl week some credit — it certainly tests teams' ability to rise above the garbage and remain focused," Carroll writes. "I'm hoping Tuesday's tango with Michigan will illuminate our conference's repentance from an enchanted view of bowl games. But regardless of the outcome, it will have been determined the week prior to the game — not the night of."
In a revealing first-person article written for ESPN.com, Carroll outlines the temptations created by bowl week, from the sights and sounds of Bourbon Street to the casino across the street from the team's hotel.
Not wanting to sound ungrateful, Carroll thanks the Sugar Bowl and BCS committees for the pampering, but in doing so he misses one major point of the whole affair: The swanky week for the players is a product of the millions of dollars the bowls generate for themselves, and doing away with the amenities for the players would just transfer that vacation money into the bowl executives' already stuffed pockets.
Despite that one oversight, it's a well-written article with a refreshing perspective. A crazy night out may be fun, but for Carroll it pales in comparison to winning the biggest game of his life.
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