There were 27 six-win bowl teams in the last two years, including 6-7 UCLA, which received an undeserved waiver. That's a shot upward from the 32 from 2006-09.
One thing that might be missed in that discussion: There used to be a rule in which a 6-6 team could only be used to fill a conference's obligations, or if the FBS ran out of seven-win teams. That rule was quietly repealed a few years back, and 7-5 Western Kentucky was denied its first bowl berth in 2011 because of it.
That aside, there are barely enough eligible teams to fill all those bowls. One of these days, there will be an embarrassing (or humorous) shortage, and some big-name 5-7 team will play in the postseason.
A Birmingham News analysis of Nielsen data showed average TV viewership of the bowls fell by 8 percent from 2010-11, suggesting fans yawned over the lineup, top to bottom. Five ESPN-owned bowls had ratings below 2.0 (percentage of TV households) and five had double-digit declines from a year ago.
The Marshall-FIU matchup in the Beef 'O'Brady's Bowl St. Petersburg racked up a 1.52 - down 23 percent from 2010, but still beating five bowls. That translates to about 2.171 million viewers.
The last figure is why trimming the bowl lineup will be tough. In this era of a bazillion channels, a 1.5 easily beats reruns of ice fishing or competitive landscaping.
If you watch, they'll play.
And finally, what they're saying about Vinny Curry's two-sack performance Saturday at the Senior Bowl:
Curry also deflected a pass and forced former Oklahoma State QB Brandon Weeden to chuck a pass to the wrong team in the North's 23-13 victory. NFL.com's Gil Brandt has him ranked 51st on his top 100.
It looks like Curry made some money last week. Now, it's on to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Feb. 22-28.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or dougsm...@wvgazette.com.