College stars skip bowl games to prep for draft

photo from
LSU RB Leonard Fournette  skipped the Citrus Bowl to prep for the NFL Draft, LSU still won 29-9

photo from LSU RB Leonard Fournette skipped the Citrus Bowl to prep for the NFL Draft, LSU still won 29-9

As the college football season draws to close, a few of college football’s bright stars have opted to skip their bowl games.  Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey and LSU RB Leonard Fournette didn’t participate in their teams’ final contests.

This has become a polarizing topic between athletes and sports writers across the country.

“All these young guys deciding to skip their bowl games.  I would do anything to play one more time with my brothers in that scarlet and gray,” tweeted Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott.

ESPN commentator Louis Riddick had a different approach than Elliott.

“It cannot be hard to understand and accept why McCaffrey and Fournette are doing what they are doing.  It makes sense. Get over it.  Fournette has played hurt this year “for the team,” but now let’s question his “commitment to the team” because he wants to get healthy. Ok,” Riddick said.

Fournette played in only seven games in 2016 due to an ankle injury.  Most mock drafts place Fournette as a top ten pick.  McCaffrey only missed one regular season game due to an “undisclosed” injury.  Most draft analysts think McCaffrey will be a second round pick, but he could sneak into the first.  To see daily mock draft updates click here

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Christian McCaffrey recently skipped Stanford’s Sun Bowl victory over North Carolina


Elder senior Ryan Ruehl, an avid LSU and Fournette fan, has no problem with these players skipping bowl games.

“If a player has a relatively high draft stock and his college team is playing in a non-New Years Six bowl game, then I am fine with that player skipping a bowl game.  I’m fine with Fournette and McCaffrey skipping because their teams aren’t playing a non-New Years Six game.  If I was one of those players, I wouldn’t play either.  I wouldn’t want to risk my high draft stock for an insignificant exhibition game,” Ruehl said.

However, Elder student Adam Noeth is not a fan of these players bailing on their bowl games.

“I hate it.  I feel like it’s unfair to their teammates who have worked all year to get to the bowl game.  Obviously, the players that are choosing to sit out are some of the best in the country and hurt their team’s chances to win and I don’t think that’s fair to the seniors that will be plating in their final game,”  Noeth said.

Not all potential high round picks decided to sit in their bowl games, and unfortunately it came back to haunt one player.  Michigan tight end Jake Butt was a potential 3rd round pick, but after tearing his ACL in the Orange Bowl, Butt will likely lose millions of dollars.  Additionally, USC corner Adoree’ Jackson suffered an ankle injury in the Rose Bowl.  The severity of the injury is unknown, but it could cause teams to hesitate to pick him in the first round.

Personally, I am not a fan of players skipping these bowl games.  It’s unfair to the guys that work hard, yet won’t get a chance to play in the NFL.  Injuries can happen in any game.  I think that every game is a chance to improve your draft stock.

A perfect example is former Florida DE Dante Fowler.  Fowler was set to be a first round pick in the 2015 draft, but it was unsure how high he would go.  Fowler played in the so-called “meaningless” Birmingham Bowl against East Carolina.  Fowler recorded three sacks.  This performance definitely helped catapult his draft stock, as he was drafted 3rd overall by the Jaguars.

Unfortunately, I think the trend of skipping bowl games will continue because we live in a “money-hungry” society, which I think will hurt college football.