It turns out that money isn’t everything, including in the world of sports. Nine of the most lucrative college football programs in the country have failed to make it to any of the seven major bowl games, according to the college football bowl schedule.
For the purposes of this list, major bowl games refers to the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, Allstate Sugar Bowl, Capital One Orange Bowl, Outback Bowl, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, PlayStation Fiesta Bowl and Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual. Each university’s program worth is its total revenue based on the U.S. Department of Education, and these statistics are current through 2015.
Here are the most valuable college football teams not playing in a bowl game this year.
University of Texas Longhorns: $121,382,436
Texas has the most lucrative football program in all of NCAA Division I. This southern powerhouse lost to Kansas this season, which marks the first time Kansas has beaten Texas since 1938 and snaps Kansas’s 19-game losing streak against conference opponents. In short, Texas was historically bad this season.
The Longhorns finished 2016 with a 5-7 overall record and 3-6 record in Big 12 play. Head coach Charlie Strong was fired after three seasons with the team. Shortly after the Longhorns fired Strong, they hired former University of Houston head coach Tom Herman.
Overall, Texas has a bowl record of 27-24-2 but hasn’t made it to a bowl game since 2014, when the Longhorns lost to Arkansas in, but what else, the Texas Bowl.
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University of Tennessee Volunteers: $94,377,857
Tennessee will appear in a bowl game this year — just not a major one. The Volunteers will play Nebraska at 3:30 p.m. EST on Dec. 30 in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl. The game will be held in Nashville, Tennessee.
Tennessee finished second in the SEC East with an 8-4 overall record, 4-4 in SEC play.
University of Georgia Bulldogs: $86,719,115
Georgia ended its season tied for second in the SEC East with Tennessee, sharing a 4-4 conference record. Georgia’s overall regular season record was 7-5.
The Bulldogs will play Texas Christian University in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl on Dec. 30 at noon EST. The game will air on ESPN.
No. 9 Auburn, who will appear in the Allstate Sugar Bowl against Oklahoma, lost to Georgia 13-7 on Nov. 12.
Louisiana State University Tigers: $86,312,831
LSU also fired a coach this season. The Tigers fired head coach Les Miles, who had become synonymous with LSU in his 12 seasons there, in late September 2016. In 12 seasons, Miles’s record was 114-34-0. So you can see why a 2-2 start to this season would be viewed as panic time in Baton Rouge.
LSU finished the year ranked at No. 20 with a 7-4 record (5-3 in SEC) and will play No. 13 Louisville on Dec. 31 in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl. It will be junior running back Leonard Fournette’s last game with LSU, as he recently declared for the 2017 NFL Draft, in which he’s expected to be a lottery pick.
University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish: $86,125,989
The Fighting Irish have fallen fast: This season left Notre Dame with a 4-8 record. In January 2013, Notre Dame played Alabama in the BCS National Championship. Granted, Alabama embarrassed Notre Dame 42-14. But, still: Notre Dame was undefeated in the 2012 regular season leading up to that.
Head coach Brian Kelly remains at the helm of Notre Dame, but his future is uncertain. So is Notre Dame’s.
University of Arkansas Razorbacks: $66,179,978
Arkansas will play No. 22 Virginia Tech in the Belk Bowl on Dec. 29. The game begins at 5:30 p.m. EST on ESPN from Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.
The Razorbacks finished the year 7-5 overall and 3-5 in the SEC. One can only hope that the Belk Bowl ends up as entertaining as Arkansas’ double-overtime win against TCU on Sept. 10.
According to ESPN, first-year Razorback quarterback Austin Allen finished the year second in the SEC in passing yards with 3,152 and touchdown passes with 23.
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Texas A&M University Aggies: $62,199,166
Texas A&M will meet Kansas State in the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl on Dec. 28 at 9 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN from NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.
A&M’s best year in recent history was, without a doubt, 2012 with former quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel under center. Manziel’s freshman season, 2012, resulted in a 10-2 regular season record and A&M beat Oklahoma 41-13 in the AT&T Cotton Bowl.
Last year, the Aggies lost to Louisville in the Music City Bowl. This year, Texas A&M finished 8-4 overall and 4-4 in SEC play.
University of Oregon Ducks: $60,956,894
Yes, this is the team with all the cool uniforms. Phil Knight, founder and emperor of Nike, funds his beloved Ducks’ efforts.
But this season was a rough one: Oregon finished 4-8 overall and sixth in the PAC-12 North. Head coach Mark Helfrich, who took over for the once-Oregon-famous Chip Kelly, was fired after four seasons as the Ducks head coach.
Shortly afterward, Oregon announced Willie Taggart as its new head coach.
University of Nebraska Cornhuskers: $60,621,628
Nebraska will play Tennessee at 3:30 p.m. EST on Dec. 30 in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl.
Nebraska has had an up and down season. It began with an incredibly touching tribute to the team’s late punter Sam Foltz, who died tragically in a car accident in the off-season. Then, on Nov. 5, star quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. went down with an injury in scary fashion. But overall, the Huskers finished 9-3 and 6-3 in the Big Ten.
Nebraska ranks third all-time in most bowl game appearances with 52.
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