PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- The Bowl Championship Series already establishes a strict hierarchy among college bowl games. Next year's switch to a playoff system will only compound it.
The Allstate (ALL) Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, the Vizio Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., and Discover (DFS) Orange Bowl in Miami all keep their places at the top of the pile leading into the championship game. The playoff deal also dictates that PepsiCo's PEP Tostitos Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz., the AT&T (T) Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas, and the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta, slated will be host bowls featuring conference champions and at-large teams that aren't part of the playoff picture.
That creates a trickle-down effect that has an impact on every event from the upper-middle-tier Capital One (COF) in Orlando, Fla., to the back-of-the-pack New Orleans Bowl with its $500,000 prize and Ohio shipping company sponsor. The talent pool thins, the bowl-eligible leftovers get less recognizable and a slate of bowls that's already bloated at roughly 35 gets even more unwieldy when upwards of four more bowls schedule their debuts for the 2014-15 season.
That leaves a whole lot of other bowls scrambling for both viewers' attention and sponsor dollars. The following are just five of the bowls facing that struggle this season. They, college football and ESPN (DIS) really want you to tune in, but even die-hard fans have their limits: