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Gophers stars skipping bowl game is exactly why D1 football needs a playoff bracket

Blake Cashman and Donnell Green have decided to focus on their future.

Gophers star linebacker Black Cashman announced Tuesday that he'll skip the Quick Lane Bowl against Georgia Tech in order to focus on preparing for next year's NFL Draft.

That makes two Gophers starters skipping the bowl game to focus on playing at the next level. Left tackle Donnell Green was the first to choose his long-term future over the short-term college game, and who can blame the two? 

The bowl game brings some value to the University of Minnesota and its football program, but the Dec. 26 Quick Lane Bowl is a low-end game that probably won't do much to improve Cashman or Green's draft stock. 

In fact, if Green or Cashman were to get injured in the bowl game they could lose out on millions of dollars that might be waiting for them in the NFL. 

"This was a very hard decision for me, but I feel in my heart that getting a jump start on training will give me the best opportunity at the next level," Cashman said. 

Bottom line, this is a star player making it very clear that the bowl game is meaningless to his future. If the Gophers had qualified for a playoff-style tournament rather than a one-off bowl game would Cashman and Green still be playing?

Only they know for sure, but yeah... they probably would be because the games still matter. 

It's a massive problem that again spotlights the NCAA's greed and desire to fill its bottomless pockets with corporate sponsorship dollars rather than give America what it wants with a legitimate tournament. 

Because, you know, it's more important to cash a check and create the Cheez-It Bowl than it is to encourage student-athletes to stick out the entire season with hopes of pulling an upset or two and making a deep run in a tournament. 

Washington State coach Mike Leach said it best earlier this month when he explained to all of the befuddled NCAA decision-makers how a playoff-style tournament works. 

The FCS has a 32-team playoff bracket. Just ask NDSU how exciting that tournament is. Or ask Minnesota State-Mankato or UMD how fun it is to run through the D2 tournament, or maybe St. John's and Bethel can explain to D1 bigwigs how a playoff-style tournament works at the D3 level. 

Every other level of college and high school football has a tournament, but only D1 cedes to brands and dollars. A four-team playoff is a joke of a championship and so are all 40 bowl games. 

Note: Minnesota will also be without 6-8 other players for the bowl game due to suspensions, according to multiple reports. The players have not been named and the team hasn't commented publicly yet.

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