Jeff Siembieda is watching. He hasn't reached the point of distress but hears the whispers. He has a community to think of, a tradition to uphold, a battle worth fighting.
He is executive director of a college football bowl game whose future might depend on whether conference commissioners and athletic directors discover a way to descend from their soapboxes long enough to look in the mirror.
"I wouldn't use the word 'worried' yet," said Siembieda, whose Gildan New Mexico Bowl debuted in 2006. "The landscape of college athletics is changing all the time. You change with it. You position yourself in the best possible place to thrive and grow."
If, in fact, you have the opportunity.
A sidebar to the main story of the Bowl Championship Series perhaps going to a plus-one format following the 2013 season is a push for all bowl-eligible teams to have a winning record, meaning the only thing those 6-6 teams will get during the holidays is a seat in front of the television. The topic is up for discussion at bowl meetings in April.
The fallout: Should a winning record again be required for bowl eligibility, some estimate that as many as 12 of the current 35 bowls would be eliminated. It's not so easy, or shouldn't be, to believe this is the best outcome.
How typical. The same suits desiring a return to the days of 7-5 are the same ones who pushed for adding a 12th game to the college schedule and agreeing to 6-6 eligibility just six years ago, the same ones who were so hungry to add more bowls to find postseason homes for their teams, the same ones who included bowl bonuses in coaching contracts and yet now don't want to pay them for 6-6 records.
The same ones who have stood and championed over and over how memorable and important the bowl experience is for student-athletes.
Commissioners and athletic directors and university presidents -- how could we forget that group of often self-serving and clueless administrators -- are back whining about the bottom line of a system they created.
Many bowls struggle financially. Attendance and TV ratings have declined. It's not one big happy financial boom for any but a select (BCS) few. Television created several bowls merely for the sake of programming. The system isn't perfect, but the notion that eliminating games is best for all is ludicrous.
"I'm not worried about it at all," said MAACO Bowl Las Vegas executive director Tina Kunzer-Murphy, whose game is the 16th oldest bowl and has invited two 6-6 teams since 2006. "When you think of what a great destination place Las Vegas is and the fact how teams love to come here, I think we will be around for a long time no matter what happens or is decided."
It's amusing to hear the self-righteous views of many in my business on the topic of bowls, of those who have no connection to specific cities or games and yet are convinced they shouldn't be staged due to the presence of 6-6 teams.
There are too many bowls?
"It's hard to put an exact (monetary) figure on the impact our bowl brings New Mexico and, specifically, the community of Albuquerque during what is traditionally one of our slowest tourism times of the year," said Siembieda, whose bowl has hosted six 6-6 teams since its inception. "It's a very, very important event for us, to have hotel rooms filled and restaurants busy and the participating institutions benefiting from such exposure."
What is so wrong with that?
Quick. How many 6-6 teams have played in bowls since 2006?
Answer: Fifty-nine of 340.
The best part: The world didn't end.
You can see where this is going because the suits are famous for knee-jerk reactions when things aren't going their way. A compromise might be for each conference to independently determine whether it will send 6-6 teams to bowls, because last time I checked, someone such as the Western Athletic Conference has a bit more of a survival attitude than the mighty Southeastern Conference or Big Ten or any other member of the cartel.
Sponsorship dollars and overall interest might grow with the elimination of some bowls, but I wouldn't want to be the one explaining such a decision to those communities that benefit economically from an annual game.
I'll leave that to the suits once they descend from their soapboxes.
Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ed Graney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-4618. He can be heard from 3 to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday on "Monsters of the Midday," Fox Sports Radio 920 AM. Follow him on Twitter: @edgraney.