Big Bowl Preview I

The college bowl season kicks off this weekend… well, sort of… (all times Central)

Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl – Mount Union vs. UW-Whitewater, Saturday, 3:00 PM ESPN

Named after one of the best coaches in college football history, this game hosts the NCAA Division III National Championship annually.  Since 1993, Salem, Virginia has been the site for this event.  Coincidentally, Mount Union (Alliance, OH) has won this bowl game 8 times since 1993 and they will try to win their 9th this year.  Last year’s game featured the same two teams with Mount Union prevailing, 35-28.  It’s payback time for the UW-Whitewater Warhawks.

The remaining games feature NCAA Division I teams…

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl – TCU vs. Northern Illinois, Dec. 19, 7:00 PM ESPN2
Take a lesson, kids.  This is how you name a bowl game.  The TCU Horned Frogs finished the season 10-2 in the Mountain West Conference (MWC) while the Northern Illinois Huskies come out of the Mid-American Conference (MAC) with a 7-5 record.  Though their record doesn’t show it, the Huskies feature the nation’s best running back in Garrett Wolfe.

Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl – BYU vs. Oregon, Dec. 21, 7:00 PM ESPN
So what does winning the MWC Championship get you?  A bowl game in Sin City four days before Christmas.  My money’s on BYU because they are trained to resist the temptations of gambling and hookers.  I just can’t trust the Ducks to do the same.  I reserve the right to change my mind if Oregon decides to fly in the morning of the game.

R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl – Rice vs. Troy, Dec. 22, 7:00 PM ESPN2
Huh?  Sounds like a good night to finish up the Christmas shopping.  Not surprisingly, this will also be the night I begin Christmas shopping.

Papajohns.com Bowl – South Florida vs. East Carolina, Dec. 23, Noon ESPN2
This would be a good time to finish up Christmas shopping if you got stuck/frustrated the night before.  South Florida was 8-4 this year.  East Carolina?  7-5.  I’ll pull for the Pirates of ECU since many good childhood memories revolve around Greenville, N.C., but I’m not expecting a great all-around game.  This game is in Birmingham, AL, if you care.  Side note: I like the papajohns.com web site.  It’s much harder for them to screw up your order when it’s printed for them.  Also, you don’t have to talk to anyone working at a Papa John’s!

New Mexico Bowl – New Mexico vs. San Jose State, Dec. 23, 3:30 ESPN
New Mexico is playing in the New Mexico Bowl?  Wow.  Shocker.  The Lobos finished 6-6 in the MWC, barely qualifying for a bowl bid.  They have no right to a bowl, but since there happens to be one in their state – named after their state, no less – they are invited.  In turn, they receive sponsorship money for their university.  Unfair?  You could certainly argue so.  Go Spartans of San Jose State!

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl – Tulsa vs. Utah, Dec. 23, 7:00 PM ESPN
Next.

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl – Hawaii vs. Arizona State, Dec. 24, 7:00 PM ESPN
Talk about unfair.  Why does the team from Arizona get to go to Hawaii?  That’s like someone from San Diego vacationing to Florida.  What’s the point?  “I always wanted to see a cloud….”  On the other hand, do you think the Hawaii team gets tired of being in Hawaii?  I think in the back of some player’s minds, they wish they could play in Boise, Idaho in late December.  Well, maybe not.  This should actually be a rather exciting game.  Colt Brennan is one of the nation’s leading passers and actually received some Heisman votes.  Still not sure how that happened.  I recommend this game as a good one to wrap presents to.  What?  Are you supposed to wrap presents before Christmas Eve night?

Motor City Bowl – Middle Tennessee St. vs. Central Michigan, Dec. 26, 6:30 PM ESPN
Is Matt Millen also selecting teams for the local bowl game?  Holy crap!  How bad is this matchup?  Return gifts.  See a movie.  Read a book.  Build a snowman.  Watch grass die.

Emerald Bowl – Florida State vs. UCLA, Dec. 27, 7:00 PM ESPN
Yes, Florida State made a bowl game.  Yes, UCLA beat USC to boot them out of the National Championship game.  Yes, this game’s in San Francisco.  No, I probably won’t watch it.

PetroSun Independence Bowl – Oklahoma State vs. Alabama, Dec. 28, 3:30 PM ESPN
This is one of those bowl games where you’ll see commercials for a company that you’ll never see again.  I tried finding out more information about PetroSun, but their web site wouldn’t load.  You gotta expect a high volume of traffic on your web site when you’re sponsoring a bowl game.  People need information about your company to make fun of you.

Pacific Life Holiday Bowl – Texas A&M vs. California, Dec. 28, 7:00 PM ESPN
Here’s why the college bowl season can be fun.  Two teams square off that, otherwise, wouldn’t play each other.  Should be a good game in San Diego.

Texas Bowl – Rutgers vs. Kansas State, Dec. 28, 7:00 PM NFL Network
Can Rutgers cap off a great season with a bowl victory over a Big 12 team?  Can Kansas St. ride the momentum from the Texas victory and finish the season on a high note?  Can Rutgers show Big East teams can compete with the other BCS conferences?    Can Kansas St. defend the Big 12 in their backyard?  Does anyone get the NFL Network?

Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl – Clemson vs. Kentucky, Dec. 29, Noon ESPN
This is one of those games that looks bad on paper.  Two teams that finished relatively poorly within their conference.  However, it’s SEC vs. ACC and their’s conference pride on the line.  Clemson and Kentucky are both close enough to Nashville, TN to warrant a good crowd.  This is my sleeper pick for one of the better bowl games.  So, go out and see a matinee because this game will probably be terrible.

Brut Sun Bowl – Oregon St. vs. Missouri, Dec. 29, 1:00 PM CBS

There’s no place like El Paso, TX to host the Brut Sun Bowl.  You want brutal sunshine?  El Paso’s the place for you!  As for the game itself, I really can’t get that excited.  It’s not because of the teams, it’s more a result of the network covering the game.  In all likelihood, Gus Johnson and Steve Tasker will call this game.  Trust me, this is bad.  Just wait for the first Missouri 10-yard pass oooOOOVVVEEEERRRR THE MIDDLE!!!!

AutoZone Liberty Bowl – South Carolina vs. Houston, Dec. 29, 3:30 PM ESPN
My father owns a NAPA Auto Parts store.  As such, I’m obligated to ignore any bowl game sponsored by a competing parts store lest I wish to be eliminated from his will.

Insight Bowl – Texas Tech vs. Minnesota, Dec. 29, 6:30 PM NFL Network
Spent all Friday watchin’ games on the tube… but you missed Texas Tech and there was nothing you could do… So here’s some advice from real good friend…. Contact your local congressman (or woman) and express your concern over the growing monopoly that is… the NFLN.

Champs Sports Bowl – Purdue vs. Maryland, Dec. 29, 7:00 PM ESPN

Like I was saying, contact your local congressman about the growing NFL monopoly.  Between the NFL Network and NFL Sunday Ticket, it’s getting a little absurd.  Am I bitter that I cannot receive DirecTV?  Yes.  Am I bitter that I have to watch Purdue vs. Maryland instead of the high-powered Red Raider offense? Your damn straight.  Guns up! (at you, NFL)

Meineke Car Care Bowl – Navy vs. Boston College, Dec. 30, Noon ESPN
Navy has a good ground attack.  Boston College has a pretty tough defense.  Navy has ships with guns.  Boston College lost their head coach.  I’ll go with Navy.

Alamo Bowl – Texas vs. Iowa, Dec. 30, 3:30 PM ESPN

Is Iowa not the most disappointing team this year?  If not, maybe Texas is.  A battle of futility.

Chick-fil-A Bowl – Georgia vs. Virginia Tech, Dec. 30, 7:00 PM ESPN
What happened to the peach?  It used to be the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, no?  Did Chick-fil-A refuse to serve peaches at their restaurants?  How did Georgia make a bowl?  Didn’t they lose to Vanderbilt and Kentucky?  Well, yes, but they beat Auburn and Georgia Tech in their last two games.  So, this could still be a decent game.

MPC Computers Bowl – Miami vs. Nevada, Dec. 31, 6:30 PM ESPN
Finally, Boise State doesn’t play on their blue field in a bowl game.  By the way, there’s no way Miami can get in trouble while playing in Boise, ID, right?  Right?  Well, let’s hope Nevada brings the boxing gloves, just in case.

Outback Bowl – Tennessee vs. Penn State, Jan. 1, 10:00 AM ESPN
Joe Paterno’s odds of living to see this game?  250-1.  Phil Fulmer’s odds of looking like a moron on the sidelines? 1-1.  Here’s a good game to work off the hangover from New Year’s Eve.

AT&T Cotton Bowl – Auburn vs. Nebraska, Jan. 1, 10:30 AM FOX
This should be a great game.  Both teams struggled to win the big game down the stretch and are looking to end the season on a high note.  A tough, hard-fought game.

Toyota Gator Bowl – West Virginia vs. Georgia Tech, Jan. 1, Noon CBS
Final score: 88-85 and that’s in regulation.  Don’t ask me who wins.  It doesn’t matter anyway.

Capital One Bowl – Arkansas vs. Wisconsin, Jan. 1, Noon ABC
The annual clash of the SEC and Big Ten.  Could you have found two teams that are more boring than these?  You know those 3rd and inches plays where they hand off to the fullback hoping to get 5 inches and you have to peel guys off the pile to determine the spot of the ball?  That’s this entire game, in a nutshell.

Rose Bowl presented by Citi – Michigan vs. USC, Jan. 1, 4:00 PM ABC
I hate Michigan.  I hate Lllloyd Carr and Chad Henne.  I hate maize and blue.  I hate Hail to the Victors.  I hate the Big House…..   Michigan rolls, 38-20.

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl – Boise State vs. Oklahoma, Jan. 1, 7:00 PM FOX
Everyone believes Oklahoma will roll over Boise State.  Remember when everyone figured Pittsburgh would find a way to beat Utah in 2005?  Yeah, Utah won, 35-7.  I’m not saying Boise State can do that to the Sooners, but I think they make it a competitive game and possibly pull off the upset.  I know this much, I will be cheering for BSU harder than any team not named The Ohio State University this bowl season.  A victory by BSU only strengthens the argument for the much-needed playoff system.

FedEx Orange Bowl – Louisville vs. Wake Forest, Jan. 2, 7:00 PM FOX
Here’s another argument for the playoff system.  These teams would be lucky to make it out of the first round of a 16-team playoff and now I have to watch them play each other.  Did Louisville send Cincinnati and South Florida Christmas cards for beating Rutgers and West Virginia, respectively?  They should.

Allstate Sugar Bowl – Notre Dame vs. LSU, Jan. 3, 7:00 PM FOX
How do you spell overrated?  N-O-T-R-E D-A-M-E.  LSU may have as much backing from me as Boise State.  Go look at Notre Dame’s schedule and tell me how they are a BCS-caliber team.  Go ahead…. I’ll wait….  Yeah, that’ what I thought.  You have no argument.

International Bowl – Western Michigan vs. Cincinnati, Jan. 6, 11:00 AM ESPN2
Live from Toronto, Canada, it’s the International Bowl!!!  Only a 110 yard-long football field could make this game interesting.  Then again, I have nothing better to do on January 6, 2007.  So, I’ll probably watch.

GMAC Bowl – Ohio vs. Southern Miss, Jan. 7, 7:00 PM ESPN
Hmmm… this may be a little bit of a let down following two NFL playoff games. But it’s a nice warm up to….

The Tostitos BCS Championship Game – Ohio State vs. Florida, Jan. 8, 7:00 PM FOX
Ideally, Ohio State would win this game going away, and not for the simple fact of granting me a stress-free evening.  Rather, a big Buckeye win coupled with a big win by Michigan strengthens the argument for a playoff system.  (Are you sensing a theme?)  I don’t necessarily think Michigan should be playing Ohio State, but if there were a playoff, I think these two teams would face one another in the deciding game.  So, I guess I’m saying they’re the two best teams and I thought the BCS was designed to put the two best teams in the national championship.  But, Michigan already had a shot at Ohio State, so they don’t “deserve” a second chance.  How sad is that?  It’s like telling the San Diego Chargers, “Well, you already played the Ravens and lost, so if you’re matched against them in the AFC Championship game, you have to forfeit.”  It’s sad, but it protects the big boys of college football.  We’ll see what adjustments are made this offseason.

Happy Bowling!!!

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