Big Bowl Preview III

All times EST (a time zone I’ll return to soon)

Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl – University of Wisconsin-Whitewater vs. Mount Union, Dec. 20, 11:00 AM ESPN2
OK, this is the fourth straight year for this matchup. Come on, Division III, get creative already. Devise some system that arbitrarily decides who plays in your championship game. You could call it the Amos Alonzo Stagg System – AASS. Yeah, that sounds about right.

EagleBank Bowl – Wake Forest vs. Navy, Dec. 20, 11:00 AM ESPN
Do you think EagleBank saw the economic downturn coming when they bought into this bowl game around a year or so ago? (I have no idea when it actually happened. I just assume you have to do something like this well in advance.) Wouldn’t it be awesome if their buy in to this game caused them to go under in a month? Well, awesome in general, not awesome for anyone that has money with them. Unless they’re Ravens fans, of course.

New Mexico Bowl – Colorado State vs. Fresno State, Dec. 20, 2:30 PM ESPN
Finally, the University of New Mexico can’t play in their own bowl. Their 4-8 record was bad enough to keep them out of any bowls this season. In terms of this game, wasn’t Fresno State awesome at some point this season? Didn’t everyone want to hire Pat Hill? Oh, it seems you ended up 7-5 with a drubbing from Boise State in the regular season finale (61-10, in case you weren’t aware). Well, have fun playing Colorado… oh wait, that’s Colorado State. Yeah, enjoy that. I’ll be driving back to Cleveland.

magicJack St. Petersburg Bowl – Memphis vs. South Florida, Dec. 20, 4:30 PM ESPN2
I know what you’re thinking. What the hell is magicJack? I had to look it up myself. Apparently, it’s a long distance phone service of sorts. What you do is plug this USB stick into a computer and a phone jack in the other end. It allows you to make calls to anywhere in the US and Canada for free. Hey, magicJack, this stuff has been around for over a decade (I placed calls over the internet my freshman year of college) and still almost no one buys it. Something tells me your investment in this bowl will lead you down the same path as EagleBank. Especially considering this matchup is pretty awful.

Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl – BYU vs. Arizona, Dec. 20, 8:00 PM ESPN
Once again, BYU is subjected to the temptations of Las Vegas. The last two years, they came away victorious, although they pulled it out thanks to a block kick as time expired last year. I’m still going with the Mormons until they finally prove they’re like any other college student. I’m telling you, those hookers are going to get to them one day. Also, this caps off 5 bowl games in one day, if you count the DIII championship. Enjoy! I’ll be in a car. Awesome!

R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl – Southern Mississippi vs. Troy, Dec. 21, 8:15 PM ESPN
What is up with starting this game at the same time as the NFL game? The only chance you have is starting about half an hour earlier and hoping people never turn back to NBC. Of course, as I typed this, I realize that Fuhrer Goodell probably told them they had to wait if they wanted to live. Honestly, Roger? You don’t think people will want to watch Panthers/Giants over this atrocity? Paranoia, paranoia, everybody’s coming to get me…

Side note: R&L Carriers reminds me to tell you about the truck driver taking our stuff to Virginia. This guy has been driving 52 years for Mayflower. That’s insane. At minimum, he’s 68 and I’m sure he’s probably past 70. 52 years driving a truck around the country? That’s dedication. Oh, and don’t worry, his cab does inform us that “Jesus Christ is Lord.” Just in case you forgot.

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl – Boise State vs. TCU, Dec. 23, 8:00 PM ESPN
Well, well, well… would you look at that. The old punching bag of a bowl game seems to be moving up the totem pole. This was usually the first bowl game of the season between two awful teams, relatively speaking. Now, they have a matchup between the #9 and #11 teams in the country. Boise State is undefeated and TCU’s two losses are to Utah (undefeated) and Oklahoma (not undefeated, yet still playing for the national championship). This should be a heck of a game, which means one of them will blow out the other.

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl – Hawaii vs. Notre Dame, Dec. 24, 8:00 PM ESPN
Notre Dame is in a bowl game? Did they even qualify? Hmm… it seems they did, barely, at 6-6. They finished really strong by losing four of the last five against such dominant teams as Syracuse. Shouldn’t losing to Syracuse at home automatically disqualify you from any bowl game for the next five years? This seems fair to me and Notre Dame.

Motor City Bowl – Florida Atlantic vs. Central Michigan, Dec. 26, 7:30 PM ESPN
Central Michigan had a decent season going until they managed to lose to Eastern Michigan the last week of the season. This should also lead to some sort of automatic disqualification. Florida Atlantic managed to win five of their last six to become bowl eligible. This included a pretty impressive 57-50 OT victory against Florida International. Both teams scored 28 points in the 4th quarter to send the game to OT where Florida Atlantic won. Why am I trying to make this game seem interesting? It is not.

Meineke Car Care Bowl – West Virginia vs. North Carolina, Dec. 27, 1:00 PM ESPN
This could get ugly on a sloppy field. With those UNC guts lying everywhere on the playing surface, the players better bring the long spikes. Just a tremendous matchup between two gut-spilling teams. Big hat, no cattle.

Side note: I actually think the Browns could be decent if Butch Davis was still the coach and he could deal with Phil Savage as GM.

Champs Sports Bowl – Wisconsin vs. Florida State, Dec. 27, 4:30 PM ESPN
It’s the Big Ten/ACC challenge baby!!! This fulfills my obligation to bring Dick Vitale into the discussion and mention that he’s a hall of famer. Makes you cringe, huh?

Emerald Bowl – Miami vs. California, Dec. 27, 8:00 PM ESPN
I like how members of the media talked up “the U” this year as some up-and-coming team. Yeah, way to lose to Georgia Tech and NC State the last two games of the season. You are going places!!

Independence Bowl – Northern Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech, Dec. 28, 8:15 PM ESPN
OK, I think it’s pretty clear Goodell is in on this. Otherwise, nothing interesting can come from this matchup. Watch the NBC flex game which probably won’t have that big of playoff implications for the second year in a row.

Papajohns.com Bowl – N.C. State vs. Rutgers, Dec. 29, 3:00 PM ESPN
Here’s hoping you’re still at work because this won’t be any type of gem to watch.  Once again, I must pay homage to papajohns.com.  They were the first to offer online ordering for pizza and what a wonderful business move it was.  It’s so nice to never have to talk to another human being when doing anything.  Maybe that’s why blogs are so popular?

Valero Alamo Bowl – Missouri vs. Northwestern, Dec. 29, 8:00 PM ESPN
Is it just me, or is anyone else a little peeved at an oil company sponsoring a bowl game?  I know gas prices have dropped recently, but Valero probably bought into this bowl game over a year ago when prices were still sky high.  Then again, this shouldn’t shock anybody.  As far as the game goes, this is another classic battle of high-scoring teams with no defense.  Always a good time!

Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl – Maryland vs. Nevada, Dec. 30, 4:30 PM ESPN
The annual Battle on the Blue Field (I made that up… pretty good, huh?) features two disappointing teams.  Nevada thought they could battle Boise State for the conference title and Maryland… well, they lost to Middle Tennessee State in their second game after squeaking by Division II Delaware in week one.  Keep in mind that Joe Flacco is no longer the QB at Delaware.  I suppose you could give credit to Maryland for coming back and making a bowl until you realize they lost three of the last four to blow an opportunity at the ACC Championship.  Forecast: 37 degrees for a high with a chance of rain/snow.  Lovely.

Texas Bowl – Western Michigan vs. Rice, Dec. 30, 8:00 PM NFL Network
Percent chance any one of these guys are on the NFL Network next year as part of an NFL game… 0.0005%.  Ironically, that’s the percent of the US population that gets the NFL Network.  Zing!!  Thank you.  I’ll be here all evening.  Remember to tip your waitress.

Seriously… they are five years into the NFL network and virtually no cable company carries it full time.  Their in-studio shows are failing left and right.  They can’t even get an HD camera into their studios despite the fact they have an HD feed on the two satellite companies that carry their channel (Dish and DirecTV).  Recently, there were rumblings they were going to partner with ESPN to support their programming.  Yeah, this is looking good.

Don’t worry, I’m sure Western Michigan vs. Rice will save everything.

Pacific Life Holiday Bowl – Oklahoma State vs. Oregon, Dec. 30, 8:00 PM ESPN
Watch the beauty that is OK State coach, Mike Gundy.  Sure, everyone knows about the “I’m a man! I’m 40!” outburst, but people might not know about his sideline behavior as head coach.  He will sit on the bench while the defense is on the field and talk to the offensive coordinator in the booth to game plan the next offensive possession.  Keep in mind that he is the head coach and, as such, is expected to oversee the entire team, not just the offense.  It should be noted that his defense is poor, at best.  Enjoy another high-scoring affair.

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl – Houston vs. Air Force, Dec. 31, Noon ESPN
If you pretend the NFL Network doesn’t exist, which is easy for many, then this is easily the worst game so far.  I can’t tell you a thing about either of these teams.  On the other hand, I still think it’s great that a game is sponsored by a helicopter manufacturing company.  I wonder if they can attribute any of this past year’s sales to their sponsorship of this bowl games.  Did someone watch the game and think, “you know, I could really use a helicopter”?  I’m sure someone did.  There are a lot of idiots out there.

Brut Sun Bowl – Oregon State vs. Pittsburgh, Dec. 31, 2:00 PM CBS
This could be a good game.  Oregon State did their best to hold off USC and win the PAC-10, but they eventually lost down the stretch.  This is probably for the best.  Penn State had already played Oregon State early in the season and destroyed them.  Now, another PA team gets a shot at them.  Again… CBS… please let Gus Johnson announce the game.  He instantly makes any game 10x more enjoyable.

Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl – Boston College vs. Vanderbilt, Dec. 31, 3:30 ESPN
Wasn’t there a point this year where Vanderbilt was awesome?  Yeah… then they lost to Mississippi State and Duke in a matter of three weeks.  That will usually kill your season and your soul.  At least they were a surprisingly good team at some point.  No one ever thought of Boston College in that light.  (It’s so easy to hate Boston College when you focus on the Boston part.)

Insight Bowl – Kansas vs. Minnesota, Dec. 31, 5:30 PM NFL Network
What’s the point of the NFL Network having games if they are awful?  At least no one can see them.

Chick-fil-A Bowl – LSU vs. Georgia Tech, Dec. 31, 7:30 PM ESPN
Chick-fil-A is actually good, if you get the chance.  This game, however?  Not so good.  Maybe LSU had a championship hangover and, certainly, they lost a lot of players.  But they never even made a sound this year.  Georgia Tech plays in the ACC, which means, by definition, they could not have made any noise this year.

Outback Bowl – South Carolina vs. Iowa, Jan. 1, 11:00 AM ESPN
Iowa?  Really?  Man, the Big Ten must have been awful this year.  Well, I’m sure Michigan will make up for it in their bowl game…  Aww… too soon???

Capital One Bowl – Georgia vs. Michigan State, Jan. 1, 1:00 PM ABC
Do you like running backs?  This might be the game for you.  Knowshon Moreno and Javon Ringer are two of the best in the country and were both finalists for the Doak Walker Award (best college running back).  Luckily, I’m pretty sure both defenses are nothing to write home about, so it should be entertaining.  Michigan State had a heck of a year and still had a chance to win the Big Ten in the final game.  Georgia, on the other hand, had a somewhat disappointing year, although their only losses are Alabama, Florida, and Georgia Tech.  (OK, that last one is bad.)  Hopefully, it’s good game because you’re other 1:00 game…

Konica Minolta Gator Bowl – Nebraska vs. Clemson, Jan.1, 1:00 PM CBS
Here’s another argument for smaller schools.  Couldn’t a Boise State vs. Ball State matchup be fun here?  How about TCU vs. Tulsa?  Why must we be stuck with awful teams in power conferences when we could see the best of the lesser conferences?  What happened to exciting games on New Year’s Day???!!!!

Rose Bowl Game presented by Citi – Penn State vs. USC, Jan. 1, 4:30 PM ABC
It’s hard to see Penn State winning this game.  USC’s defense is very solid, and while their offense isn’t spectacular, it’s enough to get them by.  That said, if Penn State can get a couple timely turnovers, they probably have a good enough defense to slow USC down.  I would like to think Penn State can keep it close, but there’s always the chance that USC gets off to a great start and runs away with it.  My record of predicting is awful, so why even bother?  OK, USC 23, Penn State 13.

FedEx Orange Bowl – Virginia Tech vs. Cincinnati, Jan. 1, 8:00 PM FOX
What can you say?  It was a bad year to have to pick last in the BCS rotation.  Of course, both teams aren’t great, so it should be an evenly matched game.  Whether or not you can stay awake through it is another question entirely.

AT&T Cotton Bowl – Ole Miss vs. Texas Tech, Jan. 2, 2:00 PM FOX
Couldn’t sneak LSU into this game?  You know, make it a little interesting?  Bring the defending national champions against this year’s hot story?  No… that would make too much sense.  Let’s stick to tired, old rules about which team goes where.  Why be exciting when you can be boring?

AutoZone Liberty Bowl – Kentucky vs. East Carolina, Jan. 2, 5:00 PM ESPN

AllState Sugar Bowl – Utah vs. Alabama, Jan. 2, 8:00 PM FOX
Ahhh… the annual David vs. Goliath where David has a better record but is still awful because the teams they beat weren’t from a power conference.  Once again, I must cheer for Utah.  It’s the only way to stick it to the college presidents that love the BCS and the millions of dollars coming their way.  Of course, Utah has done this before.  They creamed Pitt, 35-7, at the end of the 2004 season in the Fiesta Bowl.  At that time, Urban Meyer was the coach and Alex Smith was the QB.  One of them went on to greater success and the other went to the 49ers.

International Bowl – Buffalo vs. Connecticut, Jan. 3, Noon ESPN2
Well, this would be a good opportunity to discuss Turner Gill being snubbed by Auburn.  I won’t go as far as Barkley, but I will admit something is wrong.  Buffalo was awful before he got there and he’s turned them around really quickly, including winning the MAC Championship this year against an undefeated Ball State team.  So, instead, Auburn hires a guy coming of a 2-win season, in which he lost his last 10 games and didn’t win a conference game.  Hmm… something isn’t right.  I suppose the boosters thought they could better “control” Chizik.  Do you like winning football games too?

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl – Ohio State vs. Texas, Jan. 5, 8:00 FOX
Ohio State is only there because their fan base travels well and people can make a lot of money by having them in a BCS game.  That said, their only two losses are to the Rose Bowl teams, so it’s not as if they are awful.  Then again, Texas has a lot to prove.  They have an argument for being in the National Championship game over Oklahoma and would love nothing better then to lay a beat down on the Buckeyes.  Of course, Jim Tressel and the older Buckeye players might be tired of being embarrassed in big time games the last two years and being told they are inferior to teams from other power conferences.  So, in the end, who knows?  But, again, I have a hard time seeing the Big Ten team winning.

GMAC Bowl – Ball State vs. Tulsa, Jan. 6, 8:00 PM ESPN
Watch this game!  It could actually be exciting!!  I’ll be watching myself.  What else could I do on my annivers… dammit.

FedEx BCS National Championship Game – Florida vs. Oklahoma, Jan. 8, 8:00 PM FOX
At this rate, the 2015 BCS National Championship game will be played opposite the Pro Bowl.  The game should be great.  Both teams were destroying their opponents down the stretch and scoring at will.  There are a lot of great players on both teams.  You should see some of these guys in the NFL within the next few years.  Just keep in mind that Urban Meyer won the national championship as an underdog two years ago.  Bob Stoops has lost his last two BCS games to West Virginia (with a brand new coach) and Boise State.  Just sayin’…

Enjoy the games!

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