It’s that time of year, officially ESPN sweeps month, a/k/a College Football Bowl Season.
Every major college team in the land that won at least half its games gets a +1 for its fans to crow about and spend vacation funds on a winter’s frolic in Shreveport, Detroit, Boise or the Bronx. Except 6-6 Ball State, and the only squad in America which won more than it lost and is sitting home for the holidays, 7-5 Western Kentucky.
Oh, yes, there’s that school that proves the college pigskin ladder does have a top and a bottom, 6-7, coachless UCLA. The Bruins got an exception, a trip to San Fran to fight hunger, because, well, because it’s UCLA, and Ball State and the Hilltoppers aren’t.
There are thirty five games in 23 days, culminating in a “national championship” game between two teams only Mike Slive, Bear Bryant’s granddaughter, Bobby Jindal, Tony Mosca, the wait staff at Dreamland BBQ and that guy who poisoned the Auburn trees want to see. Okay, there may one or two more.
Were I in a saner state of mind, I would ignore these goings on as if they were yet another glass of egg nog and a slice of fruitcake. But, Joey the Vig’s boys — Sal and Vito and that little guy who didn’t talk except with his dagger eyes — came a calling. So I’m in, because, well, because my IRA is now as fra-gee-lay as The Old Man’s stockinged leg lamp.
Without further ado, let’s get at ‘em. Here are the games through Christmas. Tune in next week for the rest.
If I pick ‘em all, drinks are on me.
New Mexico Bowl (Wyoming vs. Temple). While this tussle in Albuquerque isn’t the most glamorous, the combatants at least deserve to be playing. The Cowboys and Owls each won 8. Both have quality losses, to borrow an NCAA tourney time term. Temple almost felled Penn State before we knew you know what about you know whom. Wyoming played Boise State within 3 TDs — hey, that’s pretty good — but were thumped 19-63 by Utah State. Temple rushes well. Wyoming doesn’t stop the rush so well. Hoot. Hoot.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Ohio U. vs. Utah State). Not only did the Aggies unsaddle the Cowboys (See previous paragraph), but they won their last five. And they were close ones, showing the team has mettle. The Bobcats won 9 already on the year, and they score a lot of points. But they were nipped in the MAC title game. Because Utah State is closer, I don’t think the Aggies will be as aggravated by the blue field as the visitors from Ohio. Utah State.
New Orleans Bowl (Louisiana Lafayette vs. San Diego State). Lou La is making its 1st bowl appearance in four decades. That was back when being in a bowl meant something. In yet another matchup of 8 win teams, it faces San Diego State, which battled a significantly tougher schedule. But, I just have this vision of those kids from Cali touring the Quarter during the day. Then slipping out after curfew and heading over for a few more Hurricanes after the coach is asleep. The SuperDome will be pretty empty, but what few show up will be cheering for the boys from the bayou over the future Big East super team. The swamp rats will be happy.
Beef O’Brady’s Bowl (Marshall vs. Florida International). Contrary to local belief, there was not a movement to rename this game, the Teams That Beat The Cardinals Who Won This Game Last Year Bowl. Though I wouldn’t put it past Tom Jurich to try, figuring there might be some sort of positive PR for it. Surely Owsley Frazier could outbid that restaurant chain. I’m going with the Golden Panthers in this one. That would be the team that’s not Marshall. I have no logical explanation for my pick.
Poinsettia Bowl (Louisiana Tech vs. TCU). The Horned Frogs from Fort Worth are champs of the Mountain West. The Bulldogs from swamp country are champs of the Western Athletic Conference. Hmmm, am I missing something here, geographically speaking? Does my 4th grade teacher owe me a refund? Nope, it’s just how things are in college sports these days. The one question here is whether former future Big East behemoth TCU will be flat, what, being spurned by the BCS and all? Methinks the answer is no.
MAACO Bowl (Arizona State vs. Boise State). If only the sponsoring chain of collision repair and auto paint centers had as catchy commercials as NAPA, this game might be more fun to watch. Okay, there is Kellen Moore, only one of the best QBs in the history of the sport, and a chance to view the blue and orange in light of their new status as Beast o’ the BEast. (Unless they stay in the Mountain West if that league gets a BCS exemption.) I think that big chip on the Broncos shoulder will carry them to victory over a 6-6 team that fired its coach, and a hired a new coach who underachieved big time in his 11 month stint at Pitt..
Hawaii Bowl (Southern Miss vs. Nevada). Didn’t this used to be the Aloha Bowl? Well, if so, there’s sure to be a capital O for Offense in this year’s AlOha Bowl. Both teams rush for a lot of yards and score a lot of points because they’ve toiled in leagues where defense is a four letter word. The question for me is which squad leaves its game by the hotel pool with the cabana girls? The answer’s got to be, the pigskinners from Hattiesburg. Wolf Pack win. They’ve roamed Diamond Head before. And Southern Miss will be without their Fedora to protect them from that South Pacific sun.
– Seedy K