Advocare V100 Independence Bowl (North Carolina vs. Missouri). Leave it to the folks in Shreveport to come up with yet another sponsor with an unwieldy title to underwrite their game. Whatever it’s called now or in the future, this will always be the Poulan Weedeater Independence Bowl to me. (And, to Joey the Vig, I might add.) This is the game that will tell us how smart a guy Larry Fedora is? Will he be on Oahu with his old team, or in beautiful downtown Shreveport with the Tar Heels? I believe Mizzou will show me in this battle of 7-5 mediocrity, whether Fedora’s on the other sideline or not.
Little Caesar’s Bowl (Western Michigan vs. Purdue). Nothing says post season football quite like late December in Motown. I have been to this game in its previous incarnation as the Motor City Bowl at the dreariest edifice extant, the Pontiac Silverdome, on the dreariest winter weather day of my adulthood. Nothing says dreary like Pontiac in full slush mode. A root canal without numbing the nerves would be more fun. Neither the Broncos nor the Boilermakers have done a thing all year to distinguish themselves. This game’s for hardcore addicts only, but slightly better than major dental work. WM wins.
Belk Bowl (Louisville vs. North Carolina State). Congrats to Dr. Professor’s better half, who was the only one in a group of fans, who knew, when asked, that Belk is a department store. Charlotte ain’t Miami, but for the resurgent Cardinals it works. And they don’t have to face Russell Wilson, the QB who was tossed by doofus coach Tom O’Brien, and landed in Badgerland. Cards stand Strong, winning 2d bowl in a row.
Military Bowl (Toledo vs. Air Force). Military Bowl. Rockets vs. Air Force Academy. At least it’s an appropriate matchup. And who should know more how to handle Rockets, but guys from, well, you know where? The Falcons have been hurt a lot this season. Or, so I’m advised. Toledo won 7 of its last 8, falling short only in that midweek 60-63 defensive nailbiter to Northern Illinois. The MACsters have too much firepower, even though their coach has jumped ship for the dead end mentorship of the Fightin’ Illini.
Holiday Bowl (Texas vs. California). Here stand a couple of underachievers, who, for all their regular season misery, get to vacation in sunny southern Cal. (Lots o’ fog up Berkeley way, so, yeah, it’s a treat for the Golden Bears.) The Longhorns lost 3 of their last 4. Cal, the opposite. For some reason, I just don’t think the guys in burnt orange care about this one. Give it to the home staters.
Champs Sports Bowl (Florida State vs. Notre Dame). If the Big East didn’t have that inexplicable clause in ND’s contract that allowed the Irish to steal a bowl bid, the Cards might be playing in Orlando instead of Charlotte. Just another reason to hate F-Bomb Kelly and his Golden Domers. As if we needed any. I know nothing about Florida State, except that ex-coach Bobby Bowden seems to be the go to coach for interviews on whatever college pigskin scandal is brewing at the moment. Seminoles.
Alamo Bowl (Baylor vs. Washington). What I want to know is why Baylor, a really really really Baptist school in backwater Texas has all of a sudden got boffo programs in both pigskin and hoops, boys and girls. Do the Bears now have God on their side? Do their rich boosters? Don’t know much about the Huskies. I do know that RGIII was the best offensive threat in the land from beginning of season to end. And that he will lead the home staters to a W.
Gratuitous photo of Charlize Theron at left.
Armed Forces Bowl (BYU vs. Tulsa). Noon Friday game. They won’t even have it turned on at Mitt Romney’s campaign headquarters. Another game for the hardcore fan, breakfasting on cold nuggets and the remnants of a flat can of Fosters from the night before. The Cougars have their own TV network, don’t you know, and have won 8 of their last 9. Tulsa won 7 in a row before being bashed by Houston. For some reason, I think the C-USA guys are ready to stage an upset.
Pinstripe Bowl (Rutgers vs. Iowa State). The Cyclones pulled off the biggest, most meaningful upset of this season. You know, they beat Oklahoma State, coming from behind, in overtime. Which gives us BCS “title” game that only former linebackers really really really care about. Then Iowa State proceeded to lose its last two on the road. Rutgers comes into the game off a seriously baaaaad loss to UConn. Standing up for my league, my moolah’s on the Scarlet Knights.
Music City Bowl (Mississippi State vs. Wake Forest). Wasn’t the Demon Deacons’ Jim Grobe THE next big thing in the coaching ranks just a few years ago? And wasn’t Dan Mullen one of the potential successors for that mantle? Yes, I believe so. Well, Wake and the Cowbells come to NashVegas in 6/6 time. To use a not very good musical metaphor. I’ve got no feel for this game — which indicates I am a man with some reasonable amount of sanity — so I’ll use this great line, and move on. More cowbell.
Insight Bowl (Oklahoma vs. Iowa). Expert of experts Phil Steele projected the Sooners to be playing for the “title.” Then they played the season. The Okies lost to Texas Tech, then 2 of their last 3, including a lay down at Bedlam time in Stillwater. The Hawkeyes have shuffled through about as nondescript season as anybody. Win one, lose one. Win one, lose two. Nothing on its resume to indicate it can whip Oklahoma. Is there Sooner ennui? Stoops’s guys might not care, but they can’t lose to Iowa . . . I don’t think.
Meineke Car Care Bowl (Texas A & M vs. Northwestern). If only the sponsoring chain of auto service centers had as catchy commercials as NAPA, this game might be more fun to watch. (Wait a second, haven’t I read that somewhere before?) Here’s my question: Who appointed Charlotte as Bowl City? Yet another scintillating 60 minutes of action between a couple of 6-6 teams. But it is a Big Ten vs. SEC battle. Woop de damn doo. I figure the team with a 12th man wins. (In the SEC, the Texans will need that extra man advantage.)
Gratuitous photo of Bronco Nagurski at right.
Sun Bowl (Georgia Tech vs. Utah). Now here’s a bowl game with some tradition. Been around a long time. For years, it’s always been played on New Year’s Eve afternoon. And it’s still on CBS, which is good, because it means ESPN doesn’t own everything in Bowldom. I like Paul Johnson’s method. Lots of runnin’, runnin’, runnin’. Old school. Plus it works a lot. As it will in El Paso.
Liberty Bowl (Vanderbilt vs. Cincinnati). Rendezvous dry rubbed ribs. Graceland. Ducks at the Peabody. Sun Studio. Stax/ Volt. Civil Rights Museum at the Leland Motel. Memphis is actually a pretty nifty place to spend a day or two . . . when the weather’s nice. That decrepit stadium is NOT one of the main tourist attractions. Will Commodore faithful head west in droves? How about the notoriously light traveling Queen City fans? This is actually a pretty interesting matchup. I think Butch Jones is an up and comer. Big East Bearcats prevail, even if brawlin’ Yancy Gates isn’t added to D line.
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (Illinois vs. UCLA). I have no comment on this travesty. Next.
Chick-Fil-A Bowl (Virginia vs. Auburn). Neither of these squads is coming into the game on a positive hum. UVa was throttled 0-38 in its finale. The Tigers gave up 40+ in losses in 3 of its last four conference games. Of course the victors in those games weren’t exactly patsies: Georgia, Alabama, LSU. This is one of those battles that tests whether the SEC is really as far ahead of all the other leagues as it would have us believe? This year it is. Auburn.
You will note that I’ve only picked winners and losers in the previous games, no point spread factored in. That’s the way it is in Joey the Vig’s pool. That’s the way I’ve thought about ‘em.
Now come the considerations that separate the gladiators from the spectators. Picking games with the spot. (The spreads mentioned are the initial spots set by Joey, and they may differ from the final lines as gaming patterns emerged.)
Ticket City Bowl (Houston -5 1/2 vs. Penn State). The game is in Big D, but will contested on the Cotton Bowl gridiron, not at the JerryDome. Does that matter? Not really. Just killing time here. Will we cringe if, during the pre game, they introduce a bunch of Boys & Girls Club orphans? Yes we will. Can Case Keenum deliver against one of the best pass defenses in the land? Yes, the Cougars will cover.
Outback Bowl (Georgia -3 vs. Michigan State). I’m happy that Mark Richt can come into this game without worry for his job, should he lose. At least I think those Dawg fans have come to their senses. That said, I looooooove the way Mark Dantonio coaches. Despite his calm sideline demeanor, the guy will go for it. Plus his squad was screwed. State should be playing in the Sugar Bowl. Three losses only, the last in that magnifico Big Ten title game. Sparty wins straight up.
Capital One Bowl (South Carolina -1 vs. Nebraska). Bo Pelini looks for all the world like your typical college coaching putz. Then he comes up with that very reasoned and compassionate take on the Penn State situation. Go figure. The Ol’ Ball Coach is, well, ye ol’ ball coach. Pissy. Prickly. And with a contract extension. Perhaps not as good without all those Sunshine Staters on his roster. I believe the Gamecocks prevail.
Gator Bowl (Florida -2 vs. Ohio State). There was a time when this bowl actually had some stature. It was the one for those couple of schools not quite up to the Rose, Cotton, Sugar, Orange standard. Well, it sure is mediocre this year. Big names. Big busts. Ohio State with two coaching staffs and Florida with a coaching staff already under question both come in at 6-6. (Of course, the Gators have to improve with Charlie Weis heading off to resurrect Rock Chalk Jayhawk. $12.5 million for, well, you tell me what he’s accomplished, and why Kansas would want him? Other than to be a plus sized guy who can comfortably wear Mark Mangino’s leftover 4X sweats.) Fickell beats Muschamp because players want to impress Pope Urban the Savior, who may or may not be roaming the sidelines, hoping to impress recruits.
Can Charlie Weiss fill the sweatshirt of the man at left?
Rose Bowl (Oregon -6 1/2 vs. Wisconsin). I like the way the Badgers have come back. Come back from consecutive losses to right their season. Come back against Sparty in the Big Ten title game. The Badgers are tough, have a better than average castoff QB and are quicker than your average midwestern behemoth. Oregon is not quite as big, also tough and quicker than a blur. Speed kills. Quack. The downside: Academic achievement by Oregon’s male student body.
Fiesta Bowl (Oklahoma State -3 1/2 vs. Stanford). Ah, a legit bowl game between two really good teams that deserve an extra post season game. Oliver “Not So” Luck(y)’s season will end with the same personal disappointment as the man he is destined to replace in Indy. Like Peyton Manning before him, Luck was a Heisman lock, only to see the star maker machinery falter before the trophy was in hand. And in Glendale the QB is going to learn that Okie State would have been a worthy foe for LSU. Cowboys.
Sugar Bowl (Michigan -1 1/2 vs. Virginia Tech). This is not a Bowl Game Named Desire. The Wolverines are visiting the French Quarter because they have the biggest alumni base in the land. Virginia Tech? There is no reasonable explanation. Which is to say there is no justification whatsoever that Boise State, Michigan State, Arkansas or Kansas State or any combination thereof is playing in this BCS game. The Hokies are undefeated against every school not named Clemson. Michigan will journey to New Orleans, unfettered with silly curfews or rules of conduct on Bourbon Street. Michigan is not named Clemson.
Orange Bowl (Clemson -3 vs. West Virginia). Clemson is however named Clemson and the Orange come into this game off 3 Ls in its last four regular season game, but a second W over Beamer’s Boys in the ACC title encounter. The Mountaineers won their last 3 to sneak into this BCS slot from its future former league, the Big East. The Tigers were mighty impressive early, one of the season’s surprises. The best thing about this game might be the halftime show. It’s the Orange Bowl that started all these over the top extravaganzas featuring Maroon 5 and 500 dancing cheerleaders. I’ve watched the Big East all year, and simply refuse to take seriously a team that lost by 26 to Syracuse. Clemson.
Cotton Bowl (Arkansas -7 1/2 vs. Kansas State). This is certainly the most fascinating non BCS game, because, well, it oughta be a BCS game. At least if that designation meant anything. Which it probably does not. The Razorbacks are the 3d best team in the best division in college football, the SEC West. Which means, since their only losses are to LSU and Alabama, that Petrino’s Pigskinners are arguably the 3d best team in the country. And better than Kansas State.
BBVA Compass Bowl (Pittsburgh -5 1/2 vs. SMU). What’s this game doing here on January 7? Frankly, Scarlett I haven’t a clue, nor do I give a damn. Okay, class, pop quiz: What is a BBVA Compass? Those of you who owe the financial institution on a loan know. The rest could probably care less. The question is why this company would want to associate with a 5th rate bowl at decrepit Legion Field at a time when even diehards like me might be getting tired of mediocre, meaningless football and need a rest before the “the big one.” June Jones’ Mustangs cover.
GoDaddy.com Bowl (Arkansas State -1 vs. Northern Illinois). Ah, as the bowl season winds down, we find ourselves stuck inside of Mobile with the etc, etc, etc. Perhaps more than the Super Bowl itself, this is one to watch for the commercials. Will Danica Patrick finally show some naughty? Holding out faint hope, we ‘ll tune in, won’t we? Yes. The Red Wolves have won 9 in a row. The Huskies have won 8 in a row. This could be the bowl season’s highest scoring game. Who to pick? A coin flip says MAC tops Sun Belt.
BCS “Championship” Game (LSU – 1/2 vs. Alabama). I needn’t break this game down. There shall be far too much of that before kickoff. We will know the favorite cereal of every member of both squads before this one’s played. Pick a winner, Seedy K, and let the people move on. Okay. Geaux Tigers.
– Seedy K