Category Archives: BOWL SEASON Y’ALL
Georgia returns to the ghosts of UCF losses past, and today’s bowl lineup is sexy.
My colleague and good friend Daniel Palmer says the 2010 Liberty Bowl didn’t happen. I tend to agree, so…
Sixth Annual Liberty Bowl: Georgia vs. TCU, noon: Objectively, this is a complete non-starter for me. Its two bad teams from two bad conferences (where the SEC East is a standalone entity). BUT. I’m excited because:
- Georgia used their full allotment of bowl practices. I’m interested to see the progress of Jacob Eason, the health of our future senior running backs (!), and the continued development of what will, in the near future, be a thrilling defense.
- That’s really about it.
Watchability Factor: 2/10 if you have no rooting interest, 8/10 if you want to compare Georgia’s bowl success to Miami’s 31-14 victory over a much-better-than-TCU West Virginia squad.
Sun Bowl: #18 Stanford vs. North Carolina, 2:30: A bowl location so deplorable that Verne Lunquist refuses to end his career here. That’s amazing. Christian McAffrey is not playing. Neither is Elijah Hood. UNC QB Mitch Trubisky (remember how bad he was against Georgia?) is playing to determine if he’ll be the first QB taken in May (or June, or whenever the draft is now in the NFL’s 365-day cycle)…or return to school.
This has some appeal to me, but its not sexy outside of possible continuation of the ACC’s bowl dominance to this point. Watchability Factor: 4/10.
Music City Bowl: Nebraska vs. #21 Tennessee, 3:30: Your gentle reminder that Tennessee, Champions of Life, is still ranked by the CFP committee. Fresh hell.
Watch at your own risk. Watchability Factor: 3.5/10.
Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl: South Alabama vs. Air Force, 5:30: As a real estate broker, I suggest not using Nova Home Loans because your rate is going up 1/8 of a point because they decided to sponsor this bowl game. Watchability Factor: dude, do literally anything else.
Orange Bowl: #6 Michigan vs. #11 Florida State, 8: ALL OF THE FIRE EMOJIS. Dalvin Cook is playing his last game, and he’s the most fun player in America. Michigan is inexplicably salty– not because they messed around and lost to Iowa– but because they STILL think they should be in the playoff after losing to Ohio State.
Watchability Factor: 9/10, I cannot emphasize enough how fun this game is, theoretically (and don’t look up the games I’ve rated highly to this point).
My mother complained that her generation may not know what crunk factor is. Mom, it was a made-up term to describe the likelihood one of these otherwise-boring games goes haywire.
Also, drawing these up for 20 games at a time seemed unwieldy and irrelevant. Writing about the Idaho Potato Bowl 11 days before it took place was the wake-up call there.
What’s happening in bowl action today, December 29th? Three moderately compelling games!
Birmingham Bowl, South Florida vs. South Carolina, 2pm: A month ago, this game was SO much more fun. Willie Taggart had USF playing well and running the #1 offense in the country…but he bolted for Oregon. Quinton Flowers is still a joy to watch, and hopefully we don’t get the dreaded ‘coach left letdown.’
South Carolina inexplicably made a bowl with a coach who once failed to do that at FLORIDA. I’m kinda cheering for a Cocks win so they can be crushed under the darkhorse SEC East contender expectations that will surely follow from winning a meaningless bowl game in Birmingham.
CRUNK FACTOR/Watchability Index: 5/10… I’m feeling generous this morning, and its SEC vs. fun AAC. I can dig it.
Belk Bowl, #22 Virginia Tech vs. Arkansas, 5:30: First things first: its the bowl game named after a regional department store. Second, I was making customary Christmas exchanges in one of the Charlotte-area Belks yesterday, and ran into some Virginia Tech players on their bowl gift ‘shopping spree’. That bowl gift ranked in the mid-30’s on most lists, because it was the whole bowl gift.
Anyway, this game has weird fun written all over it. Rawleigh Williams (did not know it was RAWleigh until checking his stats) had an insane November for Arkansas. Jerod Evans is the ACC’s 5th-best QB, and that makes him the nation’s 10th-best QB. Bret Bieliema is a delight, and Justin Fuente exceeded expectations in year 1.
This game means nothing, as all do, but is worth excessive hype for the ACC Coastal if Virginia Tech piggybacks Miami’s impressive win. CRUNK FACTOR/Watchability Index: 6.5/10, something goofy will happen. Guaranteed.
Alamo Bowl: #12 Oklahoma State vs. #10 Colorado, 9: FINALLY our first ranked matchup of bowl season, after 26 other games will likely have finished. And who isn’t a sucker for Big XII exes grudge-matching each other? Texas A&M/K-State was fun.
Colorado, dubbed by many ‘America’s team’, is suffering the fate of blowing expectations out of the water. They lost all-world DC Jim Leavitt to Oregon, QB Sefo Liufau is hobbled and may not play. On the other hand, this team lost three games: at Michigan, USC, Washington. Most teams are going 0-3 in those, and most aren’t winning the other 10.
Oklahoma State has Mason Rudolph (good), Mike Gundy’s mullet (exceptional), and announced the return of Rudolph and leading wideout James Washington for 2017.
CRUNK/Watchability: 8.5/10. Evenly-matched, latenight, and high quality. We’ll drink every time someone mentions their loss to Central Michigan not being a loss, and we’ll enjoy this one.
Editor’s note: Had to divide into two posts because 40 bowl games is about 15 too many.
Bowls were announced on Sunday! Here’s something amazing: the 13 bowls before Christmas involve exactly ZERO P5’s. I had to come back and write this blurb, because I noted myself getting carried away with optimism about matchups such as BYU/Wyoming and Memphis/Western Kentucky. As it stands now, Houston/SDSU is the most noteworthy game, and the only two SEC teams involved before December 28 are 5-7 Mississippi State and amazingly 6-6 Vanderbilt.
If you only read this for Georgia content (whoops, this season was too aggravating to write about), here’s my quick look at TCU. Otherwise, VIVA LOS BOWLS!
Saturday, December 17
Bowl season kicks off on a day where you still have a visceral urge to watch football, because Army/Navy was probably disappointing, and you’re reading this website.
New Mexico Bowl: UTSA vs. New Mexico, 2pm: And bowl season starts with a whimper. New Mexico gets a home game, and…ok, whatever. CRUNK RATING: 3/10, because its the first bowl!
Las Vegas Bowl: Houston vs. San Diego State, 3:30: Donnell Pumphrey is currently #2 in all time rushing yards in FBS, needing only 109 to pass Ron Dayne for the record. He’ll face a Houston team that, while losing Tom Herman, beat Louisville and Oklahoma, sacked Lamar Jackson 11 times, and will probably hire Lane Kiffin– meaning Lane Kiffin at a bowl game that he doesn’t REALLY care about (google search Lane Kiffin black eye if you need to know why this excites me). There are probably 2-3 G5 teams, tops, better than either of these two. CRUNK RATING: A delicious 8/10.
Cure Bowl: UCF vs. Arkansas State, 5:30: Doesn’t really matter, because you don’t get CBS Sports Network. If you’re a masochist, you’ll risk computer viruses to stream two fast-paced offenses surging right past the over/under. CRUNK RATING: 2/10 because of aforementioned issues.
Camellia Bowl: Appalachian State vs. Toledo, 5:30: Makes me wish the Cure Bowl was on an ESPN affiliate. CRUNK RATING: 2/10, because everything about this (read: Montgomery, AL) is gross.
New Orleans Bowl: Southern Miss vs. UL-Lafayette, 9: Two six-win teams from middling conferences doesn’t get you hyped? Well, switch to brown liquor and enjoy A LOT OF POINTS. Cheer for Lafayette to make Georgia’s opponents look better. Did you know they used to play this game at 10am local time? In New Orleans? Some things about this sport (read: most things) don’t make much sense. CRUNK RATING: 4/10.
Monday, December 19
Miami Beach Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Tulsa, 2:30: This is where you either show your dedication to bad college football, or your dedication to your job. Do people actually work the week before Christmas? This bowl is famous for the brawl in its inaugural game, and I will attach video for posterity:
Something about CMU/Tulsa makes me think it’ll be more docile this time around, but we may get clips of the brawl. CRUNK RATING: 2/10.
Tuesday, December 20
Boca Raton Bowl: Memphis vs. Western Kentucky, 7:30pm: HEY! One of the teams from the Miami Beach Brawl, somewhat local adversaries, and ridiculously fun offenses. Jeff Brohm took the Purdue job yesterday, and quickly devolved from ‘offensive genius’ to ‘idiot’ in my brain. This should still be fun. CRUNK RATING: 6/10.
Wednesday, December 21
Poinsettia Bowl: BYU vs. Wyoming, 9 pm: And just like that, we get the other Miami Brawl team…and, unlike Memphis, they’re still known as the dirtiest in football. Craig Bohl has engineered a crazy turnaround for Wyoming, who is certifiably fun to watch. And…weird mountain folk in sunny Southern California. Sign me up. CRUNK RATING: 7/10
Thursday, December 22
Idaho Potato Bowl: Colorado State vs. Idaho, 7 pm: Idaho is the first team to get relegated from FBS BACK to FCS, which makes this bowl appearance downright amazing. And hey look! Mike Bobo, Georgia’s coach in 2019! CRUNK RATING: 3/10, but probably the most exciting bowl to date for Georgia fans, because some of our fanbase is sad.
Friday, December 23
Bahamas Bowl: Eastern Michigan vs. Old Dominion, 1pm: Still sponsored by Popeyes? Check. Two teams who haven’t played a bowl game in my lifetime (EMU last did so in 1987)? Check. Points? Probably. CRUNK RATING: 4/10
Armed Forces Bowl: Louisiana Tech vs. Navy, 4:30pm: Two bad defenses, two hella fun offenses (I actually watched the CUSA championship between La Tech and WKU, it was delightful). Navy is what Georgia Tech wishes they were. CRUNK RATING: 6/10
Dollar General Bowl: Troy vs. Ohio, 8pm: Troy famously almost beat Clemson, and coach Neal Brown will be coming to a middling SEC program near you in the next two years (hey, Mississippi schools). MAC teams have no appeal to me, though, so… CRUNK RATING: 1/10
Saturday, December 24
Hawai’i Bowl: Hawai’i vs. Middle Tennessee, 8pm: By my count, this is the third bowl game that gets a ‘home’ team, joining New Mexico and Idaho. Those exotic Mountain West destination bowls, man. Speaking of destination bowls, Middle Tennessee fans got Bahamas last year and Hawai’i this year. That’s good living. You’ll be eggnog and bourbon drunk for this one, which automatically boosts the CRUNK RATING to like, a generous 6/10?
Monday, December 26
HEY, A COUPLE OF P5 TEAMS!
(Sees BC/Maryland matchup)
St. Pete Bowl: Miami (OH) vs. Mississippi State, 11am: Worth noting only because Mississippi State was the 5-7 academic stalwart who got to go bowling this year. Read that again. CRUNK RATING: 3/10
QuickLane Bowl: Maryland vs. Boston College, 2:30pm: KILL IT WITH FIRE! Unless you want to appreciate Vine legend Steve Addazio, which you want to do. All of the dudes.
(Steve Addazio is the new mascot for this website.) CRUNK RATING: 4/10
Independence Bowl: N.C. State vs. Vanderbilt, 5:30pm: Oh, Shreveport. Your casinos are better than one would expect. CRUNK RATING: 5/10, because this is always a weird game.
Tuesday, December 27
Dallas Bowl: Army vs. North Texas, noon: Hands-down, the worst bowl on this list. Athlon agrees with me. You need a good excuse to watch this one. CRUNK RATING: 0.5/10, unless you were in the army.
Military Bowl: #24 Temple vs. Wake Forest, 3:30pm: The Clawfense vs. a very good Temple team? Yeah, Temple is going to roll. CRUNK RATING: 3/10 as a nod to our first ranked bowl participant.
Holiday Bowl: Minnesota vs. Washington State, 7pm: I’m here for Mike Leach stylin’ on a B1G team. CRUNK RATING: 6/10.
Cactus Bowl: Boise State vs. Baylor, 10:15pm: I’m here for Baylor losing their 7th straight game, because they went from really fun national contender to rape cover-uppers in about 9 months. And they still want Art Briles back as coach. Over/under at 3.5 coaches for Baylor, a la Georgia’s bowl game last year. CRUNK RATING: 7/10 because both teams are fun without any aforementioned context.
Summary, part 1:
This is why people say there are too many bowls. 20 games, 1 ranked team, 9 P5 teams. Yuck.
Definitely watch games: Vegas Bowl (San Diego State vs. Houston)
Maybe watch games: Anything above you have a morbid interest in viewing, or family holiday escapes.
Don’t watch games: most of them.
At least its not Shreveport!
Georgia’s disappointing first season under Kirby Smart will end up in a disappointing location (Memphis) against a disappointing opponent (TCU) in a disappointing time slot (noon). Can the Dawgs salvage anything and get the way-too-real ‘bowl bump’ into next year’s preseason top 25?
TCU was considered a darkhorse CFP contender before the season. Then, Gary Patterson’s defense straight up broke, Kenny Hill was Kenny Hill (decidedly NOT Kenny Trill), and the explosive offense of Trevone Boykin’s heyday seemed a distant memory.
In 2014, the Horned Frogs made a surprise run to CFP contention, likely missing out only because the Big XII failed to declare them or Baylor champions. Their scoring margin was a ridiculous 46.5-19.0. After slight regression in 2015, they collapsed to 31.7-27.8 this year. They had two ‘complete’ performances, both in November: a 62-22 cathartic rout at Baylor, and a Charlie Strong-killing 31-9 win at Texas. Each win was followed with a home loss in which the Horned Frogs scored exactly 6 points.
To say this team is bipolar is a stretch– they’re just not very good. They gave up 41 points to South Dakota St., lost to Texas Tech, only beat Kansas by 1, and suffered three blowout losses (WVU, Oklahoma St., Kansas St.). The losses of Boykin and Josh Dotcson slowed what was a devastating offense, and Patterson’s 3-3-5 defense finally succumbed to being a Big XII defense.
Doug Meachem and Sonny Cumbie are co-OC’s, and come from the now-cliche Baylor coaching tree. TCU likes to spread it out and create mismatches in space, pretty much the M.O. for any
Baylor coaching tree Big XII offense. Their iteration relies on a dual-threat quarterback who is accurate and efficient, which Kenny Hill is not. The ex-Texas A&M Heisman candidate completed 61% of his passes–decent, not great– but threw 13 interceptions to 15 TD’s. Dominick Sanders and the secondary should be able to turn him over a couple of times.
He was better on the ground, averaging right at 5 yards per carry in tandem with Kyle Hicks, who wasn’t super-explosive compared to backs past. He also averaged 5 yards per carry, but wasn’t particularly efficient or explosive. The Frogs do have four other backs who will get touches, including freshmen Darius Anderson and Sino Oloniula, both of whom averaged at least 8 (!) yards per touch.
The receiving corps is also just a bunch of dudes, as only Hicks and leading receiver Taj Williams averaged over 3 catches per game. True to
Baylor offense form, they spread the ball out a ton, just not very effectively.
The advantage here goes to Georgia, as they should be able to condense the field against a not-very-vertical passing offense with the most talented D TCU has faced this year.
Like I said, probably Patterson’s worst. There are some names that I recognize from years past still roaming the field, notably DE Josh Carraway (12 TFL, 8 sacks), LB Travin Howard (125 tackles), and DB’s Nick Orr and Denzel Johnson. Carraway is an NFL talent, Johnson is a box safety who helped TCUs run D not fall off the map– they only gave up 4.1 yards per carry.
Opponent passer rating has crept up since an anomalous 2011 season (130+). Besides that year, 2016 represents Patterson’s WORST pass defense, as they recovered from ’11 to go 115, 108, 106, 112…and up to 127 this year. If Jacob Eason can find intermediate routes early, it will open room for Chubb and the boys to do work on the ground, and Riley Ridley et al to find holes downfield. Actually, I’ll go ahead and call that the key to making this a Georgia blowout versus a close win: the intermediate passing game early.
Advantage Georgia here, again. Think a North Carolina or Missouri-level defense, with a month to prepare.
I’m not breaking this down. Instead, I will give you the biggest joy to watch in this matchup, college football’s sweatiest man Gary Patterson.
Recall, if you will, the magic of Gary’s immaculate sweat. In last year’s Alamo Bowl, Patterson changed shirts out of necessity (or maybe superstition, but that’s a hindsight call and thus not applicable) down 31-0 against Oregon. In what was the best comeback I’ve ever seen, TCU stormed back behind Gary’s purple shirt and beat Oregon 45-38 in OT.
So, yeah. This is a blah matchup to cap off a blah season. As long as it doesn’t resemble Georgia’s last Liberty Bowl, we’re good right?