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GBH Bowl WATCHLIST Part Four: Opposites Attract

The meat of the bowl schedule includes your favorite leftovers.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

You should have taken this whole week off. I know I should have. Everyone should have. Only when we as a nation officially recognize Bowl Week can we truly understand the essence of the Founding Fathers' philosophy.


Monday, December 28th
Military Bowl : Navy vs. Pittsburgh 1:30 pm ESPN / WatchESPN
Quick Lane Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Minnesota 4:00 pm ESPN2 / WatchESPN
Tuesday, December 29th
Armed Forces Bowl : Air Force vs. California 1:00 pm ESPN / WatchESPN
Russell Athletic Bowl : Baylor vs. North Carolina 4:30 pm ESPN / WatchESPNespn3 Skycam
Arizona Bowl: Colorado State vs. Nevada 6:30 pm MASN / CSCA / MWC Video / ASN (affiliates)
Texas Bowl : LSU vs. Texas Tech 8:00 pm ESPN / WatchESPNespn3 Skycam

Take a long lunch. Rediscover nature on a park bench with your ESPN app.

Military Bowl

by Rush
Navy vs. Pittsburgh
December 28th  |  1 PM  |  ESPN

Not to be confused with the ARMED FORCES BOWL which airs on the same channel at the same time the very next day and is also sponsored by a defense contractor.

This is a banner year for the Military Bowl because it's the first time in four years that a service academy has actually played in it. Naming things so specifically is always a gamble. The 2015 showdown features a pair of teams from the Northeast that wear navy blue and gold and routinely lose to Notre Dame.

You could put this game in a time capsule and predict a 7-6 final score and still not know what century was being referenced when the capsule's dug up several millennium from now. In another hundred years it's possible that Navy will feature robots, while Pitt will still play in a stadium named after ketchup. What a beautiful and timeless sport.

Quick Lane Bowl

by Rush

Minnesota vs. Central Michigan
December 28th  |  4 PM  |  ESPN2

Minnesota was once a valiant and tough team that pounded out a #GRITTY close loss to TCU on opening night and then eked out a 3-1 September before running into what we'll call here for creativity's sake "the Northwestern buzzsaw." Hey. They won 10 games.

Goldy is another of those 5-7 teams that "don't belong in a bowl game" "too many bowls" "harumph harumph." Just ask Nebraska if that was motivation for them. No really, as them. Mike Reilly is such a nice guy he has set up a toll-free holiday phone bank and oh shucks sure we'll tell you how to glaze that New Year's ham while we're at it.

Minnesota lost to Nebraska, who was 5-7 but beat UCLA in their bowl game. During the course of the year, UCLA beat Virginia who beat Syracuse who beat Central Michigan. Ergo, Central Michigan will win this game 7-5.

Armed Forces Bowl

by Shooter Flatch
California vs Air Force
December 29th1:00 pm CST | ESPN

They should just rename this thing the Contra Bowl for 2015.  Not sure you can find two football programs, and universities, that are more diametrically opposed to each other.

The Ying: California Golden Bears.  Berkeley, California.  Long known as the bastion of liberalism and free thinking, Cal Berkeley is home to your sportos, motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, and dickheads.  For the last 50 years, Cal has made the people in Austin seem like straight laced conservatives by comparison.  As for the football, the team is led by Sonny Dykes, a longtime disciple of the Hal Mumme-Mike Leach air raid coaching family.  Cal is a throw first offense all the way, throwing the ball 56% of the time.  And they do it well, averaging the 4th most passing yards per game in the NCAA this year.

The Yang: Air Force Falcons.  Colorado Springs, Colorado.  One of our armed forces service academies and home to the Air Force Academy.  If you have long hair, that means you're head isn't shaved to the scalp.  Famous graduates include Colonel Ted Masters, Doug Masters, and Colonel Charles "Chappy" Sinclair.  The Falcons are coached by Troy Calhoun, a former QB for the Air Force Academy.  They run the triple option.  Which is to say they run the ball.  A lot.  More than anyone else actually.  Air Force ran the ball 763 times this year, more than any other team.  And managed to only throw it 155 times through 13 games.  For you non-math wizzes, that's running the ball 59 times per game, compared to 12 pass attempts per game.

Watch this game simply to enjoy two vastly different offensive philosophies take each other on.

Russell Athletic Bowl

by oscarwildecat
Baylor vs. North Carolina
December 29th4:30PM | ESPN

Sometimes the Bowl System, though often maligned, just works. While every year produces a number of incredibly random matchups, the viewers are occasionally rewarded with tantalizing prizefights, featuring two evenly-matched adversaries.

Take, for example, North Carolina and Baylor.

The University of North Carolina is located in gorgeous Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The Tar Heels beautiful campus is dominated by two central quads, and several masterworks of 19th century architecture. Similarly, Baylor is located in Waco, a city that has been besieged by numerous other Texas cities mainly on account of its blight.

Academically, UNC is a top 25 institution across the board, and known for one of the finest public educations in the United States. Baylor is a private institution, but still manages to accept almost 95% of applicants, showing their inclusionary belief system runs all the way down to the 4th quarter of your high school.

On the gridiron, Carolina has been mediocre historically, but still produced a handful of All-Americans, and over 30 bowl appearances while playing in picturesque Kenan Memorial Stadium. Baylor, while playing football for almost 120 years in the most talent-rich state in the country, has made it to "7 major bowl games", according to their Wikipedia. Also, their stadium looks like an incredibly well outfitted latrine.

This year's Carolina team is led by College Station's own Larry Fedora, a man known for his tireless work ethic, prolific spread offenses, and incredible abs. Baylor is coached by Art Briles, who is mainly noted for his acerbic personality, odd hairline, shady strength and conditioning program, and poor sartorial choices.

When the game ends, Carolina fans will return to Roy Williams, basketball season, and the hopes of a glorious North Carolina spring. Baylor fans will mainly try to avoid the potent stench that only Lake Waco and Scott Drew combine to produce.

Truly, for these two bulwarks of the international education system, this game will be like staring into a mirror.

Arizona Bowl

by James
Colorado State vs. Nevada
December 29th6:30 PM CST | TV: NO ONE KNOWS!

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Where were we? Ah yes, the Mountain West regular season lives on! Nevada and Colorado State are meeting in Tucson for a league game that means nothing for league standings and even less in the scope of bowls. LET'S GET LIT. The Travel Channel ranked Reno-to-Tucson as the "Best Prison Transfer on a Budget" in 2015. High praise.

The Nevada Wolfpack are trying to recapture some of their Pistol Offense lore that they invented under retired coach Chris Ault. Of late, the Nevada pistol has been only shot out one of those sheets from old time movies that reads "BANG!". Unsatisfying. When men of Reno are having a hard time performing with their pistols, they head south to Arizona with a keystered baggy of Viagra and ludes to troll Ground Zero for American cougars. When life gives you lemons, make disgusting leathery love. That's just what Nevada will try to do under former Aggie coach Brian Polian.

Also - BOBO! The Colorado State Rams are led by former Georgia genius/scapegoat Mike Bobo. So that's something. Expect fireworks and a dramatic chanting of MOUN-TAIN WEST MOUN-TAIN WEST MOUN-TAIN WEST in the final minutes of this barn burner. Conference pride is the glue that binds hate-filled families together during the holidays.


by Chuck


Can Kliff Kingsbury's gatling gun pass offense overwhelm an LSU defense distracted by talk of players entering the NFL draft? Can Tech's road hump defense slow down Leonard Fournette? Who knows. Probably. Maybe not. Whatever.

Listen, Red Raiders. You are the kings of west Texas. Your mascot rides a horse, you fire pretend six-shooters in the air, and your campus smells like a feed lot. You are the last cowboys, and you've won a grudging respect from your peers for defending that image. But then you let a bunch of cajuns just waltz in to Texas and beat you in a damned rodeo competition.

No one thought you had a chance walking in to this thing, but now it doesn't matter. You lost before the first whistle blew. Now come back, Kliff.