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GBH Bowl WATCHLIST: January 1st, 2016

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Happy New Year. Indulge in some great football. Here's what, how, and why to watch.

happy new years six y'all
happy new years six y'all
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Well, it's Clemson and Alabama in the title, game but there's till plenty to be excited about. Like Stanford-Iowa...and Northwestern-Tennessee. Don't make that face. Stop it.

Friday, January 1st

Outback Bowl : Northwestern vs. Tennessee 11:00 am ESPN2 / WatchESPN
Citrus Bowl : Florida vs. Michigan 12:00 pm ABC / espn3
Fiesta Bowl : Notre Dame vs. Ohio State 12:00 pm ESPN / WatchESPNespn3 Skycam
Rose Bowl : Iowa vs. Stanford 4:00 pm ESPN / WatchESPNespn3 Skycam
Sugar Bowl : Oklahoma State vs. Ole Miss 7:30 pm ESPN / WatchESPNespn3 Skycam

Outback Bowl

by Rush

Northwestern v. Tennessee
11 a.m. | ESPN

The Outback Bowl has started. Here are things we know about the Outback Bowl:

  • It pits a medium-range SEC team (usually from the East) against a grateful B1G team that descends upon Tampa in hordes, imagining that it is a paradise on Earth.
  • Every year I yearn for Outback to add in some celebrity cameo commercials, but alas.
  • The greatest bowl-themed podcast song ever was about this game two years ago.'
  • It's generally a good way to kick off the full slate of bowl games on NYD.

Tennessee came close to winning a lot of games, and Northwestern quietly did win a lot of games. Both of these teams are ranked. Butch Jones and Pat Fitzgerald are a pair of pretty intense dudes who probably got in an uber-competitive round of mini golf this weekend. Both teams like to get dramatic in the second half, so it's really not a big deal that this preview is late. Right? Guys?

Citrus Bowl

by oscarwildecat
Florida vs. Michigan
12:00PM | ABC

Do you like old school football? Do you like teams that "play defense", "hit hard" and "wrap up"? Do you like watching Michigan State vs. Alabama, only if it was sent through a copier several hundred times, jettisoned all playmakers, and turned into a sepia-tinged piece of kindling? Do you like watching offenses that may spontaneously cause the paint in your living room begin to peel?

THEN COME GET SOME OF THIS.

Fun fact: The over/under is 39! (Take the under)

Jim Harbaugh in Year 1 is proof positive what force of personality, managerial competence, and batshit insanity can bring to a program as his Wolverines are looking to reach the 10 win plateau, despite starting a rotating group of ACE Hardware stockers at quarterback for most of the year. Florida brings a frightening defensive line, and incredible secondary, and an offensive attack that makes Jake Spavital look like the love child of Tom Landry and Knute Rockne.

The teams have been staying in magical Orlando, Florida, where somehow a 65,000 seat football stadium exists for the sole purpose of this game, an annual Monster Truck Monster Jam*, and hosting Orlando City SC MLS games.**

*This is factual.
** Average attendance: probably not very many.

So, if Notre Dame and Ohio St. get kind of boring, and your father in law passes out on the couch, and you can't really watch Northwestern/Tennessee anymore, and Iowa/Stanford hasn't quite kicked off, and a nap just isn't happening - then GET YOUR ASS OVER TO THE CITRUS BOWL ON ABC HOOOOOOOOOOOOOBOY.

Fiesta Bowl

by Jimmy
Ohio State vs. Notre Dame
12 PM | ESPN

señor! señor! ¿cómo se dice UNION TRASH LIT ON MD 2020 en espanol?

It's a Fiesta, gang!

Let's unpack a few things to get primed for this game:

1. Ohio State is the best team in the B1G. This is even more clear after watching Michigan State get turned into a Saban Hemorrhoid Pad (tm) last night in Arlington. Yes, Sparty beat tOSU, but if those teams play 10 times, the Buckeyes are winning eight.
2. The fact that Notre Dame is even here is kind of a miracle. I've had my beefs n' qualms (Irish dish) with Brian Kelly over the years, but that stumpy, angry Irish caricature coached his ass off this season. Injury after injury after injury to key starters has plagued ND, but the Irish kept grinding to a 10 win season. Hell, they were a couple plays away in tough road games from being in the Playoff.
3. These fan bases hate each other. If you don't have Midwest roots, it's easy to think the main rivalries are between Ohio State-Michigan, Michigan-Michigan State, and Michigan-Notre Dame. While the Irish and Buckeyes rarely play, this thing is teeming in hatred. Both behave like they invented college football. Ohio State has propped up the B1G for years and has much more recent success than ND. Meanwhile, ND loves toying with the B1G. ND KNOWS that the B1G would always take them in, but they love to stay independent. Bitches.
4. Midwesterners get LIT and TOASTY. There's more than a couple Buckeyes and Irish kids sitting in Arizona jails right now. Some might be in border towns. Last night probably went off the rails for many. Not because it was New Year's Eve, but because it was Thursday. These fans are going to drink the University of Phoenix Online Stadium dry of booze. Happy New Year!
5. Urban Meyer secretly loves Notre Dame. He was a young assistant in South Bend once and has often described it as his dream job.
6. Buckeye Tuxedos! Fat, pasty, boorish, loud oafs will be wearing their Sunday best - an XXXXL Ohio State jersey (#69 - nice), cargo jeans, Timberland boots, a pack of Kools, a hoodie that reads LIQUOR IN THE FRONT, POKER IN THE REAR, and a pocket square made out of a pink slip from the scrap metal store.

This is going to be a really, really fun game between two teams that are probably good enough to play with anyone in the country. GO IRISH.

Rose Bowl

by Shooter Flatch
Iowa vs Stanford
January 1 | 4:00 pm CST | ESPN

Are you hungover?  Tipsy again because you're smart enough to retox on New Years Day while watching bowl games?  Yeah, me too.  The Rose Bowl is perfect for this afternoon.  You don't have to work tomorrow.  You're eating, drinking, and trying to remember why your thumb hurts so bad this morning and why is there so much blood in the sink and oh yeah those damn sparklers are really hot once they are inside your pants.  But settle into your couch/recliner and let the beauty of Southern California wash over you from Pasadena.  The imagery really is amazing for this one.  The mountains.  The setting sun on the West Coast.  The drunken Iowa fan getting handsy with the future dotcom CEO from Stanford.  Iowa and Stanford aren't college football "royalty" which is why you can enjoy this one without having to worry too much who wins (just as long as Stanford covers the 6 points amiright?!).  We are now down to a handful of college football games, so kick back, pour a mid afternoon Bloody Mary and just soak in some of the best pageantry the sport can offer.

Sugar Bowl

by Rush
Oklahoma State vs. Ole Miss
7:30 p.m. | ESPN

Let it be written: a decree that these teams play every six years in a New Year bowl. They squared off in the 2004 and 2010 Cotton Bowls, and both of those were so damn good that they're taking their show on the road to New Orleans. These are two of the most unpredictable, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants teams playing in America's oldest city of sin. It's waking up to a dream and beginning 2016 in the most perfect way imaginable: two teams that have shown over the past two years that they really can beat anyone trying to beat hell out of each other. Gundy and Freeze are two of the craftiest anglers in the coaching ranks and tonight they're going to be spinning lures and testing lines like Sam Quint on LSD. This is indulgent football played in a place and time where indulgence is openly embraced.

It's gonna be fun.