We’re in it now, folks. Monday afternoon bowl games featuring teams from the winter heartland frolicking in southern Florida. You may resort to watching college football during business hours in a tiny window on your second monitor, or perhaps on your phone in a secluded section of the office. There’s college ball on every single day this week.
MIAMI BEACH BOWL
Central Michigan vs. Tulsa
Monday, 1:30 p.m. | ESPN
Can a team from northern Oklahoma have their season absolutely crushed by a fluke illegal play twice by the Chippewas in one year? SPOILER: some would argue Tulsa's already had their hopes crushed in this game since they're playing their bowl in a financially disastrous monstrosity of a baseball stadium built as an homage to modern art. At least this time when some Hurricanes lose in Miami the fans won't take out their frustrations with cocaine binges, various illegal trafficking throughout the Caribbean, and real-estate ponzi schemes.
Boca Raton Bowl
Memphis vs. Western Kentucky
Tuesday, December 20th | 6:00 PM | ESPN
"You think you could keep us out of Florida? We're moving in lock, stock, and barrel. We're gonna be in the pool. We're gonna be in the clubhouse. We're gonna be all over that shuffleboard court! And I dare you to keep me out." - Frank Costanza, preparing a move to Del Boca Vista.
Gang, when I was tasked with previewing the Boca Raton Bowl, I started convulsing. I've spent more time than I care to admit in Boca. The people are loud. They're showy with money (see: creative debt). It's hot and crowded. If you threw Plano on a beach, you'd have Boca Raton. This game is not only being televised by ESPN, it's OWNED by ESPN. You're damn right the mob owns the entire supply chain. You best not fuss or you'll be served another episode of SportsNation.
We'll be treated to Memphis and West Tucky in the house that Lane Kiffin now occupies. Boca Raton literally translates to "Rat's Mouth" which is a little on-the-nose with Kiffin if you ask me. No matter. Memphis and Tucky are going to put up a trillion points in front of two dozen cranky retirees. TAKE THE OVER then saunter down to Miami for some real gambling on Jai Alai.
BYU vs. Wyoming
Wednesday December 21st | 8:00pm | ESPN
December the 21st. It's tricky - most relatives haven't arrived yet, and the true last-minute shopping panic hasn't really hit - so reward yourself, put the children to bed, find that good bottle of bourbon you've been saving, and watch BYU and Wyoming go at it.
Come for Kalani Sitake in his maiden head coaching voyage, stay for Craig Bohl and his pro-style wizardry. Come for BYU's classic blue and white color scheme, stay for the Cowboys mustard & shit sandwich combination terrorizing the saturation hue setting on your debt-fueled HD television.
Most of all, do NOT react in triumph when the over/under hits 57. Your significant other has most certainly stumbled across vegasinsider.com on your phone and does not approve. Calmly find the bourbon, pour a bit in celebration, sit back, and let the warmth of bowl season envelop you like Taysom Hill's 17th year of eligibility.
Idaho Potato Bowl
Colorado State vs. Idaho
Thursday, December 22nd | 6 p.m. | ESPN
Popeyes Bahamas Bowl
Eastern Michigan vs. Old Dominion
Friday, December 23rd | 12 p.m. | ESPN
This game is the penultimate cross-section of North America as represented by the college football postseason:
- Old Dominion isn't really that old. Sure, it sounds like one of those prestigious schools that the founding fathers attended and that was built in the 1600s by the King of England's Quaker cousin or something. But it's just a spinoff of William & Mary that was opened in 1930, tacked on distance learning to their program, and is now one of the largest schools in the State of Virginia. It's one of those schools that sounds good at basketball so you always pick them on your bracket, but they've only played football since 2009.
- Eastern Michigan is located in Ypsilanti, home of the World's Most Phallic Building, which is what they drink their water out of. Ypsilanti is not only fun to say, it also basically serves as a de facto wind/snow/ice buffer between Lake Erie and The University of Michigan just upriver in Ann Arbor. They're also able to boast that they are batting 1.000 in their bowl history. They've appeared in one bowl game throughout their existence: the 1987 California Bowl, in which they upset 17.5-point favorite San Jose State. The Eagles' current offensive line and wide receivers coaches were in elementary school at the time.
- Popeye's represents Louisiana cooking on a national scale in the way no other food chain does. It's the gateway to a whole region of culinary culture for hordes of northern Americans who think mayonnaise is a staple and who's eyes water if someone opens a jar of paprika. It's Southern and it's comfort food but it's a bit of spice and dazzle from the melting pot of New Orleans too. And now it's sponsoring a bowl game in the gol-danged Caribbean.
- Nassau used to be an exclusive getaway for the wealthy, now every low-rate cruise package stops over there to disengorge bloated masses of tourists. It's the perfect destination if you love awkward colonialist history intermingled with your beach paradise. You get to grab a red-eye out of Florida and pretend you're in an outpost of the British Empire complete with every comfort of home. Doesn't get much more American than that.
And this beautiful bowl game has brought all of that together. Enjoy your Christmas Eve Eve.
Armed Forces Bowl
Navy vs. Louisiana Tech
Friday, December 23 | 3:30 p.m. | ESPN
Armed Forces Bowl cheatsheet
|Cuisine||shit on a styrofoam plate||shit on a shingle|
|Famous Alums||Kix Brooks, Joey Greco, Terry Bradshaw||Jimmy Carter, John McCain, David Robinson|
|Biggest Victory||beat Bama in 1999||Battle of Midway in 1942|
|Preferred Camouflage Garment||RealTree boxer-briefs||none|
|Featured Watercraft||Uncle Jack's new Nitro Z21 bass boat||USS Enterprise|
|Coaching Hiring Preference||sons of retired coaching legends||innovative offensive minds|
Dollar General Bowl
Ohio vs. Troy
Friday, December 23rd | 7 p.m. | ESPN
Hawaii vs Middle Tennessee
Saturday, December 24th | 7:00 pm | ESPN
I feel like this bowl game presents an opportunity to educate ourselves about two of the lesser known universities out there in the college football galaxy.
Honolulu and Murfreesboro are both located in the United States. And that's about the only thing these two places have in common. Honolulu is located on a beautiful island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and is home to incredible surfing, majestic tropical mountains, and breathtaking golf courses. Murfreesboro is home to the World's Largest Cedar Bucket. Honolulu is known for its amazing Polynesian culture and history with the arts and music. Murfreesboro is the hometown of the extreme metal, mathcore (WTF?) band The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza. (Please take a few minutes to peruse that wiki site, because the list of groups that the TDTE have toured with is high comedy.)
As for the two football teams, this will be the Rainbow Warriors 23rd bowl game dating back to 1936. Of those, 21 have been played in Hawaii including the Hawaii Bowl, Oahu Bowl, Aloha Bowl, Pineapple Bowl and Poi Bowl. Which reminds me, if you ever order the Poi Bowl from Panda Express, don't stray too far from a restroom for a few hours afterward. Since the Blue Raiders joined the FBS ranks they have played in The Motor City Bowl, The New Orleans Bowl, the GoDaddy Bowl, the Armed Forces Bowl, the Bahamas Bowl, and now the Hawaii Bowl. They are basically a Potato Bowl and Independence Bowl appearance away from completing the Shit-Bowl-Yahtzee.
If I gave you the names Nick Rolovich and Rick Stockstill, would you assume they were (A) The two head coaches in this bowl game or (B) The character names of the two stars of the TV show "Detroit Detectives" that aired from 1973-1975?
By the time this game hits halftime, my kids will be in bed and I'll be 3 scotches in doing my best to put together some last minute Santa gift while keeping one eye on the over in this game. Merry Christmas!