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GBH Bowl Previews: Saturday, December 16th

Put on your camo Snuggies and settle in for some obscure bowl games

AutoNation Cure Bowl - Georgia State v San Jose State Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Good afternoon. If you’re actively engaged in reading this, you are already aware that bowl games begin tomorrow. It’s our pleasure to once again attempt to preview every single one of the 732 bowls that will occur over the next few weeks.

New Orleans Bowl


Noon | ESPN

“... I tried to end our little duel. I called out pacifying words; I entreated; I finally surrendered. Still Clyde came, my pirate costume so great a success that it had apparently convinced him that we were back in the golden days of romantic old New Orleans when gentlemen decided matters of hot dog honor at twenty paces”

—John Kennedy Toole

It's a tradition like no other: ESPN fires their first ragged salvo of BOWL ACTION at us the Saturday before the last full work week leading up to the Holidays. It’s an honor the New Orleans Bowl does not take lightly. [puts on decrepit reading glasses] I can distinctly remember the inaugural NOB in 2001 because 2017 participant North Texas made it there with a losing record by virtue of winning their conference. Then got blown out by Colorado State. That's what it's all about: STORYLINES. This year these two teams can both boast about beating a pair of college football's most resurgent teams: Troy over LSU in Baton Rouge and North Texas' shootout win over a nine-win Army squad. True bowl season has surely arrived when you can kick back on a Saturday at noon, listen to some ESPN third-tier announcers, and revel in the beautiful array of multicolored empty seats in the Superdome. Like Christmas lights for the desperate football soul.

It's early for New Orleans. Fans may be a bit sluggish filing into their seats in the hazy morning florescence. The teams may be a bit off-cycle and take some time to get humming. But for a couple of beautiful hours, the hushed and cavernous reaches of the Superdome will be the only act in the spotlight of the college football universe until the next bowls kick off to distract us all with their shine and pageantry. (Talkin’ ‘bout The Cure Bowl on CBSSN, natch.) It doesn't matter who wins this game, just as long as it's there to ease us into three weeks of bowl gluttony decadence purgatory uh, games. Troy is the conventional pick here, but North Texas has the kind of potent offense you should never sleep on in bowl games. [Hey, wake up. WAKE UP.] Pour a splash of something into your coffee, furiously smash a doughnut and pretend it's a beignet, and let this Sun Belt/C-USA jazz flow through you.

The Cure Bowl

by Chuck

1:30 p.m. | CBSSN

Championship football is built on sound fundamentals, controlling the trenches on both sides of the football, and proper game management. But man cannot survive on championship football alone.

You only need to know one thing to understand why you should watch this game. In 2017, the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers ran for 66.1 yards per game - and S&P has them ranked as the better rushing attack in this game. Welcome to the Cure Bowl, where running the ball will be a vestigial activity, a mysterious evolutionary holdover like the hiccups or how you can't piss and sneeze at the same time. You don't know why you do it, and it's not a voluntary action, but you do it all the same and look silly in the process. The aerial attacks from both teams are certainly more prolific, but don't expect to be amazed at how gracefully they clear that low bar.

Anyone who tells you there is no reason to watch this game probably also feels that the NFL is better than college football, sous vide is the only way to cook steak, and Europeans with well trimmed mustaches taking turns in F1 cars around a track are more fun to watch than rednecks on truck-stop amphetamines taking open wheel cars sideways down a dirt track. So crack a high life and put this baby on while you sit down to wrap Christmas presents in copies of the Greensheet that you boosted from outside the Citgo.

Or to let The Cure Bowl's namesake put it:

Show me show me show me you won't do that trick

The one where you run the ball, she said

The one where the clock still runs, she said

And only throw the ball instead

Show me you won't do it

And I promise you, I promise that

I'll be drunk before 2

And I'm in love with you

Las Vegas Bowl


2:30 p.m. | ABC

It's the team with the unwatchable field versus the team with the unwatchable uniforms, played out on the world's largest craps table!

For the second straight time, Boise State will be facing off against an Oregon squad with a new head coach (the recently promoted Mario Cristobal). The last time these two teams met, in 2009, it was the head coaching debut of one Charles Edward Kelly. After looking up Charles Kelly on Wikipedia and landing on a disambiguation page, I discovered that the football coach Charles Kelly is not in fact a glue-huffing illiterate, despite his dependence on using incomprehensible signs to call in plays.


It also states that Kelly was most recently employed as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, a stint that lasted only one year due to the team's miserable 2-14 record. Amazingly, since that debacle, Kelly has been hired as the head coach of the UCLA Bruins, a program so steeped in mediocrity that it was relegated to hiring its second consecutive failed NFL coach. Here's hoping that Kelly can make the best of his second chance and win more than two games at his new job.

But back to the Las Vegas Bowl. (And, yes, it's just the "Las Vegas Bowl" this year. No Maaco! No Royal Purple!). On offense, Boise State is led primarily by quarterback Brett Rypien, nephew of former Washington (not that one, the other one) quarterback Mark Rypien, who is not to be confused with his successor, Gus Frerotte, who famously injured himself celebrating a touchdown by headbutting the Jack Kent Cooke Stadium wall.

Oregon's offense this season has been anchored by Royce Freeman--the same Royce Freeman you may remember as one arm of the Death Blossom that was the 2014 Oregon offense, which amassed 8205 yards... mostly against Florida State in the Rose Bowl.

Neither defense is particularly stout, so we'll likely see a decent amount of points put on the board. However, if the game devolves into a defensive standoff, be prepared for a Bingo card's worth of Rece Davis references to Oceans 11, "trickeration," the LeGarrette Blount-Byron Hout punch, famous Vegas boxing matches, and "our good friend Brent Musberger."

New Mexico Bowl


3:30 p.m. | ESPN

An old man named Davie was sitting alone in his coaching lodge by the side of a frozen stream. It was the close of winter, and his fire was almost out. He appeared very old and very desolate. His locks were white with age, and he trembled in every joint. Day after day passed in solitude, and he heard nothing but the sounds of the tempest, sweeping before it the new-fallen snow.

One day as his fire was just dying, a handsome young man approached and entered his dwelling. His cheeks were red with the blood of youth; his eyes sparkled with life, and a smile played upon his lips. His name was Bobo. He walked with a light and quick step. His forehead was bound with a wreath of sweet headset, in place of the warrior’s frontlet, and he carried a bunch of fade routes in his hand.

He then drew from his sack a curiously-wrought antique pipe, and having filled it with Colorado grass, rendered hypnotic by an admixture of certain dried leaves and peyote, he handed it to young Bobo. When this ceremony was attended to, they began to speak.

“I blow my breath,” said the old man, “and the streams stand still. The water becomes stiff and hard as clear stone.”

“I breathe,” said the young Bobo, “and I receive unearned salary raises for predictable mediocrity.”

“I shake my locks,” retorted the old Davie, “and snow covers the land. The offenses sputter at my command, and my breath blows them away. The birds rise from the water and fly to a distant land. The animals hide themselves from the glance of my eye, and the dealers at the local casino must hit on soft 17s.”

“I shake my ringlets,” rejoined the young Bobo, “and warm showers of wheel routes fall on the earth. The Finebaums lift up their heads out of the ground like the eyes of children glistening with delight. My voice recalls the Georgia. The warmth of my breath unlocks the streams. Hot takes fill the groves wherever I walk, and all nature welcomes my approach.”

At length the sun begun to rise. A gentle warmth came over the shithole Albuquerque stadium. The tongue of the old Davie became silent. The robin and the blue-bird began to sing on the top of the ESPN truck. The stream began to murmur by the door, and the fragrance of growing herbs and cannabis came softly on the vernal breeze like a venereal disease.

Daylight fully revealed to the young Bobo the character of his entertainer. Nothing remained on the place of his lodge-fire but the mis-kodeed, a stack of indian casino chips, which the young visitor, Rod Gilmore, the Spirit of Spring, placed in the wreath upon his brow, as his first trophy in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.

Ed. Note: they really oughta make the football field at the stadium look like a Navajo rug:

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl

by Shooter Flatch

7:00 CST - ESPN

Arkansas State vs Middle Tennessee

Karma, Karma, Karma, Karma Camellia

You come and Bowl, you come and Boooowwl

Gambling would be easy if you knew which way to lean

Red Wolves are the team, Red Wolves are the teeeeeam

Culture Club will always be known first and foremost for their #1 hit Karma Chameleon, but their best two singles were released on the prior album Kissing to Be Clever. "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me" and "Time (Clock of the Heart)" still hold up really well, especially if you want to drink gin and dance around your living room in your pajamas on a Wednesday night. Oh, would you like some actual football analysis of this game? Patience my friend, it all intertwines. Let's look at the lyrics to "Clock of the Heart"...

Don't put your head on my shoulder

Sink me in a river of tears

This could be the best place yet

But you must overcome your fears

Ooh in time it could have been so much more

The time is precious I know

It's hard to talk yourself into betting the under in college football these days. So many potent offenses, and very few capable defenses. An under game can look like a lock, but then overtime could kill your bet. It is time to overcome those fears. It's the bowl season, let's get wacky. The total here is 62.5. Both of these teams are respectable on defense and rank in the top half of just about every defensive measure. While the Red Wolves can certainly move the ball, and have put up some nice numbers, we have to remember that was against #FunBelt competition. The Middle Tennessee offense can appear Mazzone level ugly at times. I think this is a 31-27 type game. Maybe lay the 3.5 and parlay that with the under. And when this game is 31-27 and there's a full 6 minutes left on the clock, you'll understand that time is precious I know.