Rolling in under the wire here, but it’s arrived nonetheless. Have a great day of bowl-watching, all.
Navy vs. UVA
Oh, look. AMERICA is gonna be on full display in this bowl. And you’re gonna hear plenty about how the University of Virginia was the brainchild of a bunch of founding fathers, blah blah blah. But let’s take one quick look at the true bellwether marker of our times (Google results, the first four returned) to see which of these two institutions truly represents the America we strive for, not the one we’re stuck with.
Woof. An SNL also-ran milking a career as steadfastly as Adam Sandler, an ACTUAL NAZI, a dead, opium-addicted poet, and a guy who’s ALREADY a failed politician embroiled in scandal. If I had to vote for one of these, give me Poe. At least he doesn’t keep his kinky secrets hidden.
There we go. A man who survived war torture to become a maverick Senator, a leader of the Free World, one of the architects of an NBA dynasty, and the kid from Fredericksburg, Texas who changed naval tactics and helped defeat the Japanese.
We think we’ll be taking Navy today on their home waters. Get ‘em, Coach Ken.
CAMPING WORLD BOWL
Oklahoma State vs Virginia Tech (+5.5)
Orlando, Florida 4:15 pm CST | ESPN
WE MADE IT!!! Bowl games between actual teams ranked in the top 25. This will be one of 37 bowls played in the Orlando area this year. I would love to tell you all about Camping World as the title sponsor, but I’ve honestly never heard of them. I assume they are of the same family of the Bass-Pro/Gander Mountain/REI/Cabela’s giant retailer with an aquarium out front and can sell you overpriced tents, camo underwear, crappy beef jerky, and SO MANY YETI COOLERS.
This should be an outstanding game. Both teams are trying to hit that 10 win mark this season, and this game features the always beloved “highly potent offense” vs “lock down defense” matchup.
The Mullet Master has his offense rolling again this season and 7 year starter Mason Rudolph commands the 3rd highest scoring team in FBS. On the other side is longtime Defensive Nightking Bud Foster and the Hokie D. This is the 2nd overall offense on yards gained versus the 11th overall defense on yards allowed. This is exactly the type of matchup I love to watch. Which team can make adjustments? Will each side work in some new wrinkles and schemes for the bowl game? Gundy and Fuente are two very highly regarded coaches in FBS, so tune in and watch some fun football on a Thursday afternoon.
THE ALAMO BOWL
The last time TCU played in the Alamo Bowl I had just arrived in Silverthorne, CO for a snowboarding trip. After 16 hours in a car I just wanted some quality football to lull me into an oxygen-deprived slumber. What I got instead was an old-fashioned shellacking as Oregon burned the Frog secondary to a crisp in the first half and jumped out to a 31-0 lead. That game was trash.
The Frogs hit about the same time the edibles did. What followed was a surreal journey, one where TCU battled back to tie the game and we battled with inconsistent dosing information provided by Colorado dispensary products. The Frogs won in triple overtime in one of the greatest bowl games I vaguely recall ever seeing.
TCU is back in San Antonio with a 3 point favorable spread and the knowledge that they can pull off miracles in the Alamodome. They will take on a similarly ranked Stanford team with a Heisman finalist running back. I will be in the stands, wearing purple and enjoying only what is dispensed at the concession stands and making the TCU hand gesture that supposedly looks like a horned frog but really looks like you're rooting for the Texas Christian University Camel Toes.
SDCCU Holiday Bowl
San Diego, CA
Michigan State vs. Washington State
FS1 | 8:00 pm
Good news, everyone! We've waded through the slop of oddball match-ups and bizarre bowl sponsors to get to the meat of the bowl schedule, and a Holiday Bowl featuring a genuinely compelling match-up of two 9-3 P5 teams! Not good news: it's airing at the same time as an equally compelling Alamo Bowl. But that's why you have two eyeballs. You only need depth perception to play football, not to watch it.
You know these teams, and you know these coaches. Michigan State has the 9th-ranked total defense (298 ypg). Washington State has the #2 passing offense (375 ypg). Mark Dantonio looks like a man whose daughter has been kidnapped, but whose particular set of skills only translate to choking the life out of opposing offenses and not the actual kidnappers. Mike Leach looks like someone who has to find a specific item in a big-box hardware store he's never been in.
Michigan State is on version 5.0 of its trademarked Game Manager Quarterback (this year's model is called the "Brian Lewerke"), while Washington State is still on version 2.0 of its Passmaster 2000, the "Luke Falk." Mark Dantonio, as he has for the last 11 seasons, sends his Game Manager Quarterback out on the field to burn clock, limit possessions, and keep the team permanently somewhere between midfield and the red zone. Mike Leach simply sends the Passmaster out to throw passes until it breaks or is broken by a defensive end, whichever occurs first.
Michigan State rebounded solidly from a disastrous 2016 campaign, beating Michigan and Penn State along the way, while losing only to a trio of Top-20 teams. Washington State managed 3-point wins over each of Boise State, USC, and Stanford... and got absolutely annihilated by Cal (37-3), Arizona (58-37), and Washington (41-14). The lesson here? Michigan State generally won the games you'd expect it to win and lost the games you'd expect it to lose. Washington State was a Molotov cocktail thrown down a mineshaft.
Vegas thinks it'll be close, so tune in to see if it's more like an anaconda squeezing the life out of a boar or a fireworks factory explosion.