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MERRY BOWLMAS: Part 1

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Cure Bowl

NCAA Football: New Orleans Bowl-Middle Tennessee at Appalachian State Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

HOWDY, GANG. We’re back at it, scrambling around in another last ditch effort to live up to our 2019 resolutions of “writing more about football” or some such. This is a series for people who don’t believe in the nonsensical grinch ethos that there are “too many bowl games.” This is about digging into each and every bowl game to find the beauty in all of them. It’s there, if you know where to look. This is just having fun with football.

Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl | Buffalo vs. Charlotte | 1:00 PM Friday | ESPN

by Jimmy

Today’s temperature in Buffalo: 18 degrees

Today’s temperature in the Bahamas: 77 degrees

Look, if we can’t pay the players, giving them a gratis trip to the islands in December ain’t too shabby. Have you been to Buffalo? It’s the place to be if you’re an enthusiast of rust and despair.

[googles Makers Wanted] Well, then. Ain’t this just the perfect emblem of post-apocalyptic capitalism. This bowl game is sponsored by a town. That town? ELK GROVE VILLAGE, ILLINOIS.

From their website: Elk Grove Village is home to the largest industrial park in the United States with over 3,800 businesses and more than 400 manufacturers. We stand behind our philosophy as being the most “beyond business friendly” community by continuing to build and execute programs and initiatives that help support business growth. There’s nowhere quite like Elk Grove Village!

Couple things:

1. Marketing is the craft of idiots for even dumber idiots

2. A MAC country industrial park in the shadow of O’Hare Airport is being framed as Shangri-la

I want to drive a forklift into a resort pool of battery acid. At least the brand alignment is strong in this game. Buffalo is a Depression era industrial park and Charlotte is a tax haven for boring people who work in bland commercial buildings. Get waffled on a goomba smash and get your MAC asses sunburned.

Oh, root for Charlotte. This video right here is why the small bowl games are the goddamn Super Bowl to the FBS misfit toys:

Frisco Bowl | Utah State vs. Kent State | 6:30 p.m. Friday | ESPN2

by Rush

New York Suburb of Levittown
Scenic Frisco

Ahhh bowl season: where folks from colder climes get to travel to exotic locales to root on their schools. So what a treat it must have been for the fine people from suburban Akron, Ohio and Logan, Utah to discover that they’re headed for sunny and hot Texas in December. It will be a tropical and rainy 45 degrees in Frisco come kickoff Friday, so expect plenty of shirtsleeves showing off plenty of pale and translucent flesh. These fine folks will cap off a week full of such thrills as visiting the National Videogame Museum and dining in any number of the approximately sixty-one thousand charming chain restaurants that adorn the scenic Metroplex countryside with a raucous football game in a suburban municipal stadium built for soccer. Who says Christmas wishes can’t come true?

New Mexico Bowl | Central Michigan vs San Diego State | 1:00 p.m. | ESPN

by Shooter

Let’s break down this match-up:

Strengths:

Central Michigan - Smoking, B1G leftover lineman, and a head coach that possibly tried to fuck a shark a few years ago.

San Diego State - Sunshine, flip flops, and the ability to tell recruits “You get to live in San Diego.”

Weaknesses:

Central Michigan - Happiness, swimwear, and diabeetus.

San Diego State - Everything beyond the 9th grade, safe sex, and places that don’t serve fresh fish tacos.

Mascots:

Central Michigan - I am so confused

San Diego State - Hot damn

Similar School You Would Recognize:

Central Michigan - Imagine Louisiana Monroe except it’s cold, dreary, and put on some winter weight.

San Diego State - Texas Tech if Lubbock went from the armpit of Texas to the most underrated city in Southern California.

Kick off the games tomorrow by taking San Diego State and laying the 3.5, the MAC was ridiculously bad this year.

FBC Mortgage Cure Bowl | Liberty vs Georgia Southern | 1:30 p.m. | CBS SportsNetwork

by Shooter

One day you’re the head coach of Ole Miss. You’ve just won the Sugar Bowl, have the 12th ranked team in the nation, finished 2nd in the SEC West, and you’re feeling a burning in your loins. Coach Freeze figured the only way to put out that raging fire in his pants was to use his University issued cell phone to dial up some Florida hookers. (Side not, we really don’t deserve a sport this ridiculously stupid.) Four years later you’re coaching at an Evangelical Christian college (seriously people, how are we this blessed), facing a 7-5 Fun Belt team, that runs the triple option, in a bowl game sponsored by a Florida mortgage outfit that will likely be prominently involved in the next recession. The Spiderman is having you for dinner tonight.

Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl | FAU vs. SMU | 2:30 p.m. | ABC

by Rush

“Upon reaching the New World, Cheribundi burned all his ships. As a result, his men were well-motivated.”

When Sir Gustavo Flavius Cheribundi discovered the majestic sweeping New World landscape that eventually became known as Boca Raton in the sixteenth century, it’s safe to say this was his eventual dream for the land: a pair of ten-win Group of Five teams, one with a head coaching transition, duking it out for all kinds of very tangible bragging rights. Lane Kiffin has perhaps found his forever home in Oxford, Mississippi, but will the Owls retain his aura without his physical presence presence on the sidelines? Or will Sonny Dykes put a fancy feather in the cap of the SMU resurrection tour with an eleventh win? Nobody knows for sure! That’s the beauty of bowl games: the chances that either of these teams wins is significantly higher than the chances that you or I will ever actually see a Chreribundi in the wild.

Camellia Bowl | Arkansas State vs. Florida International | 4:30 PM Saturday | ESPN

by Chuck

The Arkansas State football program has existed for 108 years. In the first 96 years of its existence, Arkansas State was invited to exactly one bowl game. Then, in 2008 the Arkansas State Indians rebranded as the Arkansas State Red Wolves and marched their nouveau-canine asses into Kyle Field. The Crimson Lobos handed Mike Sherman his first loss in his first game with the Aggies, coming back from a 14-3 deficit to win 18-14. Now the red dogs are on a 10 SEASON BOWL STREAK and played stepping-stone-host to Hugh Freeze, Gus Malzahn, and Brian Harsin. They have strung together back-to-back 10 win seasons and back-to-back conference championships. An unprecedented era of success in Arkansas State football was launched the day that my dumb ass sat in the stands in complacent confidence and watched them stride into College Station.

What I’m saying is fuck Arkansas State. Go Panthers.

Las Vegas Bowl | Boise State vs. Washington | 6:30 p.m. | ABC

by Rush

Finding a Boise-P5 matchup on the first weekend of bowl action is like picking up all the wrapping paper on Christmas Day and finding an unopened five-pack of high-end chocolate bars hiding in the detritus: a totally unexpected treat. Forget the Chris Peterson angle, this game is all about unity and coming together. This is a couple of old neighbors bonding: the Legal Cannabis Neighbor and the Christian Militia Neighbor just kicking back in Sin City partaking in America’s oldest and truest vice-pastime: getting day-drunk and blowing wads of cash on unpredictable games of chance executed by college kids trying to make ends meet.

R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl | Appalachian State vs UAB | 8:00 pm | ESPN

by Shooter

Oh hey, it’s Saturday night before the week of Christmas. I’m sure you’ll have a few options for the night. Likely some fun holiday parties that you could attend. I am older and wiser now. These holiday parties always start fun. People opening a little pricier variety of booze to share. Everyone dressed a little nicer. Fast forward three hours. People are taking shots of 12 year-old scotch, married couples are screaming at each other because in-laws and holidays drive people insane. Couples with young kids are pounding booze because this is the first time they’ve been out of the house in 7 months. Your best friend is passed out under the Christmas tree, and you’re shirtless, with a red bow around your head, dancing to Ace of Base in the middle of the living room. Errr...I mean, I assume this is what happens. Yeah. Anyway, do yourself a favor, pop open a cold beer, put on the New Orleans Bowl, and enjoy two really solid Group of 5 teams instead.