THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL LINEUP
Saturday, Dec. 18 --
NEW MEXICO BOWL -- at Albuquerque, NM
BYU (6-6) vs. UTEP (6-6) -- Let the bowls begin and count us among the folks happy to see the BYU Cougars can go somewhere other than the Las Vegas Bowl (see five consecutive appearances there in 'Sin City' from 2005-through-2009).
HUMANITARIAN BOWL -- at Boise, ID
NORTHERN ILLINOIS (10-3) vs. FRESNO STATE (8-4) -- Now that NIU Huskies head man Jerry Kill waved bye-bye for the Minnesota job one wonders how this MAC runner-up will perform on the blue turf here.
NEW ORLEANS BOWL -- at New Orleans, LA
OHIO (8-4) vs. TROY (7-5) -- Last two bowl games involving the Troy Trojans were decided by 3 points apiece and so this could be another hold-onto-your-hat deal for Larry Blakeney's team who've come out on the short end each of the last two bowls.
Tuesday, Dec. 21 --
ST. PETERSBURG BOWL -- at St. Petersburg, FL
LOUISVILLE (6-6) vs. SOUTHERN MISS (8-4) -- In case you're wondering, 'Ville head coach Charlie Strong and Texas Tech's Tommy Tuberville are the only two first-year, full-time coaches laying points in their bowl games and did you know that the only two gents to lay points in bowls as first-year coaches last season were Auburn's Gene Chizik and Oregon's Chip Kelly? Hmmm.
Wednesday, Dec. 22 --
LAS VEGAS BOWL -- at Las Vegas, NV
BOISE STATE (11-1) vs. UTAH (10-2) -- As we stated the other day, the bowl folks didn't 'get it' on many counts but why is Boise State (a national championship contender type for 95 percent of this 2010 season) relegated to this silly bowl? The Broncos should be playing Oklahoma in the Fiesta or maybe should play Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl. 'Nuff said.
Thursday, Dec. 23 --
POINSETTIA BOWL -- at San Diego, CA
NAVY (8-3) at SAN DIEGO STATE (8-4) -- The SDSU Aztecs are back in the bowl wars for the first time in a generation but does Brady Hoke's crew have the grit to handle this Navy triple-option offense for a full 60-minute battle?
Friday, Dec. 24 --
HAWAII BOWL -- at Honolulu, HI
TULSA (9-3) at HAWAII (10-3) -- Maybe the most unsung good team in the country this year was this Hawaii club that covered 11 of its 13 games and have bona-fide super-stud WR Greg Salas.
Sunday, Dec. 26 --
LITTLE CAESARS PIZZA BOWL -- at Detroit, MI
FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL (6-6) vs. TOLEDO (9-4) -- Wake us when it's over!
Monday, Dec. 27 --
INDEPENDENCE BOWL --at Shreveport, LA
AIR FORCE (8-4) vs. GEORGIA TECH (6-6) -- If you put a stop watch on this game it might be over in two hours with all the rushing that's gonna take place down in the Bayou.
Tuesday, Dec, 28 --
CHAMPS SPORTS BOWL --at Orlando, FL
N.C. STATE (8-4) vs. WEST VIRGINIA (9-3) -- Rock-solid matchup here but $64,000 question is will this be State QB Russell Wilson's swan song game before a football or baseball pro career?
INSIGHT BOWL -- at Tempe, AZ
MISSOURI (10-2) vs. IOWA (7-5) -- The Big 10 gang staggers into this one on a three-game losing streak (note three losses by a total of 10 points) and perhaps head coach Kirk Ferentz's team needs to learn to do the 'little things' right here .. or else.
Wednesday, Dec. 29 --
EAGLE BANK BOWL -- at Washington, D.C.
EAST CAROLINA (6-6) vs. MARYLAND (8-4) -- This makes it seven bowls in 10 years for Terps rotund boss-man Ralph Friedgen and so don't you think the disgruntled alums there should just cool it?
TEXAS BOWL -- at Houston, TX
ILLINOIS (6-6) vs. BAYLOR (7-5) -- First bowl game for the Baylor Bears since 1994 and price-of-admission QB Robert Griffin would love to put 'cherry on top' with spiffy showing here. Hey, Illini surrendered 157 points in their final four regular-season games this year.
ALAMO BOWL -- at San Antonio, TX
ARIZONA (7-5) vs. OKLAHOMA STATE (10-2) -- The 'Zona Wildcats better remember how they were embarrassed 33-0 versus Nebraska in last year's Holiday Bowl because they could get blow-torched again here if they fail to show up.
Thursday, Dec. 30 --
ARMED FORCES BOWL -- at Dallas, TX
ARMY (6-5) vs. SMU (7-6) -- The Cadets would love to come into this clash fresh off a win against archrival Navy but either way this has been slam-bang successful season for the West Pointers.
PINSTRIPE BOWL -- at The Bronx, NY
SYRACUSE (7-5) vs. KANSAS STATE (7-5) -- College bowl action comes to Yankee Stadium (don't ask why!) and maybe newly-minted Yankees SS Derek Jeter can spread some 'holiday cheer' around in a pre-game visit ... yeah, right!
MUSIC CITY BOWL -- at Nashville, TN
NORTH CAROLINA (7-5) vs. TENNESSEE (6-6) -- All those game-by-game suspensions sucked the life from UNC's efforts this year but maybe now Butch Davis' guys can concentrate on the task at hand and that's finally winning a bowl game (lost by 2 points to Pitt last year and by 1 point to West Virginia two years ago).
HOLIDAY BOWL -- at San Diego, CA
WASHINGTON (6-6) vs. NEBRASKA (10-3) -- Love how the TV cameras follow 'Huskers head man Bo Pelini around while hoping for one of his sideline meltdowns. Maybe he gives TV viewers no reason to explode here with this loaded Big Red bunch.
Friday, Dec. 31 --
MEINEKE CAR CARE BOWL -- at Charlotte, NC
SOUTH FLORIDA (7-5) vs. CLEMSON (6-6) -- If Clemson QB Kyle Parker (who's likely headed for a pro baseball career himself) is a no-show here (see recent 29-7 loss to South Carolina) than Tigers' coach Dabo Swinney will be kicking self for not getting more snaps this year for frosh Tajh Boyd.
SUN BOWL -- at El Paso, TX
NOTRE DAME (7-5) vs. MIAMI (7-5) -- Now, here's a bowl game with some bite even if it ain't exactly like the 'good old days' for the Fighting Irish and 'Canes. By the way, we had no problem with 'The U' exiling head man Randy Shannon in the hours following that 23-20 OT loss to 13-point pup South Florida.
LIBERTY BOWL -- at Memphis, TN
CENTRAL FLORIDA (10-3) vs. GEORGIA (6-6) -- Maybe the brightest star on the college football horizon is Dawgs slinger Aaron Murray who could lay the groundwork for a future Heisman Trophy right here.
CHICK-FIL-A BOWL -- at Atlanta, GA
FLORIDA STATE (9-4) vs. SOUTH CAROLINA (9-4) -- It used to be that these Chick-Fil-A Bowls were always close but did you know that three of the last five have been decided by 37, 35 and 23 points?
Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011
DALLAS FOOTBALL CLASSIC -- at Dallas, TX
NORTHWESTERN (7-5) vs. TEXAS TECH (7-5) -- Too bad the 'Cats will be without underrated QB Dan Persa or else this might be old-fashioned shootout just like last year's 38-35 2-OT Outback Bowl loss to Auburn... remember that classic?
OUTBACK BOWL -- at Tampa, FL
PENN STATE (7-5) vs. FLORIDA (7-5) -- It's almost a 'good versus evil' deal here with JoePa taking on sore-loser Urban Meyer but do the Nittany Lions have enough playmakers to steal this one in Sunshine State?
CAPITAL ONE BOWL -- at Orlando, FL
MICHIGAN STATE (11-1) vs. ALABAMA (9-3) -- Folks will be making a big deal about 'Bama 'getting up' for this clash after winning it all last year but SEC guys will get challenged by former Sparty boss Nick Saban and so now you know one reason why Tide's a twin-figure betting favorite here.
GATOR BOWL -- at Jacksonville, FL
MICHIGAN (7-5) vs. MISS STATE (8-4) -- Here's one of our major problems with this current bowl setup as no way -- no way -- do Michigan Wolverines deserve a New Year's Day bowl as maize-and-blue should instead be playing in the Pizza Bowl for all we care!
ROSE BOWL -- at Pasadena, CA
TCU (12-0) vs. WISCONSIN (11-1) -- Will you be surprised if there are 80,000 'cheeseheads' in this venerable building here and so the challenge to finish unbeaten just got that much tougher for the TCU Horned Frogs who scored 40-or-more points eight times this year but shouldn't expect such frivolity here.
FIESTA BOWL -- at Glendale, AZ
CONNECTICUT (8-4) vs. OKLAHOMA (11-2) -- Fully aware that the Big East Conference deserves a BCS bowl game but is anyone chomping at the bit to watch this mismatch (see OU Sooners now 17-point betting favorites)?
Monday, Jan. 3
ORANGE BOWL -- at Miami, FL
VIRGINIA TECH (11-2) vs. STANFORD (11-1) -- Tough to say which coach did a better job this year as Techsters roared back from painful 0-2 start to validate the fact Frank Beamer deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame while Cardinal boss-man Jim Harbaugh is the hottest thing since Lady GaGa!
Tuesday, Jan. 4
SUGAR BOWL -- at New Orleans, LA
ARKANSAS (10-2) vs. OHIO STATE (11-1) -- It's a classic matchup of Hogs pocket-passer Ryan Mallett going up against air-tight Buckeyes defense that held half its foes this year to single-digit scoring margins. P.S., Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel has covered six of his nine bowl tilts.
Thursday, Jan. 6
GMAC BOWL -- at Mobile, AL
MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE (6-6) vs. MIAMI-OHIO (9-4) -- Still trying to figure out how Miami kids pulled off that MAC Championship Game win against 19 1/2-point fav Northern Illinois and maybe a 'W' here gets second-year boss Michael Haywood some 'feelers' from the Big 10 folks.
Friday, Jan. 7
COTTON BOWL -- at Arlington, TX
LSU (10-2) vs. TEXAS A&M (9-3) -- Nobody closed out regular-season play like the A&M Aggies who covered their final six games but is kid QB Ryan Tannehill 'in over his head' here against a rough/tough LSU defense?
Saturday, Jan. 8
BIRMINGHAM BOWL -- at Birmingham, AL
KENTUCKY (6-6) vs. PITTSBURGH (7-5) -- The good news for the Pitt Panthers is this marks their third consecutive bowl appearance but the bad news is they had the 'horses' to get into a BCS bowl and couldn't hack it. Maybe it's time to put head coach Dave Wannstedt under the microscope and see if he's the right man for the job at this point in time.
Sunday, Jan. 9
FIGHT HUNGER BOWL -- at San Francisco, CA
BOSTON COLLEGE (7-5) vs. NEVADA (12-1) -- The final game in the star-studded career of Wolf Pack QB Colin Kaepernick could well be another stat-sheet stuffing experience but note BC's held its last five foes to a grand total of 59 points.
Monday, Jan. 10
BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME -- at Glendale, AZ
OREGON (12-0) vs. AUBURN (13-0) -- The BCS folks are thanking their lucky stars that everything worked out here even if an unbeaten TCU had to be put on the back burner but the key here is who shows more rust come kickoff? It is gonna be some five-plus weeks since these clubs last played a football game and so a herky-jerky start by one of these high-powered offenses could put 'em in an early hole but the Tigers and Ducks both have roared back from big deficits to win this year and something tells us this title tilt could have some real 'mood swings'. The SEC goes for five in a row with king-of-the-hill QB Cam Newton leading the charge.