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Saturday Bowl Games Open Thread

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Four games, at least two teams arguably better than half the Big Ten. Come talk about ‘em!

Troy v Nebraska Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

A happy Saturday morning to you all! Maybe you’re enjoying Crystal Palace just handling the shit outta Manchester City at home. Maybe you’re having a second cup of eggnog! Maybe you’re frantically tearing around your hometown or metropolitan area, buying all the presents you’ve been putting off.

No matter what, bowl games are on! Come talk about them!

Birmingham Bowl

Memphis Tigers (8-5) vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (6-6)

Legion Field, Birmingham, AL
11am | ESPN | Mem -3.5 | O/U 72

I’m going to publish this article at like, 11:05, and there probably will already have been ~10 snaps in this game. These teams play fast, loose, and, yes, sloppy at times, and it should be a delightfully-weird opener to the bowl day. Enjoy.

Armed Forces Bowl

Houston Cougars (8-4) vs. Army Black Knights (10-2)

Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX
2:30pm | ESPN | Army -6.5 | O/U 59.5

Army has, historically, 59 teams rated higher in Sports-Reference’s rating system than the 2018 edition.

Exactly three of those teams have played in seasons since the Vietnam War began—1984, 1985, and 1996. The closest comparison this Army team has, honestly, is last year’s team that went 10-3.

The point is, Jeff Monken has worked a goddamn miracle in West Point, and the longer he stays there, the longer we’ll be singing his praises. Kelvin Hopkins Jr. can actually throw the ball to keep opponents off-balance, but Army just bears down on you with human battering ram Darnell Woolfolk. It’s a blast. Tune in. Enjoy Army rolling back the clock and beating Houston like it’s 1949.

Poll

Pick ‘em.

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    Houston
    (1 vote)
  • 87%
    Army
    (7 votes)
8 votes total Vote Now

Dollar General Bowl

Buffalo Bulls (10-3) vs. Troy Trojans (9-3)

Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, AL
6pm | ESPN | UB -3 | O/U 53.5

Buffalo beat Rutgers! Troy beat Nebraska!

Were either one of those teams terribly good in 2018? NO! But Buffalo has Tyree Jackson, a physical specimen at quarterback who makes this game instantly interesting, and Troy has a defense that ranks 35th in S&P+ and should make it tougher for Jackson, who likes to leave the pocket and look for the big play downfield, either with his legs or to big-play WRs like Anthony Johnson.

A fun drinking game for this one:

  • Every time the announcer says some variation of “scramble” when Buffalo is on the field, take a sip (a small one...this’ll get you fucked up by itself)
  • Reference Buffalo beating Rutgers: Drink
  • Reference Troy beating Nebraska: Gulp (finish your drink, if you’re a Nebraska fan)
  • Give us more rules in the comments!

Poll

Who wins a trophy that I’m sure is a bottle of off-brand pop nailed to a 2x4?

This poll is closed

  • 60%
    Buffalo
    (9 votes)
  • 40%
    Troy
    (6 votes)
15 votes total Vote Now

Hawaii Bowl

Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors (8-5) vs. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (7-5)

Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, HI
9:30pm | ESPN | LT -1 | O/U 61.5

I realize I can easily look up this matchup and realize that Hawai’i and LaTech have never played in a Hawaii Bowl before, but something tells me they have—and I’ve just realized why. These were two of our great examples of WACtion, before hashtagging conference football games was a thing! Hawaii dominated the two schools’ decade of cohabitation, going 7-2 against the Bulldogs after LaTech joined the WAC in 2001.

This year, though, only one side looks like it’ll live up to its end of the WACtion bargain: That’s Hawaii, whose high-flying offense with Cole McDonald (35:8 TD:INT) and WR John Ursua is running the run-and-shoot to great effect.

“What about the defense?” I hear you asking. DEFENSE DOESN’T MATTER. IT’S THE HAWAII BOWL. IT’S SUPPOSED TO END 63-44.

Poll

Who wins Queen Liliuokalani’s Broach?

This poll is closed

  • 44%
    Hawaii
    (8 votes)
  • 11%
    LaTech
    (2 votes)
  • 27%
    This was vaguely colonialist, MNW, and now I protest this and everything else you’ve ever written
    (5 votes)
  • 16%
    I’m just impressed you could spell Liliuokalani without looking it up.
    (3 votes)
18 votes total Vote Now

We’ll have other games happening today and assorted nonsense in a bit. Talk bowl games! Enjoy!