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Northwestern, Michigan State, Sadness Ahead: NYE Bowl Games Open Thread

There are games today! Some of them will feature a lot of points! Very few of them will feature a lot of points scored by Big Ten teams.

Northwestern v Michigan State Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

There are a number of bowls today, and only the junkiest of college football junkies will feel an actual need, as I do, to sit on the couch, shirk all other household and professional responsibilities, and watch every single game.

I already feel stupid for doing that, but I feel stupider for watching the 11am game, the Military Bowl, featuring Cincinnati and Virginia Tech.

Virginia Tech, you could be forgiven for forgetting, made it to bowl eligibility with a makeup game scheduled as an “if and only if VaTech is 5-6 and needs a win” game against the Marshall (due to Hurricane Florence, the Herd had a cancelled game at South Carolina, the Hokies with East Carolina). The Hokies won, 41-20, meaning their wins in 2018 were:

  • 24-3 over Florida State
  • 62-17 over FCS William and Mary
  • 31-14 over Duke
  • 22-19 over UNC
  • 34-31 in OT over Virginia
  • 41-20 over Marshall

That inspires a lot of confidence, no?

It’s the height of cynicism, scheduling Marshall only so a team that beat...Duke? its first 5 wins and at one point was ranked before they lost at Old Dominion Monarchs(!) could get to bowl eligibility—but it does give us a chance to remember those other games (re)scheduled by P5 teams in the hope that they could get to 6 wins:

And my winner...

  • Iowa St. Cyclones vs. FCS Drake Bulldogs — because the Cyclones escaped with a 24-21 win in a game they didn’t need to play, when all was said and done. Easily the most pathetic of the bunch, in my book.


Most pathetic makeup game?

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    Virginia Tech’s "if, then" game with Marshall
    (12 votes)
  • 4%
    South Carolina-Akron
    (3 votes)
  • 45%
    Nebraska and Bethune-Cookman
    (32 votes)
  • 33%
    Iowa State-Drake
    (24 votes)
71 votes total Vote Now

Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman

Cincinnati Bearcats (10-2) vs. Virginia Tech Hokies (6-6)

Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD
11am | ESPN | Cincy -6 | O/U 53.5

Anyways, Cincinnati was 10-2 and cracked the Top 25 a couple times, but promptly lost to the Temple Owls and UCF Knights. Do you care? Probably not! The Bearcats run the ball a lot with Desmond Ridder and Michael Warren II, and the Hokies are exceptionally bad at stopping the run (110th in S&P+ rush D). So that’s a storyline, I’m sure.

Instead of doing a deeper dive on the fucking Military Bowl, let me provide you a New Year’s hot take: I loved the Kathy Griffin-Anderson Cooper pairing. I don’t know what an Andy Cohen is, but the D-list schtick of Griffin’s worked just well enough with the normally-wooden Cooper. Maybe I’ll try Steve Harvey on FOX.


Do you watch New Year’s specials?

This poll is closed

  • 43%
    Not since Dick Clark died
    (24 votes)
  • 9%
    If there’s a good pairing (tell us who!)
    (5 votes)
  • 36%
    Never have, never will
    (20 votes)
  • 10%
    Yes! Constantly! I wish they were on year-round!
    (6 votes)
55 votes total Vote Now


There’s also a game I’d like you to pick:

This poll is closed

  • 77%
    (7 votes)
  • 22%
    (2 votes)
9 votes total Vote Now

Hyundai Sun Bowl

Stanford Cardinal (8-4) vs. Pittsburgh Panthers (7-6)

Sun Bowl, El Paso, TX
1pm | CBS | Stanford -4.5 | O/U 52

Holy shit, that’s right, Pitt won the Coastlantic Division and actually played in the ACC Championship.

I don’t know what to tell you in this one. I assume JJ Arcega-Whiteside will catch a couple bombs from K.J. Costello, but you’re probably thinking to yourself “I don’t know which team those guys play for,” and you’d be correct.

also holy shit Bryce Love, what happened to that guy (he’s sitting out for the NFL Draft)

By the way, don’t forget what happened the last time Pitt played in the Sun Bowl:

What, you expected 3-0 highlights? (Never forget that that Sun Bowl started with Oregon State losing a timeout because they didn’t wear white jerseys.)


Who wins?

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    The Fightin’ Nard Dogs
    (5 votes)
  • 47%
    /David Shaw stands, stoically
    (10 votes)
  • 28%
    I just want to bitch about the Stanford Band because I hate fun.
    (6 votes)
21 votes total Vote Now

Redbox Bowl

Michigan State Spartans (7-5) vs. Oregon Ducks (8-4)

Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
2pm | FOX | UO -1.5 | O/U 48

In honor of this trash-ass bowl game still being played, I returned to my conceit from last week and sought out this bowl game’s former iterations, one of which was notably the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, site of the 2011 Illinois Fighting Illini’s greatest triumph.

The one that has stuck in my mind, though, was the short-lived (2002-2003) Diamond Walnut San Francisco Bowl. It led me to this thought: Which other nut would you like to see sponsor a bowl game?

My answer was pistachio.

I’m sure they grow them in California, so this works perfectly! Either make the San Francisco Bowl a revolving door of nuts (Almond Bowl! Walnut Bowl! Pistachio Bowl!) or just expand bowl games even further: The Wonderful Pistachio Inland Empire Bowl, hosted on the campus of scenic* Fresno State University. Feels like this one’s played on the Friday before the first bowl game, just to be dicks, and features...the seventh-best team from the MWC and the fifth-best team from the Sun Belt. It will be televised by Eleven Sports Network and the halftime show will feature both marching bands but also a WWE match.

/consults chart

The Wyoming Cowboys vs. the ULM Warhawks. Perfect. Make this happen.


Would you watch the Wonderful Pistachio Inland Empire Bowl, featuring Wyoming and Louisiana-Monroe?

This poll is closed

  • 29%
    (16 votes)
  • 36%
    Eh, if I’m home and it’s on.
    (20 votes)
  • 34%
    Fuck no.
    (19 votes)
55 votes total Vote Now


Who wins the Wonderful Pistachio Inland Empire Bowl?

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    (19 votes)
  • 11%
    (6 votes)
  • 52%
    You’re a sick man, MNW.
    (28 votes)
53 votes total Vote Now

I also learned that pistachios—apparently in the wild?—are “Near Threatened”, and you can go ahead and replace the panda on the World Wildlife Fund logo with a anthropomorphic pistachio. Or just Stephen Colbert.


I lost track of what we were doing here.

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    Me too.
    (9 votes)
  • 29%
    Michigan State
    (8 votes)
  • 37%
    (10 votes)
27 votes total Vote Now

Autozone Liberty Bowl

#23 Missouri Tigers (8-4) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (6-6)

Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, TN
2:45pm | ESPN | Mizz -9.5 | O/U 74.5

It feels like these two should have had some weird rivalry from the Old Big XII, like the Prospector’s Stake or the Stolen Land Deed, but...nothing. They didn’t even play that much! I had constructed a whole narrative and been prepared to get all worked up over it, and then I got completely let down. It’s bullshit.

My wife works today but has assured me she’ll get home by 2:30, to which... I’ll probably just hide in the basement and “work”, which is code for “drink beer and watch Drew Lock and Taylor Cornelius throw touchdowns.” Because holy shit, with a total of 74.5 to bet, how can you not watch this game if you’re home? LOOK AT THIS MAN:



Do me a kindness and pick this game:

This poll is closed

  • 60%
    Drew Lock
    (12 votes)
  • 40%
    Taylor Cornelius
    (8 votes)
20 votes total Vote Now


also do the over-under because this shit is ridiculous

This poll is closed

  • 95%
    over 74.5
    (19 votes)
  • 5%
    under 74.5
    (1 vote)
20 votes total Vote Now

San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl

#22 Northwestern Wildcats (8-5) vs. #17 Utah Utes (9-4)

SDCCU Stadium, San Diego, CA
6pm | FS1 | Utah -7 | O/U 46

Does the losing team in the Liberty Bowl score more than the combined score of the Holiday Bowl? I think there’s about a 33% chance of that happening.

Anyways, now the big rumors are swirling since the Green Bay Packers, an example of everything wrong with the world, would like to interview Pat Fitzgerald. I will not comment on the validity of this steam, only mention that I will burn my purple #51 jersey if it happens and no I do not think this is an overreaction at all, thank you.


Who scores more points?

This poll is closed

  • 53%
    The loser of the Liberty Bowl
    (22 votes)
  • 46%
    Northwestern and Utah, combined
    (19 votes)
41 votes total Vote Now


Which boring team out-bores the other?

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    The purple bores
    (22 votes)
  • 45%
    The red bores
    (18 votes)
40 votes total Vote Now

Taxslayer Gator Bowl

N.C. State Wolfpack (9-3) vs. #19 Texas A&M Aggies (8-4)

TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, FL
6:30pm | ESPN | TAMU -7 | O/U 56

At one point, North Carolina State was ranked and looking to challenge Clemson for the ACC crown. Remember that? In that way, it’s almost impressive that, with a game as boring as Northwestern-Utah providing the only challenger for college football fans’ eyeballs tonight, the Gator Bowl and ESPN are saddled with such a “Who gives a shit?” slate that I would actually consider not watching football when Utah opens an insurmountable 10-point lead in the second quarter.

Anywho, the Gator Bowl—an unranked NC State and a undeservedly-ranked Texas A&M—provides a nice excuse to revisit this tweet:

Let us not pretend, at the same time as we laugh at the SEC and its stupid “conference pride”, that the ACC gets—as Chris Fallica, whatever that is, suggests—the same treatment as the SEC. Both, to be sure, are living off the reputations of Alabama and Clemson! But the fact that the Aggies are ranked while the Wolfpack are not reminds us: in the rankings, the excuses made and second, third, and fourth chances given to SEC teams are not extended to any conference besides the SEC and any teams besides college football’s blue bloods.

This would be NC State’s second winning season in their 127-year history, the other being when Philip Rivers led them to an 11-3 record. Go Wolfpack.


I won’t be watching this game. Will you?

This poll is closed

  • 48%
    (14 votes)
  • 41%
    When NU-UU is on commercial or halftime, sure.
    (12 votes)
  • 10%
    Hell yeah, it’s all that’ll be on in my house.
    (3 votes)
29 votes total Vote Now

Here’s your open thread for the day’s games! Tell us your New Year’s plans and enjoy the action.


Is conference pride dumb?

This poll is closed

  • 100%
    (46 votes)
46 votes total Vote Now