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St. Bad Boy Beef magicJack BitCoin’o’Brady’s Mowers of Gasparillaburg Open Thread: UCF-Marshall, plus a guide to Monday’s sporting events

Strap in for a wild and varied evening of sporting events.

NCAA Football: Gasparilla Bowl-Marshall vs South Florida
Don’t fuck with Doc Holliday.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Here it is, your almost-late guide to the day’s bowl game and other assorted sporting events. Today we’ve got an 11-hour gap between the day’s first and last sporting event, and you’re saying, “But MNW, how can that be?”

God bless the state of Hawaii.

Monday, December 23

Gasparilla Bowl: UCF Knights vs. Marshall Thundering Herd

Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
1:30pm | ESPN | UCF -16 | O/U 60.5

First, this is bullshit that this game is played in Raymond James Stadium (also notably the site of the Outback Bowl). The only site that should be used twice in bowl season is Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta for both the Celebration Bowl and the Peach Bowl. That’s it. Period. No more. None of this Camping World Bowl double-dipping bullshit, no multiple-Raymond James games, nothing. I am not a crackpot.

Plus, playing the Gasparilla in the Trop (where it belongs) gives us bizarrely-sad scenes like this, as documented by the esteemed ActionCookbook:

If anything, this game should have been moved across St. Petersburg to Al Lang Stadium, the former baseball field that now plays home to the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Or to a local high school. Or to the beach.

And, speaking of, could we make the Gasparilla Bowl a little more interesting? It has existed since 2008, but in its last five years, the BitCoin magicJack St. Beef’o’Brady’s Bowl of Gasparillaburg has become boring. This will be Marshall’s third appearance in the last five years, and they’re two-TD dogs to UCF. The Knights are really the only hope for this bowl game’s bottom line—their 2012 win over Balls Tate and 2014 loss to N.C. State are the only times the Gasparilla has broken 21,000 fans this decade (and 2014 was the most recent time they’ve had over 17,000 fans).

None of this is to say I won’t watch the Gasparilla Bowl, of course. I’m on record for loving the hell out of whatever is happening at Marshall, with Doc Holliday and the governor hating one another and the Herd just quietly marching around being a very competent football team:

Point is, you gotta admire the Gasparilla Bowl sticking both with what works (UCF) and what doesn’t work (Marshall), in the hopes that a 20-point win for the in-state team will somehow get eyeballs.

My Pick: UCF (33 pts)

Other Things On:

Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic

{CBB} Portland Pilots vs. Boise State Broncos

3:30pm | ESPNU | BSU -11 | O/U 136.5

Houston Cougars vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

6pm | ESPN2 | Houston -7.5 | O/U 134

#21 Washington Huskies vs. Hawaii Rainbow Warriors

10pm | ESPN2 | Wash -7 | O/U 144

Ball State Cardinals vs. Texas-El Paso Miners

12:30am | ESPNU | Balls -2 | O/U 125

Two things here:

  1. They are making Balls Tate and UTEP start after midnight in both home teams’ locales! That is such a ridiculous commitment to being the second banana of Hawaiian basketball tournaments that I must salute them. Saying “Hey, you’re not working! Stay up until 2:30am CT to watch shitty mid-major basketball!” is a bold play. I will do as told.
  2. Hawaii’s football team shows up in the SBN editor as “Hawaii Warriors”, while the basketball team is “Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.” It’s confusing, it shows I’ve been here too long, and I can’t wait until the Powers That Be decide I have lived in California and must be fired. I hope they do it on Christmas.

Random College Basketball

Canisius Golden Griffins at Siena Saints

5pm | ESPN3 | Siena -7 | O/U 142

Grambling State Tigers at #18 Dayton Flyers

6pm | ESPN+

Georgia Southern Eagles at Georgia Bulldogs

6pm | SECN | UGA -8.5 | O/U 160

Georgia State Panthers at SMU Mustangs

6pm | ESPN3 | SMU -9 | O/U 143.5

A word to the wise out there: If you think SMU, Gonzaga, Notre Dame, and Liberty are all just the same “religious institutions”, take a long walk off the end of a pier.


Blackburn Rovers vs. Wigan Athletic

1:45pm | ESPN+

There’s something comforting about knowing that, when UCF-Marshall either goes pear-shaped or heads into halftime with a 30-13 Knights lead, that there are 15,000 stony-faced Blackburn fans watching their team play as an icy Lancastrian rain falls.

It’s a simple elegance—a team relegated to the second and occasionally third tier of English soccer, with the 1994-95 Premier League title still in the back of their minds, battling it out with another also-ran just to stay relevant in the national soccer discourse. Kind of like a bowl game, when you think about it.

My Eternal Misery

Minnesota Vikings (10-4) vs. Green Bay Packers (11-3)

7:15pm | ESPN | Minn -4.5 | O/U 47.5

The Vikings are in the playoffs, Dalvin Cook is possibly broken, and my wife is a Packers fan. Just please throw three first-half interceptions, Kirk Cousins, so I can storm off to the basement and get drunk in peace. I want to be good and tuned up for the Washington-Hawaii tip-off.