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College Football Championship Weekend Viewing Guide, Plus: Did you know there’s a Mineral Water Bowl?

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CSU-Pueblo vs. School of Mines football Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Another year of Big Ten football comes to an end on Saturday.

Well, in my mind, it’s already over. It’s been over, for me, since Northwestern came out lifeless against Iowa and got shut out at home on Homecoming, all but guaranteeing that not only would they not attend a bowl game in 2019, but that they were entering a real knock-down, rebuild portion of the Pat Fitzgerald era.

But that’s not fun! This column, Don’t Watch This; Watch That, is fun. I started this a couple weeks into last season as a stupid conceit because I was bored and avoiding real work. (I’m still avoiding that work.) It’s turned into some stupid labor of love that I start every Wednesday after teaching because I realize I’m bored and don’t want to wait for none of my students to show up for office hours, and the responses—from historians and urban studies folks finding the redlining maps and haughtily tweeting “I never thought football fans would be this learned!” to people breaking down my dental hygienist’s reactions to the teeth of the Big Ten mascots—have made it all worth it. So thank you.

Before we get to the real purpose of this—me telling you to stay up and watch Hawaii, you ignoring me—I’ll mention that Thump has even taken the time to curate my pieces in one spot (why, I have no idea):

This week, as we prepare for bowl season, we ought to remember the bowl games ALSO being played this weekend!* Here’s a list of the five (!!!) D-II games being played:

Mineral Water Bowl [Excelsior Springs, MO]: Winona State Warriors vs. Nebraska-Kearney Lopers
Featuring a team from the Northern Sun (mostly Minnesota and Dakotas schools) against an at-large team, in 2013 this game featured Pittsburg State (the Gorillas! This is not their last mention in this piece!) beating Marshall, MN’s Southwest Minnesota State (go Mustangs!) by a score of 90-28. I...what?

Heart of Texas Bowl [Waco, TX]: Central Oklahoma Broncos vs. Angelo State Rams
It’s...a rematch? Wikipedia tells me they played last year, which “featured a renewed former Lone Star Conference rivalry between two of NCAA Division II’s most storied football programs. Central Oklahoma made a historic 21-point comeback in the second half to win the 2018 title.” Cool, cool.

Wikipedia also claims that the title sponsors of this game are The International Purchasing System (TIPS) and Communities Helping Americans Mature, Progress, and Succeed (C.H.A.M.P.S.). It also mentions that this game used to be called the HOT Bowl as an abbreviation. Good thing you got rid of that abbreviation, guys; it would’ve been a little much otherwise.

Heritage Bowl [Corsicana, TX]: Eastern New Mexico Greyhounds vs. Southeastern Arkansas Muleriders
This game apparently is not to be confused with the defunct HBCU Heritage Bowl, which...thank goodness, otherwise I’d get confused. It’s got tie-ins with the Lone Star, Mid-America, and Great American conferences, which would be exciting if those meant anything to me.

HOWEVER! We’re not just gonna let “Muleriders” pass without giving it the Robert Redford nod.

America’s Crossroads Bowl [Hobert, IN]: Ohio Dominican vs. Truman State
It’s the Great Lakes Conference! It’s the Great Midwest Conference! Everyone’s great, it’s a tourism thing for the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority, and it’s bringing everyone to that one special place they want to be in early December: Brickyard Stadium in Hobart, Indiana! This is a brand new bowl game that people decided “Yeah! That’s a great idea!” And I am excited, America’s Crossroads Bowl, to announce I am 100% on board. If you supply me with a press pass and 10 drink tickets to the pregame tailgate party, I promise to give you a front-page column on Off Tackle Empire dot com next Monday.

Brickyard Stadium replaced the old Hobart Brickie Bowl, a WPA project built in 1939 on a swamp in Hobart, what one local called “a Republican town. The people didn’t like (FDR’s) Works Progress Administration... It wasn’t discussed too much.”

Yeah, just suckle at that WPA teat and turn around and complain about it. Brilliant.

Live United Bowl [Texarkana, AR]: Henderson State Reddies vs. Missouri Western Griffons
I mean, I don’t even care who’s playing in this one. It’s officially called the “Agent Barry Live United Bowl.” Are you wondering you Dean Barry is? He was dubbed an “unabashed Texarkana booster” in this 2015 profile, and continues to sponsor this game (which also does a very good thing and raises money for the United Way). He’s living. Just sponsors and names a bowl game after himself. It’s amazing. I want to shoot javelinas from a helicopter with this man. I bet he’s got some Dick Cheney stories.


The Announcement

With that, I now announce MY PLANS for an OTE-sponsored D-III (it’s way more fun than D-II) bowl game. The criteria, one shamelessly stolen from each bowl game:

  • Must have a town/stadium/name featuring the locale’s chief industry
  • Will employ at least one shoehorned acronym
  • Should involve two teams whose nicknames I dub sufficiently “awesome”
  • Must involve a WPA or CCC project in some way
  • Will be named for me.

Thus, it is my pleasure, on behalf of the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board, to invite you to the...

MNWildcat’s Off Tackle Empire P.U.L.P. Bowl at Bronco Sports Stadium

With that, I open the comments for nominations to this game. Teams will be required to find their own transportation to International Falls, MN, where I will cook at least 200 hot dogs for all who choose to attend this game, which will be played next Saturday, December 14, 2019 (looks like a great day for the game)! P.U.L.P. stands for Practicing Unceasingly to Live Prouder.

My nominees are the Colby White Mules (Waterville, ME) and the Hope Flying Dutchmen (Holland, MI).

Good luck!

(Failing this and needing D-II teams instead, we’ll host the MNW OTE Battling UNliteracy in Young Adults Nationwide Classic at Chet Anderson Stadium, featuring a member of the NSIC and an at-large team.)

Thursday

Don’t Watch This

{NFL} Dallas Cowboys (-3, O/U 42.5) at Chicago Bears [7:20pm, FOX/NFL]
{WBB} Illinois at North Carolina [5pm, ACCN]
{WBB} Virginia at Rutgers [5pm, BTN]
{WBB} UConn at Seton Hall [5:30pm, FS1]
{WBB} #2 Louisville at Ohio State [7pm, BTN]
{CBB} St. Francis-Brooklyn Terriers at Hartford Hawks [6pm, ESPN+]
{CBB} Furman Paladins at #14 Auburn [8pm, SECN]

Watch That

#2 Lackawanna Falcons vs. #1 Mississippi Gulf Coast Bulldogs

NJCAA Championship | Carnie Smith Stadium, Pittsburg, KS
5pm | CBSSN

{CBB} Howard Bison at Hampton Pirates

6pm | ESPN+

{WBB} #9 Maryland at #13 N.C. State

6pm | ESPN | B1G/ACC Challenge

{WBB} #19 Michigan State at #8 Florida State

7pm | ACCN | B1G/ACC Challenge

First, basketball. Do you ever wonder why rivalries in college sports are some of the most amazing things? Take tonight’s game, the Battle for the Real HU, between 3-5 Hampton (KP 280) and 0-9 Howard (KP 346!):

$42. Two of the worst teams in college basketball, but you’re paying an amount that could get you in to seven Northwestern basketball games to attend that one. I love sports.

Failing that? The Bulldogs! The Falcons! Carnie Smith (home of the Pittsburg State Gorillas)! It is truly polite that the rest of the sporting world basically stops tonight for this one game.

Thump: yay i’m so glad you included this but you should mention that two Lackawanna players are headed to Penn State, safety Ji’Ayir Brown and WR Norval Black

there’s like 10 players in this game that already have fbs destinations i dunno i thought it was interesting i’ll get out of your article now

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention the OTHER NJCAA bowl games going on this weekend:

  • Salt City Bowl [Hutchinson, KS]: #18 Monroe (NYC) Mustangs vs. #3 Hutchinson Dragons
  • Midwest Classic Bowl [Miami, OK, which isn’t in the Midwest but whatever it’s fine I’m not mad]: #13 Trinity Valley (Athens, TX) vs. #7 Butler Grizzlies (Dorado, KS)
  • THE Graphic Edge Bowl [UNI Dome, Cedar Falls, IA], Game 1: #8 Hinds Eagles (Raymond, MS) vs. #4 Iowa Western Reivers (Council Bluffs, IA) — I’m going to assume a Reiver is a Dutch pirate, please do not try to convince me otherwise.
  • THE Graphic Edge Bowl, Game 2: #19 Nassau Lions (East Garden City, NY) vs. Iowa Central Tritons (Ft. Dodge)
  • Red Grange Bowl [Bjarne Ullsvik Stadium, Glen Ellyn, IL]: Itasca Vikings (Grand Rapids, MN) vs. DuPage Chaparrals (Glen Ellyn)

That last bowl game...

That, somewhere, there exists a slate of bowl games held on the same day in a dome in Iowa...we need to get the Superior Dome on this, pronto.

Poll

Thursday night! What’s on?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Lackawanna-Mississippi Gulf Coast! For all the scholarship offers!
    (11 votes)
  • 12%
    The Battle for the Real HU
    (9 votes)
  • 14%
    My women’s college basketball team is playing at this time
    (10 votes)
  • 57%
    I remain uncreative and prefer to watch Mitchell fucking Trubisky "throw" footballs
    (41 votes)
71 votes total Vote Now

Friday

Don’t Watch This

{CBB} #10 Duke at Virginia Tech [6pm, ACCN]
{CBB} Providence at Rhode Island [6pm, ESPN2]
{CBB} Pitt at #1 Louisville [8pm, ACCN]
{CBB} USC at TCU [8pm, ESPN2]
{NBA} Denver Nuggets at Boston Celtics [7pm, ESPN]
{NBA} Los Angeles Lakers at Portland Trail Blazers [9:30pm, ESPN]

Watch That

#5 Utah Utes vs. #13 Oregon Ducks

Pac-12 Championship Game | Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
7pm | ABC | Utah -6.5 | O/U 47

{CBB} Chicago State at Tennessee State

12pm | ESPN+

{CBB} Iowa at #4 Michigan

5:30pm | FS1

{EFL} Millwall vs. Nottingham Forest

1:45pm | ESPN+

When I’m at over 2000 words before I get to Saturday’s games, it’s not a good sign.

But I am a firm believer in watching bad basketball at all hours of the day, and this is an excellent time to fete the few brave souls willing to keep the flame lit for Chicago State basketball on their WACbbs message board. I care about some odd things, but I don’t think I could make Chicago State one of them. Good for you guys.

Poll

Friday night! Who ya got?

This poll is closed

  • 80%
    Pac-12 Championship
    (77 votes)
  • 18%
    I’m watching Iowa-Michigan basketball before considering anything else
    (18 votes)
  • 1%
    ...that’s basically all there is. Pick this option and then leave me a haiku in the comments
    (1 vote)
96 votes total Vote Now

Saturday Early

Don’t Watch This

Miami Hydroxide Redhawks vs. Central Michigan Chippewas (-7, O/U 53.5)

MAC Championship | Ford Field, Detroit | 11am | ESPN2

Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns at #21 Appalachian State Mountaineers (-6, O/U 56.5)

Sun Belt Championship | 11am | ESPN

UAB Blazers at Florida Atlantic Owls (-7.5, O/U 49)

C-USA Championship | 12:30pm | CBSSN

Monmouth at #2 James Madison [12pm, ESPN3]
{CBB} Penn State at #6 Ohio State [11am, BTN]
{CBB} #12 Arizona at #18 Baylor [11am, ESPNU]
{CBB} Florida at #24 Butler [11am, FOX]
{CBB} West Virginia at St. John’s [11am, FS1]
{CBB} Syracuse at Georgia Tech [11am, ACCN]

Watch That

#7 Baylor Bears vs. #6 Oklahoma Sooners

Big XII Championship Game | AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
11am | ABC | OKU -9 | O/U 63.5

Manchester City vs. Manchester United

11:30am | NBC

Our own beezer07 is going to be at the Louisiana-Appalachian State game on Saturday, and I for one can’t wait to read his recap of the game.

Why in the world would you play the MAC Championship Game on a Saturday morning? This is the conference of MACtion—the conference of bad games at weird times of the day on tertiary ESPN networks. Play this game at 8pm on ESPNews on Friday night—you will get more eyeballs on it than if you’re competing against two other crap title games AND Baylor-Oklahoma.

And put it in the Yooper Dome.

Poll

Championship Saturday morning! What’s on?

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    Baylor-Oklahoma
    (57 votes)
  • 7%
    App State-Louisiana
    (7 votes)
  • 8%
    CMU-Miami Hydroxide
    (8 votes)
  • 0%
    UAB-FAU
    (0 votes)
  • 13%
    Manchester Derby
    (13 votes)
  • 4%
    FCS Playoffs
    (4 votes)
  • 9%
    College basketball!
    (9 votes)
98 votes total Vote Now

Saturday Afternoon

Don’t Watch This

#4 Georgia Bulldogs vs. #2 LSU Tigers (-7, O/U 54.5)

SEC Championship | 3pm | CBS

#14 Illinois State at #7 Central Arkansas [2pm, ESPN3]
#9 Kennesaw State at #4 Weber State [2pm, ESPN3]
#24 SE Louisiana at #8 Montana [2pm, ESPN3]
Albany at #5 Montana State [2pm, ESPN3]
#19 Nicholls at #1 North Dakota State [2:30pm, ESPN3]
Southern at Alcorn State [3pm, ESPNU — SWAC Championship]
{CBB} Boston College at Notre Dame [1pm, ESPNU]
{CBB} N.C. State at Wake Forest [1pm, ACCN]
{CBB} #23 Villanova at St. Joseph’s [2pm, ESPN2]
{CBB} New Mexico State at Washington State [2pm, Pac12
{CBB} Indiana at wisconsin [3:30pm, BTN]
{CBB} Illinois at #3 Maryland [4pm, ESPN2]
{CBB} Central Arkansas at Utah [4pm, Pac-12]
{CBB} Cincinnati at Xavier [4pm, FS1 — only watch if you’re sure it’ll feature a brawl]
{CBB} #15 Memphis at UAB [4:30pm, CBSSN]

Watch That

#6 Northern Iowa at #12 South Dakota State

1pm | ESPN3 | FCS Playoffs, Round 2

#20 Cincinnati Bearcats at #17 Memphis Tigers

American Championship Game (at Memphis)
2:30pm | ABC | Memphis -9 | O/U 58

Hawaii Warriors at #19 Boise State Broncos

Mountain West Championship Game (at Boise)
3pm | ESPN | Boise -14 | O/U 65

{CBB} Nebraska at Creighton

1:30pm | FS1

This is it. This is the TIME for OUR ‘BOWS to make a statement, save themselves from a game with cheap-shotting-ass BYU in the Hawaii Bowl, and do the unthinkable in Boise! I don’t care whether it’s Cole McDonald or Chevan Cordeiro slinging the rock for the Rainbow Warriors, with JoJo Ward and Cedric Byrd II Hawaii can keep up with the Broncos. ALl they need as one or two more stops than they got the last time in Boise.

It’s happening. I’m telling you.

That, or Memphis-Cincinnati will be really good and you’re doing yourself a disservice by not checking out Brady White and Damonte Coxie just hucking it all over the place.

Poll

Games march on! As you prepare your body for wisconsin-Ohio State, you cleanse with...

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    Hawaii-Boise. Go ‘Bows!
    (21 votes)
  • 16%
    Memphis-Cincinnati
    (16 votes)
  • 9%
    FCS Playoffs
    (9 votes)
  • 17%
    My college basketball team is playing at this time
    (17 votes)
  • 0%
    The SWAC Championship — Southern-Alcorn, baby!
    (0 votes)
  • 37%
    Because I enjoy listening to the South fellate itself for four hours, LSU-Georgia for me!
    (37 votes)
100 votes total Vote Now

Saturday Night

Don’t Watch This

#23 Virginia Cavaliers vs. #3 Clemson Tigers (-28.5, O/U 55.5)

ACC Championship Game | 6:30pm | ABC

#17 Austin Peay at #3 Sacramento State [8pm, ESPN3]
{CBB} Hawaii at #13 Oregon [6pm, Pac12]
{CBB} Arkansas at Western Kentucky [6:30pm, CBSSN]
{CBB} Mizzou at Temple [6:30pm, ESPNU]
{CBB} Marquette at Kansas State [8pm, ESPN2]
{CBB} Georgetown at SMU [8:30pm, ESPNU]
{CBB} Louisiana at Arizona State [8:30pm, Pac12]

Watch That

#1 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. #8 Wisconsin Badgers

Big Ten Championship Game | Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis,
7pm | FOX | OSU -16.5 | O/U 56.5

I recommend this game against my best judgment, mostly, and because there is literally nothing else on. But I’ll be drunk at a wedding, so I don’t really have to give a single shit about this matchup. I just hope wisconsin loses by more than Northwestern lost by last year.

Poll

You’re watching the Ohio State-wisconsin game.

This poll is closed

  • 81%
    Yup.
    (104 votes)
  • 0%
    Actually, I’m FINALLY gonna check out Eleven Sports Network!
    (0 votes)
  • 7%
    Anything good on PlutoTV?
    (9 votes)
  • 2%
    Virginia-Clemson for me, as I am a complete weirdo.
    (3 votes)
  • 8%
    College basketball sounds good.
    (11 votes)
127 votes total Vote Now

It’s late and I’m drunk...

Me too! Have a great weekend.


Here, for your listening pleasure, is the best Christmas song ever composed/recorded: