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New Year’s Eve Bowl Game Previews: Armed Forces, Arizona, Liberty Bowls + Big Ten Basketball Open Thread

Ranked Minnesota basketball heads to wisconsin, while Michigan puts its undefeated record on the line against a resurgent Maryland in Big Ten hoops, too.

Mountain West Football Championship - Boise State v San Jose State Photo by David J. Becker/Getty Images

There are more bowl games on today! Hooray?

I mean, if yesterday’s heroic wisconsin comeback—and subsequent evisceration of the Mayo Bowl trophy—wasn’t enough for you, that is:

Generally speaking, this is why white people should not dance.

Thankfully, the Mayo Bowl has found a better trophy going forward:

Bowl Games

Armed Forces Bowl

#24 Tulsa Golden Hurricane (6-2) vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs (3-7)

11am | ESPN | MSSt -1 | O/U 45
Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX

First, this is a bullshit trophy. How is anyone gonna drop and shatter this one?

Armed Forces Bowl

Oughta be that plane, in a delicate glass design, atop that pedestal. Or a burning Vietnamese village. That’d work too, right?




Holy shit, did y’all realize former Stanford QB K.J. Costello was at Mississippi State?

I mean, it didn’t go great—in Mike Leach’s less-amusing but definitely-SEC-in-levels-of-COVID-denial offense, Costello threw 11 picks against 6 TDs. Instead, after picking up an injury, Costello was replaced by freshman Will Rogers, who’s approaching 70% passing and has managed, at least a little better, to keep the ball out of opponents’ hands (10:7 TD:INT).

One of those people will need to be Tulsa LB Zaven Collins, who had the walk-off pick-six to beat Tulane:

Tulsa’s only lost to Oklahoma State and Cincinnati, making them...well, a hell of a lot more appealing than 3-7 Mississippi State. Golden Hurricane QB Zach Smith should be able to open up the Bulldogs defense, along with efficient RB Corey Taylor II.

Still, SEC team against an AAC team. Who knows. Who cares.



This poll is closed

  • 83%
    Golden Hurricane
    (5 votes)
  • 16%
    (1 vote)
6 votes total Vote Now

Arizona Bowl

Balls Tate Robotbirds (6-1) vs. #22 San Jose State Spartans (7-0)

1pm | CBS | SJSU -9.5 | O/U 64
Arizona Stadium, Tucson, AZ

How the hell is anyone gonna break this trophy?

Looking like one of those dumb painted eggs my grandma has displayed all over her living room.

Anyway, there are no losers when the Robotbirds and the history-making Spartans get together. I can see wanting to root for an 8-0 San Jose State to join the ranks of the national championship-claimers, and I won’t begrudge Brent Brennan’s guys that W at all.

But this is Ball State’s first conference championship since Bill Lynch did it with an 8-4 showing in 1996. The Robotbirds are 0-7 all-time in bowl games, with an additional 0-1-1 record in NCAA College Division (modern-day FCS) bowls. That’s a record I know I can root for.

This game weighing in at a 64-point total gives me hope: the Spartans offer QB Nick Starkel, with deep-ball threats Bailey Gaither and Tre Walker to go with red-zone matchup nightmare Derrick Deese Jr. (5 TDs in his 19 total receptions), while Balls Tate brings us a two-headed rushing attack in Caleb Huntley and Tye Evans, with Drew Plitt an efficient passer with weapons like ketchup-thief Yo’Heinz Tyler.

Ball State will need to sustain a few drives against the Spartans—something San Jose State has shown a willingness to give up—whereas San Jose State should be able to bust a few big plays.

Enough talk—let’s get to the damn scoring already.



This poll is closed

  • 33%
    (6 votes)
  • 66%
    (12 votes)
18 votes total Vote Now

Liberty Bowl

West Virginia Mountaineers (5-4) vs. Army Black Knights (9-2)

3pm | ESPN | WVU -6.5 | O/U 41
Liberty Bowl, Memphis, TN

Surely there’s no way you could break this trophy:

Looks solid, bell has excellent craftsmansh—

I’m just happy Army got a bowl game.

I won’t be home for this one—I get to see an old friend and take advantage of Minnesota’s “outdoor dining” rules, which is great as it’s.../looks outside...a balmy 18, with temps reaching 25 by 2pm if we’re lucky.

Thankfully, that helps me save a couple bucks on beer!

56 Brewing Facebook

Thanks, 56!

Kindly help me choose my beers below.


What kind of beer do I want first?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    (4 votes)
  • 9%
    (4 votes)
  • 26%
    Imperial stout
    (11 votes)
  • 11%
    Milk stout
    (5 votes)
  • 11%
    Any of the many sours
    (5 votes)
  • 14%
    Cream ale?
    (6 votes)
  • 16%
    Something else!
    (7 votes)
42 votes total Vote Now


Oh right, football.

This poll is closed

  • 19%
    West Virginia
    (5 votes)
  • 80%
    (21 votes)
26 votes total Vote Now

There was supposed to be a Texas Bowl between 3-7 Arkansas and 6-4 TCU, but that one’s canceled. Damn.

Big Ten Basketball

#21 Minnesota Golden Gophers at #6 wisconsin badgers

3:30pm | BTN | wisc -8.5 | O/U 140

Feels like the Gophers are due for a correction after a stunner of #4 Iowa and a whuppin’ of collapsing Michigan State—can Liam Robbins’ physical brand of post play stop Nate Reuvers? What wins out—the badgers’ usual grinding style with D’Mitrik Trice and Brad Davison finding Micah Potter, or the Gophers’ bombing away with Marcus Carr and Both Gach?

This is a more disciplined team than anything Minnesota faced in its last two upsets, but perhaps the Gophers keep rolling as wisconsin struggles to find its footing after a home upset loss to Maryland.


Basketball border battle?

This poll is closed

  • 42%
    (12 votes)
  • 57%
    (16 votes)
28 votes total Vote Now

#16 Michigan Wolverines at Maryland Terrapins

7pm | ESPN | Mich -1.5 | O/U 140.5

Everyone in our Slack channel—not least BrianB2 and DJ Carver, who had a “heated” debate over the future of Mark Turgeon—was pretty stunned by the Terps’ moment of competence at the Clearance Rack. Eric Ayala and Aaron Wiggins finally took over a big game for Maryland, and an aggressive approach to switching all the badgers’ perimeter screens helped the Terps clamp down on the hot-shooting badgers.

They could be able to do that again with the Wolverines, where Isaiah Livers, Chaundee Brown, and Eli Brooks are all threats to bomb you out of the gym, with Livers an added threat off the bounce. Terps C Chol Marial against frosh Wolverines C Hunter Dickinson will be doubly fun, too.

No idea what to tell you here—this one’s a good way to finish up before we move onto our New Year’s Eve eating. (Or during which we can continue our New Year’s Eve eating.)



This poll is closed

  • 41%
    (10 votes)
  • 58%
    (14 votes)
24 votes total Vote Now

Other Hoops

Gardner-Webb Bulldogs at Hampton Pirates

11am | ESPN+ | G-W -4 | O/U 145

Utah State Aggies at Air Force Falcons

3pm | CBSSN | USU -12 | O/U 129.5

Utah Utes at UCLA Bruins

6pm | FS1 | UCLA -7 | O/U 136.5

Colorado Buffaloes at USC Trojans

9pm | ESPN | USC -2 | O/U 139.5

Maybe a schedule up in a moment for you. Here’s your open thread for the day’s sporting action. Let me know what beers from 56 I should drink.