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Saturday Bowl Games Open Thread, Previews

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Boca Raton! New Mexico! Independence! LendingTree! New Orleans! ...Jimmy Kimmel?!?

NCAA Football: New Mexico Bowl-Central Michigan vs San Diego State Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

No intro, just takes:

RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers vs. Appalachian State Mountaineers

10am | ESPN | App -3 | O/U 66.5

FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, FL

The watch in this one is for Bailey Zappe, the Western Kentucky quarterback who transferred from Houston Baptist along with his offensive coordinator and three of his receivers. Under HC Tyson Helton the ‘Toppers were a fantasy owner’s dream, throwing the ball all over the park and playing really damn fun football—exactly what a 10am bowl kickoff is designed to showcase.

The question isn’t whether WKU will score...it’s whether they’ll stop Appalachian State on a single drive. Zappe threw for 577 yards (4 TD, 2 INT), but the ‘Toppers defense got run OVER by Sincere McCormick and the UTSA offense—206 yards and 3 TDs for McCormick, another 218 in the air for QB Frank Harris—in the C-USA Championship Game 2021. Chase Brice is a damn good QB for the ‘Neers, and the two-headed monster of Nate Noel and Camerun Peoples should have holes to hit all game.

Take the over and let’s get weird. Western Kentucky (5 points confidence).

Kind of...: This will be the eighth Boca Raton Bowl, and six of the first seven have been decided by 20+ points. Here are my historical and/or B1G-relevant thoughts:

  • These two teams won four of six FCS titles between 2002-2007. App State took three in a row from 2005-2007 and WKU won it all in 2002 under head coach Jack Harbaugh.
  • Jack Harbaugh has a son, who coaches a team that has some history with App State:
  • Former Gophers hoops coach Clem Haskins was an All-American basketball player to the Hilltoppers in the 60’s, and former Penn State head man Jerry Dunn was part of their 1971 Final Four team.
  • Western Kentucky isn’t exactly an NFL factory, but Jack Doyle and Tyler Higbee might make them G5 “TE U” or something.
  • If you were to try to list every NFL RB who broke 1,000 yards in a season in the 80’s, I’m betting you can’t get a perfect score even if you lived through the 80’s. That is, unless you remember a certain App. State alum who recently was the RB coach at a B1G school and broke 1,000 yds in ‘88 for the 5-11 Falcons.

Poll

Pick’em:

This poll is closed

  • 75%
    ‘Toppers
    (6 votes)
  • 25%
    ‘Neers
    (2 votes)
8 votes total Vote Now

Cricket Celebration Bowl

South Carolina State Bulldogs vs. Jackson State Tigers

11am | ABC | JKSt -10 | O/U 42.5

Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA

One thing to remember about Jackson State: it’s the HBCU that’s the lesser-known—but no less important—side of the “National Guard firing on student protesters” to match the Kent State Massacre of 1970, which occurred 11 days prior. Please remember Phillip Lafayette Gibbs and James Earl Green, shot by police but not immortalized in a song the way the “Four Dead in Ohio” were.

Anyway: Slow-smoked Deion Sanders jersey, anyone?

Florida State, never change. Or please do. Whatever. (Jackson State, 44 points.)

Poll

who are you celebrating

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    south carolina state
    (2 votes)
  • 83%
    jackson state
    (10 votes)
12 votes total Vote Now

FCS Playoffs Semfinals

South Dakota State Jackrabbits at #8 Montana State Bobcats

1pm | ESPN2 | SDSU -5.5 | O/U 47.5

As someone who spends appreciable time in Brookings in the papers of Tom Daschle, I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for the Jackrabbits. That said, the Bobcats getting out of the shadow of the Griz is good shit, too—and either of these would be a preferable alternative to either of North Dakota State or James Madison winning (because lol, we’re not updating this with who won).

Anywhoodles, I know Adam Vinatieri is a proud Jack:

Poll

pick?

This poll is closed

  • 52%
    jacks
    (10 votes)
  • 47%
    cats
    (9 votes)
19 votes total Vote Now

PUBG Mobile (?!?!?!?) New Mexico Bowl

UTEP Miners vs. Fresno State Bulldogs

1:15pm | ESPN | Fresno -11.5 | O/U 51.5

University Stadium (NM), Albuquerque, NM

Wait...Jeff Tedford is BACK in Fresno?!

To sum up: played there in the 80s, OC there ‘93-’97, left for the same job at Oregon, then HC at Cal...came back as HC 2017-19, retired because of health concerns, and is now HC again for 2022?! (An interim will take this game.)

No idea if QB Jake Haener’s playing after he thought he was going to follow former HC Kalen DeBoer to Washington—certainly keeping QB whisperer Tedford is a long-term play for Haener’s talents. I took Fresno State (27 points).

Kind of...: There have been 15 New Mexico Bowls. Fresno State dropped exciting games in 2007 and 2008, and UTEP got blown out twice (2010 and 2014). Hopefully this one can match the excitement of the 2012 and 2013 versions. The winning team scoring twice in the final minute two years in a row? Yes, please.

UTEP is in their 15th bowl game, but the first eight were all Sun Bowls (played in El Paso) played 1967 or earlier. In modern times, the Miners are 0-6 with only one game—a 33-28 loss to Colorado (and QB Joel Klatt!) in the 2004 Houston Bowl—being close. Even worse, UTEP has only been ranked, ever, in four polls: three in 2004 and one in 2005. Mike Price may be a punchline in Tuscaloosa, but in El Paso there should be a statue of the man. NFL HOFer Don Maynard was a Miner, too.

Fresno State has a pretty extensive bowl history (14-14 all-time), but their only matchup against a B1G squad was the 2001 Silicon Valley Football Classic, where an 11-2, #20 Fresno State squad fell, in San Jose, to a 6-5 Michigan State team. This game saw three first-round draft picks combine to account for eight TDs: David Carr, Charles Rogers, and T.J. Duckett. I’m sure they each had splendid NFL careers. Let’s move on.

MNW: My only other bowl-related thoughts for this game—(1) it used to be sponsored by Gildan, a company most notable for white t-shirts, (2) the only reason I can spell “Albuquerque” without thinking twice is because of former Detroit Tigers reliever Al Alburquerque, who had an extra R that I would forget otherwise, and (3)...

...remember when, in 2019, this bowl was sponsored by some fake production company that couldn’t actually pony up the money for the game?!

Poll

Who wakes all the PUBGs?

This poll is closed

  • 37%
    UTEP
    (6 votes)
  • 62%
    Fresno
    (10 votes)
16 votes total Vote Now

Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl

UAB Blazers vs. #13 BYU Cougars

2:30pm | ABC | BYU -7 | O/U 54.5

Independence Stadium, Shreveport, LA

In 1990, the contest became one of the earliest college bowl games to use a title sponsor, becoming the Poulan Weed-Eater Independence Bowl. Poulan...sponsored the game through the 1997 edition. Newell Rubbermaid’s Sanford brand of writing products took over sponsorship from 1998 until 2000, while MainStay Investments sponsored from 2001 to 2003. In January 2005, the Deja Vu chain of “gentlemen’s clubs” offered to become the title sponsor. The offer was rejected.

We need a strip club bowl game. And I need BYU playing in a strip club bowl game.

Anywho, because I don’t care about this game (BYU, 43 points), let’s talk about the 2000 Independence Bowl between Mississippi State and Texas A&M, shall we, Kind of...?

Kind of...: Words can’t do it justice, my friend:

The Independence Bowl has a spot in my heart. Wisconsin beat Kansas State in a no doubt scintillating 1982 Independence Bow matchup, 14-3. It was UW’s first bowl win ever, and Kansas State’s ONLY bowl appearance prior to Bill Snyder’s arrival.

Minnesota won the 1985 Independence Bowl, defeating Clemson 20-13. It was the Gophers only bowl win in the forty year period of 1962-2001. Let’s hear it for Rickey Foggie!

Anyway, BYU is established enough that I’ll pass, but, even though UAB doesn’t have much football tradition, you all should know that before Julio Jones set all of the Falcons receiving records, former Blazer Roddy White held them. Does your school boast a 10,000 yard receiver in the NFL? UAB does. Roddy fuckin’ White.

MNW: What coach got the Gophers to that Independence Bowl? I’ll bet he built a helluva program in Minneapolis.

Poll

pick three letters

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    uab
    (5 votes)
  • 72%
    byu
    (13 votes)
18 votes total Vote Now

LendingTree Bowl

Eastern Michigan Eagles vs. Fightin’ Falwells

4:45pm | ESPN | FF -9.5 | O/U 58

Hancock Whitney Stadium, Mobile

I had a Reagan Democrat and Moral Majority line all teed up here, Kind of..., but I don’t want to bring everyone down on a Saturday morning. (Eastern Michigan, 1 point.)

Suffice it to say this bowl game’s sponsors have followed the modern trajectory of the American Dream:

  • Predatory Car Loans That Then Needed a Bailout (GMAC Bowl, 2000-2010)
  • Web Hosting Platform Using Creepy, Sexually Harassing Commercials (GoDaddy.com Bowl, 2011-2015)
  • Box Store Hollowing Out Rural American Main Streets (Dollar General Bowl, 2016-2018)
  • Debt Consolidation Firm (LendingTree Bowl, 2019-present)

By 2023 this bowl will just be an NFT that some finance bro claims sole ownership of.

Kind of...: This bowl has been played 22 times. A few of them have been good and you’re usually going to get a lot of offense. The winning team has broken 60 points three different times.

Of course, the 2001 GMAC Bowl towers over them all. After all, that’s the game where the losing team ALSO scored more than 60 points, blowing a 38-8 lead in the process. If you like Jacksonville Jaguars QBs from the 2000s, enjoy Byron Leftwich vs. David Garrard:

Of course, if we’re talking NFL QBs from the 2000s, Eastern Michigan will raise you a Charlie Batch.

As for Liberty...look, I’ve already embedded several videos, so, though it pains me, I’m not going to embed this one, But, PLEASE click through and enjoy 7 minutes of two-time Pro Bowl TE Eric Green catching TD passes. Let me rephrase:...6’5”, 280 lb. Eric Green catching TD passes.

Poll

oh no

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    emu
    (6 votes)
  • 22%
    falwell
    (5 votes)
  • 50%
    worst commercial ever
    (11 votes)
22 votes total Vote Now

Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl

Utah State Aggies vs. Oregon State Beavers

6:30pm | ABC | ORSt -7 | O/U 67.5

SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CA

(Oregon State, 23 points.)

Kind of...: Yeah, not much to say about this one. First-time bowl featuring two teams with limited success in their collective history.

Of course, Oregon State gave us Chad Johnson, Steven Jackson, and an absolute beatdown of Notre Dame in the 2001 Fiesta Bowl where current head coach Jonathan Smith threw TDs to Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh. You’re not suggesting Dennis Erickson was up to something, are you?

And Utah State? Well, they gave us this:

Bobby Wagner has had himself a heckuva career too.

Poll

FOR ALL THE KIMMELS

This poll is closed

  • 39%
    U
    (9 votes)
  • 60%
    O
    (14 votes)
23 votes total Vote Now

D-II National Championship

Valdosta State Blazers vs. Ferris State Bulldogs

8pm | ESPNU | McKinney, TX

I can offer that John Gruden is an alumnus of Ferris State.

What? It’s accurate.

Long live the Anchor-Bone Trophy:

Poll

Who is champion of all the Ds and twos?

This poll is closed

  • 75%
    Dogs
    (18 votes)
  • 25%
    Blazers
    (6 votes)
24 votes total Vote Now

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

#23 Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns vs. Marshall Thundering Herd

8:15pm | ESPN | UL -5 | O/U 55

Caesars Superdome, New Orleans, LA

Remember when then-Louisiana-Lafayette won this game four straight years between 2011 and 2014 but had to vacate ‘11 and ‘13 because they were committing hilarious levels of ACT fraud? What a fun time that was. (Louisiana, 40 points.)

Kind of...: Was the level of ACT fraud more, or less, hilarious than Ragin’ Cajun alum Jake Delhomme committing six turnovers in an NFL playoff game? Though he did got toe-to-toe with Tom Brady in Super Bowl XXXVIII.

Anyway, since Louisiana is facing Marshall, it gives me a chance to note that I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anything more ridiculous than Randy Moss playing college football in a G5 conference:

MNW: Truly the best at about anything he put his mind to: football, hitting traffic cops, and insulting local Italian catering.

Poll

what do you like more

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    my herd to thunder
    (8 votes)
  • 63%
    my cajuns to rage
    (14 votes)
22 votes total Vote Now

Open thread for the day’s football. You know what to do and what not to do.