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Saturday Bowl Games Preview, Open Thread: Outback, Fiesta, Citrus, Rose, Sugar Bowls

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Can either of Penn State and Iowa overcome their inherent Penn Stateness and Iowaness? Will Ohio State put forth ANY effort? A B1G bowl Saturday preview:

Capital One Bowl Photo by Matt Stroshane/Getty Images

Hey.

Happy New Year.

Guess what? The turning of the calendar just reminds me that I’m even older and that more and more people don’t give a shit about whatever esoterica I can recall from 20-30 years ago.

So...

LET’S DOUBLE DOWN!!! You’re not reading the article anyway.

Outback Bowl

Penn State Nittany Lions vs. #21 Arkansas Razorbacks

11am | ESPN2 | Arkansas -2.5 | O/U 48.5

Raymond James Stadium (Tampa, FL)

It’s New Year’s Eve and I’ve been imbibing, but I think I can still read, so I’m fairly confident that I’m right that Arkansas is actually 0-4 vs. B1G competition in bowl games. They lost to Michigan in the ‘99 Citrus Bowl, Minnesota in the ‘02 Music City Bowl, Wisconsin in the ‘07 Capital One Bowl, and Ohio State in the ‘11 Sugar Bowl (farewell Coach Tressel).

But let’s tip a cap to a couple of great Razorbacks. First, Lance Alworth. The first AFL player to make the NFL Hall of Fame, “Bambi” was the best deep threat in the first 60-70 years of NFL history. Either he or Don Hutson had the pre-Jerry Rice claim to being the WR GOAT. And, most importantly, a powder blue, Chargers “19” jersey is indisputably the best throwback jersey that will ever exist.

Second, Dan Hampton. Danimal was a critical part of the ‘85 Bears defense. A member of the NFL’s all-80s team, Hampton demanded double teams, clearing the way for Mike Singletary and Wilber Marshall to make a ton of tackles, and making it easier for Richard Dent and Otis Wilson to pressure the QB. I have a lot of 40-something friends who won’t shut the fuck up about the ‘85 Bears, but, you know what? They WERE an incredible defense, and Hampton was the ultimate grit guy who made the rest of it work.

Poll

Outback Bowl:

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    Penn State
    (5 votes)
  • 54%
    Arkansas
    (6 votes)
11 votes total Vote Now

Fiesta Bowl

#9 Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. #5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

12pm | ESPN | ND -1 | O/U 45

State Farm Stadium (Glendale, AZ)

Fuck Notre Dame.

Fuck Mike Gundy.

If you don’t already know all about Barry Sanders, fuck you.

Roger Craig was the first NFL RB to have 1,000 rushing yds and 1,000 receiving yds in the same season. Marshall Faulk and Christian McCaffrey have subsequently joined that list. Former Oklahoma State Cowboy Thurman Thomas never did, but he was as good as any of those guys; the Bills just didn’t throw him the ball enough. Super Bowl XXV (Giants 20, Bills 19) has exactly two narratives attached to it: 1) Scott Norwood’s missed FG, and 2) Bill Parcells’ and DC Bill Belichick’s genius game plan. Great.

Thomas had 15 carries for 135 yds with 5 catches for 55 yards. Again, that’s 20 touches for 190 yards. Go find video of the Bills’ last drive in that game. The reason Norwood was facing such a long field goal attempt is because the Bills did an abysmal job of managing the clock. Thomas was the best player on the field that night. He should have been the game’s MVP, even in a loss. But the Bills should’ve won, they just didn’t feature Thomas enough.

Here, enjoy this video of the 1987 Sun Bowl. In his last college game, Thomas ran for 150+ yards and 4 TDs in a wild 35-33 win over West Virginia. Bonus: fucking snow in El Paso!

Poll

Fiesta Bowl

This poll is closed

  • 86%
    Oklahoma State
    (19 votes)
  • 13%
    Notre Dame
    (3 votes)
22 votes total Vote Now

Citrus Bowl

#15 Iowa Hawkeyes vs. #22 Kentucky Wildcats

12pm | ABC | Kentucky -3 | O/U 44

Camping World Stadium (Orlando, FL)

Sorry, don’t have much here.

George Blanda and Dermontti Dawson are two former Wildcats who are in the NFL HOF. Despite being an HOFer, Dawson is one of the most underrated offensive linemen ever.

Whatever, it’s Kentucky. I was in the building the night Wisconsin took down 38-0 Kentucky in 2015. If Karl-Anthony Towns and Devin Booker aren’t enough, that’s on you. Suck it SEC.

Poll

Citrus Bowl:

This poll is closed

  • 52%
    Iowa
    (10 votes)
  • 47%
    Kentucky
    (9 votes)
19 votes total Vote Now

Rose Bowl

#11 Utah Utes vs. #6 Ohio State Buckeyes

4pm | ESPN | Ohio State -4 | O/U 64

Rose Bowl (Pasadena, CA)

We’ve got a diehard Utah fan lurking around our site, so I’ll leave it up to him to reflect on the irony that, by AV, the two best NFL careers among Ute alums both have the last name of Smith. Really, Utah? Of course that’s about the only similarity between Steve and Alex. And, anyway, AV, be damned, the best Ute in NFL history was NFL HOFer Larry Wilson. Not his fault he played in the 60’s. For the St. Louis football Cardinals. Dude is basically responsible for the safety blitz.

But permit a complete digression. When I think of Utah athletics, the first thing I think of is the single greatest piece of coaching/game-planning I’ve ever seen. The 1997-1998 Arizona Wildcats were defending NCAA basketball champs and a 1-seed in the ‘98 tournament, as they brought all five starters back. In the Elite Eight, they faced Utah. Rick Majerus rolled out a triangle-and-two, and Arizona was held FORTY points below their scoring average, getting annihilated 76-51. Their three star players shot 6-36 from the floor. (Andre Miller tossing in a triple-double didn’t hurt.) Complete clinic. As a bonus, here’s a 30-year old Gus Johnson to call the game:

Poll

Rose Bowl:

This poll is closed

  • 47%
    Utah
    (21 votes)
  • 52%
    Ohio State
    (23 votes)
44 votes total Vote Now

Sugar Bowl

#7 Baylor Bears vs. #8 Ole Miss Rebels

7:45pm | ESPN | Miss -1.5 | O/U 57

Caesars Superdome (New Orleans, LA)

It’s basketball season, and Baylor football is about as slimy as it gets. (No disrespect Dave Aranda. Hope you have a great rest of your career. Somewhere else.) I mentioned the ‘85 Bears above, so I’ll give Mike Singletary some credit (second best defensive player in the original Tecmo Bowl!), but otherwise, Baylor can fuck right off.

As for Mississippi. Yeah, whatever. Ole Miss, the Grove, Faulkner. We get it. Pining for feudalism is your thing. Remember that Utah/Arizona clip above? Here’s the single best moment from the 1998 NCAA tournament. Hint: It directly involves Mississippi, and tangentially involves Baylor:

Poll

Sugar Bowl:

This poll is closed

  • 66%
    Baylor
    (26 votes)
  • 33%
    Ole Miss
    (13 votes)
39 votes total Vote Now