You’ve not been paying attention—and why would you have been?—but three OTE writers have recently become fathers, the two of us for the first time (and, by the time this sees the light of day, we assume we’ll have been joined by Beez).
Of course, as we all know, that comes with loads of spare time while the little potato just lies there and requires no attention or assistance from us, no sir.
What follows is a set of previews of college football bowl season, written thanks to all that extra time we currently have laying around:
Miami-Ohio Redhawks (6-6) vs. UAB Blazers (6-6)
Friday, Dec. 16 | 10:30am | ESPN | UAB -10 | O/U 44.5
Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, Nassau, Bahamas
MNW: Ever the classic...but nothing says “Hey, we’d like batshit weird football in a beautiful location” like the bowl of oatmeal that is Miami Hydroxide OR a rudderless UAB program, now to be coached by...Trent Dilfer?!
Last thing I remember, Miami Hydroxide pulled out some magical thing called a “running quarterback”, totally fooling Pat Fitzgerald and now-fired failure Jim O’Neil en route to an upset victory at Northwestern. Now, apparently, that QB—Aveon Smith—has figured out his passing relationship with stud WR Mac Hippenhammer, and the Fightin’ Bases are bowling.
What the hell is happening here? Did my three-month vacation from college football—we call that a “Quarter Chad” at OTE—lead to an accidental Rip van Winkling?
Green Akers: Way back in The Beforetimes, I thought it would be a fun idea to organize a fantasy league for our writers with player pools limited to the Big Ten and MAC (plus USC and UCLA), and I ALSO thought “hey let’s try something quirky and make it a 2-QB league, there are 20 playable QBs between the two leagues surely!” and there most certainly were not.
I pounced on Smith after Brett Gabbert’s injury and he dragged me along for a couple weeks, but eventually Gabbert returned and it was back to scrounging in the dumpster for dry heave the better matchup-based option between Evan Simon, Petras, and Hilinski. So if I seem a little punchy about the MAC this year, it’s not just the dramatically reduced sleep.
#25 UTSA Roadrunners (11-2) vs. #24 Troy Trojans (11-2)
Friday, Dec. 16 | 2pm | ESPN | Troy -1 | O/U 54.5
Exploria Stadium, Orlando, FL
MNW: You got daycare yet, GA? Man is daycare the goddamn best.
Unfortunately despite the fact that we pay a second mortgage every goddamn month to send our kid to a very wonderful daycare where she is well-cared-for and notably not in the house, on my first day of grading finals, the mother-in-law decided—with my wife’s assent—that she positively could not go another six days without providing childcare where they’d prefer if I were still home...just in case.
So I’ll be hiding in the basement: grading finals, writing a book, and watching the Cure Bowl while the kid definitely doesn’t cry or lose her shit as she enters navigates the fourth month of her existence.
Green Akers: We just crossed the one month threshold, so Mrs. Akers is still on leave from work and we haven’t had to venture into the world of daycare yet - and likely won’t anytime soon, because it is actually impossible to find in metro Detroit. Like, places have closed their waiting lists. Like, you’d be likelier to succeed showing up to a T-Swift concert day of and asking the box office what they’ve got. So once mom’s leave is up…we’re both working from home and will be making that work at least through the summer. My current game plan is: continue to befriend the grandmotherly neighbors.
Anyway, this game features two of the more successful G5 teams this year, as UTSA absolutely trampled it’s C-USA opposition and Jon Sumrall’s job with previously-moribund Troy will have him on a lot of short lists next season.
Cincinnati Bearcats (9-3) vs. Louisville Cardinals (7-5)
Saturday, Dec. 17 | 10am | ESPN | UL -1.5 | O/U 44.5
Fenway Park, Boston, MA
Green Akers: So here we have the potential for DRAMAAAAA, as a defunct trophy rivalry comes back to life right as Cincinnati poached Louisville’s coach, albeit someone who never felt like a good fit and felt like a firing candidate for much of the season. Also it’s in a baseball stadium, so the teams have to share the same sideline LMAO.
Had any fun differences of opinion that have forced your hand in a certain direction? Because part of the reason we didn’t find out gender ahead of time was to prevent our relatives from burying us in either pink or sports-themed clothes, and I have to say it worked out! Mad Lass ended up with a boatload of awesome space and dinosaur jammies.
MNW: Outside the aforementioned daycare kerfuffle? Not quite, though we had a similar issue with not finding out the gender and now having our daughter called a boy all the time.
I imagine this game involving Louisville players, angry that their former coach is on the Bearcats sideline looking at them, construct a fort/barrier between the two composed entirely of cereal boxes.
Las Vegas Bowl
Florida Gators (6-6) vs. #14 Oregon State Beavers (9-3)
Saturday, Dec. 17 | 1:30pm | ESPN | ORSt -10.5 | O/U 51
Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, NV
Green Akers: Oregon State’s embrace of chainsaw culture makes me think of a classic that’s widely available this time of year - Christmas Vacation. Had my own “fixed the newel post!” moment around 2 am this morning when, trying to juggle the baby, a burp cloth response to spit up sounds from said baby, and a bottle I’d accidentally microwaved just a little too long, I pulled the sliding back door open with one foot, fumbled the bottle, juggled it with the same foot a couple of times, and bopped it onto a piece of patio furniture I haven’t put away yet, and then decided “just as I intended; it’ll cool faster out there” Who can relate?
MNW: Today I was taking a mug of hot water out of the fridge for said feeding whilst holding a plate of spaghetti and chicken parm that was next to go into the microwave.
As I focused on the mug and the wife asked me questions, the spaghetti apparently—and comically, I’m told—slid off the plate onto the floor with a mighty “SPLAT!”
Anywho, that’s my take on the 2022 Florida Gators. Your experience sounds much more like the 2022 Beavers, who kinda fumbled their way into a 9-3 record on the basis of some weird-ass non-conference escapes against Boise State and Fresno State. At least that bottle landed and the kid got fed; Jonathan Smith for Coach of the Year.
Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl
Washington State Cougars (7-5) vs. Fresno State Bulldogs (9-4)
Saturday, Dec. 17 | 2:30pm | ABC | Fresno -1 | O/U 54.5
SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CA
MNW: Hey, speaking of, it’s the Fresno State Bulldogs in a bowl game sponsored by a late-night talk show host!
Shout-out, as well, to the Wazzu Cougs, who with a new coach (Jake Dickert in for anti-vaxxer Nick Rolovich) and quarterback (Cam Ward in for chaos agent Jayden de Laura) and running back (Nakia Watson in for Max Borghi) managed to replicate their results of 2021 AND beat wisconsin along the way.
Green Akers: It’s been years since I was regularly up late enough to be able to peruse the “late night” shows such as Kimmel if I were so inclined and…turns out I am not so inclined. I would say I don’t know who watches these shows anymore, but honestly, it’s probably the same people whose terrestrial TV choices get our conference more money than God.
Instead, two full weeks from Christmas, I’ve seen basically all the classics at least a couple of times each, plus a bunch of non-seasonals. Seeing Tim Curry in Home Alone 2 really left me no choice but to stop on Clue when I surfed past it a couple of days later, and that naturally led to Muppet Treasure Island, which holds up splendidly it turns out!
MNW: Oh man, I’m adding that to the queue—Muppet Treasure Island, that is...Clue is always on the docket.
Rice Owls (5-7) vs. Southern Miss Golden Eagles (6-6)
Saturday, Dec. 17 | 4:45pm | ESPN | USM -7 | O/U 46.5
Hancock Whitney Stadium, Mobile, AL
MNW: There are moments where you really try—like my last “take”—and there are moments where you just phone it in. The LendingTree Bowl is completely phoned in this year. Southern Miss’s whole idea is “give it to Frank Gore, Jr.,” but they forgot the whole “have a quarterback” thing—five Golden Iggles, including the aforementioned Gore, have thrown 10+ passes this year.
Meanwhile, Rice is just trying to do “Stanford on the Bayou” with Mike Bloomgren, which...why? Why would that be what you decided on? You’re weird, you’re seventh or eighth football fiddle in a pro sports town, and you decide you’re going to win games by lining up 8 on the O-line and running the ball?
MAKE RICE FUN AGAIN.
Green Akers: Other than Gore Jr., I don’t think I could name a single player on either of these teams. And they’re going to try to squeeze in there and grab my attention between Jake Haener and Tanner Mordecai’s curtain calls? Unlikely.
New Mexico Bowl
SMU Cocaine Ponies (7-5) vs. BYU Cougars (7-5)
Saturday, Dec. 17 | 6:30pm | ABC | SMU -1.5 | O/U 70.5
University Stadium, Albuquerque, NM
MNW: Honest to goodness, man, I can barely handle the one kid. No idea how I’m supposed to keep track of seven Braelynns and Kaelynns and Jaxsyns, all blonder and blue-eyeder than the rest.
Enough about the BYU receiving corps, though.
Green Akers: These are two BAD defenses—look at that over/under compared to the rest of these games—but even as it seems more certain every day that this meat potato is never even going to pick her head up, let alone go to school, I’m wondering about eyeroll prevention training for myself to get through that first class list without just directly and obviously mocking kiddo’s classmates.
And remember—the names we see on college rosters are people old enough to be putting their own kids into the world. Who knows what kind of compounding effect we’ll see after a few generations of MacKeighlyyns and Bryyydyyns mixing.
North Texas Mean Green (7-6) vs. Boise State Broncos (9-4)
Saturday, Dec. 17 | 8:15pm | ESPN | Boise -10 | O/U 56.5
Toyota Stadium, Frisco, TX
MNW: I’ve been interrupted five times trying to write these last three games, including one absolutely massive shit that the kid took—it’s ruined organic peanut butter for me: roughly the same consistency and color.
North Texas fired its coach after he made the conference championship game. So that’s where this one is at.
Green Akers: It really does feel like a lot of administrators are cracking under the pressure of the high stakes roulette wheel college athletics resembles in a lot of ways. UNT booting Littrell, Cincinnati swiping Satterfield, Auburn hiring that fucking guy…just feels like lots of ADs aren’t prepared for their jobs.
Related, it’s hard to convey to people who haven’t consistently held a baby how advisable it is to get your stretching and flexibility work in, and for spots you wouldn’t expect. The neck is a big one, since kiddo will be cradled in your arms such that you’re looking down at an angle a lot, and also, like, the elbow? I guess I’m a Detroit Tiger pitching prospect because I’m absolutely going to need Tommy John soon.
MNW: If there’s one thing working in high ed has taught me, it’s that almost no administrators actually deserve to be in their positions. They’re career yes-men who are finally forced to actually make a decision of record, and guess what! They all suck at it.