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Don’t Watch This; Watch That: Your Guide to Bowl Games, FCS Playoffs, and the D-II and D-III Championships

Featuring the live mascot I was born to play.

NCAA FOOTBALL: OCT 03 West Virginia at Oklahoma Photo by Stephen P. O’Brien/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

I can’t grow a beard.

Every year, when Finals get to me or I’m traveling a lot or I just feel really lazy, my face is overrun by a patchy, scratchy, almost-a-neckbeard abomination that, when my wife inevitably takes photos of me with our child, I come to regret later.

I just can’t grow a beard.

That, I have to think, is the primary obstacle to my becoming the West Virginia Mountaineers. Can’t think of anything else standing in my way.

Since I can only assume BIG COAL isn’t ready for a pasty, effete college professor to be the face of their state’s flagship non-Marshall football program, I have had to look elsewhere. And I found my answer—in Pasadena, California.

No, it’s not Dancing Rose #3 in the Rose Bowl Parade.

It’s as a SEA BEGGAR.

Allow me to explain.

In 2001 a group of Reformed—Dutch Calvinist, let’s say—Christians met in Chino, CA, to discuss founding a college to advance the teachings of Calvinist and Presbyterian confessions. I wouldn’t know what that all means, as I pray to saints and only saints and also pieces of bread that aren’t bread somehow, if you ask my mother-in-law.

I digress.

The college they founded, Providence Christian College, competes in the Cal Pac conference of the NAIA. There’s a pair of for-profit colleges, another pair of Seventh-Day Adventist colleges, an Eastern Orthodox college—even a Buddhist college! Those presidents’ meetings must be an absolute hoot.

Providence Christian College sponsors a number of sports, which is fine and its right.

But what it doesn’t have a choice in is making me its next mascot.

You see, Providence Christian College reached into its Dutch Reformed heritage and pulled out the SEA BEGGAR:

Geuzen (lit. ’The Beggars’; French: Les Gueux) was a name assumed by the confederacy of Calvinist Dutch nobles, who from 1566 opposed Spanish rule in the Netherlands. The most successful group of them operated at sea, and so were called Watergeuzen... In the Eighty Years’ War, the Capture of Brielle by the Watergeuzen in 1572 provided the first foothold on land for the rebels, who would conquer the northern Netherlands and establish an independent Dutch Republic.

The leaders of the nobles who signed a solemn league known as the Compromise of Nobles [...] were Louis of Nassau and Hendrick van Brederode. On 5 April 1566, permission was obtained for the confederates to present a petition of grievances, called the Request, to the regent, Margaret, Duchess of Parma. About 250 nobles marched to the palace accompanied by Louis of Nassau and Brederode. The regent was at first alarmed at the appearance of so large a body, but one of her councillors, Berlaymont, allegedly remarked “N’ayez pas peur Madame, ce ne sont que des gueux” (“Fear not madam, they are only beggars”). [wikipedia]

Now THAT is an origin story. Perfect for a definitely-Dutch-Calvinist-but-not-Dutch-Calvinist university in California in 2002. And, with its colors in Dutch orange and equally-Dutch Blue, it’s a striking logo:

I can hear what you’re saying, though: “But MNW, if you can’t grow a real beard, how will you EVER pull that off?”

Well I’m here to tell you, friend, that PCC’s representation of the SEA BEGGAR—and it must always be written in ALL CAPS—is inaccurate. THIS is what the SEA BEGGAR really looked like:

Public Domain File:Willem II van der Marck Lumey.jpg Created: 1 January 1572 [Wikipedia]

Patchy facial hair? An unruly mane of tousled hair? A ruff to hide my double chin? Comfort in tights? An ass that simply will not quit?

I’m your man, Providence Christian College.

Sure, West Virginia, you wear a coonskin cap and shoot a musket. But I’ve got puffy pants, a spear, and a good boy at my side. Sign me up, Dutch Calvinists—this is the role I was born to play.

You might even say it was a part I was predestined to play.

MNW’s Loosely Plagiarized Trivia

  1. The D-III National Championship is named the [BLANK] Bowl for this legendary Western Conference coach, who coached the University of Chicago for 40 years.
  2. Brothers Richard and Maurice opened a business in San Bernardino, California, in 1940. Today, one in eight Americans has been employed by that business. What was their last name?
  3. In the 1970s, Calgon detergent gained fame using what three-word slogan?
  4. Despite “Ocean Spray” being the most popular brand of cranberry juice, 65% of the country’s cranberries are harvested in what state, roughly 900 miles from the nearest ocean?
  5. The first jazz album to sell over a million albums was 1959’s Time Out by what musician?

Friday Morning

Don’t Watch This

Whatever material you have from any asshole who called a meeting for noon on Friday

Watch That

Miami Hydroxide Redhawks vs. UAB Blazers

Bahamas Bowl | 10:30am | ESPN | UAB -11 | O/U 44.5

Thomas J. Robinson National Stadium, Nassau, Bahamas

While we’ve romanticized the Bahamas Bowl a bit—the 2017 and 2019 editions were downright stinkers—and the fun sponsor of “Makers Wanted”, a subsidiary of Elk Grove Village, IL, was only a two-year deal, this is nothing near the Iowa caucuses yet. Let’s hope this...

...remains the rule rather than the exception.

Once again, Brett Gabbert is injured for the Fightin’ Bases, but the Blazers are sporting an interim coach who won’t be in charge in 2023 (since apparently...Trent Dilfer?). Let’s get weird, gentlemen.

The Prime Minister’s Trophy (great name) is up for grabs, and rather than continue to colonize shitty stadiums in the great Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex or baseball stadiums in the north, I hope someday soon bowl season will reach a couple more Caribbean islands.




This poll is closed

  • 36%
    MIami Hydroxide-UAB!
    (21 votes)
  • 49%
    I have to work :(
    (28 votes)
  • 14%
    I’m not watching (then...I mean...why are you reading this article?)
    (8 votes)
57 votes total Vote Now

Friday Afternoons

Don’t Watch This

{WBB} Albany at #3 Ohio State [5pm, BTN+]
{MBB} Xavier Musketeers at Georgetown Hoyas [5:30pm, FS1]
{EFL} Birmingham City vs. Reading [2pm, ESPN+]

Watch That

#25 UTSA Roadrunners vs. #24 Troy Trojans

Cure Bowl | 2pm | ESPN | Troy -1 | O/U 54.5
Exploria Stadium, Orlando, FL

/taps mic

MLS Stadiums Where A Bowl Game Should Actually Be Played, Ranked:

  1. Allianz Field (Minnesota United FC)
  2. Providence Park (Portland Timbers FC)
  3. American First Field (Real Salt Lake)

T-Last. Gillette Stadium (New England Revolution), Soldier Field (Chicago Fire), Field (Columbus Crew — because every game would end 2-0)

MLS Soccer Stadiums Where Bowl Games Are Already Played, Ranked:

  1. Exploria Stadium (Orlando City SC)
    T-Last. Toyota Park (FC Dallas), Yankee Stadium (sometimes New York City FC)

Thank you for coming to this talk.

Honestly, as the year went on, I got more and more confused every time I’d see Troy trending atop the Sun Belt — the Trojans survived four straight one-score games: 17-14 over Texas State, 10-6 at South Alabama, 23-17 at Louisiana, and 10-9 over Army. They’ve got a one-two punch on the ground with Kimani Vidal and DK Billingsley, though QB could be a liability.

UTSA, on the other hand, is damn fun, with Frank Harris just running around slinging it—31 TDs to 7 picks. He’s fun, their backs are speedy, and their wideouts are fast and long. Birds by a bunch.


NOW can you watch college football?

This poll is closed

  • 40%
    Yep! Now I’m in!
    (20 votes)
  • 51%
    No, I’m still working :(
    (25 votes)
  • 8%
    Actually, I’d prefer Birmingham City-Reading.
    (4 votes)
49 votes total Vote Now

Friday Evening

Don’t Watch This

{FCS Semifinals} Incarnate Word Birds at North Dakota State Farmers’ Almanac Repository and Bovine Suppository Insertion Enthusiast Bizon [6pm, ESPN2]

{MBB} Xavier Musketeers at Georgetown Hoyas [5:30pm, FS1]
{Copa por Mexico} Pumas UNAM vs. Cruz Azul [7pm, TUDN]
{A-League} Wellington Phoenix vs. Adelaide United [8pm, YouTube]
{Copa por Mexico} Guadalajara vs. Mazatlan [9pm, TUfDN]

Watch That

Mount Union Purple Raiders vs. North Central (IL) Cardinals

{D-III Championship} | 6pm | ESPNU

Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD

{MBB} Creighton Bluejays at Marquette Golden Eagles

7:30pm | FS1 | Marquette -4 | O/U 154

{A-League} Central Coast Mariners vs. Sydney FC [12am, YouTube]

First, I mean, if you haven’t heard about Incarnate Word-Sacramento State, which featured 57 points in the fourth quarter alone... you have.

Here’s the problem: the Birds ain’t doing it against the Bizon. Sorry, gang. This is North Dakota State’s time of year, that defense will cue on electric UIW QB Lindsey Scott Jr., and the Birds’ luck—two one-score games in the playoffs!—runs out.

It’ll make a nice alternative to the D-III national championship, though, where the Purple Raiders are looking to regain the throne they occupied most of the 2000s before UW-Whitewater dominated the 2010s. It’s the third straight appearance in the title game for the Cardinals from Naperville, though, looking to nab this first title since 2019.


Now you’re home, now we’re cooking with gas. What’s on?

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    D-III Title Game!
    (19 votes)
  • 24%
    ...tell me more about this bovine suppository insertion lab...
    (13 votes)
  • 12%
    Some basketball, perhaps?
    (7 votes)
  • 3%
    You’ve got me with the Mexican soccer
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    You’ve got me with the Australian soccer
    (0 votes)
  • 24%
    You’ve lost me with these polls
    (13 votes)
54 votes total Vote Now

Saturday Morning

Don’t Watch This

{Celebration Bowl} Jackson State Tigers (-16, O/U 56) at NC Central Eagles [11am, ABC]
{NFL} Indianapolis Colts at Minnesota Vikings (-4, O/U 47.5) [12pm, NFLNet]

{MBB} #14 Indiana Hoosiers at #6 Kansas Jayhawks [11am, ESPN2]
{MBB} Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Rutgers Scarlet Knights [11am, BTN]
{WBB} Appalachian State at #19 Michigan Wolverines [11am, BTN+]
{MBB} Providence Friars at Seton Hall Pirates [11:30am, FOX]
{MBB} #8 Alabama Crimson Tide vs. #18 Gonzaga Bulldogs [12pm, CBS, in Birmingham]
{World Cup} Croatia vs. Morocco [9am, Telemundo]
{EFL} West Bromwich Albion vs. Rotherham United [9am, ESPN+]
{EFL} Norwich City vs. Blackburn Rovers [11:30am, ESPN+]

Watch That

Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Louisville Cardinals

Fenway Bowl | 10am | ESPN | EVEN | O/U 42.5

Fenway Stadium, Boston, MA

Colorado School of Mines Orediggers vs. Ferris State Bulldogs

D-II National Championship | 12pm | ESPNU

A High School Football Stadium Somewhere in Texas

Aberdeen vs. Celtic

6:30am | CBSSN | Scottish Premiership

You know what? Fuck the NFL.

I realize that’s not a hot take.

But if the Rose Bowl isn’t going to be played on January 1 out of some stupid deference to that schedule, then the NFL doesn’t need to play fucking Vikings-Colts (!!!) over the veritable, respectable traditions that are the Fenway Bowl and the D-II National Championship.

First: stop playing football games on baseball fields. Just stop it. Unless it is Oakland Raiders football, I am not interested.

No one needs your cutesy bullshit of “haha the teams are on the same side of the field! isn’t this novel!” No one needs your “oh they can only play one way! wrigley field is so quaint!”

They suck. I’m actually thinking it might just be time to burn down ALL the baseball fields and replace them with Pesäpallo stadia:

Think about the shenanigans that could occur with these boundaries to the field!

Tell me you wouldn’t want to watch Northwestern return that pick-six against Illinois knowing the defender would have to jump into the Chicago River to score the touchdown.


Goooooood morning! As we address Christmas cards, you fire up the ol’ Sylvania to watch...

This poll is closed

  • 22%
    (12 votes)
  • 24%
    (13 votes)
  • 20%
    ...the NFL, as I have not had an original idea since LBJ was president
    (11 votes)
  • 14%
    /twirls mustache, watches soccer
    (8 votes)
  • 18%
    More pesäpallo highlights, actually. Holy shit.
    (10 votes)
54 votes total Vote Now

Saturday Afternoon

Don’t Watch This

{Las Vegas Bowl} Florida Gators vs. #14 Oregon State Beavers (-10, O/U 52.5) [1:30pm, ESPN]
{NFL} Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns (-3, O/U 38) [3:30pm, NFLN]

{MBB} Houston Cougars vs. Virginia Cavaliers [1pm, ESPN2, seek help if you even think about this]
{MBB} DePaul Blue Demons at Northwestern Wildcats [1pm, BTN]
{MBB} North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Ohio State Buckeyes [2pm, CBS, in New York]
{MBB} Alabama A&M Bulldogs at Illinois Fighting Illini [3pm, BTN]
{MBB} Villanova Wildcats at Saint Joseph’s Hawks [3pm, CBSSN]
{MBB} UCLA Bruins vs. Kentucky Wildcats [4:15pm, CBS, in New York]

Watch That

Washington State Cougars vs. Fresno State Bulldogs

Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl | 2:30pm | ABC | Fresno -3 | O/U 54.5

SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CA

Montana State Bobcats at South Dakota State Jackrabbits

FCS Semifinals | 3pm | ESPN2

{MBB} San Francisco Dons at UNLV Runnin’ Rebels

4pm | TheMW

In case it wasn’t clear from our “Two New Dads Preview the Bowl Games” series, I am very much in on Oregon State. But I know that’s going to be laughed off as a quaint story while ESPN slobbers over Anthony Robinson and the Gators. The hope here is that Dave Pasch and Kirk Herbstreit—that’s actually a damn good commenting team for the Vegas Bowl—restore a little order to the proceedings.

And that Oregon State smashes the Gators, of course.

Best of luck to both clubs in the FCS semifinals on Saturday. Both good stories, both worthy winners. I side with the Jacks here, but I’ve never been to Bozeman and they’re likely not hiring me for their available jobs, so that’s an easy call.



Now THIS is an afternoon, yes?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    Wazzu-Fresno and some POINTS.
    (6 votes)
  • 34%
    (15 votes)
  • 0%
    (0 votes)
  • 20%
    (9 votes)
  • 6%
    OSU-UNC in hoops?
    (3 votes)
  • 6%
    (3 votes)
  • 9%
    Ravens-Browns. (Why are you here?)
    (4 votes)
  • 9%
    Houston-Virginia — By selecting this option, I legally agree to be committed to the asylum of MNW’s choosing.
    (4 votes)
44 votes total Vote Now

Saturday Evening

Don’t Watch This

{LendingTree Bowl} Rice Owls vs. Southern Miss Golden Iggles (-6.5, O/U 46.5) [4:45pm, ESPN]
{NFL} Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills (-7.5, O/U 44) [7:15pm, NFLN]

{MBB} Davidson Wildcats at #4 Purdue Boilermakers [5:15pm, BTN, in Indianapolis AND NOTABLY NOT A “CLASSIC”]
{MBB} #5 UConn Huskies at Butler Bulldogs [6pm, FS1]
{MBB} Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Kansas State Wildcats [6pm, ESPN+, in Kansas City]
{MBB} Texas A&M at Memphis Tigers [6pm, ESPNU]
{WBB} Air Force Falcons at Northwestern Wildcats [6pm, BTN+]
{MBB} Dayton Flyers vs. Wyoming Cowboys [7pm, CBSSN, in Chicago]
{MBB} SEMO State Redhawks vs. Iowa Hawkeyes [7:30pm, BTN]

Watch That

SMU Cocaine Ponies vs. BYU Cougars

New Mexico Bowl | 6:30pm | ABC | SMU -1.5 | O/U 68.5

University Stadium, Albuquerque, New Mexico

{MBB} Utah Utes at BYU Cougars

5pm | CBSSN

Our yearly reminder that I only know how to spell Albuquerque thanks to remembering that the Detroit Tigers reliever Al Alburquerque spelled his name with an extra R, for some reason.

This should be the pinnacle of the first bowl weekend—two teams that are not here to play one goddamn lick of defense and also will do stupid, probably unsportsmanlike things at various points in the game. Also New Mexico after dark, wherein I hope someone gets abducted by aliens mid-play.

Fun thing I learned the other day when trying to figure out if any Power 5 basketball team has even been as bad as this year’s California Golden Bears—258th in Kenpom at 0-11, with a home game against UT-Arlington their likely only shot at a win for the foreseeable future. I found exactly one P5 team since Kenpom started keeping stats that was ranked 300 or worse:

The 2011-12 Utah Runnin’ Utes.

6-25, 302nd in Kenpom, and look at that schedule (sidebar):

It was Larry Krystkowiak’s first season in Salt Lake City and Utah’s first in the Pac-12 after Jim Boylen—yes, Bring Your Champions They’re Our Meat, that Jim Boylen—went 13-18 in the Runnin’ Utes’ last year in the Mountain West. Yes, you’re seeing those games correctly:

  • They beat non-D1 San Diego Christian by 3 in their opener
  • They lost by 20 at Boise State, which then played in the awesomely named Taco Bell Arena
  • In the Battle 4 Atlantis they lost to Harvard by 28, UMass by 14, and UNC Asheville by 22.
  • They then scored no more than 52 points in their next three games, losses at Fresno and at home to Fullerton and BYU.
  • They never eclipsed 70 points in Pac-12 play—their highest point total was 68!
  • THEY STILL WON THREE PAC-12 GAMES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

God bless you, Larry Krystkowiak, wherever you are.


...the hell just happened here?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    I dunno, but those Runnin’ Utes sucked.
    (6 votes)
  • 32%
    [/does rail] PONY UP, BOYS—SMU-BYU TIME
    (14 votes)
  • 11%
    Rice-Southern Miss for the sicko factor
    (5 votes)
  • 23%
    Dolphins-Bills because I’m really confused about the assignment.
    (10 votes)
  • 18%
    my college basketball team is playing at that time
    (8 votes)
43 votes total Vote Now

It’s late and I’m drunk...

Don’t Watch This

{MBB} Oklahoma State Cowboys at Wichita State Shockers [8pm, ESPNU]
{MBB} Vanderbilt Commodores vs. NC State Wolfpack [9:30pm, CBSSN, in Chicago]
{A-League} Western United vs. Western Sydney Wanderers [10pm, YouTube]

Watch That

North Texas Mean Green vs. Boise State Broncos

Frisco Bowl | 8:15pm | ESPN | Boise -10 | O/U 56.5

Toyota Park and Monument to MLS Mediocrity, Frisco, TX

{CBB} #7 Tennessee Volunteers at #10 Arizona Wildcats

9:30pm | ESPN2

Speaking of Boise State, we settle into the nice comfortable bath that is the Frisco Bowl. Played at the shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Mediocrity, Home to US Soccer, the Frisco Bowl—not to be confused with the Frisco Football Classic, Wikipedia wants you to know, that made-up bowl of nonsense from last year!—had, in the past, been good for one thing:

It sure beat the 2017-18 tradition of dumping a crate of big-and-tall shirts on the winning coach when DXL was the sponsor, right?

Now, though, the Frisco Bowl is sponsorless. My attempts to make this the Hardee’s Frisco Bowl—and dump a cooler of Frisco Burgers on the winning coach—have gone unheeded.

You have 36 hours to rectify this situation, Frisco Bowl and Hardee’s. It’s a natural match. Make it happen.


It’s late, you’re drunk, and you’re watching...

This poll is closed

  • 41%
    The Frisco Bowl! What else would I possibly watch?!
    (18 votes)
  • 13%
    College basketball?
    (6 votes)
  • 4%
    Australian soccer?!
    (2 votes)
  • 11%
    whatever the bar has on
    (5 votes)
  • 27%
    lol i passed out hours ago
    (12 votes)
43 votes total Vote Now

Enjoy the games, everybody.

MNW’s Loosely Plagiarized Trivia

  1. Amos Alonzo Stagg
  2. McDonald
  3. “Ancient Chinese Secret”
  4. Wisconsin
  5. Dave Brubeck