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Bowl Game Previews, Time, TV: Myrtle Beach, Celebration, Cure, LA, New Orleans, Independence

A couple transfer-riddled teams, a couple BANGERS of matchups: here’s your guide to the weekend’s football:

We decided to talk about the bowl games tomorrow:

Myrtle Beach Bowl (Conway, SC)

Georgia Southern Eagles (6-6) vs. Ohio Bobcats (9-3)

10am | ESPN | GASo -3.5 | O/U 48.5

MNW: I thought there was some pretty incredible MACtion disrespect in this first weekend—the Eagles are just not as strong a team as Ohio, though the Bobcats are...well, moribund is putting it lightly on offense. But by Bill Connelly’s SP+ metric, Clay Helton’s Eagles roll in at 120th in overall defense.

But then I learned that the Bobcats’ starting QB, Kurtis Rourke—the Canuck Cannon, the Oakville Outlaw, the Grinnin’ Lothario from Southern Ontario—has entered the transfer portal and might end up at BYU (ew). That takes an already bad offense and tasks it with keeping up with Davis Brin and a wide-open GATA attack.

Kind of...: Why are you bagging on Georgia Southern, that’s one of UW’s best wins this year...oh god. Year 2 of the Fickell era will be better, right? Vs. Alabama and @USC? In September??? Where was I? Oh right. Yes, Ohio got hosed, but, um, they’re the underdog because the MAC really is a significantly worse conference than the Sun Belt right now (and b/c Rourke—and all of his nicknames (nice work boss!)—left Athens (for Indiana)!

Still, Ohio’s defense if legit, and defense, as we all know, travels. Only MAC champ Miami hung more than 23 on them, and they held half their opponents to 14 or fewer. Plus, while the win over Iowa State may have been fluky, it’s still a win over a pretty good P5 team. The MAC may be down, but the Bobcats are pretty good. And Georgia Southern went 0 for November. Maybe they come out fired up, but I like Ohio’s chances.


For all the Myrtles:

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    Georgia Southern
    (17 votes)
  • 63%
    (30 votes)
47 votes total Vote Now

Celebration Bowl (Atlanta, GA)

Howard Bison (6-5) vs. Florida A&M Rattlers (11-1)

11am | ABC

MNW: Apparently the MEAC is clinging to life, with Howard going...4-1??? conference to win the title and, by dint of a 50-20 win over NC Central, earn the conference’s berth to Atlanta. The Bison notably lost by just 3 to Big Ten West runners-up Northwestern.

That’s what I’ve got for you. Discuss.

Kind of...: Howard went 6-5 and the two non-conference wins were over Robert Morris (sub .500 in FCS) and Morehouse (1-9 in D-II). I think their only chance is if Florida A&M comes out as disinterested as Northwestern did.

MNW: See, the problem is almost every year in the Bowl Confidence Pick’em, I think the Celebration Bowl is a slam dunk, and almost every year I lose something like 35 points betting on Jackson State.


For all the Celebration:

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    (8 votes)
  • 81%
    Florida A&M
    (36 votes)
44 votes total Vote Now

New Orleans Bowl

Jacksonville State Gamecocks (8-4) vs. Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (6-6)

1:15pm | ESPN | JVSt -3.5 | O/U 59.5

MNW: Color me surprised that J’ville State and Louisiana both rated out so highly in Connelly’s metric—67 and 64, respectively—though they’re just 97th and 95th in Sagarin. The ‘Cocks roll in with a SEVENTH-YEAR QB in Zion Webb, and they keep it on the ground with a lot of pace but little actual ball control; the Cajuns cycled through three QBs but might finally have something with Chandler Fields.

I’m wondering how much I’m underrating the Sun Belt this year—is it possible we’re sleeping on a conference that put 12 teams in bowl games, and that the Cajuns should, in fact, handle RichRod & Co?

Kind of...: The Sun Belt was pretty good this year...but 7 of those 12 teams went 6-6. If Illinois had beaten NW and Nebraska had beaten Iowa, 6 B1G West teams would’ve gone bowling, but none of us would’ve been fooled, right?

J’ville State did lose to Coastal Carolina (of the Sun Belt) in September, but the other losses are Liberty, New Mexico State, and South Carolina. Louisiana finished 5th in their division and didn’t beat anybody with a winning record. Though, that statement puts a lot of weight on J’ville State’s win over Western Kentucky, or else they’d be in the same spot. So, really, who knows? But that’s why we watch!!! Right?


For all the New Orleans:

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    (22 votes)
  • 45%
    (18 votes)
40 votes total Vote Now

Avocados from Mexico Cure Bowl (Orlando, FL)

Miami Redhawks (11-2) vs. Appalachian State Mountaineers (8-5)

2:30pm | ABC | App -6.5 | O/U 44.5

MNW: HERE’S really were I got that MACtion Disrespect Narrative from—Chuck Martin’s crew giving up a touchdown to the ‘Eers in a neutral-site game is tough. But the Redhawks have been talking/hyping a good deal on Twitter now that injured QB Brett Gabbert is running it back next year, so I’m sure that won’t come back to haunt them in any way.

My favorite thing here is that the bowl game is sponsored by Avocados from Mexico. Normally I have no time for including bowl game sponsors, but for this one I’ll make an exception. Is this the Mexican invasion that Floridians were worried about? Will they have a large avocado mascot a la the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl? Will I have the “Avocados from Mexico!” jingle stuck in my head for the next week? THIS IS WHY BOWL SEASON IS GREAT, KIND OF...!

Kind of...: All excellent questions sir. Can’t answer them all, but I will bet you have that jingle stuck in your head since I already do just from reading the above paragraph.

I feel the disrespect angle, but, honestly, App. State is pretty good. Losing to Troy (Sun Belt champ) and UNC (in OT) are totally defensible. The gave away the loss in Laramie to Wyoming. (Seriously, check out the stats). The other two losses were each in the last minute. And, well, they beat James Madison. Miami is definitely good enough to win this, and the “nobody believes in us” card helps, but App. State is favored for a reason.


For all the Avocados!

This poll is closed

  • 46%
    (20 votes)
  • 53%
    (23 votes)
43 votes total Vote Now

New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque, NM)

New Mexico State Aggies (10-4) vs. Fresno State Bulldogs (8-4)

4:45pm | ESPN | NMSU -3.5 | O/U 51.5

MNW: Fuckin’ Diego Pavia, man. I can’t pick against him, or Jerry Kill going through a midlife crisis and showing up in serapes, or the feel-good story that is the Aggies winning 10 games for the first time in school history—their previous record was this epic 9-0 campaign in 1923:

There is a 25% chance the El Paso Garden Grocers will feature in an upcoming edition of DWT;WT.

Kind of...: You need to find a way to bump that % up, unless, of course, you just mean it’s 25% El Paso Garden Grocers, 75% Beaumont Hospital.

As for Kill, well, yeah, he’s done a great job. Doesn’t always work so well when you bring in a retread. For example, that Aggies threw Hal Mumme a lifeline a few years after he’d be out at Kentucky, and his first year was one of the worst seasons for an FBS team in the 21st century. (A -22.98 SRS is bad, right?)

Maybe Fresno State will rally with Jeff Tedford on a leave of absence, but they finished the regular season on a three-game losing streak, including losses to New Mexico and San Diego State, who both went 2-6 in MWC play. And you have to think NM State will be ready to play.


For all the Garden Grocers:

This poll is closed

  • 80%
    (36 votes)
  • 20%
    (9 votes)
45 votes total Vote Now

LA Bowl (Inglewood, CA)

UCLA Bruins (7-5) vs. Boise State Broncos (8-5)

6:30pm | ABC | UCLA -3.5 | O/U 49.5

MNW: God this first weekend is exhausting.

The official name of this bowl is the Starco Brands LA Bowl Presented by Gronk, a fact that I think just caused me to have a slight stroke. I do not know what a Starco Brand is, but I do know that Gronk’s schtick is funny in 30 second USAA-approved doses but will get tiring if he becomes the focal point of this game.

Kind of...: In a way, Gronk’s role is perfect for a bowl involving Boise State given each’s diminishing relevance. Chip Kelly, too, now that I think about it.

The Broncos fired their coach and rallied to win the Mountain West, so there’s that. UCLA was a thoroughly mediocre P5 team whose conference wins were over a USC team that had given up and...three of the four Pac 12 teams who didn’t make a bowl. Maybe the New Mexico Bowl will go to OT and you can just jump from that to the Independence Bowl?


For all the Gronks:

This poll is closed

  • 46%
    (20 votes)
  • 53%
    (23 votes)
43 votes total Vote Now

Independence Bowl (Shreveport, LA)

California Golden Bears (6-6) vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders (6-6)

8:15pm | ESPN | TTU -2.5 | O/U 57.5

MNW: Somehow I’m expected to believe either one of these bowl games are actually 6-6 and eligible/capable of playing in a bowl game. Bullshit, I say.

Texas Tech won three straight games over TCU, Kansas, and UCF by a combined 11 points, then got obliterated by Texas, 57-7, in their final matchup with the Longhorns. ACC-bound Cal lost four straight to ranked Oregon State, USC, Utah, and Oregon, then ran three off over Wazzu, Stanford, and UCLA, averaging 34 ppg in the process.

The quarterbacks could make this one interesting, at least—Cal has settled on frosh Fernando Mendoza, while Texas Tech has bid Tyler Shough adieu or howdy or whatever and settled on another in a never-ending string of goofy white dudes, Behren Morton. You could spend hours just Remembering Some Guys who have thrown the ball in Lubbock. Alan fuckin Bowman? Jarret Doege? Good God.

Kind of...: I’ll see your Jarret Doege and raise you the one-year wonder that was B.J. Symons. Seriously, he had the single-season passing yards record for 18 years! And it took Bailey Zappe an extra game to break it!

Texas Tech hung with September. And Cal should’ve beaten September. Cal got bowl eligible by beating a beyond disinterested UCLA team. And Texas Tech is basically bowling because they scheduled Tarleton State. But they also played Oregon and Wyoming. And they beat a ranked Kansas team in Lawrence, so they probably deserve to be favored. I want good things for Justin Wilcox, but Berkeley is a tough place to win consistently. Though I’m sure joining the ACC will be a boon, no?

MNW: Oh, Tarleton State. Oh, Stephenville, Texas, the Rodeo Capital of the USA. Oh, Erath County. Morgan Mill, a little no-stop-sign town on US-281 north of Tarleton, had this tableau:

Sadly, it appears this display is no longer there.

Stephenville, Texas. What a town.


For all the Independence:

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    (15 votes)
  • 40%
    (17 votes)
  • 23%
    Morgan Mill
    (10 votes)
42 votes total Vote Now