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From to B1G Games in Hawai’i: Saturday Bowl Game Open Thread

Here’s your place to talk Camellias, 68 Ventures—no more, no less—and maybe Northwestern-Utah, if you feel so bold.

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Hawaii Bowl - Houston v Fresno State Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images

Does anyone remember when the way we previewed bowl games was Jesse Collins and I doing a back-and-forth that would sprawl onto about 4,000 words on barbeque, the 2013 Northwestern-Nebraska game, and the highways of the Midwest?

Anywho, here’s a bowl game open thread for the day. Kind of... was...kind...enough to give us some thoughts. I added the ellipses.

Birmingham Bowl: Troy Trojans vs. Duke Blue Devils

11am | ABC | Troy -7 | O/U 44.5 | Protective Stadium (Birmingham, AL)

Kind of...: Random bowl factoid: the 1942 Rose Bowl was moved to Durham, NC because of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Duke was undefeated and ranked #2. They fell to Oregon State 20-16. This was the second time in four years a Blue Devils perfect season was ruined in the Rose Bowl. In the 1939 Rose Bowl, the ‘38 Blue Devils, who had not allowed a point all season, gave up a last minute TD to USC, losing 7-3.

MNW: Remember when it looked like this Duke team would finally be the one to bust through in the ACC? They pounded Clemson and then rattled off wins over Lafayette, UConn, and Northwestern...

...and then they lost to Notre Dame, took a hamblastin’ from Florida State, got shut out by Lhvl, and that was about all she wrote for Riley Leonard and Mike Elko, who took their balls and ran to bigger-name programs. And now the Blue Devils are 7-point dogs to a Sun Belt favorite.


For Birmingham:

This poll is closed

  • 52%
    (19 votes)
  • 47%
    (17 votes)
36 votes total Vote Now

Camellia Bowl: Arkansas State Red Wolves vs. Northern Illinois Huskies

11am | ESPN | Arky State -3 | O/U 54 | Cramton Bowl (Montgomery, AL)

Kind of...: Random bowl factoid: Northern Illinois hat lose seven consecutive bowl appearances. Where have you gone, Dave Doeren? (Oh.)

The last win? The 2012 Bowl, where the Huskies were 38-20 victors over...Arkansas State. That bowl game was, for some reason, played on January 8, 2012. The was part of a five year run (2010-2014) where NIU went 41-4 in MAC games (38-2 in the regular season; 3-2 in MAC title games).

MNW: Just worth mentioning Butch Jones is the coach of Arkansas State, a fact I always forget until seeing the Red Wolves come up.

But to Kind of...’s point, that old GoDaddy Bowl slot was great—from 2006 to 2014, there would be some random game on a Tuesday night in Mobile with Tulsa blowing out some MAC team. Look at these results:

It’s been rough for attendance, moving to this date: from highs in the upper 30Ks—and the low 40s dating back to the GMAC Bowl heyday of Marshall 64, East Carolina 61—the LendingTree Bowl plummeting into the high 20s and even 15K for [Fucking Falwells]-EMU in 2021.

So I didn’t know I would rally to this cause this morning, but I agree! Bring back an early-January 68 Ventures Bowl!

(As a side-note, you know a bowl game is really reputable when the company sponsoring it does not have its own Wikipedia page.)


For all the Camellias:

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    Arky Lite
    (9 votes)
  • 66%
    The Fightin’ Hammocks
    (18 votes)
27 votes total Vote Now

Armed Forces Bowl: James Madison Dukes vs. Air Force Falcons

2:30pm | ABC | JMU -2 | O/U 40.5 | Amon G. Carter Stadium (Fort Worth, TX)

Kind of...: Random bowl factoid: the 1985 Air Force Falcons went 12-1 and finished #8 in the nation. They capped their season by beat Texas, who finished tied for second in the SWC, in the Bluebonnet Bowl. The Bluebonnet Bowl was never as big of a deal as some of the major ones, but it was still produced some compelling matchups over its run.

MNW: It was also called the Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl for the 15 years it was held in the Astrodome—whose history I enjoyed learning about while I taught in the Space City. Mostly it’s tough to picture the Colt .45s playing, as they did, outdoors at Colt Stadium, where scientists also tested what would become AstroTurf and rattlesnakes frequently took up residence in the shade.

That stadium was also dismantled and later became parts of two Mexican stadiums, which is just a phenomenal tidbit.

I’m taking the Falcons here, by the way—my hot take is that Calhoun always has ‘em ready to play, while the Dukes are stuck in the whole Cignetti move thing.


For all the...armed forces?

  • 29%
    (9 votes)
  • 70%
    (22 votes)
31 votes total Vote Now

Idaho Potato Bowl: Georgia State Panthers vs. Utah State Aggies

2:30pm | ESPN | USU -1.5 | O/U 59.5 | Albertsons Stadium (Boise, ID)

Kind of... Random bowl factoid: the 1961 version of the Aggies wen 9-0-1 in the regular season, led by future NFL HOFer Merlin Olsen. The Aggies played in the inaugural Gotham Bowl (yes it was played in NYC), falling to a 5-5 Baylor squad. The bowl would only last one more year.

Random non-bowl factoid: If you’re as old as I am, you remember Olsen calling NFL games for NBC, and almost all of the Rose Bowls in the 1980s. He also acted in Mitchell, a hilariously bad movie that remains one of the best ever episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

MNW: I would not have believed you had you told me Georgia State is going on its sixth bowl game—Shawn Elliott has built a nice little program in Atlanta, even if it’s hard to see him going much farther than this. Taking in a game at Center Parc Stadium—the old Turner Field—is a weird bucket list thing.



This poll is closed

  • 44%
    (11 votes)
  • 56%
    (14 votes)
25 votes total Vote Now

68 Ventures Bowl: South Alabama Jaguars vs. Eastern Michigan Eagles

6pm | ESPN | USA -17 | O/U 44.5 | Hancock Whitney Stadium (Mobile, AL)

Kind of...: Random bowl factoid: Chris Creighton will be leading Eastern Michigan to their sixth bowl in the last eight years. Given that the Eagles have made seven bowls ever, this is really impressive.

That said, let’s tip our hat to the 1987 version of Eastern Michigan (then the Hurons), who won their only MAC title in school history, and who capped a 10-2 season with a 30-27 win over a 10-1 San Jose State squad that could tout wins over two different Pac-10 schools (Stanford and Cal).

MNW: I did all that work on the 68 Ventures/GMAC/GoDaddy Bowl above and honestly told myself that was that bowl game. Oops.

This is the Jaguars’ best chance to break their bowl game duck—they are 0-3 and were only competitive in their first, a 33-28 Camellia Bowl loss to South Alabama back in 2014.


For exactly 68 of the ventures:

This poll is closed

  • 47%
    (11 votes)
  • 52%
    (12 votes)
23 votes total Vote Now

Las Vegas Bowl: Northwestern Wildcats vs. Utah Utes

6:30pm | ABC | Utah -6.5 | O/U 41.5 | Allegiant Stadium (Las Vegas, NV)

MNW: Hi! I already talked about this one:

So...uh...there’s that.



This poll is closed

  • 68%
    (35 votes)
  • 31%
    (16 votes)
51 votes total Vote Now

Hawai’i Bowl: Coastal Carolina Chanticleers vs. San Jose State Spartans

9:30pm | ESPN | SJSU -9 | O/U 49.5 | Clarence T.C. Ching Athletic Complex (Honolulu)

Kind of...: Random bowl factoid: weep not for San Jose State’s loss in the 1987 California Bowl to Eastern Michigan (see above). They were even better in 1986, going 2-2 vs. Pac-10 competition and 8-0 against everybody else, including a 45-41 win over #19 Fresno State in the game the decided the Pacific Coast Athletic Association (PCAA) championship. The Spartans capped off the season with a 37-7 mauling of Miami (OH) in the California Bowl.

Random non-bowl factoid: San Jose State’s QB in both 1986 and 1987 was Mike Perez, who would go to become a star in the Arena Football league in the 1990s. He was second-team All-Arena for three straight years (1994-1996). In 1995, he was beaten out by Jay Gruden for first-team honors. In 1996, it was Kurt Warner who edged him out.

MNW: The 2001 season was the first and only one since 1981 in which there was not a bowl game in Hawai’i—2001 was the odd year where the Oahu Bowl had moved and become the Seattle Bowl for two years before going bust, while at the end of 2000 Jeep dropped its sponsorship of the Aloha Bowl and the game’s organizers agreed to move it to the mainland.

Prior to that, Hawai’i hosted the Pineapple Bowl in the 1950s and the Poi Bowl from 1936-1939. Can you name the ONLY Big Ten team—at least one that was a member of the conference at the time, not 1982 Maryland or 1983 Penn State—to ever play a bowl game in Hawai’i? I’ll leave the answer in the comments.


For the Hawai’is:

This poll is closed

  • 44%
    Coastal Carolina
    (11 votes)
  • 56%
    San Jose
    (14 votes)
25 votes total Vote Now

Here’s your open thread for the day. Behave.