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I still don’t know what Boxing Day is, but Minnesota’s playing? Bowl Game Open Thread

Quick Lanes, First Responders, Guaranteed Rates...what more could a guy want?

Boxing Day Sales In Sydney Photo by Jenny Evans/Getty Images

Good morning and happy Boxing Day. I hope you got everything you wanted for Hanukkah and/or Christmas, and I’m here to tell you that today’s the day to—whatever it is you do on Boxing Day. Apparently for British people, it’s basically just “watch soccer,” which doesn’t seem horrible to me.

There’s also college football today, which...well, when you see the games on offer, you can be the judge.

Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Bowling Green Falcons

Quick Lane Bowl: Ford Field (Detroit, MI)
1pm | ESPN | Minnesota -3 | O/U 39.5

Kind of...: Did you know that Minnesota once beat Alabama in a bowl game? That’s right! And in the joy of the season, let’s not nitpick. Who cares that it was the 2004 Music City Bowl? Who cares that Alabama’s head coach was Mike Shula? Or that, of all Alabama head coaches who coached at least 10 games at Alabama, his winning percentage ranks 16th (out of 18)? Or that both teams were below .500 in conference play that season? The Gophers took down the Tide!!!

Incidentally, that win put Minnesota at 5-5 all-time in bowl games. They then proceeded to lose seven straight from 2005. But a visit to Detroit in 2015 earned the Gophers a 21-14 win over Central Michigan, and Minnesota is now riding a 6 game winning-streak, sitting at 11-12 all-time. Don’t tell me this isn’t a big game!!!

Poll

For all the Quick Lanes:

  • 72%
    Minnesota
    (60 votes)
  • 27%
    Bowling Green
    (23 votes)
83 votes total Vote Now

Texas State Bobcats vs. Rice Owls

First Responders Bowl: Gerald J. Ford Stadium (University Park, TX)
4:30pm | ESPN | Texas State -3.5 | O/U 59.5

Kind of...: This is Texas State’s first bowl game in their 12 years of FBS play. This is Rice’s 14th bowl game in 110 years of FBS play. Texas State is 17th in scoring offense and 119th in scoring defense. Rice is 48th and 68th, respectively. Solid shootout potential.

Historical note: the legendary Jess Neely spend 27 years at Rice and compiled a winning record (!). He led the Owls to three Cotton Bowl wins and an Orange Bowl victory.

If you know your unusual college football history, the first one of those you think of in the 1954 Cotton Bowl, a 28-6 Owls victory over Alabama. Not because Dickey Moegle (later Maegle) ran for 265 yards, but because his 95 yard TD run remains one of the strangest plays in CFB history:

If you ask me, that’s even more embarrassing than losing to Minnesota in a bowl game.

Poll

For all the First Responders:

  • 66%
    Texas State on attempt #1!
    (34 votes)
  • 33%
    Rice on attempt #14!
    (17 votes)
51 votes total Vote Now

Kansas Jayhawks vs. UNLV Rebels

Guaranteed Rate Bowl: Chase Field (Phoenix, AZ)
8pm | ESPN | Kansas -12.5 | O/U 67.5

Kind of...: This...could get ugly. First, the good news. UNLV had only their second winning season, and is making their second bowl game, since 2000. After 12 straight seasons of 9 or more losses, Kansas broke the schneid last year. The Jayhawks are looking to notch their first bowl win since a 42-21 win over Minnesota in the 2008 Insight Bowl.

The bad: UNLV’s defense went missing the last three games, including a blowout loss to Boise State in the MWC title game, and Kansas should be plenty motivated to notch a bowl win. High blowout potential here.

Poll

For all the Guaranteed Rates:

  • 54%
    Kansas to cover 12.5 points
    (31 votes)
  • 35%
    Kansas by 12 or less
    (20 votes)
  • 10%
    UNLV
    (6 votes)
57 votes total Vote Now

Other Sports (Mostly Soccer)

English Premier League:

For what it’s worth, Sheffield-Luton is going to be so assy that you almost have to watch it. I’m legally obligating you to do so.

EFL Championship:

  • Preston North End vs. Leeds United [6:30am, ESPN+]
  • Rotherham United vs. Middlesbrough [9am, ESPN+]
  • Birmingham City vs. Stoke City [11:15am, ESPN+]
  • Ipswich Town vs. Leicester City [1:45pm, ESPN+]

Other Soccer

  • Belgium Pro League: Genk vs. Antwerp [6:30am, ESPN+]
  • Scottish Premiership: Dundee vs. Celtic [9am, CBSSN]
  • Belgium Pro League: Club Brugge vs. Union Saint-Gilloise [1:45pm, ESPN+]

NBA Basketball on National TV

  • Indiana Pacers at Houston Rockets (-2.5, O/U 237.5) [7pm, NBAtv]
  • Charlotte Hornets at Los Angeles Clippers (-10.5, O/U 228.5) [9:30pm, NBAtv]

Here’s your open thread for the day. Enjoy!