And…they’re off! It’s the Boogerest bowl week of all, starting on Saturday for hungry fans who need their football fix.
Before continuing, we must heave a sigh of relief that Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo (Indian name: Needs a Nickname) has decided to stay with the Mids instead of moving to BYU.
We also note that in the pros, the Rams will delight us Thursday night by hosting the Bucs.
Don’t miss our Bonus Feature this week, brought to you by your LU Football Commentary Service.
The Inner Circle is mostly otherwise engaged this week, but we’re proud to say that Toledo is charging out of the gate for us first on Tuesday evening, 22 December, in the Marmot Boca Raton Bowl. The Rockets face Temple, which at the moment is giving 2.
We admit that the Camping World Independence Bowl in Shreveport will have to go some, to top the Booger cred of the Marmot Boca Raton Bowl. Marmot is an adventure clothing and equipment company, started by Eric and Dave who made prototypes of down clothing in their dorm room in the 1970s. They report having been inspired to do this by a visit to an Alaska glacier in 1971.
In April 1971, University of California Santa Cruz students Eric Reynolds and Dave Huntley were in Alaska’s Juneau Icefield on a school Glaciology project. It was there on a glacier that the idea of a Marmot Club began. The name ‘Marmot’ refers to a group of highly social, large ground squirrels that live in mountainous areas.
To become a Marmot, you had to climb a glaciated peak with another Marmot. One of the rules of the club was that everyone was President. Most of the other rules dealt with a collegiate fascination for bodily functions.
Tom, Mike, and Joe later figured into the saga; the rest is history, and now Marmot is a brand of the Jarden Corporation, sponsoring the Boca Raton Bowl.
If you’re lucky enough to be in Boca Raton for this one, expect upper 70s and partly cloudy for the 7 PM kickoff. Go Rockets!
The Booger smorgasbord
We know none of you are planning to miss the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, Booger season’s grand opener on Saturday at noon Mountain. 6-6 Arizona will be in Albuquerque to meet the 7-5 UNM Lobos, with the Wildcats giving 9. We just like that New Mexico throws a bowl for itself. You go, girls.
The Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl kicks off half an hour later, featuring the Mormonest lineup imaginable with BYU and Utah taking the field. We hope Royal Purple will never drop the Las Vegas Bowl; it was at the onset of the Royal Purple era that the bowl name finally stopped sounding like the Google Translate elves imported it from Farsi. The Youths give 2.5 in the line.
Also on Saturday, Ohio and Appalachian State collide in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl in Montgomery, Alabama. Long-time readers will remember that the Camellia Bowl was resurrected in a new form and venue last year, after an extended hiatus from its place in Other-Ranks football in the 1960s and 1970s, when it was played in Sacramento. (In that earlier guise, it was last held as the Div I-AA championship in 1980, featuring Boise State and Eastern Kentucky. The Broncos won 31-29.)
Appalachian State give 7 on Saturday.
Saturday evening, San Jose State will meet Georgia State in the AutoNation Cure Bowl, which shall henceforth be known here at LU as “The bowl you don’t need to win 6 games to get into.” (SJSU is 5-7 on the season.) If we spot you the information that the bowl logo incorporates a pink ribbon, we assume you can guess what the “Cure” part is about. The origin of the bowl is explained thus:
Through years of experience working with and supporting college athletics, Florida Citrus Sports and the NCAA College Football Bowl system, this group knew that each college bowl game donated its profits to a charitable cause. However, the general public typically is unaware of which charitable causes are being supported. To separate this bowl from the rest, the founding board wanted the bowl game to be different, to allow the public to support the game as well as a significant cause. To do this it was decided the cause would be incorporated into the game title. As a result, the AutoNation Cure Bowl was born.
It might seem unsporting to remind Team Cure of the Fight Hunger Bowl, but since the FHB has been re-christened for this year, we’ll just hail the Cure Bowl for its good cause, and note that it’s in Orlando, of course, and SJSU is giving 2.5.
Bringing up the rear on Saturday night is the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, featuring Arkansas State and Louisiana Tech (motto: “That whole WAC nightmare was SO last decade”). The 8-4 Bulldogs, stalwarts of the C-USA Remnant and second in the West Division, give 2.
Monday sees an afternoon bout in Marlins Park: the Miami Beach Bowl between Western Kentucky and South Florida. The Hilltoppers give 2.5, but we’re pulling for the Bulls. It seems important to mention that the Miami Beach Bowl is sponsoring a “Lady’s Day Sailing Excursion” on Sunday, on the twin-hulled catamaran Caribbean Spirit.
In the early slot on Tuesday, before the Rockets launch, Ohio invades Idaho in the form of the Akron Zips. The Zips will meet Utah State in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, one of our all-time favorite bowls. Kicking off on the Smurf Turf at 1:30 Mountain, USU gives 7, and the forecast calls for 40s and rain.
There don’t seem to be any nautical excursions associated with this one, but we can’t not love a bowl whose logo features a loaded baked potato.
You’ll want to live until Wednesday, 23 December, to catch Boise State and Northern Illinois in the prissy uncle of all Booger Bowls, the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. This august event wears its waistband high and favors striped suspenders. (And no, it has nothing to do with wiener dog races. You’re thinking of the National Funding Holiday Bowl, which is in a whole different week. Try to keep up.)
The Broncos give 8.5, having an actual “offense” (such as it is this year), but the important thing is that everyone will be in San Diego enjoying sun and upper 60s in Qualcomm Stadium.
Also on Wednesday, the GoDaddy Bowl features Georgia Southern and Bowling Green duking it out in balmy Mobile. The GoDaddy has one of the revolving-door-sponsor histories that give a bowl instant Booger cachet. Tulsa won it twice, in 2008 and 2009, when it was the GMAC Bowl.
One of those was a rather lopsided 63-7 win over BGSU, but the Falcons are back after a 7-year hiatus to press a 7.5-point advantage.
Christmas Eve offers us two fine viewing opportunities, starting with the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl in Nassau featuring Middle Tennessee and Western Michigan (motto: LOL). So OK, the Broncos give 3 in the line. If there are planned events associated with this one, they’re keeping that on the down-low. They probably assume everyone will be staying at the Atlantis – the kid-filled resort-zilla with the monster water-slide that you see on TV – and can just check the bulletin board.
80s and partly cloudy for the kickoff.
In the late slot Christmas Eve, San Diego State and Cincinnati hit Aloha Stadium for the Hawaii Bowl, Bearcats giving 1. Which sounds a little screwy to us, but really, who cares? It’s a visit to Hawaii for football fans. Depending on whether you like it warmer or cooler, Honolulu either wins or loses the weather faceoff with Nassau: just about even for the daily high, and partly cloudy, but later in the day – so likely to be a tad cooler at kickoff.
Sufficient unto the week are the bowls thereof. Christmas Day will be devoted, in the modern tradition, to basketball. Bowls will resume on the 26th, and we’ll preview those next week.
The Div III championship has shaped up for Friday evening (18 December), with St. Thomas (Minn.) meeting Mount-of-Course Union in the Stagg Bowl in Salem, VA.
Div II plays for the title on Saturday in Kansas City, Kansas. Northwest Missouri State will meet Shepherd U. of Shepherdstown, WV.
In FCS, Jacksonville State takes on Sam Houston State, bane of McNeese State, in a semifinal on Saturday. North Dakota State meets Richmond on Friday. The championship game is 9 January.
It’s mid-December, the playoff picture is settling down (in the sane divisions, at least), and Saturday pro football is in the air.
We do regret to put before you the Saturday match-up for this week, as it’s Dallas hosting the Jets. The Jets give 3, and we expect the Cowboys to implode on schedule with about 6 minutes to go in the 2Q. The forecast is for heavy offensive-line penalties with scattered interceptions.
The usual caveats apply – still – for the psychotic NFC East, which will be having its shower stabbing scene sometime this month.
Redskins Redskins Redskins host Bills in the early slot Sunday, with odds even.
Steelers (8-5) really need to get something done this week, and although they’re at home, and enthusiastic bettors have them giving 7, their opponent is the 10-3 Broncos. It sounds like C.J. Anderson will play. Denver may have dropped one to the Raiders (and looked a bit sick, in the bad way, doing it), but it’s dumb to discount them under Osweiler based on one game. Bottom line: this match should be good football.
Cardinals (11-2) visit Eagles Sunday night. The Eagles, like the Giants, need a win this week, but both NFC East contenders are playing the hardest charging teams in the NFC (Giants will be hosting the unbeaten Panthers). Cowboys and Skins may actually have better shots to win. Arizona gives 3.5 in Philly (Carolina gives 5 at MetLife).
Saints will host Lions Monday night, and we’re pleased to report they’re giving 3.
Whether you live in your home state, or just are where you are in the Buckaroo Banzai sense, you’ll want to check out just how dorky your state of residence is when it comes to game-day comestibles.
California, it turns out, seems to favor something I would never have associated with game day at all: mozzarella sticks. So many ways to rag on the Golden State over that one.
Ohio, with hot dogs, seems sensible enough. You’d be wrong to think Wisconsin favors cheeses for football snacks; it’s Pennsylvania and South Carolina (?) that do that. Wisconsin is reportedly Pasta Central.
Some of the state favorites seem way off, like Nevada’s and Florida’s apparent passion for vegan selections. But the prize for sheer oddness goes to Utah, as far as we’re concerned, where they can apparently be found consuming pumpkin as the game-day snack of choice.