Football Follies 2018: Booger crests

Football Follies 2018: Booger crests
Ferris State kicks a field goal in the Div II championship match with Valdosta State, at the Absurd High School Stadium in the McKinney, TX Independent School District. 2018, YouTube

We know you’re all glued to the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl as we type this.  (Thursday evening.)  Marshall is up 21-7 on South Florida, and although it’s getting a little lopsided down there in Ray-Jay, it’s not as tiresome as watching Ohio slap San Diego State all over the field for four quarters.

Not a bad crowd in Tampa for all the rain they’ve had today, although the diehard tailgaters did have to move it under cover.

Trending: Vermont police collected DNA to help ID man who committed crime. What did the man do?

Looks splooshy but not unreasonable out on the field.

Finally, on Friday, the LU Inner Circle gets its game face on.  As previewed last week, Toledo will meet Florida International in the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl.  The spread is hanging in there at 7 in Toledo’s favor.  Go Rockets!

Herewith, the upcoming action for Christmas week.

(Live action note: it’s Friday, and we’ve now moved on to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, after watching Toledo pull to within 3 with a heart-stopping Hail Mary for 6 in the final 10 seconds.  Just wasn’t quite enough.)

22 December

Memphis and Wake Forest lead us off on Saturday in the Jared (really?) Birmingham Bowl, which thoughtfully provides photos of the entire bowl committee and all the staff, in case you need them.  We feel this puts them a cut above.  As far as we can tell, no jewelry-involved events are scheduled.

Sadly, we’ve already missed the Monday Morning Quarterback Club Welcome Dinner, which was held on 18 December and honored Jeff Rutledge, 1970s-era quarterback for ‘Bama, and in the NFL for the Rams, Giants, and Redskins, as a Golden Flake Legend of Birmingham.  Rutledge is now Coach Rutledge for some lucky high schoolers in Arizona.  We congratulate him on his initiation as a Golden Flake, one of our all-time favorite awards.

Memphis is giving 3.5.  They’ve lost a step this season but still have chops; we can go with that.

The Inner Circle weighs in next with Army meeting Houston in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth.  Army comes in a remarkable 10-2, its only losses on the season to Duke and Oklahoma (where, yes, we know Army left the locker room spick and span.  They teach ‘em right in the Army.  Housekeeping is important).

Army Head Coach Jeff Monken knows the words, too:

Team Rubicon – a national group of veterans who respond to natural disasters – was honored with the Great American Patriot Award this year on behalf of the Armed Forces Bowl.

We looked in vain for the children’s art contest that has attended the Armed Forces Bowl in years past.  That was a big crowd favorite, but we can’t find a trace of it this year.

The Armed Forces Bowl is always sold out.  Houston (AAC) is 8-4, the AAC-West titleholder and still with a mean throwing game, although it’s heavily dependent on Marquez Stevenson being healthy to catch QB D’Eriq King.  The AAC West defends the triple option once a season with Navy these days, so the Cougars are not unfamiliar with it.  Army gives 5, and we wish them the best of luck.

Buffalo and Troy will duke it out next in the Dollar General Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, where Booger reigns supreme.  If you can make it on Friday, the Mayor’s luncheon is at noon, and the great Archie Manning is the keynote speaker.

We always like to peek in at the Chick-Fil-A-catered lunch for the teams on board the USS Alabama floating museum.  The lunch was on Thursday, 20 December, but there are no photos posted yet.

Meanwhile, we’ll need someone to explain this (below) to us.  Oh, we get the Southern Belle get-ups.  We’ve been around the block before.  We get the gamers go-karts too.  It’s that “PILOT Catastrophe” thing in the verbiage that we need some help with.

We know someone out there knows.  Do your thing, LU crowd.  Source.

The line seems to see Buffalo and Troy as prit near a pick-‘em.

The SoFi Hawaii Bowl, clearly no longer in it for the science now that they’ve gone and got themselves a corporate sponsor, finishes off Saturday in style, featuring Hawaii and Louisiana Tech (motto: “WAC. We’ll just say it and get it over with. Breaking up can take years”), which we would really miss from the Booger lineup if they weren’t there.

The Rainbow Warriors are hard at work preparing for game day.

You missed the luau Wednesday night, and probably the Kickoff banquet Thursday night.  If you can stand 78 degrees and partly cloudy, you can still make the game at 5:30 PM (Alaska/Hawaii) on Saturday, and likely have a great time.  UH is giving 1.

26 December

We won’t have Booger to kick around on Christmas Eve this year.  We’ll have to make do with the NFL for the balance of the weekend.

But fast-forwarding to Wednesday the 26th, we see the pulse quicken and the action accelerate, as the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl brings Boston College and #25 Boise State to the Cotton Bowl for an excellent adventure.  You’ll remember this bowl from recent years as the Heart of Dallas Bowl, most recently sponsored by Zaxby’s.

This bowl is still developing its Booger cred, but they’re on a roll so far in 2018, with no sponsored events listed at the bowl website – not even a pep rally or tailgater – a form of Booger confidence you can’t buy with money.  They know they bring the Bearcats.

Attractions at the First Responder Bowl in Dallas, TX. Courtesy SERVPRO First Responder Bowl

What kid would want to attend any other bowl?  For the older demographic, there are vintage firefighting vehicles.

Attractions at the First Responder Bowl in Dallas, TX. Courtesy SERVPRO First

We speculate that the football won’t quite live up to the pre-game hype, but will still be worthwhile.   Props to Eagle and Bronco fans coming from halfway across the country in either direction.  BSU gives 2.5.

Minnesota won’t have that big a hop getting to the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit, although it’s a bit of a leap for Georgia Tech.  We were all set to bemoan for you the obsession of the local news stations with an apparent discipline problem on the Golden Gopher squad, but then we noticed somebody had video of a local dog stealing a package off the neighbor’s porch, and felt sure you would rather get up to speed on that.

It was a judgment call.  The Quick Lane Bowl is one of our finest Boogers, having been previously the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl and the Ford Motor City Bowl, and now making sense name-wise only to the folks who already knew what it was.  This is what Booger is all about:


We know you fowling fans are anxious to hear about the opportunities to knock down bowling pins in unorthodox manners, and while we don’t see an outing for the teams on the schedule, it looks like the fans will have their own fowling bash during Fan-Fest at Ford Field, before the game starts.  As you would expect, there’s a specialty brew beer-tasting to accompany this recreational endeavor.  There’s also, intriguingly, a long jump.  That one is probably best attempted by those who have taken the fullest advantage of the specialty brews.

Late-breaking: We knew it!  Yes, you can toss things to try and win a Ford F-150 at the Quick Lane Bowl.  This is still America.

Georgia Tech gives 5, but we’re dubious.

Finally, on Wednesday night, we’ll be requited by seeing our own TCU Horned Frogs take on California in the inaugural contest of the Cheez-It Bowl in Phoenix.  No Booger has ever been like this Booger, and if you think we’re kidding, get a load of this:

Copper Bowl (1989)
Domino’s Pizza Copper Bowl (1990–1991)
Weiser Lock Copper Bowl (1992–1995)
Copper Bowl (1996) Bowl (1997–2001)
Insight Bowl (2002–2011)
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl (2012–2013)
TicketCity Cactus Bowl (2015)
Motel 6 Cactus Bowl (2016, 2 games)
Cactus Bowl (2017)

Now, that’s a Booger.  As befits a Booger classic, the Cheez-It Bowl play second fiddle to the associated PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, which means the Fiesta Bowl siphons off all the major hype.  But there’s a Cheez-It Bowl van:

And TCU sports reporter Grant McGalliard was sent a box of “yet-unreleased” Cheez-It cracker flavors to test, which is just the sort of thing that makes Booger Bowls like nothing else on earth.

TCU is 6-6 to Cal’s 7-5, and although the Golden Bears are giving 1, we couldn’t pick this one to save our lives.  Just be there and enjoy the fun.  ESPN, 7 PM Mountain/8 PM Central (6 PM Pacific for the Cal contingent).

27 December

On Thursday, the smart people will be watching the Walk-On’s Independence Bowl and wishing they were in Shreveport, Louisiana with Temple and Duke.  We clarified last year, when Walk-On’s took over as sponsor, that they’re a proprietor of Bistreaux & Bars.  That probably explains why the bowl website has an update in 2018 with this encouraging headline:


They know from pub crawls and improved experiences.  It looks like they brought in the professionals too:

The 10 locations throughout downtown Shreveport are Fully Stacked, Nicky’s, Fatty Arbuckle’s, Proud Mary 360, Frida’s, Stray Cat, Noble Savage, Rhino, Abby Singer’s and Parish Taceaux. Every location will have enter-to-win prizes, presented by Glazer Beer, and the more locations participants visit, the more chances they will have to win prizes.

The shuttles will be at the ready on the evening of 26 December.  The Pub Crawl will make its way through downtown Shreveport alongside the Mardi Gras Preview Parade, because this is Louisiana, for heaven’s sake, and it’s one of the 364 other days in the year.  There will be some football the following day, with the Owls favored by 4, about which we are also dubious.

One of our all-time favorite bowl games ensues, when Miami (Da U) and Wisconsin take the field at Yankee Stadium for the New Era Pinstripe Bowl.  You can’t go wrong with a bowl played in the Bronx, and although Booger is often associated with frequent changes of sponsorship and venue, this one, first played in 2010, must never, ever change.  It’s a sacred charge now.

Miami is favored by 3, which is one we can get on board with.  The winter precipitation isn’t supposed to move in until Friday; the friskier Hurricanes can probably handle the upper 30s game-time temps about as well as the frostier Badgers.

Thursday night rounds off with Baylor and Vanderbilt in the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl at NRG in Houston.  In its guises as the Houston Bowl and the Bluebonnet Bowl, this one goes back to 1959, with suitable hiatuses in between to enhance the Booger cachet.  Under the Texas Bowl umbrella, it’s been sponsored by AdvoCare and Meineke Car Care.

Sadly, your opportunity to win fan tickets to the famed Texas Bowl Rodeo Bowl has just ended (on 20 December).  You’ll have to make do with the pictures of Bear and Commodore players engaged in the following Rodeo Bowl activities:

Goat Dressing, Calf Penning, Calf Roping, Calf Ribbon Pull, Barrel Man, Hay Bale Stacking and Horse Race.

But if you’ve got $3 a seat to spare, there are nosebleed tickets in NRG for the game.  Vandy’s giving 4, and on this one, we’d even advise you to take the points.

28 December

Friday opens for us with the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, featuring Purdue and Auburn.  We may quietly yearn for the one halcyon year (1998) when the bowl was the American General Life & Accident Music City Bowl, but we won’t bother you with our personal problems.  The Boilermakers and Tigers will meet in Nissan Stadium in Nashville.

We admire this bowl tremendously for keeping us updated on its economic impact on the Greater Nashville area.  (We do hesitate to mention that the latest figures seem to be from 2014, but it sounds like bowl management has the right attitude, and would appreciate the reminder.)

We also like the sound of the Black Tie Moving Tailgate Party at the stadium.  We know some of you are anxious to get the dope on the annual Hot Chicken Eating Contest sponsored by Hattie B’s; this year it will be at the Tailgate Party, which, of course, is basically in the morning, since the game starts at 12:30.  So acclimate yourself accordingly.  Before noon isn’t always the best time to prove you can consume three buckets of hot wings without passing out.

Auburn is giving 4, which should probably be more on any given Friday. But you never know. We’re proud of Purdue for representing the Big X this year.

Our next stop is in Orlando for the Camping World Bowl, the only college football bowl to have gone from being the MicronPC Bowl (1998) to being the Bowl (1999-2000).  In fact, it started life as the Blockbuster Bowl (1990-1993), and thereby has the distinction of having outlived its first sponsor, whose once-ascendant business model was killed off by technology.

Camping World Stadium used to be the Citrus Bowl Stadium, if you need to orient yourself.  It’s now sponsored by the RV retailer (some business models never die).  On 28 December it will play host to #16 West Virginia, pride of the Big 12, and #20 Syracuse.

There will be the usual pep rallies, battle of the bands, and fan-fest, of course.  But it looks to us like the place to be just before the game is the Mercedes-Benz of South Orlando Hospitality Pavilion, which you can check out in this fly-through video.

We don’t know about you, but we were hoping to see some of those balloons get a good pop.

We’re expecting big things of the offense in this match.  The Mountaineers are giving 1, but while we loyally second that, something is telling us “Orange.”

The final bowl vulnerability period on Friday evening is in San Antonio, Texas, as the Valero Alamo Bowl brings us #24 Iowa State and #13 Washington State.

The Alamo Bowl has a Million Dollar Shootout, and they make no bones about it.  It involves swinging golf clubs, winning prizes, and benefiting a scholarship fund, so we dare the ABC announcers to rename it a “rivalry,” or a “contest,” or a “controversial interpersonal kinetic encounter,” or whatever the two-minute-hate term is for it these days.

Call it Petunia, if you like; it already took place some weeks back, but you still have time to make the Valero Alamo Bowl Bash at the Marriott Rivercenter, where you’ll reportedly find five gourmet action food stations.  We’ve got this on our bucket list, just to witness in person what a gourmet action food station is.

Washington State is favored by 3, but we’re frankly not feeling that.

For a resumption of bowl action on 29 December, tune in next week.

Other ranks

In FCS, North Dakota State and Eastern Washington are preparing to meet in Frisco, Texas  on 5 January for the national championship.

In Div II, Valdosta State beat out Ferris State in a serious barnburner (49-47) last Friday to bear off the crown. Well done, and congratulations to both teams.

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer is a retired Naval Intelligence officer who lives in Southern California, blogging as The Optimistic Conservative for domestic tranquility and world peace. Her articles have appeared at Hot Air, Commentary’s Contentions, Patheos, The Daily Caller, The Jewish Press, and The Weekly Standard.