Ross’s 2011 college football bowl-watching guide

It’s college bowl season, one of my most favorite times of the year! If a body were to pull up a comfortable recliner to their large format television for say, three weeks, they could watch college football from December 17th to January 9th–excepting six days. THIS IS FANTASTIC.

It’s college bowl season, one of my most favorite times of the year! If a body were to pull up a comfortable recliner to their large format television for say, three weeks, they could watch college football from December 17th to January 9th–excepting six days. THIS IS FANTASTIC.

Below you’ll find, what I think are, the bowl games you should be watching. Quick! Watch as many as possible, because soon we’ll be trapped in the dreaded football deadzone with no way out.

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Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

  • Dec. 17 (Saturday); 5.30pm; ESPN
  • Ohio (9-4) vs. Utah State (7-5); Line: Utah State by 1
  • Informally: does it get any more informal than “Potato Bowl?”
  • Outcome: Ohio 24 — Utah State 23

I love, love, love when bowl games have names that sound like actual things. I’m pretty sure you can head down to your neighborhood KFC and order a delicious gravy-covered Famous Potato Bowl right this second.

This year’s Potato Bowl (previously various incarnations of the Humanitarian Bowl) features a matchup that you, honestly, probably don’t care about: MAC champions Ohio and the WAC second runner up, Utah State. This is the bowl season’s first night game that doesn’t start at 9pm. That’s why you should watch it.

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Maaco Bowl Las Vegas

  • Dec. 22 (Thursday); 8pm; ESPN
  • #7 Boise State (11-1) vs. Arizona (6-6); Line: Boise State by 14
  • Informally: The How Far They’ve Fallen Bowl
  • Outcome: Bosie State 56 — Arizona 24

Man, if you are Boise State, you are probably super pissed, huh? The #7 team in the nation–with only one loss, and that to #18 TCU–ends up playing in Las Vegas (again) against a 6-6 Arizona team. SIX AND SIX. Yeesh.

<insert discussion about the pros and cons of AQ conferences here>

Unrelated: the Arizona vs. Arizona State rivalry is going to be one to watch next year. Both schools have hired coaches that have failed to perform elsewhere (ASU, Todd Graham out of Pitt; UA, Rich Rodriguez out of unemployment) and have some ties to the Big East. I’m not a RichRod fan, and Graham informed his players at Pitt by text message that he was leaving for Arizona State. So there’s that.

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Hawai’i Bowl

  • Dec. 24th (Saturday); 8pm; ESPN
  • #21 Southern Miss (11-2) vs. Nevada (7-5); Line: N/A
  • Informally: The Divorce Bowl
  • Outcome: Southern Miss 24 — Nevada 17

The Hawai’i Bowl! On Christmas Eve! It’s the NCAA’s way of saying: “The quicker you abandon your family, the more football you can watch. Think about it.”

This year’s edition features Southern Miss, who so kindly beat Houston and catapulted the Hokies into the Sugar Bowl, and Nevada. It’ll be interesting to see how the Golden Eagles perform after losing head coach Larry Fedora to UNC. Scuttlebutt yesterday was that Alabama defensive coordinator, Kirby Smart, was interviewing for the job.

If the coaching carousel doesn’t pique your fancy, drink enough eggnog spiked with holiday cheer, and pretty much any game is worth watching!

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Alamo Bowl

  • Dec. 29th (Thursday); 9:00pm; ESPN
  • #12 Baylor (9-3) vs. Washington (7-5); Line: Baylor by 9
  • Informally: The RGIII Bowl
  • Outcome: Baylor 67 — Washington 56

You’ve gotta check out the bowl game featuring this year’s Heisman Trophy winner, right? Robert Griffin III is an incredibly fun/talented player to watch, and he has just about the best quarterback name ever. Plus, the Baylor vs. Oklahoma game was one of the most exciting games of the year.

Remember this? With the game tied and under a minute left in regulation, Bob Stoops called an Oklahoma timeout–I guess in hopes to get the ball back? Rather than playing for overtime, RG3 did this:

And it was awesome. Who knows what he’ll do against Washington!

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Chick-fil-A Bowl

  • Dec. 31st (Saturday); 7:30pm; ESPN
  • Virginia (8-4) vs. #25 Auburn (7-5); Line: Auburn by 2
  • Informally: The Guys! We really did it! Bowl

UVA made it to a bowl game! Sound the trumpets! Let freedom ring!

The Hoos’ season this year was all over the place. After their first five games, things looked pretty terrible: a win over FCS William & Mary, a three point win over crappy Indiana, a loss to UNC followed by a loss to Southern Miss (who turned out to be pretty good), and an overtime win against Idaho. At that point in the season it looked like the Cavaliers could lose every single game remaining on their schedule.

But they didn’t!

They finished up a respectable 8-4 and were selected by the Chick-fil-A bowl. Wahoo Nation is pretty stoked about the chance to play against a major program on a national stage.

Good luck Cavs!

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Rose Bowl Game

  • Jan. 2nd (Monday); 5pm; ESPN
  • #5 Oregon (11-2) vs. #10 Wisconsin (11-2); Line: Oregon by 6
  • Informally: The LaMichael James and Monte Ball Bowl

I honestly believe that if that Michigan State wouldn’t have completed just about the craziest hail mary pass ever, Wisconsin would be playing in the National Championship this year. Seriously, look how wild this was:

But, after that soul crushing defeat, Wisconsin dropped their next game (in the last minutes) to a terrible Ohio State team. So, instead of playing for the National Championship, Wisconsin returns to the Rose Bowl Game to face Oregon.

If you like offense then, this is your game: the #6 offense (Oregon) vs. the #15 offense (Wisconsin). And, both teams score points in incredibly different ways. Oregon’s got that flashy, speedy offense, and Wisconsin has this powerful, pounding offense. It’s going to be a heck of a game to watch.

Oh, btw, Wisconsin has the #8 defense in the nation, soooooo…

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Fiesta Bowl

  • Jan. 2nd (Monday); 8:30pm; ESPN
  • #3 Oklahoma State (11-1) vs. #4 Stanford (11-1); Line: Oklahoma State by 3.5
  • Informally: The I’ll Poop On The Rematch Bowl

I’m having a hard time deciding whether I’m more excited about the Rose Bowl or the Fiesta Bowl. It is a travesty, A TRAVESTY, that Oklahoma State is not playing for the National Championship this year. I want to type, like, six hundred angry words about how I want to punch this rematch situation in the face. But, ALAS I will not.

Listen: the real second best team in the nation is going up against one of the best quarterbacks in the nation. Why wouldn’t you watch this game?

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Ticketcity Bowl: #19 Houston vs. #22 Penn State

I’m not sure how we’re supposed to watch a football game that starts at noon on Monday, January 2nd. I’d have included it in the list if there was even the smallest possibility of anyone watching it. Houston’s got the #1 offense (#1 passing offense) in the nation and Penn State has the #10 defense (#5 pass efficiency defense). What more could you ask for? (Nothing).

Sugar Bowl: #11 Virginia Tech vs. #13 Michigan

OK. I love the Hokies, and it was hard for me not to put this game at the very top of the list, but boy am I tired of watching the Hokies lose big-time bowl games on the national stage.

BCS Championship Game

As previously stated, I’m firmly in the “rematch is an affront to civilization” camp. Watch this game if you will, but just think about how much better an LSU vs. Oklahoma State game would have been.

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Ross Catrow

Founder and publisher of RVANews.

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