Bowl recap season. We have arrived. It doesn’t have the same feel as the regular season but it’s still college football and it feels really good when the game is competitive. So let’s begin!
First a quick note about the lower division games. The D-II and D-III finals were cool to watch, especially the D-II Championship in Kansas City that was in a severe snowstorm. Some serious FOOTBAW WEATHER!
The king is dead! Someone finally figured out future Mountain West member North Dakota State. James Madison kind of looked like the team that could give the Bison a run for their money in the previous two rounds with their gaudy offensive numbers. They played just well enough and weathered the noise of the Woodchipper to pull out the victory. NDSU’s streak of championships stops at five. An amazing feat. Alright, enough of this crap, send them up to the FBS pronto!
The other semi-final was in frigid Eastern Washington. It came down to the final play (almost). Kevin Rader’s catch in the endzone holding on to the ball around the back of the EWU defender is probably the catch of the year and It propelled the Youngstown State Fighting Pelinis to the FCS Championship. An amazing game.
Now on to the bowl games and it starts with the only non-FBS bowl of the year.
Celebration Bowl – Grambling 10 North Carolina Central 9
Not that great a game until later in the fourth. Then everything went nuts. NC Central scores what looks to be the tying touchdown. Then the receiver takes his helmet off in the end zone, drawing a penalty. The Eagles go on to miss the extra point, losing by one. My response is captured here: http://www.foxsports.com/college-football/gallery/celebration-bowl-penalty-excessive-celebration-grambling-state-north-carolina-central-121716. Yes you can’t make this up.
New Mexico Bowl – New Mexico 23 UTSA 20
It was somewhat of a home advantage for the Lobos but it wasn’t a packed house which is kind of disappointing. UTSA came oh-so-close in their first bowl game ever. Bob Davie has done an excellent job in Albuquerque which isn’t the easiest thing. Remember, this team has NEVER been ranked. Ever. That seems almost impossible but they have done it. Anyway, what I am trying to say is I am sure Notre Dame would take him back in a heartbeat.
Las Vegas Bowl – San Diego State 34 Houston 10
So Donnel Pumphrey broke Ron Dayne’s record for career rushing yards. Or did he? Leave it to the NCAA to fuck up something as simple as counting and adding. They can’t go back and retroactively add bowl game information that is readily available to everyone? So stupid. Not to take away what Pumphrey did. The kid is a smaller running back who thrashed defenses on the reg and is, at the very least, a good option as a change of pace back in the NFL. Also, Brent Musburger advocating for the Raiders to move to Vegas is so Brent. I’m surprised he hasn’t invited his bookie into the booth. Then again, he may have asked and been denied.
Camellia Bowl – Appalachian State 31 Toledo 28
I think we found our latest graduate of the Les Miles School of Clock Management. What was Jason Candle thinking? If Toledo hadn’t taken that delay of game penalty that field goal attempt probably ends up good and it may end up in the teams going to overtime. Instead, it is pushed right and the Rockets lose. Poor clock management. Even the best coaches seem to have issues with it.
Cure Bowl – Arkansas State 31 UCF 13
I don’t know what this bowl was supposed to cure. It was way too long (four hours) and wasn’t even that great a game. UCF was never in it, much to the chagrin of the home crowd in, ahem, “Bowlando” (God I feel disgusting even saying that). So it didn’t cure my boredom. Maybe insomnia perhaps?
New Orleans Bowl – Southern Miss 28 UL-Lafayette 21
This looked like it would be over quickly when the Golden Eagles went out in front 14-0 midway through the first. After that the Ragin’ Cajuns woke up, realized they were in a game and played Southern Miss tough the rest of the way. They came up a bit short but it was still an entertaining game to end the first day of bowl season.
In other news, both Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey have opted out of their team’s respective bowl games. They are doing this to keep injury free and start preparing for the NFL Draft. I expect this to be a trend. What will this do? Well one thing for sure is it will, eventually, drive ticket sales down at certain bowls that need brand name power to prop them up. I mean the Sun Bowl has little they can do to promote the game. Missing star players will just make it worse.
The bowl games continue today with the Miami Beach Bowl on at the ridiculous time of 2:30. A college football game. In the afternoon. Pre-Christmas. During a weekday. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist/Master’s student/recent GED recipient to figure out the problem here. It’s on my PVR and unless it’s a close game I will watch maybe fifteen minutes of it. This shit has to stop. I have outlined this before and will be doing it again in the coming days as I revise my If I Ran the Bowl Games post. Also coming up will be the NFL recap tomorrow. Enjoy the bowl games and the Monday nighter tonight.