As I stated in my ground-breaking debut on Hamsterdam, I love bowl season. I love everything about it. From the tradition to the wide-ranging locations of the games to the weird sponsors, I love it all.
Sure they are just exhibition games, but even if you hate the BCS and the bowl system, you’d have to be a joyless shell of a human being to not be able to enjoy the best of the bowls. But which ones to watch? To make it easy for you, I’m going to run down the six best non-BCS games for you to enjoy this year. Why should you trust my advice? My picks this year turned out to be nearly as accurate as flipping a coin. But deciding that a game will be interesting to watch is a lot easier than gambling away your savings trying to beat the spread. So get some take-out from Beef O’Brady’s and watch these games:
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Who: Ohio (9-4) vs. Utah State (7-5)
When: Dec. 17th, 5:30 PM ESPN
Where: Bronco Stadium, Boise Idaho
Swag: Gift suite, North End winter coat, Kombi gloves, Nike beanie, Ogio Fugitive backpack, Big Game souvenir football. You have to figure they get some potato-related goodies too.
Why: Watching games on Blue Turf in HD is a great workout for your tv, first of all. More importantly, though, these are two of the little guys that came on strong at the end of the year. Utah State doesn’t have a great record but they do have one of the best rushing attacks in the country. And Ohio only lost their conference title on the back of a heart-breaking last second field goal. Finally, I am just DYING to see what kind of commercials we can get about potatoes.
Prediction: Utah State 24, Ohio 20
Champs Sports Bowl
Who: Florida State (8-4) vs. Notre Dame (8-4)
When: Dec. 29, 5:30 PM ESPN
Where: Citrus Bowl, Orlando Florida
Swag: $420 shopping trip to a local Best Buy, Timely Watch Co. watch.
Why: Whoa…$420 at Best Buy?!? Think of how many copies of Rudy that could buy! Anyways, this should be a great match-up between two storied programs that are still on the road back to respectability. Florida State’s defense is loaded, but you can bank on a few of their players getting suspended to make this one exciting.
Prediction: Florida State 30, Notre Dame 22
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl
Who: Brigham Young (9-3) vs. Tulsa (8-4)
When: December 30, 12:00 PM ESPN
Where: Gerald Ford Stadium, Dallas Texas
Swag: Sony Gift suite, Timely Watch Co. watch, camo knit beanie, Ogio backpack, Big Game souvenir football
Why: Both of these teams love offense, this will be one of those “don’t change over to TNT at a stoppage in play to see how many Heath Ledger jokes you can make in 30 seconds of The Patriot because you could miss an 80-yard touchdown” games.
BYU is the bigger name program, but Tulsa’s only losses this year were to top 10 teams so they will not be intimidated.
Prediction: Tulsa 41, BYU 38
Capital One Bowl
Who: Nebraska (9-3) vs. South Carolina (10-2)
When: January 2, 1:00 PM ESPN
Where: Citrus Bowl, Orlando Florida
Swag: Same as the Champs Sports Bowl. That has to be a kick in the pants. More prestigious bowl game, same swag.
Why: This game is a high-profile match-up every year, and this year is no exception. Both of these teams were contenders for their respective conferences and have high-powered rushing attacks. Can I just say though, that it sucks that this game isn’t on New Year’s Day? It is not going to feel right to wake up hungover on the first day of 2012 and not be able to roll over and turn on college football. The NFL just won’t be the same. So I can only recommend that you drink just as hard on January 1st so that you can have an authentic college football experience on January 2nd.
Prediction: South Carolina 34, Nebraska 21
Who: Arkansas State (10-2) vs. Northern Illinois (10-2)
When: January 8, 9:00 PM ESPN
Where: Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile Alabama
Swag: Nikon S80, Timely Watch Co. watch, leather luggage bag, commemorative football.
Why: Although I have big issues with a game like this that isn’t one of the “traditional” or BCS bowls being played as late as January 8th, I will forego my principles and definitely watch this one. Arkansas State’s head coach has already jumped to Ole Miss, and NIU’s coach is also a rising star. Both teams have exciting offenses and neither team has lost since I was employed. The city of Mobile loves this bowl game so there should also be a great atmosphere. And don’t forget the smutty ads!
[I was going to put a picture here, but it’ll be just as not safe for work as the commercials. Just google them, you perverts]
Prediction: Northern Illinois 35, Arkansas State 33