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College Football Random Thoughts From Around the Country: TWO DAYS!

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We have a little more than 48 hours until kickoff.

Remember this?
Remember this?
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The second week of College Football Bowel season continues to fill the ESPN coffers, so they can pay off the SEC, and Alabama in turn can keep Nick Saban snug and warm in Tuscaloosa. But take heart, the matchups are getting better.

The Del BOCA Vista RATON BOWL
Toledo 32 Temple 17 - I am not sure how Phillip Ely feels about Alabama, but I am kinda proud of him. We have been following him all season and he capped his career with perhaps his best outing for the Rockets (10-2), passing 20 for 28 with 285 yards and 2 TD. The Owls also get a ten-win season finishing 10-4. Attendance: 25,908.

The whatever happened to Terry Bowden POTATO BOWL?
Akron 23 Utah State 21 - When was the last time you watched the Zips (8-5) play football? If you watched this snoozer, you witnessed them earn their first victory in a bowl game ever. USU finishes 6-7. Congrats on the losing season. Attendance: 18,876; Boise Temperature: 37°.

The POINtlesSETTIA BOWL
Boise State 55 Northern Illinois 7 - The Smurfs held NIU to 33 yards of total offense in an embarrassing mismatch. Huskies QB Ryan Graham was 7 of 21 for 38 yards and NIU (8-6) rushed for -5 yards as a team. Boise (9-4) controlled the ball 43:13 to 16:47 and had 35 first downs to 7. Attendance in San Diego: 21,501.

GODADDY and take mommy with you BOWL
Georgia Southern 58 Bowling Green 27 - Option QB Favian Upshaw ran for 199 and four scores as the Eagles (9-4) win a bowl game in their first year of eligibility. [Despite going 9-3 and winning the Sun Belt Conference last season, it was considered a "transition year" and they were not eligible for a bowl. What is the purpose of that rule?] Incidentally, this score almost matches the Falcons outcome against Tennessee (L 59-30). Attendance: 28,656

BAHAMAS BOWL
Western Michigan 45 Middle Tennessee 31 - 35-year old Coach P. J. Fleck has taken the Broncos from 1-11 his rookie year to 8-5 last season and 8-5 this season with the program's first bowl win evah on their sixth try. He is one to keep an eye on. Attendance: 13,123. BTW, Western Michigan went 9-3 in 2000 including a win over Iowa and did NOT go to a bowl game. Ah, the good ol' days.

HAWAII BOWL
San Diego State 42 Cincinnati 7 - Tommy Tuberville's team gets STOMPED! Ah, that felt good. Bearcats QB Gunner Kiel stayed back in cold and wet Ohio "taking care of personal problems," while his teammates got to embarrass themselves in paradise. But that is no excuse since the back-up signal caller Hayden Moore had played in 8 regular season games this year including two starts and had thrown 200-some passes. Tubby's offense could only muster 77 rushing yards and and they had three interceptions. Attendance: 22,793.

The pray to ST. PETER- for this game to be over -SBURG BOWL
Marshall 16 UConn 10 - An absolutely riveting game. So much so, I have no words... Attendance: 14,652 (at least they are honest). The Huskies finish 6-7. Congrats!

Miami WSU in Snow

The SUN was nowhere to be found BOWL
Washington State 20 Miami 14 - Do ya think the 'Canes were thinking, "we left South Beach for this?" In a driving snow, Wazzu jumped out to an early 20-7 lead and held on for dear life. Attendance was announced at 41,180, but I think they accidentally moved the decimal point one slot to the right.

HEARTburn OF DALLAS BOWL
Washington 44 Southern Miss 31 - This game was knotted up at 24 in the third quarter when the Huskies reeled of 17 straight points behind the running of UW's Myles Gaskin (26-181, 4 TDs) to take command. Attendance: 20,229.

The I hate the Yankees PINSTRIPE BOWL
Duke 44 Indiana 41 (OT) - Bad defenses led to several long plays (Duke had three scoring plays of 74 yards or longer), seven lead changes and four ties. The Hoosiers were unable to answer the Blue Devils overtime field goal when their kick appeared to sail directly over the right upright to be ruled no-good. When a kick goes higher than the goal post, it is not reviewable. IMHO, the refs got the call right. Duke wins their first bowl game since 1961. For some, this was a fun video game to watch but the fundamentals and techniques (blown assignments, pathetic tackling, etc.) were absolutely awful. Announced attendance 37,218.

I declare INDEPENDENCE from this BOWL
Virginia Tech 55 Tulsa 52 - This moment kinda reminds me of the 1982 Liberty Bowl. Frank Beamer is nowhere near the stature of Bear Bryant but he just coached his last game after a long and storied career in a third tier bowl against a bleh team and came out with a too-close-for-comfort win. It must have been bittersweet endings for both coaches. Bear's Crimson Tide team defeated Illinois 21-15 in the Liberty Bowl to finish 8-4. For Beamer, his Hokies barely made it into bowl eligibility at 6-6. Tech led 54-21 and 55-37 but both times the Golden Hurricanes came storming back, only to fall short. Beamer wraps his career at 280–143–4 - which includes a six year stint at Murray State. He was 236–120–2 in 29 seasons at Va Tech. Tulsa finishes at 6-7. Congrats! Attendance: 31,289.

The SAN FRANCISCO BOWL which is actually played in Santa Clara

Nebraska 37 UCLA 29 - One offshoot of the diluted state of bowl games that I didn't think about is the hit to the psyche of a team that loses to a 5-7 team in the bowel game. The Bruins cannot be feeling good about this game. UCLA led 21-7 and then fell asleep, letting the Huskers score then next 30. Nebraska finishes at 6-7. Attendance reported at 33,257 but there is no freakin' way (see above).

The God bless our troops in the MILITARY BOWL
Navy 44 Pitt 28 - GO NAVY! Keenan Reynolds ran for three TDs and threw for a fourth Monday to clinch a historic season. He also caught a pass for a 47 yard gain. But offense wasn't the only story. The Middies D had three picks, held the Panthers to 335 yards, 17 first downs and only two offensive touchdowns. The other two came on a kickoff return and a scoop-and-score. Attendance: sellout crowd of 36,352 in Navy's home stadium.

The QUICK get in the fast LANE so we can get out of here BOWL
Minnesota 21 Central Michigan 14 - Another bowl winner finishing with a losing record.  The Gophers join Nebraska and San Jose State as 5-7 winners of bowl games. #TooManyBowls Attendance: 34,217.

~~~~~

ADOPT-A-TEAM

  • South Alabama (5-7) No post-season.
  • Toledo finished 10-2 and coulda shoulda woulda been 11-2 had they not cancelled a game with li'l ol' Stony Brook because of lightning.
  • GO NAVY! The Middies had a season to remember finishing with 11 victories for the first time in program history and only the fourth time to record double-digit wins. This senior class went 36-16 and 3-1 in bowl games. In that same time, Auburn has gone 29-22 and 0-2 in bowls. I'm jus' sayin'...

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  • If you have not heard by now, Bama back-up QB and punter Alec Morris plans to transfer to North Texas. Godspeed.
  • Texa A&M sophomore receiver Speedy Noil has been suspended for the team’s Music City Bowl against Louisville on Wednesday night. It was also reported that Noil will also miss next season’s season-opener against UCLA. No details on what he done done!

  • Boy is this guy a piece of work. Ohio State diva Ezekiel Elliott was cited for driving under suspension, driving without a license and failure to control his car after he was involved in a crash at 1:30 p.m. Sunday in Columbus, Ohio.  Police said Elliott told them he hit a puddle and slid before colliding with another vehicle that was carrying two people. One of those people suffered a minor injury. No word on whether Urban Meyer has the moral or fortitude to do anything about it. (Pause for laughter)
  • Florida State QB Everett Golson will miss the Peach Bowl for "personal reasons" - not that they'll need him. He has only played in two of the 'Noles last five games, completing only 8 of 12 passes with two interceptions.
  • Ole Miss linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche is joining his brother Robert Nkemdiche with the monicker of "former Rebel" in front of their names. There is still no news on why Denzel was hospitalized after being admitted as "unresponsive". That is a heck of a program Hugh Freeze has going there. Mamas don't let your babies grow up to Rebels...
  • It wasn't all rosy for Frank Beamer as he had to dole out some discipline on starting senior linebacker Deon Clarke and reserve senior wide receiver Kevin Asante who were both sent back to Blacksburg for the dreaded "violation of team rules". Beamer told reporters, "it’s not missing curfew. It’s little things down here." M-kay...
  • Running back Jordan Howard left UAB after the program was shuttered and transferred to Indiana only to lead them in rushing (196 rushes for 1,213 yds, 9 TDs in 9 games) and to their first bowl game since 2007, only the second since 1993. I guess that was good enough for him for he is skipping his senior season to enter the 2016 NFL draft. He missed the last two games, including the bowl game, with a bum knee.
  • Southern Cal will be without starting offensive tackle Chad Wheeler for the Holiday Bowl after he was involved in an incident with police. LAPD and fire department units responded to an alert at a residence near campus regarding what a spokeswoman described as a "disorderly" person. A use of force was implemented and the police said the man was taken to the hospital for evaluation. There were no arrests. Must be nice...
  • The names of UCLA's Jim Mora and Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald are starting to permeate among candidates for NFL jobs. Stay tuned...

NFL

A few former Bama players' weekend:

  • Julio Jones once again made the highlight reels with nine catches for 178 yards and a spectacular touchdown in the Falcons win. He is now the NFL's leader in catches with 127 and yards with 1,722. His catches have led to a league-leading 84 first downs.
  • AJ McCarron was having a pretty good game against the NFL's number one defense until he mishandled a shotgun snap in overtime to lose the game 20-17. He injured his left wrist on the final play. MRIs are scheduled for today. He was 22-of-35 passes for 200 yards, a touchdown and 0 interceptions.
  • Mark Barron had a tackle for a loss and a forced fumble in the Rams upset of Seattle.
  • Landon Collins had seven solo tackles, an assist, and one TFL in the Giants loss to Minnesota.
  • Roman Harper, now in his 10th season, had five solo tackles and an assist for Carolina. He is the only reason to root for the Panthers.
  • Kareem Jackson forced a fumble, had a pass defensed, and tallied five solos for the Texans.
  • Dre Kirkpatrick had seven solos and a pass defensed for Cincy.
  • Rolando McClain had five solos and a sack of the Bills' Tyrod Taylor for Dallas.
  • C.J. Mosley six solos, three assists for Baltimore.

Kristi_malzahn_says_shut_up_medium

Krazy Kristi's "SHUT UP!" of the Week goes to the AAC, also known as the American Athletic Conference, who lost each of its first five bowl games played until Navy picked up the banner on Monday.

  • South Florida lost to Western Kentucky 45-35 in the Miami Beach Bowl.
  • Temple took one on the chin against Toledo 32-17 in the Boca Raton Bowl.
  • Cincinnati was decimated by San Diego State 42-7 in the Hawaii Bowl.
  • UConn lost 16-10 to Marshall in the St. Petersburg Bowl.
  • Tulsa was edged by Virginia Tech 55-52 in the Independence Bowl.
  • Navy defeated Pitt 44-28 in the Armed Forces Bowl.

That is a record of 1-5 with losses to Conference USA, the MAC, and Mountain West Conference included in the mix.

tiny football

STAT OF THE DAY

Navy's Keenan Reynolds score his 88th career touchdown, which broke a tie with Kenneth Dixon of Louisiana Tech for most in FBS history. He also ends his career as the most in FBS points (530). His 4,559 yards rushing are the most by a quarterback in FBS history, as he passed Pat White and Denard Robinson with Monday's game.

6-7

Minnesota, Nebraska, and San Jose State all made bowl games with 5-7 records and came out with wins. UConn, Tulsa, Indiana, Utah State, and Georgia State all entered post-season play at 6-6 and finished with losing records.

Four teams are all currently 6-6 with a game to be played: AUBURN vs. Memphis, K-STATE vs. Arky, ARIZONA STATE vs. West Virginia, and NEVADA vs. Colorado State.

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Tuesday, December 29
ARMED FORCES BOWL:
Cal vs Air Force 1pm/2pm, ESPNESPN TCU's Stadium, Fort Worth, TX - Well I guess I better get a head start on my taxes...
RUSSELL ATHLETIC BOWL:
North Carolina vs Baylor 4:30pm/5:30pm, ESPNESPN Florida Citrus Bowl, Orlando, FL - This could be a fun one to watch. These two teams have never met.
ARIZONA BOWL:
Nevada vs Colorado State 6:30pm/7:30pm, Arizona Stadium, Tucson, AZ - This game drew so little interest that it cannot be seen on most cable packages. It's airing on something called American Sports Network. (???)
TEXAS BOWL:
LSU vs Texas Tech 8pm/9pm, ESPNESPN The Texans' Stadium, Houston, TX - Finally! An SEC game! EssEeSee! EssEeSee! EssEeSee!

Wednesday, December 30
BIRMINGHAM BOWL:
Auburn vs. Memphis 11am/noon, ESPNESPN Legion Field, Birmingham, AL - Troll Tide!
BELK BOWL:
NC State vs. Mississippi State 2:30pm/3:30pm, ESPNESPN Charlotte, NC - Two QBs showing off for NFL scouts: Dak Prescott vs. Jacoby Brissett.
MUSIC CITY BOWL:
Texas A&M vs. Louisville 6pm/7pm ESPNESPN Nashville, TN - Ya think the Aggies might be a little distracted??? Jake Hubenak will start at quarterback.
HOLIDAY BOWL:
Southern Cal vs. Wisconsin 9:30pm/10:30pm, ESPNESPN San Diego, CA - Bama's first 2015 opponent vs. Bama's first 2016 opponent. Cody Kessler's last hurrah in South Central L.A.

Thursday, December 31
PEACH BOWL:
Houston vs. Florida State 11am/noon, ESPNESPN Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA - It is time to see if this Cougars team is for real.
ORANGE BOWL - CFP SEMIFINAL:
Oklahoma vs. Clemson 3pm/4pm, ESPNESPN Dolphins' Stadium, Miami, FL
(Plus one more game. See below.)

Friday, January 1
OUTBACK BOWL:
Northwestern vs. Tennessee 11am/noon, ESPN2 Tampa, FL - A defining game for the Vols and Wildcats.
CITRUS BOWL:
Michigan vs. Florida noon/1pm, ABCABCOrlando, FL - Rematch of the 2007-08 Capital One Bowl won by UM.
FIESTA BOWL:
Notre Dame vs. Ohio State noon/1pm, ESPNESPN Glendale, AZ - Can they both lose?
ROSE BOWL:
Stanford vs. Iowa 4pm/5pm, ESPNESPN Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA - The Consolation Bowl.
SUGAR BOWL:
Oklahoma State vs. Ole Miss 7:30/8:30 ESPNESPN Superdome, New Orleans, LA - Can the Rebs focus with all the Nkemdiche brothers drama?

Saturday, January 2
GATOR BOWL:
Penn State vs. Georgia 11am/noon, ESPNESPN Jaguars' Stadium, Jacksonville, FL - The only other time these two teams have played was to determine the 1982-83 National Champ in the Sugar Bowl. PSU won 27-23 and Herschel left early for the USFL. Side note: Penn State's only loss that year: Alabama.
LIBERTY BOWL:
Kansas State vs. Arkansas 2:20/3:20 ESPNESPN Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium (50 years old!), Memphis, TN - This should be a pro-Hogs crowd.
ALAMO BOWL:
Oregon vs. TCU 5:45/6:45, ESPNESPN Alamodome, San Antonio, TX - The citizens of San Antonio have been asked to douse their lights so electricity can be diverted to the scoreboard at the Alamodome.
CACTUS BOWL:
West Virginia vs. Arizona State 9:15/10:15 ESPNESPN Phoenix, AZ - They really don't want anyone to watch this game, do they?

Enjoy!

alabama logo script a 100x100

#ALABAMA #CRIMSONTIDE

COTTON BOWL, Arlington, Texas

Michigan State vs. ALABAMA

Thursday, December 31, 7pm/8pm, ESPN ESPN - Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Heather Cox

Merry Christmas, Happy 2016 & #RollTide!