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Random Thoughts: The 12 Days of Bowl Season

All the College Football news, scores, injuries, gaffes, upsets, derps, and snark that you can handle.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl - Kent State v Wyoming
Not creepy one bit.
Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images

MERRY CHRISTMAS! I hope you had a good one and your fingers are all bandaged up from the toy/furniture/random gift assemblages.

The Bowl competition has stepped up a bit and will do so exponentially throughout the week.

Boca Raton Bowl: USF 45 Syracuse 0 - Remember how Florida Man kept saying “yOU baReLy BeaT uSF!” Well, look what USF did to one of FSU’s ACC peers. It was an absolute rout with the Bulls defense picking off two passes and converting two scoop and scores. The Orangemen were held to 159 total yards, 20 on the ground, and only 9 first downs. Meanwhile, Byrum Brown threw three touchdown passes and helped his team stack up 407 yards of offense.

Mobile Bowl: (South) Alabama 59 (Eastern) Michigan 10 - This game was utter domination from the first whistle. The Jags didn’t allow a passing yard in the first quarter, allowed just one first down in the first half, outgained the Eagles, 627 yards to 150, and had 29 first downs to EMU’s 10. When the score got to 59-3 in the third quarter, USA started substituting in scrubs.

Armed Forces Bowl: Air Force 31 James Madison 21 - The return of AFA quarterback Zac Larrier, who hadn’t played since Nov. 11, gave his team quite a lift. The Dukes struggled to slow the option attack of Larrier and company, especially Emmanuel Michel (no relation to Sony) who racked up 205 yards and a pair of scores. The Falcons had lost their final four games of the regular season with Larrier missing the last three. Star quarterback Jordan McCloud played for JMU and finished the game 20-of-33 for 257 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.

Gasparilla Bowl: Georgia Tech 30 Center Florida 17 - A pair of former SEC West quarterbacks squared off in Tampa. Former Ole Miss QB John Rhys Plumlee guided Center Florida to an early 14-0 lead but then the Gus Bus ran out of gas. Bygone Aggies signal caller Haynes King was only 7 for 13 passing for 87 yards but also ran for 89 yards on 12 carries for the Yeller Jackets. Jamal Haynes added 128 yards on 18 rushes to help Georgia Tech (7-6) to their first winning season since 2018.

Former Crimson Tide assistant Brent Key finishes his first full season as head coach for Georgia Tech at 7-6 after going 4-4 as interim coach in 2022. At 11-10, he already has more wins than his predecessor Geoff Collins who was 10-28 in three and a half seasons. Key was raised in Trussville, AL and played his college ball for the Jackets.

Birmingham Bowl: Duke 17 Troy 10 - The Blue Devils stifled the Trojans offense most of the game. Troy got some mojo going late in the game but an interception by Duke ended the comeback attempt.

Camellia Bowl: Northern Illinois 21 Arkansas State 19 - A fake field goal put the Huskies up 21-7 in the third quarter. The Red Wolves fought back with two field goals and scored a touchdown with just over a minute to play but could not convert the game-tying two-point conversion.

Potato Bowl: Georgia State 45 Utah State 22 - USU turned the ball over on downs on their first possession of the game at the GSU 33. Following that series, touchdowns were scored on the next five possessions to put the Panthers up 21-14 while still in the first quarter. The Aggies missed a field goal and threw an interception as Georgia State increased their lead to 31-14 at the half. Utah State could not get much going in the second half as GSU cruised to their fourth bowl victory in school history.

Las Vegas Bowl: Northwestern 14 Utah 7 - If you ever wondered what a bowl game with Iowa vs Iowa would look like, this was it. NU led 7-0 heading into the fourth. The score was tied with just over 6 to play before the Wildcats scored the winning points. Each team punted seven times.

Most guys who go in the transfer portal opt out of bowl games. However, some like Utah QB Bryson Barnes want to show their stuff for perspective new teams. Bad idea: 8-13, 55 yards, 2 INT, -2 rush yards on 16 carries, 5 sacks.

Hawaii Bowl: Coastal Carolina 24 San Jose CanYouSee State 14 - CCU built a third quarter 17-0 advantage but let the fightin’ Joses make it close. A pair of SJSU fumbles was their undoing.

Frisco Bowl: UTSA 35 Marshall 17 - UTSA got themselves in a hole early on. An interception inside their own ten yard line led to MU’s first score. The Thundering Herd put another drive together to go up 14-0 before the Roadrunners woke up from their slumber and reeled off three second quarter touchdowns. Marshall was shut down in the second half while the San Antonians scored twice.

Marshall has gone 7-6, 9-4, and 6-7 in three seasons under Charles Huff. He might need to drastically improve next season to keep his backside off the hot seat.


Seriously. Birmingham. Fix this.



Seriously, Rick? Do you KNOW who your football coach is?


After getting their asses kicked by South Alabama, a Eastern Michigan player sucker punched a Jags player.


LT Derrick Graham 6’ 4’’, 314 lbs




I’d be willing to bet good money that the ref threw this flag mostly because of the way the receiver reacted. He crumpled to the ground in pain but NOT because of the hit. He apparently turned his knee the wrong way.


Even funnier is that it was the third attempt at that Tweet. The first one said “Arrived for the showdown in the dessert.” anOSU deleted all these Tweets after being mercilessly dragged but we saved it for you lucky people.


Arizona head coach Jedd Fisch tried to mock UCLA and Southern Cal for having to play at Iowa. What he neglected to mention is that his Wildcats will have to play at Iowa State at some point.


After being doused with Gatorade coffee, UTSA Jeff Traylor told the San Antonio Express-News “I will always remember the coffee running down my crack right now.”








  • Georgia Tech’s Haynes King, a red-shirt sophomore, and LSU Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jayden Daniels were the only players with at least 2,700 yards passing, 600 yards rushing, 25 touchdown passes and five TD runs this season.
  • Duke has won 8+ games in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2014-2015. Unfortunately for the Blue Devils, Manny Diaz is on deck to ground into an inning-ending double play.
  • Northern Illinois’ win over Arkansas State was their first bowl win since the 2011 season in which the Huskies beat... Arkansas State. NIU snapped a seven-bowl game losing streak.



  • New Mexico State (10-5) - Well... dang. Never in a million year did I think I would become a NMSU fan and now this happens. Jerry Kill did a remarkable job at a college football black hole. He cited being 63 and missing time with family but if feels like it is more than that. Kill has had health issues in the past having to step down from Minnesota in 2015. If the Aggies AD pressured Kill into stepping down because of his rant against the UNM AD, then I wish them nothing but misfortune.
  • Tulane (11-2) - The Green Wave will be missing coach Willie Fritz (Houston), star quarterback Michael Pratt (NFL), and several other key players including their leading receiver who quit on their teammates. TU is still a -10.5 dog to VaTech.
  • Jamey Chadwell (41-6 over the last four seasons)


  • Troy (11-3) - Trojans running back Kimani Vidal finished the season with 1,582 yards with 14 rushing touchdowns plus one receiving. As of now, he is second to only Okie Lite’s Ollie Gordon in rushing yards for 2023.
  • South Alabama (7-6) - The Jags are now 1-3 in bowl games.
  • Jacksonville State (9-4)


COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 22 Air Force at San Jose State Photo by Larry Placido/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
  • Air Force (9-4) - Troy Calhoun’s team has now won three consecutive bowl games, with seven total victories in his tenure, dating back to 2007.
  • Army (6-6)
  • Navy (5-7) - The Midshipmen fired OC Grant Chesnut after just one season. Just a thought, maybe don’t hire a guy whose only college coaching job was an assistant at Kennesaw State?

A way WAY WAY too early look at the College Football Playoff (CFP) picture:

Odds to win the 2023 National Championship:

  1. Michigan +195
  2. Alabama +205
  3. Texas +260
  4. Washington +700


  • ACC - 2-1
  • Big 12 - 1-1
  • Big Ten - 1-0
  • PAC-12 - 1-2
  • SEC - 0-0 (we don’t play before Christmas, haters)


I am glad to see the national press is finally jumping on our side. Auto-bids are ridiculous.


Alabama had 11 of its 13 games on Nielsen-rated networks and averaged 7.12 million viewers per game in 2023. That is the most of any college team for the year. Ohio State was second with an adorable average of 6.05 million viewers.

Average viewers by million (Nielsen rated games)

  1. Alabama 7.12 (11)
  2. Ohio State 6.05 (11)
  3. Colorado 6.00 (9)
  4. Georgia 5.90 (11)
  5. Michigan 5.61 (12)
  6. Tennessee 4.57 (7)
  7. Oregon 4.43 (10)
  8. Texas 4.26 (12)
  9. Florida State 4.16 (12)
  10. Notre Dame 4.15 (10)

Krazy Kristi’s “SHUT UP!” of the Week goes to Florida Man who is STILL out there whining about FSU not making the CFP. This seems like a good time to remind ‘Noles Nation that their little team WITH Jordan Travis almost and probably should have lost at home to Miami if not for the officials holding their hands on the way to a one score victory.


  • Florida State has started the process of leaving ACC and everyone is suing everyone else. The real sticking point is the half a billion+ dollar payment that it would cost the Seminoles. Reports have it that they will try to join the Big Ten or SEC, but let’s get real: They don’t want any part of the SEC outside of the Gators. If FSU is successful, it would likely bring down the whole conference. North Carolina and Louisville would follow soon after (money is probably more important to UNC than playing Duke every year in basketball) and probably NC State after them. Clemson is a different animal. They would be a prime target for other conferences, but they are cult weirdos and you never know what they are thinking. Speaking of Louisville...
  • If the ‘Ville could get out of the ACC without the big penalty fee and get into a bigger boy conference, it would go a long way towards paying some of these bills that are piling up. I would not bother clicking on the link. Donovan believes that it all stems from “lack of fan and community support” which is ludicrous. Why do you think we have bowl games with half empty 30,000-seat stadiums? It isn’t ticket sales that brings in the big bucks. It’s programming content for ESPN.
  • When the Big XII panicked and added BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and Center Florida to the conference, I was chief among the critics who called the new lineup as “a non Power-5 conference” come post-2023. Now with Colorado, Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah in the fold, the conference looks a little more attractive and the rebound hook-ups don’t look so hot anymore. It seems some movers and shakers in the B12 agree. Rumor has it that lawyers are looking into whether they can get the offers to these four programs annulled. Collectively, these four teams went 8-28 in conference play in 2023.
  • Michigan has received a notice of allegations from the NCAA regarding alleged violations by the football staff during the Captain Trips recruiting dead period. Jim Harbaugh faces a Level I violation for allegedly not cooperating with and/or misleading NCAA investigators about the alleged violations. The school also faces four Level II violations.
  • In an interesting move, Oregon State and Washington State have agreed to join the West Coast Conference as affiliate members for the next two athletic seasons (fall-winter-spring) in multiple sports, most notably men’s and women’s basketball, but not football. The WCC does not sponsor football and is most notable for having Gonzaga in the league. There is talk that the OSU and WSU intend to rebuild the Pac-12 in the future. For a conference to exist, the NCAA requires at least seven active Division I members among other criteria. However, they get a two-year grace period in which it can exist without the minimum number of schools. For next football season, the Beavers and Cougars will play each team of the MWC.


  • We heard a collective sigh around the SEC and Big Ten after former Texas QB Maalik Murphy announced his transfer to Duke. The RS freshman was pretty solid in two starts after Golden Boy Quinn Ewers went down to injury. Murphy has potential to wreak some havoc on the ACC next season.
  • Miami and FSU are fighting it out ($$$) over Wazzu QB Cam Ward. He is also considering the NFL or waiting to see what happens with teams like Michigan who may lose their QB but have not announced it yet.
  • FSU and Southern Cal are among those drooling all over K-State QB Will Howard, who if you watched last year’s Sugar Bowl you know sucks arse. DJ Ugieleiele is also on the board.
  • Ex-Hurricanes WR Colbie Young (47 receptions, 563 yards, 5 touchdowns in 2023) is transferring to Georgia. Rara Thomas transferred from Missy State to UGA a year ago and saw his stats get chopped in half (44-626-7 to 23-383-1).
  • Former Texas A&M DL Walter Nolen has committed to Ole Miss. He was ranked as the No. 1 recruit in 2022 and is the latest of many to leave the Aggies #1 ranked class.
  • Purdue picked up ex-5-star ex-UGA CB Nyland Green.
  • RB Trevor Etienne did Florida all kinds of wrong by committing to UGA. I know some of you will disagree with me, but if a guy transfers to his previous school’s hated rival, it makes me think his heart was not in it to begin with. If you are a 100% all-in Gator, you despise UGA with every fiber of your being and would not pee on them if they were on fire. Etienne had 753 yards and 8 rushing TDs. He is the younger brother of Jacksonville’s Travis Etienne.


Transferring to your previous team’s hated rival.

This poll is closed

  • 68%
    Never in a million billion millennia.
    (312 votes)
  • 18%
    Jealous of big brother and want to be like him.
    (85 votes)
  • 12%
    Perfectly fine.
    (56 votes)
453 votes total Vote Now


  • Florida State QB Tate Rodemaker, who took over as FSU’s starter after Jordan Travis’s injury, has informed the FSU staff that he plans to enter the transfer portal and won’t be playing in the Orange Bowl matchup vs. Georgia - 5 DAYS BEFORE THEIR BOWL GAME!
  • Add ‘Noles DL Jared Verse and DB Akeem Dent to the list of who have opted out of Orange Bowl vs. Georgia. These two have declared for the NFL Draft. Dent is out of eligibility. He waited until Christmas Eve to let everyone know. Thanks, bro! More excuses for Florida Man when they get obliterated by UGA.


  • NC State LB Payton Wilson wrote a heartfelt tweet about how he “treasured” playing football with his teammates but not enough to help them win the Pop-Tarts Bowl.
  • Good news for Auburn: Terps QB Taulia Tagovailoa opted out of Music City Bowl.
  • SoCal QB Malachi Nelson has made an unexpected trip to the QH that took Lincoln Riley by surprise. The former 2023 5-star was projected to take over at the quarterback spot after Caleb Williams departs for the NFL after this season. Nelson is one of many who fell for the Pied Piper’s hype in South Central L.A. and now he wants out.

The deadline for early entry into the NFL Draft is Jan. 15, 2024.


  • So, WTF is this? Ollie Gordon does a big video to say what? That he is not transferring out of Oklahoma State?? He is a true sophomore and cannot declare for the draft. LOOK AT ME, EVERYONE! LOVE ME!


  • This is completely unsubstantiated rumor but the latest one bouncing around the interwebz is that if (let’s get real, “WHEN”) Jim Harbaugh leaves for the Bears job in January, one Brian Kelly would be Michigan’s first phone call. Kelly has never felt like a good fit in the Bayou. If I was an LSU fan (thank you dear and benevolent Lord for not making me an LSU fan), I think I’d be okay with him moving on. His 2023 campaign seems about about what he’ll do for the Tigers should he stay on.
  • Urban Meyer took a neighborhood boy for a walk in the woods. After awhile, it started to get dark and stormy. The little boy gets nervous and says to him, “I’m scared.” Urbie replies, “You’re scared? I’m the one who’s got to walk back out of here alone.”
  • Fat F*** Phil Fulmer went out to the mall recently and was so happy when he saw people rushing up to him. What he did not realize is that they were caught in his gravitational pull.
Black and White TV


The FCS Championship recently moved from Saturdays to Sundays so that it could move from ESPN to ABC. It is unclear which blunderhead came up with this bright idea. The January 7, 1pm/2pm game of Montana vs South Dakota State is going to get massacred in the ratings against the 16 NFL final regular season games, all on that same day.


Below are the Bowl Games for this week:

Tuesday, Dec. 26

Detroit Bowl: Bowling Green vs Minnesota 1pm/2pm ESPN

First Responder Bowl: Texas State vs Rice 4:30pm/5:30pm ESPN

Phoenix Bowl: Kansas vs UNLV 8pm/9pm ESPN

Wednesday, Dec. 27

Military Bowl: Virginia Tech vs Tulane 1pm/2pm ESPN

Duke’s Mayo Bowl: UNC vs West Virginia 4:30pm/5:30pm ESPN

Holiday Bowl: Louisville vs Southern Cal 6pm/7pm/8pm FOX

Texas Bowl: Texas A&M vs Oklahoma State 8pm/9pm ESPN

Thursday, Dec. 28

Fenway Bowl: SMU vs Boston College 10am/11am ESPN

Pinstripe Bowl: Rutgers vs Miami-FL 1:15pm/2:15pm ESPN - Big East reunion

Pop-Tarts Bowl: NC State vs K-State 4:45pm/5:45pm ESPN

Alamo Bowl: Arizona vs Oklahoma 8:15pm/9:15pm ESPN

Friday, Dec. 29

Gator Bowl: Clemson vs Kentucky 11am/Noon ESPN

Sun Bowl: Oregon State vs Notre Dame 1pm/2pm CBS

Liberty Bowl: Memphis vs Iowa State 2:30pm/3:30pm ESPN

Cotton Bowl - SHOWDOWN IN THE DESERT: Mizzou vs Ohio State 7pm/8pm ESPN

Saturday, Dec. 30

Peach Bowl: Ole Miss vs Penn State 11am/Noon ESPN - Conference bragging rights on the line here.

Music City Bowl: Auburn vs Maryland 1pm/2pm ABC - Lia opted out. Booo!

Orange Bowl: Georgia vs Florida State Red Asses 3pm/4pm ESPN

Arizona Bowl: Toledo vs Wyoming 3:30pm/4:30pm CW Network/Barstool

Monday, Jan. 1

Tampa Bowl: Wisconsin vs LSU 11am/Noon ESPN2

Citrus Bowl: Iowa vs Tennessee Noon/1pm ABC

Fiesta Bowl: Liberty vs Oregon Noon/1pm ESPN - For the future of the CFP, we need the Dux to destroy the Flames.

CFP Semifinal at the Rose Bowl: Alabama vs Michigan 4pm/5pm ESPN

CFP Semifinal at the Sugar Bowl: Texas vs Washington 7:45pm/8:45pm ESPN

Monday, Jan. 8

CFP National Championship Game in Houston 6:30pm/7:30pm ESPN


Below is a count of career FBS/Division I-A win totals for coaches.

For those of you new to RBR Random Thoughts, we count all on-field wins at the FBS/Division I-A level. So, before you go squawking about Frank Beamer, 42 of his wins came at Murray State. Mack Brown had six victories in one season with Appalachian State when they were still in what was known at I-AA (FCS today). Brian Kelly won 118 games with something called Grand Valley State. So, let’s stop talking about his win record with such reverence. In addition, we don’t recognize NCAA sanctioned forfeits. If you won on the field, it counts in our books.

Rank Name Years Wins Losses Ahead/Behind
1 Joe Paterno 46 409 136 112
2 Bobby Bowden 40 346 123 49
3 Bear Bryant 38 323 85 26
4 Pop Warner 44 319 106 22
5 Nick Saban 27 297 70 -
6 Mack Brown 33 276 143 -21
7 LaVell Edwards 29 257 101 -40
8 Tom Osborne 25 255 49 -42
9 Frank Beamer 33 238 121 -59
10 Lou Holtz 30 236 115 -61

Mack Brown’s Tar Heels were ranked #10 back in October. Now they are unranked and a 6.5 point underdog to meh West Virginia.


  • Short-lived Alabama backup quarterback Tyler Buchner is transferring back to Notre Dame... to play lacrosse. The Irish won their first National Championship in the sport last season. The new season begins in January.

GAME 14: Monday, January 1, 2024 - ROSE BOWL, CFP SEMIFINAL

Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1) vs Michigan Wolverines (13-0)

Pasadena, CA ~ 4:00pm/5:00pm ESPN

  • The Wolverines have lost six straight bowl games. Their last W came in the 2016 Orange Bowl against Florida State - Jim Harbaugh’s first year at Michigan.
  • Alabama is 3-2 all-time against Michigan. Nick Saban at Bama is 2-0 versus the Wolvies.
  • The weather forecast calls for 64 and partly cloudy.
  • TV Announcers are Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit with Laura Rutledge and Holly Rowe on opposing sidelines.
  • It has been confirmed that Chris Stewart will be the play-by-play lead on Alabama Radio.
  • Michigan is a 1.5 point favorite over the Tide. The Over/Under is around 44.5.


Would you want FSU in the SEC?

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    (140 votes)
  • 75%
    (421 votes)
561 votes total Vote Now