Well football fans.. we’ve made it. It’s bowl season! Bowl season is bittersweet for most of us. On one hand, it means college football is over and that makes for sad panda. On the other hand it means we’re treated to some pretty fantastic football games where teams are pretty much YOLO and we see track meets break out in some very unexpected places. This year the Mountain West had seven teams bowl eligible and six of them were offered a post season home. San Jose State came up short this year on getting into a bowl game despite smacking Fresno State around in the regular season finale. The next stop for David Fales appears to be a trip to an NFL roster. Three Mountain West teams will kick off bowl season back to back to back. Up first….
….Colorado State and Washington State in the New Mexico Bowl. The Rams are 7-6 on the season, and 5-3 in Mountain West play. The signature win on the Rams’ schedule was … hell, Wyoming, I guess. The Rams beat up on the bad teams and got beaten by the good teams. They are led by running back Kapri Bibbs who rushed for 1572 yards and 28 touchdowns. Garrett Grayson had a nice season as well throwing for 3327 yards and 21 touchdowns. The Rams are making their first bowl appearance since 2008, a New Mexico Bowl victory. Washington State comes into the game at 6-6, 4-5 in Pac12 play. The Pirate King will lead his band of misfits to Albuquerque in search of the Cougars’ first bowl win since 2003. The Cougars are led by quarterback Connor Halliday who attempted an eye popping 656 passes for 4187 yards and 28 touchdowns. The Cougars own wins over USC and Arizona. I gotta think the Cougars win this game, despite a nice effort from Bibbs.
Following that game Fresno State will be taking on USC in the Las Vegas Bowl.. sponsored by Royal Purple. LOL.. where do these sponsors come from? The Trojans have had what you could call a pretty chaotic season. Sitting at 3-2 on the season and getting destroyed by Arizona State USC AD Pat Haden pulled Lane Kiffin off of the team bus and fired him. Ed Orgeron stepped in as interim head coach and went 6-2, while piling up wins vs. Arizona, Oregon State, and Stanford. However, a loss to USC probably sealed Eddie O’s fate and he was not retained as head coach. However, they did poach Steve Sarkisian from Washington to be their new coach. Crazy, eh? They will take on Fresno State who had their own insane season, getting as high as 13th in the BCS rankings, then David Fales ruined their day. Derek (not David) Carr finished 8th in the Heisman voting. Carr finished with 4866 yards and 48 touchdowns and wasn’t invited to New York. Lame. Devante Adams finished with 1645 yards receiving with 23 touchdowns and didn’t win receiver of the year. Lame. The Bulldogs rank 1st in FBS in passing yards per game. USC played pretty good defense this season.. Fresno played pretty good offense. Who wins? USC, something tells me Fresno is going to struggle against an elite defense. If this game turns into a track meet, Fresno will take this game hands down, but I think that’s doubtful.
And directly after that game it’ll be San Diego State taking on Buffalo in the Idaho Potato Bowl. This just doesn’t compute. The Buffalo Bulls finished 8-4 on the season, 6-2 in the MAC. San Diego State finished at 7-5, 6-2 in the Mountain West. This game has #MACtion written all over it, and if you know me, this potential makes me very happy. The Bulls have a talented running back named Branden Oliver who rushed for 1421 yards and 15 touchdowns. Their quarterback Joe Licata threw for 2628 yards and 21 touchdowns. The Bulls aren’t too shabby defensively either, well if you’re not looking at the score of their Baylor game, that is. The Aztecs looked like a team left for dead, starting 0-3 and getting beaten over the head by FCS Eastern Illinois. However, they reeled off a few wins, four of them overtime wins, and made it to a bowl game in Idaho! That’s exciting, right? It’s Idaho! The Aztecs are led by running back Adam Muema who rushed for 1015 yards and 12 scores. Such an interesting game, but I think the Bulls will probably win this game. But for the sake of humanity I hope we get some #MACtion out of this.
Wow, I’ve predicted an 0-3 start for the Mountain West in bowl season.
Now we have to wait until Christmas Eve to see the next MW bowl game, Boise State and Oregon State in the Hawaii Bowl. Boise fans get relief from being in Idaho and get a trip to Hawaii! There they get to face off against Sean Mannion and Oregon State. The Beavers are 6-6 on the season, 4-5 in the Pac12. The Beavs started off with a loss to FCS Eastern Washington then ripped off 6 straight wins. However, they stopped playing football after that and forfeited (I think…) their next five games. That’s a long streak of not getting to eat In N Out for Mike Riley’s troops. Mannion threw for 4403 yards and 36 touchdowns. The Boise State Broncos had a down year compared to what they’re used to, prompting @BadWillHunting to off himself (on Twitter, at least), finishing 8-4, 6-2 in the Mountain West. They had a nice win over Utah State, but did not get to play in the MW championship game. Boise split time at QB due to an injury to Joe Mustachwick. They did, however, get a great season from Jay Ajayi who rushed for 1328 yards and 17 scores. Boise still plays pretty good defense and I think they’ll win this game, assuming those pasty fellas from Idaho don’t get too sunburned in their first exposure to sunlight in the last 3 months.
Also, Adam Levine can sing the hell out of music sometimes. Yes, this is how I get through writing blogs.
Next game up is the day after Christmas and we get to see MORE #MACTION!!! The Poinsettia Bowl features Northern Illinois taking on Utah State. Man, this game would be so bad ass if Charles F. Keeton was healthy. The Aggies made an appearance in the Mountain West championship and lost to Fresno State in a close one. The Aggies played some stout defense this year and nearly upset USC on the road. Darell Garretson finished with 1325 yards and 9 touchdowns. Joey DeMartino finished with 1078 yards and 12 touchdowns. Northern Illinois was poised to make a BCS appearance, however, Bowling Green cost NIU and the MAC a ton of money and beat the hell out of the Huskies in the MAC championship. Jordan Lynch finished 3rd in the Heisman voting. The Huskies averaged 41 points per game, owning wins over Iowa and Eastern Illinois, the 2nd ranked FCS team. Lynch had Tecmo Super Bowl like stats, throwing for 2676 yards and 23 touchdowns, and rushing for 1881 yards and 22 touchdowns. That’s eyepopping. Lynch was 4th in total offense, which was more than about a third of FBS teams out there. What do I expect from this game? Haha.. RIP scoreboard. Huskies win, Jordan Lynch is a real pain to slow down.
I really should become a MAC blogger, I love that damn conference.
Playing in the Mountain West’s only New Years Day game is UNLV taking on North Texas in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. Man, the Rebs just can’t catch a break. The only time they make a bowl game in the last zillion years and it’s on ESPNU.. sometimes you gotta think God hates you, and by you I mean UNLV football. UNLV was a fascinating football story this year, starting 0-2 and things starting to move towards Hauck was going to be canned at the end of the year. Instead the Rebs finished 7-5 and got bowl eligible for the first time since 2000 when they defeated Arkansas in the Las Vegas Bowl. This is their 4th bowl game since 1980. The Rebels are led by Caleb Herring who threw for 2522 yards and 22 touchdowns. Tim Cornett rushed for 1251 yards and 15 touchdowns. North Texas who just completed their first season in ConferenceUSA finished 8-4, 6-2 in conference. Their quarterback Derek Thompson threw for 2640 yards and 14 touchdowns, and running back Brandin Byrd rushed for 1023 yards and 11 touchdowns. The Mean Green (WTF is that?) owns a win over Ball State this season. The Mean Green are 9th in points against, that’s pretty salty defense. This is a tough one, UNLV is basically playing in UNTs backyard for this game. I think the Rebs can win it though, it’d be a nice topper to the season.
Man, just looking at some of these football games has me excited. The Mountain West doesn’t matchup well in some of these games, which is a shame. Fresno has a tough draw with USC. With USC going through another temporary coach for the bowl game it’s hard to tell what we’ll see out of the Trojans. Utah State may not be able to keep up with Northern Illinois, that offense is really good. Colorado State and Washington State is really hard to predict, both teams play really well and really bad at times, but Wazzu defensive coordinator Mike Breske is pretty familiar with Colorado State, as Breske used to be Wyoming’s defensive coordinator under Joe Glenn. San Diego State and Buffalo is a tough one.. I get the feeling this may not be a great football game, but when a MAC team is involved anything can happen. Boise State and Oregon State has the potential for ALL THE POINTS.
In other fun bowl games, it’ll be fun to watch Bowling Green boat race Pitt, even though they just lost their head coach. Tulane and Louisiana-Lafayette could be a really fun game, especially since the game is in both of their backyards. Miami and Louisville has the potential to be a shootout in what could be Teddy Bridgewater’s last game. Texas and Oregon should be a terrific game.. maybe DeAnthony Thomas will be interested in this game. Texas learned that Mack Brown will be “retiring” at the end of the season. Do they go out and win one for the gipper? Texas Tech and Arizona State is going to be must-watch football in the Holiday Bowl. The Holiday Bowl always turns into a track meet. Michigan State and Stanford will be a fun game if you like defense. Stanford should win that game, but it’s going to be a lot of punching each other in the mouth. Baylor and Central Florida in the Fiesta Bowl could easily be a track meet, but Bryce Petty should take control of that game early on and win in a landslide. RIP Oklahoma, Nick Saban’s crew is going to be angry. Clemson and Ohio State might as well shut off the scoreboard because it’s going to break. Braxton Miller vs Tahj Boyd should be great fun to watch. Florida State and Auburn? Yawn, who cares.
Did I hit everything? Good! See you guys after bowl season… probably.