Football Follies: TOC Nation Bowl Week 2013

A week to look forward to, for Big 12 fans.

Shipmates, it’s about time for REALBOWL action to start, and it’s just going to get hotter and heavier as the week goes on.

We note at the outset that Pitt and Bowling Green lived up to the hype for the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl, giving us a fine and feisty contest last night, in which Pitt finally prevailed 30-27.  But the Falcons put up a good fight.  Utah State and #23 Northern Illinois, by contrast, gave us something of a snooze-fest down in San Diego.  The Aggies eventually staggered off with that one, 21-14.

Marshall has upheld the honor of C-USA (such as it is, with so little time remaining for the conference) by knocking off Maryland in today’s Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman.  As I type, Syracuse and Minnesota are duking it out in Houston for Texas Bowl honors.  As expected, their defenses are keeping things in check; the Orange has 7 on the board and Goldie is muttering to himself, scoreless and forlorn.

We still have the Fight Nausea Bowl to look forward to tonight, with the Huskies now giving 5 in the line.  But then, oh then, the bowls we’re going to see!

Saturday punches off early with the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, our very most favorite new bowl of all time.  Sadly, it will feature Rutgers and Notre Dame this year, which would make it Fight Nausea Bowl II if it were any other Booger Bowl.  But since it’s the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, played in Yankee Stadium, we’re going to give its bad taste in teams a pass and just enjoy.  The oddslads have the Arsh giving 14, which is reasonable.  The Scarlet Commies looked pretty sad this year.  Sunny and upper 40s for the noon EST kickoff.

From Charlotte, NC comes the Belk Bowl, now in its third year as the Belk Bowl, and therefore getting pretty up there, in terms of Booger Bowl longevity.  (It was formerly the Meineke Car Care Bowl, and before that the Continental Tire Bowl.)  Tomorrow’s team match-up will be Cincinnati and North Carolina, so at least we don’t have to call this one the Chopped Liver Bowl.  Tar Heel fans are backing a 2-point give, and we figure that’s a little low, even though the Bearcats can bring some heat.  They’ll need to stop Marcus Williams.

The Russell Athletic Bowl will unfold in Orlando starting at 6:45 PM EST and featuring Miami (Da U) and #18 Louisville, two also-rans of uncertain spark this year, and occasional brilliance.  The Cardinals give 3, reflecting their edge in ranking and season record (11-1 to the Hurricanes’ 9-3), but also a justified assessment that the teams are pretty well matched.  This one has excellent possibilities as worthwhile appointment football.

The nightcap on Saturday has possibilities as well, with Michigan and Kansas State meeting in Tempe for the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.  This bowl was the Insight Bowl from 2001 to 2012, which always sounded like Keanu Reeves or Lawrence Fishburne should be lurking on the margins somewhere.  Now, of course, it just sounds – football and wings – like a marriage made in heaven.  Wildcats give 5, but that may be selling the Wolverines short.  We’re not counting this one out.

After the pros do their thing on Sunday – the Cowboys Romo-less against the Eagles (like it would have made a difference?  And please move DeMarcus back off the line. DE just isn’t working for him.  Get over it already.  Not that it matters if he’s too hurt to play, like half the team, including very possibly Dez Bryant with the sore back… And that’s all before we get to Aaron Rodgers back in the lineup for the Packers in the NFC North showdown with Chicago… OK OK OK) – anyway, Monday kicks off in style with the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth.  TOC fave Navy will take the field against Middle Tennessee (motto: “Yes, there is one!”), and actually gives 6 in the line.  As long as Keenan Reynolds is healthy.  An up-with-the-chickens 10:45 AM CST kickoff for this one.

The poetically named Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl is up next on Monday, bringing us a face-off between Ole Miss and Georgia Tech.  The Rebels give 3, and we’d go with at least that.

More appointment football erupts from San Antonio at 5:45 PM CST on Monday, when Texas and #10 Oregon take to the field at the Alamodome for the Valero Alamo Bowl.  The Big 12 also-rans frankly walked off with better post-season match-ups than Baylor did, in the humble opinion of your TOC Football Commentary Service, and this is one of them.  The oddsquad has O-Ducks giving 13, but we expect better than that from the ‘Horns, even with the uncertainty about who the coach will be next year.  They’ll want to win one more for Mack Brown.  Don’t miss.

And Monday’s not all footballed out yet.  You won’t regret staying up for the National University Holiday Bowl, even if it has changed its name from the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl, which we liked a lot better.  In its new guise, the San Diego-based bowl will showcase #14 Arizona State and Texas Tech.  The Sun Devils give 14, but again, we wouldn’t sell the Big 12 team short, even if they did make it to only 7-5 this year.  Could be some fireworks in this one.  Kickoff at 7:15 PM PST.

New Year’s Eve starts out with the AdvoCare V100 Bowl in Shreveport, featuring Arizona and Boston College.  Might be just a tad hard to stay awake for this one, not that we have anything against either team.  A fine game to accompany a steak fry.  Wildcats give 7, and we say, why not?

Moving to El Paso at 1:00 PM CST, we’ll see more excitement when TOC fave Virginia Tech takes the field against #17 UCLA in the Hyundai Sun Bowl.  It’s the first time the teams have met, so that’s a little something.  The line shows the Bruins giving 7, but Thomas, Byrn, and Knowles are all healthy for the Hokies, and UCLA’s D was nothing to write home about by most measures during the season.  So we give VT a good shot and wouldn’t advise points.

At 3:00 PM CST we’ll be darn proud of Rice, C-USA champion, heading out to face Mississippi State in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in Memphis.  Oddsdudes have the Bulldogs giving 7, which is pretty reasonable.  But don’t count the Owls out.  Might clean up on this one by taking the contrarian view.

At 8:00 PM EST in the Georgia Dome, the Chick-Fil-A Bowl will kick off between #24 Duke and #21 Texas A&M.  Have to go with the 11-point give for the JohnnyAgs on this one.  It’s always entertaining to watch the Manziel offense roll; if the Aggies are in form, they shouldn’t have much trouble with the Blue Devils.

We’re always proud to announce the Gator Bowl, even when it has some other, less prepossessing name.  The Gator Bowl will lead us off for the year 2014, with Nebraska and #22 Georgia kicking off in Jacksonville at noon EST.  The two teams are stuffed with talent, but frustrated their loyal fans to the point of sackcloth and ashes this year.  Maybe they’ll redeem themselves with a rootin’-tootin’ bowl match on the 1st.  Bulldogs give 9.  Take ‘em if you’ve got money to throw away.

The deeply silly, but clearly necessary, Heart of Dallas Bowl is up next on New Year’s Day, and danged if North Texas won’t be in it.  We’re gratified to see the Mean Green have a winning season and get to a bowl game, even if they do have to play moth-eaten, lice-infested UNLV, by far the least hygienic team in the FBS.  We’re doubly gratified to report that North Texas gives 6.  Take the points at your own risk.

At 1:00 PM EST in Orlando, #19 Wisconsin and #9 South Carolina will kick off in a quality Capital One Bowl (which, for those of you old enough to remember, used to be the Tangerine Bowl and was for a while the Florida Citrus Bowl).  We’re hoping Samuel L. Jackson will be there.  But even if he’s not, the football should be pretty good.  Badgers give 1, but we wouldn’t take points on this one.

Cued up at the same time, across I-4 in Tampa, will be TOC Nation fave #16 LSU in the Outback Bowl, colliding with Iowa.  Florida’s going to see 48 hours of hopping football on the 31st and 1st.  Tigers give 7, and those points, we’d take.  LSU fans should have Ray-Jay Stadium covered.

Of course, they’ll be having the Rose Bowl Game Presented by VIZIO as usual, at 2:00PM PST in Pasadena, with the #5 Candy Pink giving 6 to #4 Michigan State.  The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, of course, will feature #6 Baylor and #15 Central Florida, and nobody’s giving UCF much of a chance.  The oddsbubbas show the Bears giving 16 in the line.  Probab-lee.  This is one of those situations a playoff system would be more likely to adjust sensibly.  I don’t think we’re going to see a Boise State and Oklahoma type ending in this one.

On the 2nd, we revert from all the of-course-ness to another tail-kicking Big 12 also-ran bout:  the Allstate Sugar Bowl between #11 Oklahoma and #3 Alabama.  Talk about an awesome get for the Sooners.  The Tide is naturally favored by 15 or so, but hey, Sooner fans can hope, tailgate, and scream their heads off in N’awlins, Loo-see-ana, so what’s not to love?  7:30 PM kickoff in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.  Yeah, wearing our Football Commentary Service hat, we predict OU will get its backside handed to it.  The thinnish, often-overstretched defense will really have to step up; can’t rely on the patented Occasional Sooner Offense and Special Teams Quick-Strike to carry this one off.  But in Sooner-fan disguise, we’ll be rooting like crazy.

TOC Nation Bowl Week wraps up on Friday the 3rd with the Discover Orange Bowl, which around these parts is the lesser of the two bowls on the 3rd.  Should be a quality BCS bout between #12 Clemson and #7 Ohio State in Miami – Buckeyes give 2; meh – with an 8:30 PM EST kickoff that unfortunately competes directly with the REALBOWL of the day:  the AT&T Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas, starting at 6:30 PM CST between #13 Oklahoma State and #8 Missouri.

It’s almost ridiculous how the Big 12 got off the train with all these great bowl match-ups.  Mizzou gives 1, and this one’s really a pick ‘em, one of the better pairings of the entire bowl season.  Lot of fast-and-funny to be expected from both teams on offense; Tigers should have a slight edge in experience on both sides of the ball, but the Pokes are talent-rich, and frankly have a better record of adjusting on the fly when the game plan’s not working.  That said, the Tigers will be their toughest opponent of the year.  Should be an awesome game.

So, Syracuse hung in there and pulled it off with a come-from-behind strike in the 4Q to win the Texas Bowl 21-17.  We’re on to the Fight Nausea Bowl, in which Washington is up 7-0 over a BYU that looks sluggish and sleepy so far.  Next week, we’ll take on the remainder of the bowl schedule.  But for now, we’re getting ready for TOC Nation Bowl Week.  Game on!

73 thoughts on “Football Follies: TOC Nation Bowl Week 2013”

  1. I agree, they’re not looking very good out there, clka. At least it’s sunny. Funny how far south the sun is. Looks very different from Yankee Stadium in July, eh?

    1. 60F in OKC the last few days. Sun morning Arctic Front about 6 am. About 29F the rest of the day. Wind chill about 9F.
      OU speculation in Sugar Bowl. A local Sports Animal host hit it right on the head. Alabama up by 24 at the half. OU QB Knight on the way to hospital. Then the second half gets really bad. Bama by 40.
      The O and D lines for OU simply cannot hold up. Yeldon’s jersey will be clean at the end of the game. The Bama QB will not have to shower after the game.

      1. Nothing but duck hunting weather here in Louisiana today, low 50’s with drizzling rain all day long.

        Arsh rolling up all those yards and still allowing Rutgers some hope until late in the 4th quarter.

  2. I fear WR is right about the Sooners and Alabama. But at least OU should look pretty effective against the Alabama place kicker.

    Cincinnati is looking eerily ineffective against North Carolina.

    72 here, heading for a high of 74. Sunny, cloudless, relative humidity 9%. high wind warning. Red flag conditions.

    No, that’s not normal, even for this part of SoCal. Average normal high would be around 60 for us.

  3. Cincy and the Heels in the Belk Bowl turned out to be much less than all that, minus a bag of chips (unless you’re a Tar Heel fan with a low tolerance for suspense).

    We’ll see if Da U and Lou-ah-v’l can spice things up here.

  4. Me no like that stupid green “FG range” line.

    Next they’re going to be offering football viewing with Xs, Os, and arrows erupting on the screen as the play unfolds.

    Could be a money saver, I guess. Why pay commentators a lot of money?

    There’s a whole generation of viewers now who don’t know what it was like when TV viewers had to actually understand what was going on on the field.

    OK, rant off.

  5. I think I just heard an announcer say “it’s a ‘seeve'” about the offensive line.

    I assume he meant it’s a sieve.

    Waiting for the exciting football to kick in here.

  6. Gee, Miami looks awful. Are we sure they didn’t send Miami (OH) by mistake?

      1. Miami is walking with the Elves to board the boat to leave the world of men.
        Frodo says hello.

        1. I don’t know… I think Hobbits would have scored more on Louisville.

          I’m just thankful it’s over.

  7. On to Michigan and Kansas State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, which surely can’t be as lame as the three we’ve already had today…

  8. I don’t know, looking pretty lopsided so far. May not have the heart to say much more about the Par-tay in Tem-pay.


    1. Snyder has done a lot with not very much. He is obviously one of the best in the country.
      The Michigan coach won 11 with the previous coaches talent. He has won fewer games each of the following years.
      Michigan pulled the plug in Rich way too soon. The rust belt university in a very very cold climate living in the past. I blame the unions.
      I guess, if Michigan State can still do it,………………….

      1. Okay, I just caught the plug IN Rich. Let’s put a big ON on that. I think subliminal metaphors come from other dimensions. Move on, there is nothing to see here.

        1. Meanwhile, I agree, Michigan would have been smart to give Rich more time. They let the wrong guy go.

          1. Let the “Les MIles being offered a job” speculation begin. The rumors that I’m hearing about LSU recruiting class this year would make him a fool to even consider. It is likely that after the h.s. all star games that it will be considered No. 1 not counting some diamonds in the rough.

            1. In other gaming news: The NYT published an article Saturday by a Mr Kirkpatrick concerning Benghazi. The gist being Golly Gee, it really was the video that caused the attack. Absolutely no terrorist in North Africa.
              It is going to take more than a puff piece to clean Hillary up on this one. Perhaps the Times has a Neuralizer in house.

              1. I have sources from the ground in Libya. Ain’t no one there had heard of any video and meanwhile a few thousand special operator contractors with aircraft sat all night long in Tripoli.

  9. Huh, how about those Packers.

    We regret to mention that the Cowboys are about to take the field. Notice we didn’t say “start playing.”

  10. Confession: I’m really tired of the Cowboys right now. Kind of hope I don’t have to stick with them through another game.

  11. Navy takes good care of Middle Tennessee in Fort Worth.

    Dallas Cowpokes were pathetic. Good riddance. Look, I like Jason Garrett, but I’m getting tired of seeing him look like he’s encouraging people in group therapy, as opposed to being a football coach.

    That said, the one who needs to replace himself is Jerry. Jerry, hire a GM, fer the luv-a Pete. You work the cocktail circuit and pay somebody else to manage the team. We all love Miles Austin too, for the two games he was great in half a decade ago, but it’s time to unload him. And step it up on the defensive secondary. What weird philosophy is this we’re seeing?

    I saw some discipline improvement on the offensive line in the last 8 games; let’s spread that around the team. Meanwhile, WHAT is going on in practice, that you’ve got go-to guys like Witten and Bryant dropping the ball so often? Does the buck stop anywhere in the Cowboys organization?

    Ay-yeeeee. On to the Franklin American Music City Bowl.

  12. Rice not as far behind Miss St as I would have expected at this point in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.

      1. Why indeed. The Owls crashed and burned anyway. Oh well. JohnnyAgs waiting in the wings…

  13. And the Bruins are wearing those bad-luck gangsta threads to boot.


    1. Next year… There is always next year… ok well maybe next next year…

      Spring game is likely to be between two Freshmen – or one freshman and one well nobody.

      Buckey Hodges looks like he wants to be a Tight End (saw the writing on the Logan Thomas wall… and realized that QB not something to learn at this level it’s something to “know”.

      We have Andrew Ford, who matriculated this winter so that he could solidify his position and chances for the Spring depth chart. And this new kid who decommitted from Sparty because Tech promised him a shot at playing.

      That means an O-line of Redshirt Freshmen, a few true Freshmen, and some various Sophomores…

      and a Freshman QB. Leal isn’t gonna make it… I don’t think that Trey Gresch is on anyone’s hot list for penciled in starter.

      No O for a while..

      On the Defensive side…

      Bud Foster and Torian Gray had better start figuring out how to stop a big strong running option quarterback. They were beaten by three this season… Dook, Mary-land… and now UCLA…

      They get four man pressure just fine, but there is no contain, and no spy on the QB to keep the runs to a dull roar.

      Disappointing game.. You already know what I predicted… so I ain’t gonna boast… especially about that one.. yeesh.. It’s like bragging about the quality and size of your prize cow’s manure pile. Yeesh…

    1. First Egghead Report 2014: Broken Eggs.
      Our DejaVu All Over Again Report features Art Briles channeling the Boise State Fiesta Bowl.
      In the: Where Do I write This?: According to some of the speeches before DeBlasio was sworn in, the Mayor is going to abolish slavery in NYC. I hope it doesn’t lead to a war or something.

  14. That was a serious comeback for the JohnnyAgs. About 90% Johnny.

    Didn’t see the UCF win coming. But the Baylor D was just Jello. Actually, Jello is much tougher than the Baylor D last night. Chalk one up for The American.

    Pretty good day for the Big 10. Iowa whiffed with LSU, as expected, but how ’bout them Spartans? And Nebraska, walking off with the Gator Bowl?

    The Big 12 has tanked in both of its big outings now. Sooners won’t help the brand in New Orleans. It’s down to the Okie Pokes on Friday.

    I believe the only slaves in NYC are the millionaires. They’ve been happy with their cushy berth for some years now, after Rudy cleaned the place up. DeBlasio’s about to change that, no matter who he has in charge of law enforcement. So maybe he will be forcing an end to the indentured servitude of NYC’s millionaires, by driving them out.

    1. Looks like New York has fallen to 4th in population, behind Florida. They have already lost congressmen and are set to lose more.
      Well the adult issues are in fair shape there at the moment.
      Re-invigorating the Sandinistas, in-equality, green energy, and rescuing global warming folks from Antarctica will be center stage.
      Oh yes, the production of “It was too the video” tshirts ,for Hillary, will restore manufacturing in New York State.

  15. Bama having a firecracker start in this one.

    Yep that was 90% Juannie Futbol (I watched he game in my office on streaming broadcast which was in Messican (Texas pronunciation)).

  16. I don’t think anyone at all foresaw this. Especially since the Sooner D wouldn’t know tackle if they found it dead in their fishing box.

    Who knew Trevor and the receiver-ettes would be effective against the Alabama D? Early on, the Sooner O was making them think about the run too.

    Too bad the shrimpy, youthful, overmatched OU defense is so… shrimpy, youthful, and overmatched.

  17. Sanchez is way overmatched on the corner, but just bags the INT. Hey, it beats trying to tackle a guy who’s got 4 inches and 30 pounds on him.

    And now TD. Almost a Pick 6.

  18. Unreal. Don’t get cocky, Sooners. There’s a whole second half to play, and Alabama ain’t tired yet.

    1. Well Knight is not on the way to the hospital. Alabama is not leading by 24.
      AND the OU D is very accomplished with arm tacking and missed tackles.
      Stryker is small, but super quick.

  19. And plus the mighty-mite Sooner D was getting good pressure on McCarron there in the final minutes. We’ll see if they can keep up the energy.

    That Yeldon is a 70-ton M1A2 Abrams tank. Would love to see the Sooners shutting him down better, but I’m not sure anybody weighs enough.

  20. Well, heck-fire. It may take three Sooners to bring down one ‘Bama player, but at least they’ve been able to get three on McCarron in the pocket, several times tonight.

  21. Nobody knows what to do. The announcers weren’t prepared for this. The cameras keep going to glum-looking Tide fans instead of showing us the Sooner sideline. I’m not sure the cameramen even know where the Oklahoma sideline is.

    NFL defenses take note: the strategy of putting relentless pressure on McCarron is paying off, for a D that objectively isn’t as good as the Alabama offense.

    But hey, Trevor Knight and the receiver-ettes; who knew?

      1. Hope on, hope ever.

        Well, we knew it would come down to a scary final minute. No way the Sooners would be comfortably ahead by a 2-possession margin at end the game.

  22. Seriously. The Sooners get to take a knee for their last trick of the night? Icing on. the. cake.

  23. Lost my voice here. Can’t stop posting comments. Gonna get dizzy from screaming with no voice.

    Who’d-a thunk? Seven sacks by the Sooner Midget D!

    1. Sooners finished the season in the style they anticipated at the beginning. The middle of the play was somewhat forgettable, but a great final Act.

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