They’ve already had the dance-off at the Bahamas Bowl Beach Bash in Nassau – that was Tuesday – so clearly we’re running behind and will need to dog-paddle fiercely to catch up with the Booger Bowl action for 2021. As previously noted, it kicks off on Friday at noon Eastern with said Bahamas Bowl, featuring our Inner Circle’s own Toledo Rockets.
For simplicity, we’ll take the bowls in order and highlight the ones our Inner Circle is gracing. In a season with some definite ups and downs, the Inner Circle came out pretty well, all but two of the FBS teams going to bowl games (and even Navy, which ended up on the wrong end of 4-8, having the gratification of winning The Game this past weekend).
The parade of Boogers now begins, with all the usual charm and homely delights that attend it every year. Week one starts in the Bahamas and ends in Hawaii on Christmas Eve, which may or may not be better than the practice of yore, when Nassau and Honolulu competed for tropical honors on the same day (Christmas Eve). In between, we’ll spend the usual amount of time in Florida and Texas, with a few excursions to other worthy venues.
Let us dive in.
Friday, Dec. 17
In the Bahamas Bowl (no sponsor), Toledo (7-5) meets Middle Tennessee (6-6) with the kickoff, as noted, at noon on the East Coast. Middle Tennessee is C-USA New Blood, and finished standing 4th in C-USA East. (A notable event for MTSU this season was playing Virginia Tech in September. Hokies won 35-14.)
Toledo, of course, finished the season 3rd in the MAC West, and came pretty darn close to pulling it out over Notre Dame in a barn-burner in week 2.
We regret to report that most of the Bahamas Bowl website appears to be undisturbed by updates since 2019, when the last bowl was played. (It was cancelled due to COVID in 2020.) So we’ll have to make do with a glimpse of the aforementioned dance-off, which does look inspiring in a football kind of way.
Also, as mentioned a couple of weeks ago, the Makers Wanted industrial consortium of Elk Grove, Illinois is no longer sponsoring the bowl, which continues to sadden us in our bowlquest.
No preview of the Bahamas Bowl is complete without an allusion to the Atlantis Resort, with which we know our readers are as familiar, from the TV commercials, as they are with the spam calls about that unrenewed auto warranty.
This Bahamas Bowl official tweet gives a good view of one of our all-time favorite bowl trophies, the Prime Minister’s Trophy (typically Actually Awarded by the prime minister of the Bahamas, currently Mr. Philip Davis). Have you ever seen happier-looking coaches?
Toledo is favored by 10 in the line. Go Rockets! Play ball!
There hardly seems to be anything more intriguing than the proposition of the bowl sponsor for the Tailgreeter Cure Bowl, the annual bowl supporting breast cancer research. See what you think: the founders of the Tailgreeter company identified a significant shortfall and decided to address it:
The idea of Tailgreeter was born after brothers, co-founders, and fans of the tailgate experience, Nick and Mirko, stumbled on the problem of how hard tailgating could be while trying to plan a road trip to Alabama (Roll Tide).
No quizzy-face jokes are occurring to us about Alabama fans having difficulty getting their tailgating act together, of course. We’re too serious for that. Planning a road trip to Alabama, meanwhile, is no joking matter. It’s not the biggest state out there and it’s got five interstates running through it, and only one of them (I-25) goes right past Tuscaloosa.
But we think Tailgreeting is a lovely idea, and we certainly wish the company well. This is their first year sponsoring the Cure Bowl, which starts at 6 PM EST in Exploria Stadium in Orlando, home of Orlando City SC of MLS.
MAC Champion Northern Illinois (9-4) meets Coastal Carolina, 10-2 and 2nd in Sun Belt East. The Chanticleers beat Kansas (motto: “What difference, at this point, does it make?”) by a healthy 49-22 in September, but managed to lose to conference rival Georgia State as well as always-tough Appalachian State.
The Cure Bowl action appears to be shoehorned all into one day, with a massive Tailgreeter tailgate spectacular competing for fan interest with the March2Cure, which starts from the Historic Train Depot at 4:45 PM and arrives at Exploria Stadium about 5:15 ahead of the 6 PM game start. No free breast cancer screenings appear to be on offer this year, but we never give up hope on that one.
Coastal Carolina’s donating 10.5.
Saturday, Dec. 18
Speaking of Appalachian State, the Mountaineers will be appearing in the RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl on Saturday, opposite the Hilltoppers of Western Kentucky. Appalachian State, the runner-up in Sun Belt, comes in 8-5 to WKU’s (C-USA New Blood) 8-5 as runner-up in C-USA. Kickoff is 11 AM in Florida Atlantic U’s stadium in Boca Raton.
Though we admit to pining for the Boca Raton Bowl’s glorious year as the Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl (2017), we think RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl is a really substantial Booger-quality name for a bowl. Visions of roof claims, roof replacements, and roof repairs are loads of fun for all ages. (We’ll tell you sometime about our exciting adventure in roof repair a few years back.)
RoofClaim.com does it up right, with beach parties for the teams on Wednesday and a Lion Country Safari for the team families on Thursday.
Fans get pep rallies Friday night and a Fanfest just before the game on Saturday, which we assume will have breakfast food on offer, given the unusually early kickoff (by East Coast standards).
Appalachian State gives 3.
We’re probably – since we don’t do gaming – the last cave-dwellers on the planet who had no idea what a “PUBG Mobile” is. The sponsor of the PUBG Mobile New Mexico Bowl, it turns out, is a video game, whose initials stand for PlayersUnknown Battlegrounds. We’re confident that makes sense to someone.
The contestants in the football game are UT-El Paso (7-5) of the C-USA Remnant and Fresno State (9-3). We’re pretty proud of the Miners for posting a winning record this year. One thing we’re looking forward to is a glimpse of Miner mascot Paydirt Pete.
Fresno State wound up 2nd in MWC West this year, but – and we mean this in the nicest way – is basically in a different league from UTEP, and is presumably regarded by everyone as somewhere between 99% and 100% likely to win. But the Bulldogs also just lost head coach Kalen DeBoer to Washington, with running backs coach Lee Marks fleeting up to interim HC for the bowl – and we never say never about anything, especially games that are held in University Stadium in Albuquerque.
We are sorry to have to report that the stadium is no longer named for remodeling contractor Dreamstyle, which was an incredibly significant, textbook example of Booger Cred. Apparently there was a dispute with Dreamstyle as a stadium sponsor, so they’re off the marquee. Sad!
The game kicks off at 12:15 PM Mountain (2:15 PM EST), with the Bulldogs favored by 11.5.
Next up on Saturday is the Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl, featuring U. Alabama Birmingham (C-USA Remnant), 8-4, vs. #13 BYU (10-2) in Shreveport, Louisiana. Radiance Technologies, as you can see, is the absolutely perfect sponsor for the 2021 Moment:
Radiance Technologies is an employee-owned small business prime contractor founded in 1999. Radiance has over 900 employee-owners across the United States serving the Department of Defense, national intelligence community and other government agencies. From concepts to capabilities, Radiance leads the way in developing customer-focused solutions in the areas of cyber security, systems engineering, prototyping and integration as well as operational and strategic intelligence including scientific and technical intelligence.
No doubt we can expect FBI special agents to swarm the stadium at halftime with warrants obtained through John Durham’s investigation. What bliss it is in this dawn to be alive. The Independence Bowl has had some of the best sponsors in all Boogerdom, including Duck Commander in 2014 (though we remember Poulan/Weed Eater in the 1990s with special fondness), but Radiance Technologies may have the opportunity to outshine them all.
When Walk-On’s was the sponsor, Shreveport hosted epic pub crawls rivaling the Nibelungenlied during bowl week, but with that era behind us we see fans will have to make do with the annual Mardi Gras preview parade (what, like there wouldn’t be one?), the usual dueling pep rallies for the two schools, and a Block Party Concert on Friday night.
The game kicks off at 2:30 PM Central, BYU giving 7.
At 4:45 PM Central in Mobile, Alabama, the LendingTree Bowl will kick off between MAC’s Eastern Michigan (7-5) and Liberty, the Independents’ mid-pack success story (7-5), which held its own pretty well in respectable losses to Syracuse and Ole Miss of the Power 5 this year.
We’ll miss Ladd-Peebles Stadium this go-round, as the bowl will be held in South Alabama’s new Hancock Whitney Stadium, which opened in 2020. Long-time correspondents and bowl fans no doubt remember this bowl as the Dollar General Bowl, and before that the GoDaddy Bowl and the GoDaddy.com Bowl. But the bowl is never complete without a photo commemoration of the players with the Southern Belle welcoming committee:
Thursday sees the tour of the battleship USS Alabama, pride of Mobile. But on Wednesday, for some reason, the teams got to have a tour of the Airbus A320 assembly line, which frankly sounds like a royal hoot. We’d do bowl week just for that.
Liberty gives 9.5.
Of course you knew Jimmy Kimmel has his own bowl game now, formally known as the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl presented by Stifel. Utah State (10-3), the 2021 Mountain West Champion, will square off with Oregon State (7-5), not a 2021 champion, in Inglewood, California’s new SoFi Stadium, home of the NFL’s Rams and Chargers.
Stifel, by the way, is an investment and wealth management firm ($3 billion in assets in 2019), as befits a bowl connected with a Hollywood personality. Its global headquarters is in St. Louis, and we get the feeling from its website images that somebody likes modern art.
This is a brand spanking new bowl, so we don’t know how it’s going to age as a Booger Bowl. At the moment it’s probably in negative points territory due to the inevitable gaudiness of the name association. It doesn’t help that it’s in the marquee slot on ABC on Saturday evening, although an ABC broadcast was obviously inevitable.
But we’ll give it a chance. We feel it would probably take off better if it were being played in a soccer stadium.
The teams, however, are a nice selection for an inaugural Booger. We have to give it that.
There’s just a faint edge of California killjoy involved.
But there’s also a 6-plus minute video made with killer production values about creating the mascot for the Jimmy Kimmel Bowl. If you want to cut to the chase, the mascot, Jimmy Kamel (a giant camel, get it?), vomits green stuff right after the 6:15 mark.
We’re not feeling Peak Booger at this point. The game itself has the prospect of being pretty good, however. Kickoff is at 4:30 PM Pacific (7:30 EST), with the Beavers donating 7.
For the night owls, Saturday night brings a beloved Booger classic, the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, held where else but the Caesars Superdome, and showcasing Sun Belt Champion #23 Louisiana (Lou-Laf) (12-1) vs. Marshall (C-USA Remnant) (7-5).
In a Booger environment of revolving-door sponsor changes, you can’t buy the anti-cred Cred of a 15-year sponsor like R+L Carriers. So the bowl starts out with that going for it.
But it really kicks into gear with two of our absolute favorite bowl events, the 2-mile in-stadium running event Dashing through the Dome, and the pinnacle of bowl entertainment, Yoga in the Dome.
If you haven’t signed up already for Yoga in the Dome, it appears you’re out of luck. Slots go fast for that one (and they had to cancel the Dash and the Yoga last year due to COVID, so there’s a lot of pent-up anticipation out there). Both events will be held early on game day. The venue being New Orleans, there’s not a lot of need for special celebratory planning otherwise.
Game start is 8:15 PM Central (9:15 EST). Lou-Laf is clearly the local favorite, and the Ragin’ Cajuns were pretty darn good this year; we’re not sure why they’re only giving 5 to the Thundering Herd. We do understand not everyone has the cast-iron cojones of Oklahoma Sooners bettors.
Monday, Dec 20
The University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane, which beat Notre Dame 28-27 on 30 October 2010, launches the work week for the Inner Circle, appearing vs. Old Dominion in the Myrtle Beach Bowl Presented by TaxAct.
TU roars in at 6-6 after being left for dead early in the season, with relatively narrow losses to a succession of Top 25 teams (including Ohio State and Oklahoma State, as well as conference rival Cincinnati, which will play for all the marbles in the CFB#P@ semi with Alabama on New Year’s Eve). Old Dominion (C-USA New Blood) is 6-6 as well, and 2nd, alongside Marshall, in C-USA East. (We have a special interest in ODU, having taken a couple of courses there that satisfied requirements for the Navy War College mid-career course. Of course, that was before the Monarchs had a football team.)
In 2021 the Myrtle Beach Bowl meets for its second year, hosted at Coastal Carolina’s Brooks Stadium in Conway, South Carolina. For venturesome spirits, we issue this reminder that Myrtle Beach not only has its name on a football bowl, but has an actual Myrtle Beach Bowl, with tons of lanes and an event called “Glow-and-Bowl” on New Year’s Eve, which sounds like something we’d like to be there to record on video, if we stayed for another 10 days after the bowl game.
For a swamp delta, the Conway-Myrtle Beach area also seems to have an impressive number of off-roading opportunities. The Lowe’s Home Improvement store in Conway is thoughtfully located across the street from CCU and the Conway Medical Center, with a Walmart Supercenter just a few blocks to the southeast.
Fan comfort being amply provided for, you may want to make your way down the Highway 501 thoroughfare to Myrtle Beach, not only for the bowling but for the Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament location, where among other attractions you can watch medieval knights duel with broadswords and (apparently, judging from the photos) whack pumpkins to bits. Horseback jousting is offered as well, apparently to accompany your dinner at banquet tables. We’re not sure how jazzed we would be to have horses scampering around within feet of our dinner, but we’d gamely give it a try at least once.
There’s a beach, of course, so ’nuff said. The Tulsa team arrived on Thursday, with a determination to do some diligent tanning work.
The kickoff on Monday is at 2:30 PM Eastern, with Tulsa giving 9.5.
Tuesday, Dec. 21
We’re always thrilled when one of our own makes it to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, as Wyoming has done this year. The 6-6 Cowboys will face the MAC’s Kent State (7-6), which surged rather unexpectedly to top the MAC East and contest the MAC title with champion Northern Illinois. The Golden Flashes gamely posted three of their 2021 losses to Power 5 teams (Texas A&M, Iowa, and Maryland), and ought to be a quality opponent.
Naturally, there can be no bowl like one that celebrates the world’s best-known starchy tuberous root crop. The manic human dressed in a giant potato costume is, of course, a classic.
But we’re even more enamored of the otherwise tasteful crystal bowl trophy, mounted uninterestingly on wood, filled with live potatoes.
One of our all-time favorite bowl trophies. As regular correspondents know, we don’t bestow that accolade lightly. Most football bowl trophies are pretty lame, and we pull no punches in our critical theory about that.
Kent State is winning the Twitter war so far, posting substantially more cute tweets and slice-of-life images. (There’s even some potato-themed, er, poetry.) But Wyoming has an intriguing pair of tweets with team support staff being seen loading up vehicles for the trek to Boise.
Maybe a fascination with logistics is just a Wyoming thing – but maybe it’s an information operation. We’re suspending judgment for now.
In the second COVID year, the bowls are back but not nearly as many of the recreational bowl week events. So there’s no advertising for school-themed ski excursions or ladies’ day outings, as in past bowl seasons. But there’ll be a kickoff on the Waterboarding-Blue Smurf Turf at 1:30 PM Mountain (3:30 EST) on Tuesday, and that’s what counts.
Wyoming’s giving 3. Go POKES!!!!!
Tuesday evening brings the Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl and the clash of UT-San Antonio (C-USA Fresh Blood) (12-1) and #24 San Diego State (11-2). UTSA is the 2021 C-USA Champion; SDSU, which bled out slowly in the MWC title game against Utah State, not so much. Still, it should be a pretty good game, kicking off at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, home of MLS’s FC Dallas, at 6:30 PM Central (7:30 EST).
For those not shopping in the high-tempo Frisco real estate market, we’ve recommended cultural excursions in recent years to the National Videogame Museum and the National Soccer Hall of Fame, both conveniently located right in Frisco.
But we’re expanding our horizons this December with an appeal to someone out there to please, please visit Barney Smith’s Toilet Seat Art Museum, situated in nearby The Colony, Texas (truly, it’s just a skip and a jump from central Frisco down the Sam Rayburn). Mr. Smith passed away in 2019 at the age of 98, but his legacy lives on in the display of such gems as the Challenger Disaster Toilet Seat, a toilet seat from Saddam Hussein’s Palace, and the Ground Hornets Retribution Toilet Seat.
Aztecs are favored by 2.5.
Wednesday, Dec. 22
In solitary state on Wednesday, as befits an Inner Circle stalwart, Army faces Mizzou at & 7 PM Central (8 PM EST) in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl. Army comes in 8-4 off a winning season, interrupted at the end by that little dust-up with Navy; Mizzou posted 6-6 from its ever-tough SEC perch.
As always, the game is at TCU’s Amon G. Carter in Fort Worth, and hosts free admission for active duty and retired military and family members.
Last year’s bowl had people sitting in socially-distanced “pods” of four, and everybody had pretty much left by halftime because it was raining cats and dogs throughout the entire game. The game – a narrow loss for our Inner Circle team from Tulsa – ended in an unseemly brawl between the Golden Hurricane players and the Bulldogs of Mississippi State. We’re counting on Army to keep better order this time, as the stadium fills up again with a full complement of military football fans.
Past keynote speakers at the bowl’s kickoff luncheon, which will be held on 21 December this year, have included Dallas Cowboy greats Roger Staubach, Hall pf Fame defensive tackle Randy “The Manster” White, and five-time pro-Bowl Safety Darren Woodson (in 2019. Woodson should be in the HOF, by the way).
This bowl is all about honoring veterans, and typically features some military ceremony and a nice flyover (if it’s not raining fit to bust itself). Fans won’t regret spending a few days in Fort Worth, where it’s more work to avoid entertaining yourself than not.
Army gives 3.5. We don’t say this often, so bookmark it: Go Army!!
Thursday, Dec. 23
The Frisco Football Classic is the new kid in town, ginned up on short notice to replace the cancelled San Francisco Bowl (which readers will remember for its illustrious career as, among other things, the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, the Fight Hunger Bowl, and the Foster Farms Bowl). The bowl was cancelled due to COVID in 2020; we will leave it you to ponder why it’s been cancelled again for 2021. Aside from the obvious possibilities having to do with the increasingly tourist-hostile environs, we personally suspect it may be the Tiny Stadium (Levi’s), so despised by the Coliseum-goers down in El-Lay.
Frisco’s Toyota Stadium will thus be seeing back-to-back service over the next week. It’s nicely situated to host North Texas (C-USA Remnant), 6-6, and Miami (Ohio) 6-6 of the MAC.
North Texas has long been a sentimental favorite around the TOC Football Commentary Service, and of course we’ve got nothing against Miami (OH), which put a scare in Minnesota in a one-score loss early in the season, and came that close in its 48-47 game with MAC title finalist Kent State in the season-closer. (Kent State went on to become the runner-up to Northern Illinois – and of course is playing Wyoming on the 21st in Idaho.)
As with the Tropical Smoothie shindig on Tuesday 21 December, we implore anyone with the opportunity to check out Barney Smith’s toilet seat collection for us. Some things can’t be left until after the Apocalypse. There’s also a very fine selection of chain restaurants in Frisco, if we haven’t mentioned it.
Miami (OH) is favored by 3; the game starts at 2:30 PM Central (3:30 EST).
On Thursday evening, Central Florida and Florida (yes, that Florida; the one that’s just, you know, Florida) go head-to-head in the Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl. UCF is 8-4 to Florida’s 6-6, but with the little selector of AAC vs. SEC factored in, the Gators are naturally the favorite. The two teams have played before, incidentally; twice, with Florida winning both times (in 1999 and 2006).
This one’s played in Raymond James in Tampa, and as every schoolboy now knows is named for the pirate legend lying behind all iterations of “Gasparilla” events in the Greater Tampa Area. Even though Bad Boy Mowers is no longer the title sponsor (which really is a bummer, because Bad Boy brought riding mowers and had cool mower-driving events during bowl week), we still love the bowl. It has the distinction of also having been sponsored by Bitcoin in 2014, along with several years of sponsorship by Beef O’Brady’s.
Not that we’re complaining; we’re sure Union Home Mortgage does useful work for God and country. If it really wanted to do some good, it might sponsor some hands-on Formula Ford exhibitions or something. Of course, as a mortgage company, it probably has its hands full trying to keep up with the influx of arriving Blue State refugees.
The venue being Gulf of Mexico-adjacent, the fests and pep rallies naturally unfold on the local beaches. In the past, enterprising community-minded folks have appended events like blood-pressure screenings to the bowl festivities, but we don’t see anything along those lines cued up for next week. Across the board, the bowl event scene seems to be slimmed down and focused on just enjoying a little R&R after a long stretch of pandemic.
That said, we commend the bowl for sponsoring a “Drive Down Hunger” program that encourages Hillsborough County high school students to perform community service hours and win game tickets.
Florida is donating 6.5, with a kickoff at 7 PM Eastern.
Friday, Dec. 24
Rounding out Booger’s inaugural 2021 bowl week is the EasyPost Hawai’i Bowl, in which Memphis (6-6) will meet Hawai’I (6-7) at the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex in Honolulu. Clarence T.C. Ching is the University of Hawai’i’s field facility, and is hosting Rainbow Warrior football as Aloha Stadium has suspended operations indefinitely due to COVID-related financial difficulties (along with some creeping maintenance problems).
Much as we enjoyed the bowl events of previous years, such as the Winter Wonderland created for kids on the exterior grounds of Aloha Stadium, we do understand that the point of Hawai’i is to be warm and sunny. Although there was a famous blizzard warning on the Big Island only a few days ago, we’re confident there will be no such unseemly development at sea level in Honolulu next Friday. There’s likely to be some rain before game time, but clearing skies and seasonable temps in the 70s should prevail.
Memphis comes in just under mid-pack in the American, with a 3-5 conference tote. Hawai’i, likewise, is 3-5 conference on the season and 4th in MWC West. UH did beat Wyoming out, in their Storied Rivalry for the Paniolo Trophy, but we’re not holding that against them.
The events for the bowl week are few so far, but choice. There will be a sponsored visit to the USS Arizona Memorial, and a classic luau (the only problem, as bowl week nears, being that the dates for these festivities are still listed at the website as TBA. But then, so are the bowl teams).
EasyPost, a first-year sponsor, may have a few things to work out. But as a global shipping-label company partnered with numerous shippers, they clearly have the ability, and no doubt the will. We wish everyone the best in this Christmas Eve football-fest, which kicks off at 3 PM Hawai’i Time (8 PM EST), and sees Memphis favored by 7.
Sufficient unto the week are the bowls thereof. Tune in next week for the previews of our second round of Boogers, which starts on Christmas Day with the promisingly-named TaxAct Camellia Bowl. (Alert readers will observe that TaxAct is doubling down on the bowl sponsorships this year. We don’t want to think in big-picture terms about what that may reflect about America and our always-contentious taxation situation.)
In the FCS semifinals, North Dakota State will meet James Madison on Friday night, 17 December, at 9:15 EST. That should be a whale of a game. On Saturday at 2 PM EST, Montana State and South Dakota State will go head-to-head – which should also make for some rousing football.
A special FCS note this weekend is the Cricket Celebration Bowl, featuring a clash between traditional HBCU schools South Carolina State and Jackson State. The contestants are both conference champions: SCSU (6-5) of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, and Jackson State (11-1, and coached by Deion Sanders) of the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
Also of note, RG-III – NCAA and NFL great Robert Griffin III – will be in the broadcast booth for ABC.
Kickoff is at noon on Saturday 18 December; the game is held at Mercedes-Benz in Atlanta, and obviously thus affords excellent tailgating opportunities for hungry fans. Best of luck to both teams.
In Divs II and III, it all comes down to this. The championship games are on tap this weekend. We confess to being a bit relieved that the highly suspicious Chicago School of Mines was eliminated last week by Valdosta State, so the Div II title match will (once again) feature Valdosta State and Ferris State on Saturday at 9 PM EST.
As previously noted, the game will be held again at the McKinney, Texas ISD football stadium, a state-of-the-art facility rivaling those of many FCS schools. There’s plenty to do in McKinney, but the game is also attended by a “Tacos, Tequila, and Cerveza Competition” between local restaurants running from 17 to 19 December.
If you’re not taking advantage of Fanfest on Friday night, you may enjoy something like Sip and Throw, a BYOB event at Jump into Art Studios from which you can emerge (after 2 weeks for firing and curing) with a hand-thrown pottery piece perpetrated by yourself. (Never doubt us when we say there’s fun stuff to do.)
You may want to be indoors on Friday anyway, as a front’s coming in and it will be raining, with temps plummeting from the 50s. At game-time Saturday evening, expect heavy skies, although precip is unlikely by then, and temps dropping from the 40s into the 30s.
The Div III final will be a heck of a contest between Mary Hardin-Baylor and hot-running North Central (IL), unfolding as ever in the guise of the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl – but this year, for the first time, in Canton, Ohio.
Div III fans have been waiting for this one since the Stagg Bowl left its longtime venue in Salem, Virginia, where the game was last played in 2017. Shenandoah, Texas did a fine job hosting the match in 2018-2019, but the appointed hour has arrived and Div III is landing with a flourish at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton. Which, incidentally, rivals the McKinney ISD Stadium as a high school facility, serving Canton’s McKinley HS as part of a massive athletics complex.
If you care to spend 12 minutes with a drone and a high school football stadium, have at it. That’s I-77 just east of the stadium, by the way.
2021 starts a career of rotating venues for the game; it will be held in Annapolis in 2022, and thereafter in Salem (VA) and Humble (TX) until it’s back in Canton in 2025.
The Stagg Bowl will kick off at 7 PM EST (6 PM Central) on Friday evening, 17 December. This looks like a lucky choice, as Friday is predicted to be a cloudy but non-raining day sandwiched between substantial precipitation on Thursday and Saturday. The temperature is likely to top out at round 40F for the kickoff, and plunge thereafter as the evening advances.
You may want to get there early for parking. The Stagg Bowl website at Tom Benson speaks optimistically of free parking, but also advises, somewhat ominously, that “Many of the homes close to the stadium also offer parking for various small fees.” This could be a delightful solution, but at 10 PM you may not care to walk that far to get back to your car.
Feature image: Jimmy Kimmel captures the zeitgeist of Booger Bowl season and tortures it with a vomiting-camel mascot. Jimmy Kimmel Live video, YouTube