Football Follies 2022: Booger trails off (Bowl Week 3)

Fat lady starts warming up as bowls go Bigger, Better.

[To be updated with the 2 January preview before day’s end. – Your TOC FCS.  UPDATE:  Mission redefined and accomplished.]

As Bowl Week 3 heaves into view, the Booger light grows dim.  From here on it’s mostly quality football for football’s sake, with teams that don’t know from losing lining up to play each other for real stakes or in the Big-Boy-Bowl game’s all-time classics.

Memo to a recent Booger contestant, before we dive in.  Dillon Gabriel:  your wheeler is wide open.  Forget the post guy you’re wasting precious seconds of time trying to get the ball to in double coverage.

We’ve learned from experience that there tends to be less homely charm to these big bowls and their festivities.  Some do have a few grand, but quirky, traditions.  Others just have massive Plexiglass poster stands in the lobbies of Grand Marriotts, because it’s tacky and Small-Bowl to have daily schedules on easels.  Each bowl event needs its own floor-to-ceiling banner, video trailer playing on a loop, and theme-word pouncing on attendees in an exotic, attention-grabbing font, like it’s competing with the eight other opening flicks being hawked to the Los Angeles public on Santa Monica Boulevard.

They know how to package these Bigger, Better Bowls.  The smaller ones have community outreach opportunities, sure, and coaches’ luncheons and awards and prayer breakfasts and player visits to local attractions.  The big boys have Community Outreach Opportunities, however.  They have Prayer Breakfasts, Coaches’ Luncheons, “Awards,” and Hosting Celebrations for the PLAYERS that are never sponsored by anything less than global IT, defense, and manufacturing contractors, or at least a risk and accountability company (formerly an accounting firm) on the order of PwC.

Dallas has clinched a playoff berth.  Some other teams have too, but we frankly don’t care.

Better Bowls clock in

Case in point:  the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

31 December

#5 Alabama (10-2) and #9 Kansas State (10-3) lead us off on Saturday in the Allstate Sugar Bowl, which we believe holds the record for longest bowl sponsorship by a single sponsor.  We haven’t checked, and if someone wants to, or knows different already, hey, knock yourself out.  Our grateful response in any event will be “Whatever, dude.”

We note immediately that the Allstate Sugar Bowl is distinguished by sponsoring the Manning Award, “the only quarterback award that takes the candidates’ bowl performances into consideration in its balloting.”  Its stateliness is attested by the fact that the award isn’t presented until January, after all the bowls including the FBS championship bowl have been played.

As is usually the case, at least one of the quarterback finalists is from a team playing in the Sugar Bowl (in this case, Bryce Young of Alabama).  Max Duggan of the Inner Circle’s TCU is a finalist as well.

As one would expect, Heisman winner Caleb Williams (USC), Stetson Bennett of Georgia, and C.J. Stroud of Ohio State are also in the mix.  We wish of them the best.

The Allstate Sugar Bowl is also a sponsor of the Victory Field athletic and recreation facility at Joe W. Brown Park (yes, that Joe W. Brown), whose flyover video may be seen below.

We did warn you about the videos.

We are sorry to report that the Allstate Sugar Bowl Tennis Classic, after being canceled due to COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021, was canceled in 2022 due to damages to the tennis court from Hurricane Ida.  We’re hopeful that this event will get back on track next year.

We’re delighted to say, however, that the Tommy Moore Junior Golf Tournament, one of the Allstate Sugar Bowl’s sponsored golf events in Louisiana, has continued on its schedule, and the winners for 2022, with a tournament date of 27-28 December, are Trip Duke of Fairhope, AL and Kenna Lee of Bellaire, TX.

Courtesy the Tommy Moore Memorial Jr Golf Tournament via the Kelly Gibson Foundation.

Heartiest congratulations to these two promising young golfers.

The Allstate Sugar Bowl Regatta, meanwhile, began its season in September with the Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate Regatta on September 24-25, and will end with the Viper World Championships March 27-31 in 2023.

Please note:  you cannot use a screen shot of the barcode on your ticket to get into the stadium.  Also note:  tickets now start at $11, a few minutes before kickoff.  Apparently even Alabama couldn’t fill the stadium.

Alabama and Kansas State have a list of opt-outs, though fewer than at the Booger level.  For the Wildcats QB Adrian Martinez is still sidelined by injury.  Will Howard, who’s done very well as back-up, will be behind center.  The Tide is favored by 6.5.  (Update as this goes to post:  6.5. was left in the rearview mirror long ago.  Let the tsk-tsking commence.)

Competing in the same time slot (noon Eastern, 11 AM Central) will be one of the trailing Boogers, the TransPerfect Music City Bowl, now a fine tradition in Nashville.  Iowa and Kentucky, both 7-5, meet in this one, and oddly enough, it’s on ABC. 

One of our favorite features of the Music City Bowl is its prominently-displayed annual impact statement, and this year is no disappointment.

Courtesy TransPerfect Music City Bowl.

Get on with your bad selves.

TransPerfect, we are sure you knew, is a language translation service for businesses, and we’re equally certain they do a bang-up job.  According to one of their case studies, Citrix manages 21 international websites with two people and their TransPerfect-contracted services, and we defy you to improve on that.

Also of supreme importance:  it appears (though we can’t absolutely confirm it from the evidence) that Nashville’s famous hot-chicken franchise Hattie B’s is still a must-make stop on the Music City Bowl circuit.  In years past the hot-chicken eating contest has figured on the events list in the official fan guide, although COVID-19 seems to have driven that on the down-low.  In 2022 it’s not in the fan guide, but a video included at this local Tennessean op-ed, which shows people in Music City Bowl attire shivering and stamping their feet as they throw down hot chicken, suggests the connection is still there.

Under the web-ad attack, it may take a few seconds for the video to be available to you.  But it’s at the top.  Some traditions are too important to neglect.

Iowa’s giving 2 in this one, which for all we know may be Iowa’s points total for the game.  It’s been a weird year for the Hawkeyes.

The big party gets started at 2 PM Mountain in Glendale, Arizona with Big 10 champion #2 Michigan (13-0) and Big-12 champion #3 TCU (12-1), our Inner Circle high-achiever, meeting in the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl, one of the CFP Semifinal games.

We’re looking forward to this being a good game.  But first, we need to look backward to 17 December, when the Fiesta Bowl Parade took place as scheduled before the game, and in relatively close proximity to it.  While we can’t congratulate the parade on having quite as epic a presenting-sponsor name as the Sun Bowl’s, which we decree to be unrivaled, we do note that the sponsors, Lerner & Rowe, are also injury attorneys.  We wonder if football bowl parades offer especially rich opportunities to drum up business.

Naturally, a complete parade video from your TOC Football Commentary Service.  Viewing rules:  the moving shadow of the dude on the motorcycle at the beginning may not be skipped.

Sadly, the video has at least ungrateful commenter.  For a 7-minute version featuring native dancers, nicely accessorized dogs (scarves, sweaters), and giant inflatables being strapped down to where you can’t read their messages due to parade-route conditions, see here.

TCU and Michigan have fewer than a handful of opt-outs between them, as one would expect for CFP semifinalists.  Michigan’s backup QB Cade McNamara entered the transfer portal at the end of the season, and won’t be there behind starter J.R. McCarthy.  Otherwise, both teams will be at strength as full as average (or better) during the season.

Surprise!  TCU HC Sonny Dykes says their strategy is to stop the Michigan run.  Crafty.

He also took a swipe at the SEC’s ritual creampuff break in November, but we’ll let that one slide.

Back when Harbaugh had hair.

The Wolverines are laying 7.5.

Saturday’s big day ends with a bang when SEC Champion #1 Georgia (13-0) takes on Big 10 loser squad (sorry, couldn’t resist) #4 Ohio State (11-1; temporary 2022 motto: “Obviously, did not play for the Big 10 title”) in the other CFP Semifinal, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in Atlanta.

We’re only kidding with the ragging on the Buckeyes.

The Peach Bowl has decided to have a green fuzzy mascot for some reason.

In terms of bowl culture, it is impossible to beat the Duke’s Mayo Bowl mascot, however, as promptly demonstrated by the alert Duke’s Mayo Twitter team.

If you thought the Rose Bowl was the only one with an iconic parade – well, come to think of it, you’re right.  The other Nosebleed Bowl parades may be of longstanding (though we’re dubious about how that’s being measured), but “iconic” isn’t the adjective we’d attach to them.

That said, the Peach Bowl has one too, and we’re gratified to report that it’s not being presented by injury attorneys.  The Lions Clubs International are the presenters for this one.  Can’t go wrong with that.

The Peach Bowl Parade was supposed to start about an hour ago, and although it doesn’t seem to be available on YouTube, we have this stand-in for you:

Crowdsourcing cultural updates always pays off.

One of the Peach Bowl’s delightful traditions is a “sports” competition between the two teams called Battle for Bowl Week.  We are thrilled to report that Ohio State won the Battle.  The events look lively and interesting, as always; we rather expect that the Andretti Indoor Karting was the hands-down favorite of both contestants.  Congrats to the Buckeyes.

Head coaches pose for their close-up.

Georgia is likely to be down more than one receiver at game-time due to injury, though opt-outs stand at one player right now (DT Bill Norton; transfer portal).  Ohio State is looking good, with one NFL-draft opt-out (LB Teradja Mitchell).  Bulldogs are giving 6.5.

2 January 2023

[In the interest of getting this online, we’ll be reducing the sprightly and essential commentary about each bowl, at a spot we won’t identify but readers will no doubt recognize.  Pro-tip:  trying to have holiday sociability and blog posting at the same time is a prioritization game.]

The bowl day in 2023 kicks off at noon Eastern on 2 January with the ReliaQuest Bowl (motto: Huh??), which readers will no doubt remember from years and years and recent days of yore as the Outback Bowl.  It’s our last Booger, is played in Ray-Jay in Tampa, and will feature #22 Mississippi State (8-4) and our own Illinois (also 8-4), in what we are counting on being a robust festival of guts football.

We are monumentally sorry to report that the ReliaQuest Bowl was going to have a parade, but the parade has been canceled due to weather.  No, really:  we’re saddened by that, because the parade was to go through Tampa’s Ybor City, and we’re sure it would have been epic.  It was to be held New Year’s Eve, but now, not.  Bummer.

The inevitable Battle of the Bands, which in previous years has been held at the beach, is reported to be scheduled as an event at Busch Gardens on New Year’s Eve.  We’d say “So take that, all you other Battles of the Bands,” but we don’t know if that’s actually happening either, considering the weather.  No online updates seem to be keeping us informed.

We note as we annually do the tie-in between this bowl (formerly the Outback Bowl) and Tampa General Hospital, and opine that if that connection doesn’t give the bowl an advantage in the risky bowl events arena, we don’t know what would.  TGH is sponsoring a pre-game show, at least.

We’re sure Illinois fans are there for the football, but the local news in Tampa suspects some may have other motives.

The inclement parade weather probably wasn’t an attraction, of course.

ReliaQuest, meanwhile, is a security services company promising, among other things, to help customers “Get more out of your existing security stack by ingesting de-centralized security tool data to enrich investigations, without having to pay for the added visibility.”  Since we hate paying for added visibility when ingesting security tool data of any kind to enrich investigations, this does sound like an improvement.  See ReliaQuest’s “Grey Matter” product here.

The Illini won’t have RB Chase Brown, who piled up over 1,600 yards in a fantastic season, for the bowl.  He’s entered the NFL portal, along with his twin brother, safety Sydney Brown, and corner Devon Witherspoon.  Illinois is definitely going to miss them on 2 January.  For Mississippi State, the biggest loss is probably WR Rara Thomas to the transfer portal, although the Dogs still have a lot of talent left.  The same is true of RB Dillion Johnson.  They’ll be down two starting safeties as well.

The oddsquad seems to hold our opinion that this one’s nevertheless a good match-up.  Mississippi State is favored by a slim 1.5.

Next up:  #10 USC and #16 Tulane in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.  Both teams are 11-2, but of course, even though the PAC-12 has seen better years (much, er, better years), being 11-2 and the PAC-12 champion is on a different plane from being 11-2 in the American, and the conference champ.

Still, USC has some key opt-outs on offense, including their line-anchoring center Brett Neilon.  Heisman winner QB Caleb Williams-with-the-hamstring expressed confidence on Friday that he’d be playing Monday, but as we understand it, that decision will be made closer to game time.  If Tulane has to deal with a Williams performing to spec, more bets will be figuratively off.

With all that said, the Trojans are donating a measly 2.

The final Inner Circle team – SEC-West titlist #17 LSU (9-4) – clocks in against Big 10 West champ Purdue (8-5) at 1 PM in Orlando for the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl, which we’ve explained exhaustively is not the Cheez-It Bowl, even though it’s sponsored by Cheez-It, and like the Cheez-It Bowl will be played in Camping World Stadium, which started its life some years ago as the Citrus Bowl (name of the venue).  For clarity, Oklahoma lost to Florida State 35-32 Thursday night in the Cheez-It Bowl at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.

We urge Cheez-It to get this sorted out before next year.

This being a bowl held at what is now Camping World Stadium, it naturally features pregame hospitality in Camping World Stadium’s sensibly named pregame hospitality facility.  But since this is the premier bowl meeting at Camping World this season, we are proud to see that the associated event is being listed as Cheez-It Citrus Bowl Pregame Hospitality Presented by Band-Aid Brand.  Having a big-name sponsor for your pregame hospitality is the Bomb.

LSU has a rather extensive list of opt-outs/portal entrants, but from what we can tell, injury-recovered QB Jayden Daniels is good to go for the game.  And although WR Jaray Jenkins has declared for the NFL draft, Kayshon Boutte is expected to play after deciding to remain for a final season with the Tigers.  The defensive secondary seems to be taking the biggest hit from the Portal Vortex.

Purdue, meanwhile, is being described as “decimated” by portal/opt-out and injury losses, which include the starting QB and top yard-burners at RB and WR.  That, plus the Boilermakers’ season performance (which gave them just enough for the default visit to the Big 10 title game), helps accounts for LSU, even in its own parlous state, being favored by 14.5.

Last but never, ever least, the granddaddy of them all:  the Rose Bowl Game Presented by Prudential kicks off at 2 PM Pacific (5 PM Eastern) in Pasadena, with PAC-12 runner-up #8 Utah (10-3) set to duke it out with #11 Penn State (10-2).  The Nittany Lions are getting this chance because both Michigan and Ohio State will play in the CFP Semifinals, so both of the top Big 10 contenders are otherwise occupied.

The Youths are laying 2.

Other ranks

There’s one last hurrah in the other ranks:  the FCS (Div I-AA) championship game, which will feature North Dakota State and South Dakota State at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, home of MLS’s FC Dallas, on 8 January 2023.

We implore anyone out there in TOC’s football nation who’s anywhere near The Colony, Texas, just down the road from Frisco, to visit Barney Smith’s Toilet Seat Art Museum and send us a report.  We wish the Dakotas well in their internecine contest.

Feature image:  OU WR #17 Marvin Mims catches a 54-yard pass from QB Dillon Gabriel in the 35-32 Cheez-It Bowl loss to Florida State, 29 Dec 2022.  ESPN video, YouTube.


9 thoughts on “Football Follies 2022: Booger trails off (Bowl Week 3)”

  1. Wow – did not expect TCU to hang on and get it done. In spite of the Frogs’ season pattern, I figured Blue had the D to put a stop to it.

    Amazing. Now Ohio State has to knock off Georgia. Been feeling like that has a higher probability. We’ll see.

  2. Would have liked to see Wyoming bring it home, but a very respectable performance in the O/T nail’s edge loss. Next year!

    Meanwhile, Clemson looked like they’d been drugged and stuffed in a trunk. Congrats to Tennessee.

  3. Congrats to TCU. Coach Dykes has done a very good job with the Team the previous Coach built. OSU looked very formidable against the Dogs. Until they lost. Very best regards OC.

  4. A great wave of tears for the Trojans here in Oklahoma. Tulane down by double digits twice, comes back with 8 seconds left to win by 1. Official ruled the TD catch incomplete, but was overturned. BTW Tulane kicker makes 1st half FG, Trojan kicker missed his 1st half FG. I am sure you saw it, but I couldn’t help gloating. Best regards OC!

    1. Thanks for the highlights. I was on the road and didn’t actually see it; also couldn’t seem to find it on the radio, but that was probably a function of there being only three audible AM stations in that part of New Mexico, and two of them were broadcasting pop music in Spanish.

      Yes, I was simply crushed by the USC loss. Really hard to grapple with, but I’m making progress.

      Did get to hear LSU and Purdue, which other than LSU scoring repeatedly, rah!, was a snooze-fest.

      How about Penn State and Utah, though, huh? Was not expecting PSU to do so well in that one. Got to see the end of it.

      Wish the Illini could have pulled it out against Mississippi State. A game also unavailable on poor man’s radio in northern NM.

      1. I was very surprised at the Utah loss. I did feel a Tremor in the Force, but I figured you needed a break from WR. LOL! Oklahoma State is losing a lot of starting players to the portal. NIL is a cancer, but something else is going on up there. Since Sanders announced he is leaving, the flood gates have opened for people leaving Stillwater. Gundy is under pretty severe scrutiny. I have no inside info. All the best to you OC. BTW, I need to say it, Russia/Ukraine will end. You will always be my Dear Friend.

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