Personally, New Years Day has always been one of my favorite holidays, ranking right up there with Thanksgiving. Not coincidentally, both of the days are filled with food and football. You could imagine my surprise when I awoke yesterday and turned on the TV to map out the games I would be watching. Instead of getting blitzed with bowl options, I had the same old bland NFL options. Don't get me wrong, I love my Niners (13-3!), but nothing can compare to New Year's Day slate of bowl games, especially for those current and former Angelenos among us. The Rose Bowl on New Year's Day is a ritual, and I wasn't happy that it got bumped.
That said, we got TWO days of holiday football this weekend. The NFL finished up week 17, and the Bengals, Giants, and Broncos secured playoff spots. Sorry, Jets, Raiders, and Cowboys. Aaron Rodgers sat and his backup played better than Rodgers ever had. Quarterback controversy, anyone? And of course, my aforementioned 49ers locked up the 2 seed and a much needed bye week.
We'll take a look at today's games after the jump.
Today, the highlight is the Grand Daddy. Wisconsin and Oregon kick off at 2 PM PST on ESPN. The teams are both 11-2 and both unveiled new jerseys, but that's about where the similarities end. It will be fun to watch Oregon's speed match up against Wisconsin's brute strength. With regard to the jerseys, Wisconsin pulled off an amazing look. Rose graphics in the helmet and numbering is a really nice touch. Oregon's, you ask? Well, they're Oregon uniforms.
Of course, the festivities in Pasadena have already begun. It's a fun day to be in Pasadena.
The Rose Bowl isn't the only BCS game involving the Pac-12 today. Stanford and Oklahoma St. kick off the Fiesta Bowl immediately after the Rose Bowl ends on ESPN. This will be the last chance anyone gets to see Andrew Luck play in college. Win or lose, it has been a career that most college fans will not easily forget. On the other side of the field, Oklahoma St. boasts a pretty damn good passing game that utilizes many similar concepts to what new offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone will bring to Westwood.
The two other games that I will be following closely today are the Outback Bowl (10 AM PST, ABC), where Michigan St. takes on Georgia, and the Capitol One Bowl (10 AM PST, ESPN), which matches up Nebraska and South Carolina. Michigan St. and Georgia were both 10-3 and both played in their conference championship games. Michigan St. lost to Wisconsin, and Georgia got beat by LSU. In the other game, Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks are going for the school's first ever 11 win season.
The two other bowl games today are the TicketCity Bowl (9 AM PST, ESPNU), which matches up Houston and Penn St., and the Gator Bowl (10 AM PST, ESPN2), where 6-6 Ohio St. takes on 6-6 Florida. Houston's offense will also show some similar concepts to Mazzone's offense, so it's worth a look. The Gator Bowl would be much more intriguing if it were scheduled next year, but Urban Meyer won't be coaching today.
In addition to the full slate of bowls, the New York Rangers face off against the Philadelphia Flyers at 10 AM on NBC in the Winter Classic. I have never really cared for hockey, but the Winter Classic is a cool event.
There you have it folks. We clearly have a full day of sporting entertainment. This thread will be the gameday open thread, so fire away!