Only 29 bowl games left, counting today's trio. 10 games have been played.
What we know so far-
You never know when a good game is going to break out. I would have guessed that Western Kentucky vs. Central Michigan from the Bahamas would be a real snoozer. It turned out to be fantastic game. Central Michigan was down by 35 heading to the 4th quarter, and scored 34 straight, including a hail mary- 3 lateral combo 75 yard play as time expired to make the score 49-48. Kick the XP and we head to overtime, right? Not enough drama for Central Michigan. They went for 2 and failed.
The other game with drama was Memphis vs. BYU. In the 2nd OT, BYU threw an interception which happened to be closer to their own sideline. So the Memphis players did what came naturally, a dogpile in front of the BYU bench. This led to high drama after the game, as a massive brawl broke out, featuring players swinging helmets and taking blindshot roundhouse shots from behind. Peace on earth, good will to men.
Most of these games involved minnow conferences. Here are the conference results so far-
Conf USA 3-1
Mountain West 2-4
Sun Belt 1-1
Two things stand out about the Mountain West. First, they already have six teams which have played in a bowl game this season. That is clearly Exhibit A in the case for too many bowl games. Second, they have not done well at all, considering that every game except the Las Vegas Bowl (against Utah) has been against a fellow Minnow. This makes #20 ranked Boise State highly suspect for the Fiesta Bowl. Again, this is a no-win for Arizona- beat Boise State and it is a big yawn ("you beat the best team from a crappy conference. BFD." Lose to Boise State and it is an embarrassment, calling into question whether Arizona should have received a prestige slot.
Today, we have three games, and we finally get some other teams from the "Power Five" conferences. Until now, the Pac-12 has been the only power conference which has had a team in action.
First up is the Heart of Dallas Bowl, which is currently in progress on ESPN. This matches the 9th or 10th place selection from the Big 10 against a team from Conference USA. And so far, we have proof that a better team from Conference USA (which is almost a contradiction in terms) can match up with a bottom feeder from the Big 10. Illinois is 6-6, 3-5 in conference games, "good" for a 5th place tie in the Big 10 West. For some perspective, the Fighting Illini lost by 25 at Washington. Their conference schedule has included a 31 point loss at Nebraska and a 41 point loss at Ohio State.
Louisiana Tech is 8-5, and won the Conference USA West with a 7-1 conference record. The Bulldogs lost the conference championship by 3 points to Marshall. During the season, Louisiana Tech lost by 32 at Oklahoma and by 28 at Auburn. They also managed to lose at home to a team from FCS- Northwestern State, a team which in turn lost at Baylor by 64 points.
And with 5 minutes to go, Louisiana Tech is up by 10 points over Illinois. This says a lot about the depth (or lack thereof) in the Big 10.
At 1:30 pm (Pacific time), we have the Quick Lane Bowl from Detroit, which despite its name does not include a Minnow conference team. The game is naturally on ESPN. The 9th or 10th place selection from the Big 10 plays a 7th to 10th place selection from the ACC. Today this leads to Rutgers vs. North Carolina. Rutgers is 7-5, 3-5 in conference play. This was good for a tie for 4th in the Big 10 East. Rutgers beat Washington State by 3 on the road- talk about impressive. The Scarlet Knights lost by 39 at Ohio State, by 18 at Nebraska, by 37 at home against Wisconsin, and by 42 at Michigan State. Ugly.
North Carolina is 6-6, 4-4 in conference play. This was good for a 3rd place tie in the ACC Coastal Division.
And finally today, we have the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl. Bogus currency for a bogus bowl. The game is at 5 pm (Pacific time) on ESPN. This game matches a 7th to 10th place selection from the ACC against the #3 team from the American Athletic Conference. North Carolina State is 7-5, 3-5 in ACC play. This was "good" for 5th place in the Atlantic Division of the ACC. Central Florida is 9-3, 7-1 in American play, which put them in a 3 way tie for 1st. The Knights' lone loss in conference play was an inexplicable defeat by 8 points on the road at 2-10 Connecticut.
Again, multiple strategies are possible for today's games-
1. Ignore all games. You refuse to watch games with unrecognizable sponsors, involving unrecognizable and/or 6-6 teams.
2. Watch all three games. This way, you can try different approaches to snack runs, family shout-outs, etc. before there are three games you actually care about.
3. Watch all three games, because it is the day after Christmas, and you want to avoid the return lines at the mall.
4. Watch all three games, because this is football.
5. Watch one or two of the games, because you or somebody you know attended one of the schools.
Since UCLA is not playing basketball today, you can save that as a reason to watch any bowl game possible instead of watching TIARA's dumpster program.
This is your open thread. Fire away.