Welcome back to another Open Thread for a Saturday full of College Football. I love this time of year. And, not just because of all the Tamales in my fridge, although that's good enough.
It's the second season! I'm not going to call it the post season, because let's not kid ourselves. Clemson, Alabama, Michigan State, and Oklahoma finished strong, and are the only ones that can claim they've had a postseason. Iowa, Stanford, and Ohio State got caught without chairs just as the music stopped and will take their bowl games as opportunities to start next year with a spring board effect. Interim coaches will use their bowl games as one game try outs to land a head coaching position somewhere; preferably where they are already at.
Then you have us. The main stream media would have you believe we end the season on a down note, ignoring meanwhile that we had a downer of a season long before Clay Helton came around and solidified his coaching resume at our expense. What can UCLA hope to gain from a Foster Farms Bowl game matchup against a Nebraska team we've already beaten twice in recent years? As I see it, not much. Although I do hope the players get some decent swag in their swag bags. Cynicism aside, I do hope we can put on an impressive performance in front of the bay area recruits.
Let's take a look at today's match ups.
Connecticut vs Marshall - 8am, ESPN
The Marshall Thundering Herd is looking to notch their 10th win of the season against Connecticut. At 6-6 the Huskies are just happy to be there. The Thundering Herd has a coach named Doc Holliday. No word on whether he'll be roaming the sidelines wearing a pair of six shooters on his hip. The Huskies however, did give 14th ranked Houston their only loss this season.
Miami vs Washington State - 11am, CBS
Pac-12 Coach of the year, Mike "It's just a headache, get back in there" Leach leads the Cougars into this game while Miami's interim coach can only hope he'll still be there next year. Luke Falk, who burned us repeatedly, and leads the nation with 387.8 yards per game, will start for the Cougs. Miami has lost its last five bowl games. Let's hope the Cougs make it six, because Melsby.
Washington vs Southern Mississippi - 11:20am, ESPN
Today's second game featuring a Pac 12 team. Washington's Chris Petersen hopes to notch his first bowl win as a Husky. The Huskies got here by shutting down Wazzu's 'best passing game in the country' in the Apple Cup to get their 6th win. Not to be overlooked, the 9-4 Southern Miss Golden Eagles feature two 1,000 yard rushers in Jalen Richard, and Ito Smith. Vegas likes the Huskies, but it might be today's most competitive game.
Indiana vs Duke - 12:30pm, ABC
For the first time in Duke's history; they will be playing in a bowl game for their fourth consecutive year. Unfortunately, they've lost in each of their last five bowl game appearances. Indiana is not exactly college football royalty either. This is only their second bowl game in 20 years. Thanks a lot ABC/ESPN for cheapening bowl season with this ungodly match up.
Tulsa vs Virginia Tech - 2:45pm, ESPN
This will be Frank Beamer's last game in a 29 year career as the Hokie Head Coach. That is simply remarkable in any day and age. Equally as impressive is the 23 consecutive bowl games he has reached with the Hokies. Fittingly, the Independence Bowl is the site of Beamer's first bowl game appearance in 1993. We can only hope he bookends his career with a win as he walks away a legend within CFB circles.
UCLA vs Nebraska - 6:15m, ESPN
The first thing on every body's lips when talking about this game is Nebraska's losing season. They stand at 5-7, and their only claim to fame this year was handing the Michigan State Spartans their lone loss of the year. And, while UCLA beat them in back to back years recently, they are coached by former Oregon State coach Mike Riley. Riley won in his only meeting against Jim Mora Jr. Riley is known to be a defensive minded coach and he will be facing off against a Noel Mazzone offense which is known to fall apart in the Red Zone.
I'm sure the vast majority of us have opened all our presents, and are just now getting back to some semblance of normality. We can only hope the team gift wraps one last present for us all today.