Bowl Mania Guide

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 12.16.2016

With the Holiday’s comes college football bowl season. Yes, there are too many bowl games (42 in all) and too many undeserving teams (19 teams are .500 or worse ). Yet we will still watch a vast majority of them if no other reason than to escape arguments about this year’s Presidential election. So here are the best bets when it comes to which games to watch.

*All times are Pacific

December 17th

Donnel PumphreyLas Vegas Bowl | Houston vs San Diego State | 12:30pM ABC: Yes Houston lost their head coach to Texas but the OC and DC are still there and the OC, Major Applewhite, is the new head coach and they still have Greg Ward at QB. The Aztecs count with senior running back Donnel Pumphrey who with a solid rushing game could become the nation’s #2 all-time leading rusher.

Camellia Bowl | Appalachian State vs Toledo | 2:30pm ESPN:  Seriously, this is a good game. App State is better than their 9-3 record would indicate and so is Toledo. App State won their first ever bowl game a year ago on a last second field goal after being down 24-7 at halftime.

December 20th

Boca Raton Bowl | Memphis vs Western Kentucky | 4pm ESPN:  Offense, offense and more offense. Western Kentucky averages 517 yards per game while Memphis averages 461. Did we mention offense?

December 21st

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl | BYU vs Wyoming | 6pm ESPN: This is a rivalry game renewed. These two haven’t played each other since 2010 when BYU left the Mountain West Conference and BYU leads the all-time series 44-30-3. Be ready for old school football here.

December 27th

National Funding Holiday Bowl | Minnesota vs Washington State | 4pm ESPN:  Two teams that kind of tripped up towards the end of the season but two solid teams none the less. Wazzu’s Luke Falk is something to see. He was 4th in the country with 4204 passing yards this season. Of course this is only a game if  Minnesota players actually play. 

December 28th

Russell Athletic Bowl | West Virginia vs Miami | 2:30pm ESPN: These two can light up the scoreboard if things go right. West Virginia probably deserves a better bowl game and Miami has junior QB Brad Kaaya and is playing closer to home than the Mountaineers are.

December 29th

Valero Alamo Bowl | Oklahoma State vs Colorado | 6pm ESPN: This might be the best game of bowl season not to mention the fact that this bowl game always seems to be high scoring shootout every year.

 

December 30th

dobbsFranklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl | Nebraska vs Tennessee | 12:30pm ESPN: These two couldn’t stop a nose bleed in their last game of the season. They do have multifaceted QB’s who can hurt you with their arm or their legs. Josh Dobbs for Tennessee and Tommy Armstrong JR for Nebraska. One player to watch is Tennessee’s Derek Barnett. He’ll be a top 5 NFL draft pick if he decides to forgo his senior season.

Capital One Orange Bowl | Michigan vs Florida State | 5pm ESPN: Two teams with loads of talent on both sides of the football. This game will be all about the offensive and defensive lines.

December 31st

College Football Playoff Semifinal | Washington vs Alabama | Noon ESPN:  Look, this playoff is Alabama’s to lose but UW head coach Chris Pederson is known for having a trick or two up his sleeve.

College Football Playoff Semifinal | Ohio State vs Clemson | 4pm ESPN:  All about the QB’s in this one. Ohio State has been here before and it’s hard to bet against Urban Meyer. Then again Clemson was here a year ago and dominated.

January 2nd

Rose Bowl | USC vs Penn State | 2pm ESPN: Two head coaches who were on the hot seat over the last 12 months have their teams in one of the biggest bowl games of all. Not bad. Let’s just hope it’s better than last years blowout of Iowa delivered at the hands of Christian McCaffery and Stanford.

Choices and Patience

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 11.29.2016

After the 2012 college football season, some fairly big jobs opened up. Two of the coaches looking to move up to a Power 5 school were Cincinnati head coach Butch Jones and San Jose State head coach Mike MacIntyre. Jones was doing the proverbial tour. He interviewed at Purdue and Colorado before taking the Tennessee job. MacIntyre was lower on the tier and Colorado ‘settled’ for him. Fast forward four years and MacIntyre’s Buffaloes are playing for a Pac-12 title and Tennessee is again 8-4 and not playing for a conference title. So which one was right?

Butch JonesUnder Butch Jones, Tennessee has shown continual improvement in his first three years going from 5-7 to 7-6 to 9-4. With sky high expectations this year, the Vols were never able to put together a complete game. While they did beat Florida, Georgia, and Virginia Tech they also lost to two teams they should have beaten handily in South Carolina and Vanderbilt not to mention being blown out by Alabama. The 8-4 regular season record still qualifies Tennessee for a quality bowl game but the season is seen as failure in the eyes of many.

Mike MacIntyreOut west Mike MacIntyre has not shown continual improvement in Colorado’s record. Going 4-8, 2-10 and 4-9 in his first three seasons in Boulder, only the hardcore football fan could see light at the end of the tunnel. The improvement was incremental but it wasn’t reflected in the record. This season MacIntyre put it all together and turned the 2016 season into a PAC-12 South divisional title.

The Buffaloes got off to a fast start by dominating their in state rivals Colorado State in the season opener. The Buffs built off of that and were able to rattle off some impressive wins even with a backup quarterback under center for three games. Tennessee meanwhile needed overtime and a whole lot of luck to beat a quality Appalachian State team. Both openers were a precursor of things to come.

Both coaches were hired at the same time. While Jones teams showed more promise early on, MacIntyre’s didn’t. Credit to Colorado for giving MacIntyre time to build the program back from the oil spill it was under previous regimes. While he started off on a ‘lukewarm seat’ this season, MacIntyre quickly erased any doubts about his job status as his team rattled off impressive win after impressive win. Jones will need some of that patience from Tennessee as he searches for answers going into year five.

Jones went from being the second coming in Knoxville to ‘is this guy any better than a 8 or 9 win coach?’ His job status will be questioned over the next several months not only because Tennessee didn’t live up to expectations this year with a senior quarterback and highly thought of defense but also because he will have a new boss come summer as current athletic director Dave Hart steps down.

Was Jones the right choice for Tennessee? At the time yes. They needed someone to put out the dumpster fire that Lane Kiffin and Derek Dooley left behind. MacIntyre was the right choice at Colorado too. He has built a program with NFL quality talent and a belief that they can compete with and beat the best teams in the country.

While both are right for their jobs, it’s clear that both coaches are at the same crossroad. Both need to go to the next level but momentum seems to only be on Colorado’s side.

The Final Interview

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


The NFL Draft is upon us and while the ‘industrial draft complex’ is in full swing this time of year, this is in the enter a hiring event. Some players will be hired with a big salary, others with a low salary and some will not get hired at all. But some of those trying to get a job know this and there are some of the those who deserve a job anyway.

Scooby Wright III. Yes you read that right and that is his name. His twitter handle, TwoStarScoob. Why? That’s how many “stars” he was given as high school football recruit (max is five).

Scooby is a linebacker who came out of Arizona after his junior season in order to get a job in the NFL. A junior season in which he only played in a few games due to multiple injuries. He returned from all of the injuries to help Arizona to a bowl victory over New Mexico in the New Mexico Bowl. A game in which he had 15 total tackles, 11 of those solo and two sacks. Oh and he was also PAC-12 defensive player of the year in 2014.

But Scooby will not be drafted/hired in the first round and probably not the second either.

He isn’t the “prototypical NFL linebacker” when it comes to size and speed. The scouts will say he can’t do this or can’t do that. The hiring managers will find something on the resume that they do not like.

Scooby is a smart guy and realizes what the doubters will say. He knows that some things on his resume don’t pass muster with the hiring manager. That is why his post in The Players’ Tribune is all the more impressive.

Scooby understands that the NFL Draft is a step in the job interview process. The combine, the private workouts, all of it is part of a process. And like applying for any job, there are requirements that you just don’t have.

Not enough experience, no previous experience in this or that and the new favorite…not a good culture fit. For Scooby it’s the size (six foot even) and speed (4.87 40 yard dash) and the fact that he hasn’t been in an NFL locker room before.

But before you feel too bad Scooby just remember, someone will give him a chance and he will in all reality prove to those that past on him……shame on you.

Another job candidate is Colorado fullback Jordan Murphy.

Murphy never carried the ball at Colorado but is trying to make it in the NFL anyway. His story reminds us all why you should always follow your dreams.

Murphy was in the Aurora theatre the night that James Holmes killed 12 people and injured 70 others back in 2012.

So Murphy put in his application with the NFL. He knows his qualifications are probably not what the hiring manager is looking for but he also knows that he only needs one person to give him a shot.

As you listen to ‘draft experts’ and analysis from various coached during the 2016 NFL Draft, just think to yourself, ‘would I want my interview on TV?’

What to Watch Fri. 11/13 – Sun. 11/15

All times are Pacific

Friday November 13th

San Jose Sharks at Detroit Red Wings  – 4:30pm NHL Gamecenter: These two had some legendary playoff series back in the day.

USA vs St. Vincent & The Grenadines – 4pm ESPN2: Let the road to the 2018 World Cup in Russia begin.

USC at Colorado – 6pm ESPN2: Colorado is better than their record shows. USC has some NFL level talent. At night in Boulder is a tall order for the Trojans.

 

Saturday November 14th

Georgia at Auburn  – 9am CBS: Fact is, if Mark Richt and Georgia win then he may have saved his job.

Texas at West Virginia – 9am ESPNU: This is a swing game for both when it comes to Bowl eligibility.

Miami at UNC – 12:30pm ESPNU: Last time Miami was in the state of North Carolina they won by lateraling the ball like eight times. UNC is on a roll though.

Alabama at Mississippi State – CBS: Dak Prescott and the Bulldogs have one last chance to beat the Tide and prove that they are a force to be reckoned with in the SEC West.

Memphis at Houston – 4pm ESPN2: The over on this game should be like 150 points.

Oklahoma at Baylor – 5pm ABC: Game of the day and OU has always had problems defending Baylor. Question is, can OU keep place offensively?

FourtnetteArkansas at LSU – 5:15pm ESPN: Like old school, run oriented offenses and hard hitting defenses? Well this is your game. One is coming off a tremendous win in OT while the other got beaten down pretty good.

 

UFC 193 – 7pm PPV: Ronda Rousey takes her winning ways to another continent (Australia) to square off against Holly Holm. Hidden gem on this card is Mark Hunt vs Bigfoot Silva in a rematch of their legendary 2013 fight.

Washington State at UCLA – 7:30pm ESPN: Washington State lost their first game of the year to Portland State who plays in the FCS. People were calling for head coach Mike Leach’s job. Boy how things have changed.

 

 

Sunday November 15th

Toronto Argonauts at Hamilton Tiger-Cats – 10am ESPN3: It’s playoff time in the CFL and this is a great way to start it off. Both have had to overcome injuries at key positions and it’s the equivalent of a ‘backyard brawl.’

Minnesota Vikings at Oakland Raiders – 1pm FOX: A year ago we wouldn’t dream of making this a ‘must watch’ game but man, what a difference a year makes.

BC Lions at Calgary Stampeders – 1:30pm ESPN3: The defending Grey Cup Champion Calgary Stampeders begin the final run of head coach John Hufnagel’s career. They are heavy favorites but don’t count out the Lions.

Toronto Maple Leafs at NY Rangers – 4pm NHLN: Always a fun game to watch.

Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks  – 5:30pm NBC: Two top teams in the NFC West square off the end your weekend.

What To Watch Thurs. 9/17 – Sun. 9/20

All times are Pacific.

Thursday September 17th

Clemson at Louisville – 4:30pm ESPN: Your chance to watch Clemson QB Deshaun Watson in person. He is something to see.

ManningDenver Broncos at KC Chiefs – 5:25pm CBS: Denver is not the same offense it was a year ago but man was that defense impressive in week one. KC looks to finally get a touchdown pass into the hands of a wide receiver.

 

 

Friday September 18th

Florida State at Boston College -5pm ESPN: BC always seems to give people trouble when they play at home and at night. Well this game is at home and at night.

LA Angles at Minnesota Twins – 5pm MLB.TV: Both teams are chasing that final wild card slot in the American League. This is the second game of a four game set.

Pittsburgh Pirates at LA Dodgers – 7pm MLB.TV: Playoff preview and a decent pitching match up to boot.

 

Saturday September 19th

Chelsea vs Arsenal – 4:40am NBCSN: Two of the better teams year in and year out in the Premier League. Chelsea desperately needs to right the ship.

Air Force at Michigan State – 9am ABC: Michigan State is coming off of a high profile win against Oregon. Now they have to settle down and play assignment football against a disciplined Air Force squad. Michigan State wins but it’s close for a half.

Nebraska at Miami – 12:30 ABC: Remember when these two teams use to play for the National Title every year?

Georgia Tech at Notre Dame – 12:30 NBC: Notre Dame has had more injuries than you can shake a stick at and Georgia Tech is a pretty good bet to win the ACC this year. Notre Dame has to be like Michigan State, very disciplined on defense if they want to win against a triple option attack.

Auburn at LSU -12:30pm CBS: Auburn has been the most overrated team to start 2015. Can they put it together in Death Valley and knock off the LSU?

Western Kentucky at Indiana – 1pm ESPNEWS: Western Kentucky can put up points and so can IU. This could be WKU’s second win against a Power 5 conference school.

Vancouver Whitecaps vs Seattle Sounders  4pm MLS LIVE: Cascadia Cup matchup with big time playoff implications.

Colorado vs Colorado State – 4pm CBSSN: The Rocky Mountain Shootout may not garner national attention but it’s usually a heck of a game.

California at Texas – 4:30pm FOX: Cal has one of the better QB’s in the country in Jared Goff. Odds are he will light up the Longhorns secondary.

Ole Miss at Alabama – 6:15pm ESPN: Ole Miss got the better of Bama last year. Bama has trouble with the Rebels style of offense too.

BYU at UCLA – 7:30pm FS1: Awesome matchup with two highly touted freshman QB’s. BYU’s Tanner Magnum and UCLA’s Josh Rosen. BYU pulls this out like they have their first two games and they could be looking at a big 6 bowl berth.

 

Sunday September 20th

Southampton vs Manchester United – 8am NBCSN: Southampton are only four points behind the Red Devils in the Premier League table.

San Diego Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals – 10am CBS: Bengals ran over the Chargers AFC West cohorts (Oakland Raiders) last week. Chargers are a whole different proposition though.

New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills – 10am CBS: Well it’s Rex Ryan vs Bill Belichick again except this time Ryan heads up the Bills.

Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles – 1pm FOX: Cowboys pulled one out of the fire last weekend while the Eagles fell short trying to do the exact same thing. Chip Kelly will hear the boos if his team starts off 0-2 after the offseason they had.

Portland Timbers vs NY Red Bulls -2pm ESPN: Timbers and NYRB are both in the thick of the playoff hunt.

NY Yankees at NY Mets – 5pm ESPN: See why TV and MLB execs are wetting themselves over the possibility of another Subway World Series.

Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers – 5:25pm NBC: Rematch of the wildly entertaining NFC Championship game from a year ago.