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.

Advertisements

What To Watch Thurs. 11/26 – Sun. 11/29

All times are Pacific.


Thursday November 26th

Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions – 9:30am FOX: Well, we’d like a better matchup but hey, it’s what we got.

Carolina Panthers at Dallas Cowboys – 1:30pm CBS: The Cowboys have Tony Romo and Dez Bryant back so this could actually be a good game.

Texas Tech at Texas – 4:30pm FS1: Texas has to win out to be bowl eligible and that’s a big deal for a young team. Texas Tech is good but beatable.

Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers – 5:30pm NBC: Awaken from the food coma in time to see if they Packers can win back-to-back games or if the Bears will finally put it together.

 

Friday November 27th

NY Rangers at Boston Bruins – 10am NBC: Ice, skates, rivals. Not a bad way to start Black Friday.

Keenan ReynoldsNavy at Houston – 9am ABC: Winner gets to represent the West in the American Atheletic Conference championship. Also get a chance to see the NCAA all time leader in touchdowns in Navy’s Keenan Reynolds.

Marshall at Western Kentucky – 9am FS1: Last year the final score was 67-66. Just sayin.

Washington State at Washington -12:30pm FOX: The Apple Cup is the most underrated rivalry in college football. Always a solid game.

Armstrong JRIowa at Nebraska – 12:30pm ABC: Nebraska is a lot better than there 5-6 record indicates. Iowa is undefeated and looking for a spot in the College Football Playoff. This rivalry will get a lot more heated after this game.

Chicago Blackhawks at Anaheim Ducks – 2pm NBCSN: Both teams are better than their record indicates and still a whole bunch of talent on the ice.

Baylor at TCU – 4:30pm ESPN: It doesn’t really matter what quarterback plays for Baylor but it does for TCU. Points a plenty in this one.

Miami Heat at NY Knicks – 4:30pm NBA.TV: The Kicks aren’t bad this season but the Heat may be a little bit better.

 

Saturday November 28th

Ohio State at Michigan – 9am ABC: Our first taste of Meyer vs Harbaugh. Add in Ohio State having to put a tough loss behind them and this should be one heck of a ball game.

Louisville at Kentucky – 9am SECN: Kentucky is one win away from bowl eligibility and their cross state rivals would love nothing more than to keep that from happening.

UCLA at USC – 12:30pm ABC/ESPN2: Battle of LA and for the Pac-12 South.

Penn State at Michigan State -12:30pm ESPN: Michigan State controls it’s own destiny when it comes to winning the Big 10 Eastern division.

Wisconsin at Minnesota – 12:30pm BTN: Dude, it’s the battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe! It also gives us a chance to show this video from 2003.

Ole Miss at Mississippi State – 4:15pm ESPN2: The Egg Bowl and if Alabama loses, a chance for Ole Miss to grab the SEC West crown.

Notre Dame at Stanford -4:30pm FOX: Huge game for the Irish against a very, very good Stanford team.

Oklahoma at Oklahoma State – 5pm ABC: Bedlam is here. Winner probably has a legit shot at the College Football Playoff.

 

Sunday November 29th

NY Giants at Washington Redskins – 10am FOX: The winner controls first place in the NFC East.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Seattle Seahawks – 1:25pm CBS: Steelers have been able to keep it together and succeed despite a rash of injuries. The Seahawks looked like the Seahawks for once this season last week. Good luck hearing the play call Pittsburgh.

FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers – 2pm ESPN: 2nd leg and Dallas got an all important road goal in leg one. They did lose 3-1 however which should put the Timbers in the drivers seat.

103rd Grey Cup – 3pm ESPN2: Live from Winnipeg with Fall Out Boy as the halftime entertainment. Oh its the Edmonton Eskimos vs Ottawa RedBlacks.

NY Red Bulls vs Columbus Crew – 4:30pm FS1: The Crew won first the first leg 2-0. NYRB has it’s work cut out for them if they want to advance to MLS Cup.

New England Patriots at Denver Broncos – 5:30pm NBC: The best offense in football goes against the best defense. More or less. Broncos start Brock Osweiler for a second straight week.

Pushed to the Back

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard 

Marcus Smart and Michael Sam are two names you’ve been hearing a lot about over the last few days. Sam, the SEC Defensive Player of the year, announced he was gay and, a few hours before that, Smart was suspended three games for shoving a fan.

Sam’s story is historic any way you cut it. He will, in all likely hood, be the first openly gay player to be drafted by an NFL team and make, NFL roster and play in an NFL game.

Smart’s suspension is not historic but it is important. Because of the incident, Smart could see his draft stock drop because of the dreaded “character” issue.

Smart can take solace in the fact that Sam took the media spotlight away from him.

If Sam’s announcement had not happened when it did then the major sports stories for the week would have been Smart’s shove of a fan and the Winter Olympics.

Make no mistake, Smart’s actions and following suspension is big news in the sports world but Sam’s news is on another level.

 

What To Watch Thurs. 12/5 – Sun. 12/8

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

It might not be as festive as last weekend but the next four days have no shortage of sports drama.

THURSDAY 12/5

San Jose Sharks @ Pittsburgh Penguins – 4pm Regional Broadcast: Believe it or not this is a very dynamic match up of leaders in their divisions. The Sharks head east with 43 points to their name while the Pens have 39 points and have yet to hit on all cylinders.

Louisville @ Cincinnati – 4:30pm ESPN: One of the final times (probably) to see Teddy Bridgewater as a collegiate QB. He and the Cardinals have to win if they want a chance at another BCS Game. Cincy still has a chance at a BCS berth but this game is really for the Keg of Nails and a piece of the conference championship.

FRIDAY 12/6

MAC Title Game: Bowling Green State vs Northern Illinois – 5pm ESPN 2: Time for the MAC title game and it’s usually really, really good. Northern Illinois escaped last year beating #18 ranked Kent State in 2 OTs. The goal this year, DO THE SAME THING. NIU wins and they get into the BCS for the second straight year. QB Jordan Lynch also gets to improve his Heisman Trophy chances. Bowling Green and Head Coach Dave Clawson look to get to a 10 win season. Something even Urban Meyer couldn’t do at BGSU.

SATURDAY 12/7

Oklahoma @ Oklahoma State – 9am ABC: Bedlam. They call it that for a reason and both teams had two weeks to get ready for this one. OU can spoil the Cowboys possible Big 12 title and BCS Berth. OU owns the overall series but Oklahoma State won in Stillwater two years ago and last years game went into OT. Again, Bedlam.

Texas @ Baylor – 12:30pm FOX: Baylor wins and they get the Big 12 title and a spot in the BCS along with Texas Head Coach Mack Brown possibly losing his job. Texas wins and they can go to the BCS with a Big 12 title if their old rival Oklahoma can bring home another Bedlam victory.

Sporting KC welcome Jason Kries and Real Salt Lake to Blue Hell
Sporting KC welcome Jason Kries and Real Salt Lake to Blue Hell

MLS CUP: Real Salt Lake @ Sporting KC – 1pm ESPN: It’s MLS Cup in one of the best venues in all of MLS. It’s two of the best teams led by two of the best coaches representing two of the best run organizations. Should be an absolute dandy. WELCOME TO BLUE HELL.

Big Ten Title Game: Ohio State vs Michigan State – 5:15pm FOX: It’s for all the marbles. Ohio State wins and they’re in the National Title game. Easier said then done as they have to go through one of the best defenses the Big Ten has ever seen in Michigan State.

Mountain West Title Game: Utah State @ Fresno State – 7pm CBS: Laugh all you want. Two amazing coaching jobs and two of the best teams you haven’t seen all year. End your night with what promises to be a good ole fashion wild west shootout.

SUNDAY 12/8

Detroit Lions @ Philadelphia Eagles – 10am FOX: The Eagles found their wings with QB Nick Foles. The man has yet to throw in interception this season. But the Lions find the end zone like kids finding candy on Halloween.

Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers – 1pm FOX: Seattle wrapped up a playoff berth with their dismantling of the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football. They win this and they pretty much lock up the NFC West and get home field advantage throughout the playoffs. But it’s the Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll vs the 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh. This rivalry goes back to their USC vs Stanford days. Harbaugh is not going down without a fight and the 49ers have looked really good over the last two weeks.

Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans Saints – 5:15pm NBC:  It’s a fight for supremacy in the NFC South. This is the first of two games between two potential playoff teams over the next three weeks. Get ready.

What To Watch 11/15-11/17

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

FRIDAY NOVEMBER 15th

Washington Capitals @ Detroit Red Wings – NHLN 4:30pm: Friday night is hockey night in Detroit.

Washington @ UCLA – ESPN2 6pm: Huskies need to get a signature win and knocking off the Bruins would do it. This is easier said than done though.

SATURDAY NOVEMBER 16th

Indiana @ Wisconsin – ESPN2 9am: Indiana can score points and could sneak up on the Badgers. The Badgers 6th ranked scoring defense will be put to the test.

Oklahoma St @ Texas – FOX 12:30pm: Texas has turned it around and proven that they can score too. Oklahoma State has two tough games in a row, at Texas then home to Baylor. It’s now or never for Oklahoma State.

Miami @ Duke – ESPNU 12:30pm:  Duke has a chance to go to the ACC title game but so does Miami. It is a must win for both teams.

UFC 167: Georges St-Pierre vs Johny Hendricks – PPV 7pm: This really could be the toughest test of GSPs’ career. Hendricks is a former all american wrestler at Oklahoma State and has knockout power in both hands.

Houston @ Louisville – ESPNU 4pm: Houston gets turnovers. It’s a fact. Teddy Bridgewater needs to be careful.

SUNDAY NOVEMBER 17th

Baltimore Ravens @ Chicago Bears – 10am CBS: Ravens are still in the playoff hunt but the Bears, while hit by injuries, are still playing really, really well.

US Grand Prix – NBC 11am: Formula 1 returns to Austin, TX. If you haven’t seen these guys drive then check this out.

San Francisco 49ers @ New Orleans Saints – FOX 1:25pm: 49ers got the better of the Saints last year when they went down to the Bayou. Then again, Drew Brees didn’t have his head coach Sean Payton their for that game. 49ers have to be able to throw the football which they couldn’t last week.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Denver Broncos – NBC 5:25pm: Peyton Manning is not 100%. Denver is without their head coach. KC is coming off a bye week. Could the Chiefs stay undefeated?