This is a continuation of a previous post I have written. You can find Part 1 here. The point of this series is to determine whether or not you should watch certain bowl games.
Utah State and Utah both won in convincing fashions on Saturday. ULL and Nevada played surprisingly boring game in the morning. Also, the one game I told you guys expressly to stay away from was the best game of the day. And Air Force won too. So, all in all I my advice has kind of sucked so far. But, honestly did anyone expect South Alabama vs Bowling Green to be a halfway decent football game? Whatever, I will do better. The week day games (outside of Monday’s Memphis vs BYU game, which you should 100% watch because the teams are very well matched, and they both play fun football) aren’t too terribly great, but you might be able to find some diamonds in the rough.
Bowl: Boca Raton Bowl
Teams: Marshall vs Northern Illinois
Time: 6 PM on Tuesday
Most Compelling Reason to Watch: Watch the magnificent Thundering Herd of 2014 play their last game. This could-be-Cinderella team turned into a pumpkin a little early, but it was fun watching the whole year. The Marshall vs WKU game earlier this season was an absolute blast, with the teams putting up a combined 91 points in the first half. That was the only game Marshall has lost this year. The Herd is fifth in the nation in points per game at a huge 45.1 ppg. They are led by quarterback Rakeem Cato, who has 3622 passing yards this season, and running back Devon Johnson who has 1636 rushing yards and also ranks third in the FBS in yards per carry. The defense has also been stellar. The Herd ranks 17th in defensive F/+, a metric which measures efficiency and performance (more info on F/+ here). On the other hand the NIU offense has been very consistent with its strong rushing attack, putting up 253 rushing yards per game.
Should You Watch: Yes, most likely this game will be a blowout for Marshall, but it will be the last game for them. This was a great team, and one that is absolutely better than the Boise State team in the Fiesta Bowl. Also, both of these coaches might have different jobs soon. Rod Carey for NIU has an 82% win percentage in his two years and an upset in this bowl could mean a shot at a big time school for Carey. Doc Holliday (best name for a coach ever) is also being looked at by several big programs after going 22-5 in the last two years. Clear your schedule for 6 PM Tuesday, because you are watching this game.
Bowl: Poinsettia Bowl
Teams: Navy vs San Diego State
Time: 9:30 PM on Tuesday
Most Compelling Reason to Watch: These teams are very well matched. Both have very effective running games. SDSU is powered by running back Donnel Pumphrey who has the third most rushing yards and the silliest name of any running back this year. Like is anybody else picturing a fat old white dude driving a cart around from town to town in the Old West peddling snake oil when they hear the name Donnel Pumphrey? Pumphrey has been an absolute stud this year and as a result only 12 running backs have more carries than he does. The Aztecs game plan will be simple: Feed Pumphrey the ball. Navy’s rush defense has been a bit suspect this year, and might not be able to handle Dead-Eye-Donnell, the fastest gun in the West. On the opposite side SDSU’s run defense hasn’t been great, but they stepped up and stopped Air Force, which also runs the triple option. The master and commander of the powerful Navy offense, which ranks second in the FBS in rushing yards per game, is quarterback Keenan Reynolds. Keenan has over a thousand rushing yards and 21 rushing touchdowns. Keenan is the rudder of this team and will either steer them to a smooth sailing victory or dash them on the rocky shoals of defeat. Keenan won’t be able to do it alone though, and it will be all hands on deck for this Navy team. The winds might be changi – I’ve just been informed I am no longer allowed to use boat puns. This is bull ship. Aww dang it I did it again. I’m sorry. I really am.
Should you watch: For the casual fan, maybe not. If you like good running backs you have to check out Donnell Pumphrey, who is a terror in open space with his quickness and ankle-breaking cuts. This kid has a fantastic juke move. This game will have a lot of running, so if you are into that sort of thing, well then, this game is for you. ABC Family is showing Polar Express though, so this will definitely not be the most boring thing on TV (Editor’s Note: Strong agree). And hey, at least this game will have a central conflict instead of series of seemingly random events only connected by a central character. So maybe turn the TV off and listen to your grandfather’s nostalgic, incoherent, and vaguely antisemitic ravings for awhile. ‘Tis the season, after all.
Bowl: Bahamas Bowl
Teams: Central Michigan vs Western Kentucky
Time: 12 PM on Wednesday
Most Compelling Reason to Watch: WKU’s offense. These are two very average teams, but for two different reasons. Central Michigan is your average Joe team, pretty consistently mediocre across all categories. But, Western Kentucky combines a top 25 offense with a bottom 25 defense and special teams, per F/+ ratings. They put up 44 points per game which is the 6th most in the FBS. Western Kentucky’s quarterback, Brandon Doughty, comes into this game as the nation’s leader in passing yards with 4,344 yards. He also has 44 touchdowns, which is by far the most in the NCAA.
Should You Watch: Hopefully, you have Christmas Eve off, and can enjoy this game at home. If you watched all the running in the Poinsettia Bowl, WKU’s pass happy offense could be a nice palate cleanser. It’s noon on Christmas Eve, so what else are you doing? I hope to God you aren’t still Christmas shopping. Use this game and the holiday as an excuse to day drink and see if Brandon Doughty can move up a spot or two on the all-time single season passing yards record board (he is currently 35th all time). I doubt he can, but lets see. Note: There are two many puns in this post.
Bowl: Hawaii Bowl
Teams: Fresno State vs Rice
Time: 8 PM on Wednesday
Most Compelling Reason to Watch: Ummmm, uhhhh, hold on I know there is something interesting about this game. Uhhh Fresno State has a losing record? No Kyle you idiot, that’s not compelling. Fresno State running back Marteze Waller is a top 25 running back? That’s a stretch. Honestly, there are no compelling reasons to watch this atrocity of a game.
Should You Watch: No, your family is already pissed that you got drunk and watched the Bahamas Bowl. You need to make it up to them. Spend some time with your loved ones. If you don’t have any loved ones, do anything but watch this bowl. How about a nice Christmas movie? Christmas Vacation is on at seven and Elf is on at nine on ABC Family. Anyway anything you do is a better use of your time than this. Go shovel snow to creep out the neighborhood kids. Or you could just get drunk again, after all, ’tis the season.
There are no bowls on Christmas Day, so do whatever you normally do on Christmas. Merry Christmas readers! Since you have been good to me this year, here is your present: the butt punt!
I’ll be back on Thursday to preview the weekend!