Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Bowl Games You Shoud Watch

I'm going to be totally honest, I haven't really watched a bowl game yet. I know that's a bit of a shame considering I write a football blog, but whatever. The games have been weak and I've managed to find other things to do. Now that the warm up laps are out of the way, here is the short list of games I'm not going to miss, part one. Games before THE game you shouldn't miss.

Game #1
Motre City Bowl: Purdon't v. Central Michigan, the Redux.
December 23, 8 p.m.

The line: Purdue -7.5

The back story: These two teams have actually already played this year, with Purdue winning the original battle of the titans 45-22. This was all during the "Purdue's offense is for real" part of the season. They managed to win their first five games before Ohio State sent them into a tail spin with a damn-near-shut-out, final score 23-7. Purdue, in typical fashion, managed to fall apart and lose five of their last seven games.

The Chippewas, on the other hand, have improved. While they were blown out by Purdue (and the next week by North Dakota State 44-14), they soon turned it around, winning seven of nine and taking home the MAC Championship.

To understand this contest, we need not look much further than the UCLA-BYU bowl game, which was also a rematch. The Motor City Bowl is really just a crappy remake of that game, like Caddy Shack II or Planet of the Apes. Look for Purdue to play the part of the Bruins, with the Chippewas given a chance because they actually want to be there.

Why Penn State Fans should care: You shouldn't, really, I could give you the "Big Ten needs to win their bowl games" speech but the truth is no one cares about this game. No one will be watching it (West Lafayette included), and if a tree falls in the woods, and no one is around...

Regardless, it's a Big Ten game, the first one, and like your little sisters dance recital, you better get your ass there.

Game #2
Sunshine Classic
Blockbuster Bowl
Carquest Bowl
MicronPC Bowl Bowl
Visit Florida Tangerine Bowl
Mazda Tangerine Bowl
Champs Sports Bowl: Boston College v. Michigan State

December 28, 5 p.m.

The line: BC -4

The back story: Nothing says rich tradition and nationally relevant like a bowl that has been named eight different times in seventeen years. Boston College finished second in their conference, Michigan State? Eighth. Fuzzy math. Then, because this game isn't lopsided enough, five MSU players will sitting out because of "academic and other" violations. Stay classy Sparty.

Why Penn State Fans should care: Despite having a much better record and being ahead in most statistical categories, BC is only a 4 point favorite. This line actually opened at 3. Now I'd love to jump all over a #2 vs #8 matchup, but the bookies are suggesting that it might be a decent game. Besides, Michigan State really pissed me off with that fake punt, and even though we weren't playing any defense we still should have won that game.

I never cared for the Land Grant Trophy, but after a loss that should have never been, Mike and I are both Fellin' the Hate. Screw Sparty...start printing the T-Shirts.

Game #3
Emerald Bowl: Maryland vs. Oregon State
December 28, 8:30 p.m.

The line: OSU -4.5

The back story: Gotta be honest, I thought ESPN was making up this bowl. I was surprised to hear that FSU and UCLA attended in 2006, but because these two teams were garbage last season, I soon realized I shouldn't have been surprised.

The Bowl's claim to fame is the record setting drive Navy executed during the Emerald bowl of 2004. Up 31-19 with two minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter, the Midshipman ran what the NCAA later declared the longest drive in the history of the sport. It lasted 14 minutes and 28 seconds. The play by play is comical. They drove from their own 1 to the opponents 4 and kicked a field goal. A fucking field goal! Nothing says 'exciting bowl game' like 15 minutes, 95 yard drives for field goals.

Oh, the game. Right. Oregon State and Maryland. Both are extraordinarily average. OSU's record is misleading as they were owned by every decent team on their schedule and would have two more losses if it wasn't for Dixon tearing an ACL and this:

Why Penn State Fans should care: We play Oregon State next year, second week of the season. I don't know much about their team so I figure I owe to to them to watch. After all, they "are going to win the game".*

*No they're not.

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