Next Up: Bowl Season
The ultra-serious side of the college football season is in the rear-view mirror until the New Year's weekend, which means it finally time for partyball.
So bring on the cavalcade of [Your Name Here] bowls for the next three weeks.
The ritual of cheerleaders coaxing volume outta empty seats will be renewed.
And who really cares?
- ESPN gets their badly needed live programing,
- Bowl committees get their guaranteed ticket sales from athletic departments,
- Students freed from the shackles of class schedule can drink -- or whatever -- to the point of brain damage, and
- Players are bathed in swag and actually get to do cool stuff, complements of the bowl festivities calendar.
So what's not to like?
Better yet, Bovada cares.
There's more to Albuquerque than hot-air balloons ...
... like the New Mexico Bowl, which begins the action this weekend.
Conveniently, New Mexico (8-4) will boost attendance for this one, hosting the not-so-far-away UTSA Roadrunners. Coach Bob Davie and the Lobos finished tied with Boise State in the Mountain West Mountain Division, so this is more than just a cherry-pick. UTSA managed a respectable 6-6 and will no doubt be at home in a city that closely resembles San Antonio.
Houston (9-3) started the season quickly but faded and now has a new coach in promoted OC Major Applewhite.. San Diego State (10-3) is coming off a 27-24 victory over Wyoming for the Mountain West title and has a great one-two punch in Rashaad Penny and Donnel Pumphrey.
The Turf of Cramton Bowl -- aka the Camellia Bowl -- could be more exciting than its sponsor.
Appalachian State takes on Toledo with both teams coming in at 9-3. The Mountaineers played Tennessee tough early in the season -- and who didn't? -- while the Rockets went toe-to-toe with BYU early but were stuck in a MAC division with unbeaten Western Michigan. Appalachian State will try to make it two in a row in this game, after beating MAC team Ohio last year.
Central Florida joins New Mexico by getting a bowl game at home in Orlando against Arkansas State.
These non-NHL Golden Knights lost their last two games, finishing 6-6, and still got a spot in the Cure Bowl. Coach Scott Frost has UCF headed in the right direction but will be tested by Arkansas State, which finished 7-5 but 7-1 in the Sun Belt, tying Appalachain State for first place.
The New Orleans Bowi will end the first partybowl night in front of -- what else? -- many empty seats at the Superdome.
This is Louisana- Layayette getting the 'home' game against Southern Mississippi. ULL (6-6), making their fifth appearance here in six years, so apparently, Rajin' Cajun Nation is immune to bowl fatigue. Meanwhile, the Golden Eagles, who were 1-23 in 2012 and 2013, are battling their way back to respectability and finished 6-6 this season.
But hell, toss all these records aside. It's partytime! Not to mention Bovada bonanza time for those wishing to spice up their holidays.