Other Bowls Underway Amidst CFP Hype
The College Football Playoffs have been front and center since Day One of the season.
However, the traditional bowl season is still in place, seemingly getting less publicity than ever before. A shame, that.
The bowl concept started in Pasadena -- which is why the Rose is called the Grandaddy of Them All -- as an add-on to its New Year's celebration because it was more practical than chariot races. Once the game was ensconced, other cities saw the Rose Festival's spike in tourism revenues and began adding bowls to their lists of featured events.
This past weekend's bowl action saw its first ranked team play, with Travis Wilson rushing for three touchdows as Utah defeated Colorado State, 45-10.
The Utes finished the season 9-4, with big wins over Michigan, USC, and Stanford.
Other action included:
- Louisiana Layfayette defeating Nevada, 16-3, in the New Orleans Bowl;
- Air Force outlasting Western Michigan, 38-24, for those Famous Idaho Potatoes; and
- Utah State posting the same score to nail UTEP, 38-24 in the New Mexico Bowl.
Then there was an exciting ending as Bowling Green's Roger Lewis scored on a 78-yard pass from James Knapke in the final minute to give the Falcons a 33-28 Camellia Bowl victory over South Alabama.
Adding injury to insult, South Alabama coach Joe Jones got a fairly unique memory out of the whole experience:
The bowl slate rambles into full swing this week. The first two games are new additions, giving schools more trips to Florida.
The Miami Beach Bowl is up this afternoon at Marlins Park, matching BYU and Memphis. The Cougars (8-4) are led by quarterback Chris Stewart, who's thrown for 22 touchdowns and run for four more. Stewart replaced injured star Taysom Hill, who was injured early in the season. The vastly improved Tigers (9-3) tied for the American Conference title with UCF and Cincinnati. Quarterback Paxton Lynch threw for 2725 yards and 18 touchdowns for Memphis, which won its last six games after starting 3-3.
Tuesday, the inaugural Boca Raton Bowl will take place at the home of the FAU Owls. Marshall had a chance to play on New Years' Day but was upset by Western Kentucky in its final regular season game. The Thundering Herd did come back to win the Conference USA championship with a 26-23 squeaker in the title tilt and will take a 12-1 record into the bowl game against Northern Illinois.
Marshall is led by all-everything quarterback Rakeem Cato, who threw for 37 touchdowns and is hoping to end his career in style. Northern Illinois (11-2) won the MAC championship with a 51-17 thumping of Bowling Green. The Huskies, who have a win over Northwestern this season, are led by quarterback Drew Hare (17 touchdown passes) and Cameron Stingily (13 touchdowns).
The other game Tuesday is in beautiful San Diego, as two 7-5 teams -- Navy and San Diego State -- square off in the most mispronounced event of the holidays, none other than the Poinsettia Bowl.
Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds is a dangerous dual threat and will be the key to the Midshipmen winning their second straight bowl and final game as an independent. They join the American Conference next season. San Diego State tied for the Mountain West Western Division with Fresno State but lost to the Bulldogs and did not play in the title game. The Aztecs depend on Donnel Pumphrey to rush the ball and Quinn Kaehler to throw it.