Sports Outside the Beltway

Are you ready for some bowling? II

No I’m not talking about some middle aged man propelling a ball at some objects at the end of a lane, but the games that climax every college football season. Bowl season officially starts this afternoon, here are the matchups for all the college football fanatics out there.

Note- I gave the shortened name version of all the upcoming games. Also I listed what broadcast network would be televising the game and what time they would be coming on the air. All times are Eastern Standard.

Dec 19

New Mexico- Fresno State vs. Wyoming 4:30 p.m. ESPN
St. Petersburg- Central Florida vs. Rutgers 8 p.m. ESPN

Dec 20

R+L Carriers New Orleans- Southern Miss vs. Middle Tennessee 8:30 p.m. ESPN

Dec 22

MAACO Las Vegas- Oregon State vs. BYU 8 p.m. ESPN

Dec 23

Poinsettia- Utah vs. Cal 8 p.m. ESPN

Dec 24

Sheraton Hawaii- Nevada vs. SMU 8 p.m. ESPN
Dec 26

Little Caesars- Marshall vs. Ohio 1 p.m. ESPN
Meineke- Pitt vs. North Carolina 4:30 p.m. ESPN
Emerald- Boston College vs. USC 8 p.m. ESPN

Dec 27

Music City- Kentucky vs. Clemson 8:30 p.m. ESPN

Dec 28

Independence- Texas A&M vs. Georgia 5 p.m. ESPN2

Dec 29

EagleBank- UCLA vs. Temple 4:30 p.m. ESPN
Champs Sports- Miami vs. Wisconsin 8 p.m. ESPN

Dec 30

Humanitarian- Bowling Green vs. Idaho 4:30 p.m. ESPN
Holiday- Arizona vs. Nebraska 8 p.m. ESPN

Dec 31

Armed Forces- Houston vs. Air Force Noon ESPN
Sun- Oklahoma vs. Stanford 2 p.m. CBS
Texas- Navy vs. Missouri 3:30 p.m. ESPN
Minnesota vs. Iowa State 6 p.m. NFL Network
Chick-fil-A- Virginia Tech vs. Tennessee 7:30 p.m. ESPN

Jan 1

Outback- Northwestern vs. Auburn 11 a.m. ESPN
Capital One- Penn State vs. LSU 1 p.m. ABC
Gator- West Virginia vs. Florida State 1 p.m. CBS
Rose Bowl- Ohio State vs. Oregon 4:30 p.m. ABC
Sugar- Cincinnati vs. Florida 8:30 p.m. FOX

Jan 2

International- South Florida vs. Northern Illinois Noon ESPN2 South Carolina vs. UConn 2 p.m. ESPN
Cotton- Oklahoma State vs. Ole Miss 2 p.m. FOX
Liberty- Arkansas vs. East Carolina 5:30 p.m. ESPN
Valero Alamo- Michigan State vs. Texas Tech 9 p.m. ESPN

Jan 4

Fiesta- Boise State vs. TCU 8 p.m. FOX

Jan 5

FedEx Orange- Iowa vs. Georgia Tech 8 p.m. FOX

Jan 6th

GMAC- Central Michigan vs. Troy 7 p.m. ESPN

Jan 7th

BCS National Championship Game- Texas vs. Alabama Jan. 7 8 p.m.

Some random notes on the above 34 games

*- 19 of the 34 games are not scheduled till Dec. 31st or later. I guess college football fanatics are expected to flip channels very quickly on those 3 days(Dec 31-Jan 2) when 15 games are being aired.
*- What a downer must it be for Oregon State players and fans. A few weeks ago they were one win from a Rose Bowl trip. Instead they lost to Oregon and are playing in a minor bowl before Christmas.
*- The NFL network televises a college football game. I guess that’s the cable sports equivalent of the Sci-Fi channel showing wrestling….
*- The bowls are now set where now certain conference finishers are locked into the same bowl games every year. I understand why the current system is done, but I prefer the day when bowl games would have greater variance from year to year. The Peach bowl would usually invite a ACC or SEC school but they could be creative, like when they invited Army and Illinois. Wouldn’t a SEC team against BYU or Wyoming be nice for a change?
*- Bobby Bowden’s farewell game is against the same school(West Virginia) that he left before coming to Florida State. I do know FSU and WV have played at least twice previously in bowls during the Bowden-Florida State era.


Former Kansas City Head coach Frank Gansz dead at 70

He had a long career as a college and pro football assistant coach in addition to the two years he spent running the Chiefs. Gansz started coaching at Air Force in the 60′s, did a stint with his alma mater Navy for four years, and worked for six college teams in all before making his way to the NFL. In addition to his stint in Kansas City, Gansz was on the staff of the St. Louis Rams the year they won Super Bowl XXXIV.

Gansz retired from coaching in 2001 but in 2008 June Jones persuaded him to return as an assistant coach at SMU. Some people called Gansz the best Special Teams coach in the NFL. RIP.

Former Kansas City Chiefs coach Frank Gansz has died in a Dallas hospital.

SMU spokesman Brad Sutton said Gansz, who was special teams coach for the Mustangs last year, developed complications after undergoing knee replacement surgery last week. He said Gansz died Monday afternoon.

Gansz, who was 70, coached for 38 years, 24 in the NFL. He was head coach of the Chiefs from 1987-88. Other stops included special teams coordinator for Jacksonville, Atlanta, St. Louis and Detroit, and well as stints at Philadelphia, Cincinnati and San Francisco. He was on the Rams’ staff for their 2000 Super Bowl win.


Are you ready for some bowling?

No I’m not talking about some middle aged man propelling a ball at some objects at the end of a lane, but the games that climax every college football season. Bowl season officially starts this Saturday, here are the matchups for all the college football fanatics out there.

Dec 20
Eaglebank Bowl- Wake Forest vs Navy
New Mexico Bowl- Colorado State vs Fresno St
MAGICJACK ST. PETERSBURG BOWL- Memphis vs. South Florida
PIONEER LAS VEGAS BOWL- Brigham Young vs Arizona
Dec 21
Dec 23
Dec 24
SHERATON HAWAII BOWL- Hawaii vs Notre Dame
Dec 26
MOTOR CITY BOWL- Florida Atlantic vs. Central Michigan
Saturday, December 27
MEINEKE CAR CARE BOWL- West Virginia vs. North Carolina
Champs Sports Bowl- Wisconsin vs. Florida State
Emerald Bowl- Miami (FL) vs. California
December 28
Independence Bowl- Northern Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech
PAPAJOHNS.COM BOWL- North Carolina State vs. Rutgers
Valero Alamo Bowl- Missouri vs. No. 23 Northwestern
Tuesday, December 30
PACIFIC LIFE HOLIDAY BOWL- Oklahoma State vs. No. 17 Oregon
Texas Bowl- Western Michigan vs. Rice
Wednesday, December 31
Sun Bowl- Oregon State vs. Pittsburgh
GAYLORD HOTELS MUSIC CITY BOWL- Boston College vs. Vanderbilt
Insight Bowl- Kansas vs. Minnesota
CHICK-FIL-A BOWL- LSU vs. Georgia Tech
Thursday, January 1
OUTBACK BOWL- South Carolina vs. Iowa
CAPITAL ONE BOWL- Georgia vs. Michigan State
Gator Bowl- Nebraska vs. Clemson
Rose Bowl- Penn State vs. USC
Fedex Orange Bowl- Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech
Friday, January 2
Cotton Bowl- Mississippi vs. Texas Tech
AUTOZONE LIBERTY BOWL- Kentucky vs. East Carolina
January 3
INTERNATIONAL BOWL- Buffalo vs. Connecticut
January 5
TOSTITOS FIESTA BOWL- Ohio State vs. Texas
January 6
GMAC Bowl- Ball State vs. Tulsa*
January 8

That’s 34 games, 68 schools spread over a period of 20 days for those of you keeping score at home. An ample supply of college football for any fanatics out there.

A few notes

*- There are a few bowl games remaining without corporate names in their title. Gator, Sun, Texas, Independence. Were these games unable to find sponsors?
*- Will Oklahoma St. and Oregon combine for 70 pts or more in the Holiday Bowl? This annually has been of the most high scoring affairs.
*- Oh how has the Orange Bowl dropped. A game that featured early triumphs of Joe Paterno led Penn State, Nebraska and Oklahoma in their glory days, the first major bowl appearance of Florida State, and the all time classic 84 battle between Nebraska and Miami, has Cincinnati and Virginia Tech playing this year. I’m sure they are talented football teams, but how many people are drooling to see them play in a prime-time network slot?
*- Arizona and BYU meet in a bowl 30 years after the former left the WAC conference for the higher profile Pac Eight(Now Ten, Arizona State joined also)
*- Vanderbilt makes a rare bowl appearance. Congratulations to Commodore fans, but this is a sign of how bowls are grown way out of proportion. 6-6 college teams get bids. When I was growing up I could remember Florida State going without a bowl in 1978 even though they finished the season 8-3.

It is my humble opinion that bowl season has gotten out of hand. Someone may say what’s the big deal? If someone wants to start a bowl game and there are two schools willing to play in it, does their records matter. A good football isn’t only a contest between stars at big name schools.

All true, but how much public money is spent on these affairs? Many of the teams are state universities who get funded by taxpayers. Then there is the game itself where police have to be taken from other tasks to work the day or night of the game or paid over-time.

With the economic downturn right now, you have to wonder if there will be less bowls in the near future. That would depend on how long a deal a corporate sponsor signed on for. I wonder how many fans of some schools plan to make a bowl trip. Are there 1,000 or more FAU Owls willing to journey from Florida to Michigan in December to watch the team play? Even if I were a Owl fan and had money, I’d stay home.

Enjoy the games.


Air Force Coach Fisher DeBerry Retires

Fisher DeBerry has retired after 27 years coaching Air Force Academy football.

Longtime Air Force football coach Fisher DeBerry announced his retirement Friday after 27 years with the Falcons, the last 23 as head coach. He guided the Falcons to three conference championships but his tenure ended with three consecutive losing seasons, the first such skid in his tenure at the school.

In a prepared statement, the 68-year-old DeBerry called his resignation “the hardest decision I’ve ever made in my life.” “There comes a time in every man’s life when you have to look at the big picture and decide what’s the best thing for your family,” he said. “After 27 exciting and wonderful years here at the academy and a total of 44 years of coaching, I am announcing my retirement from active coaching.”

DeBerry, whose 169-107-1 record made him the winningest coach in Air Force history, was 35-11 against Army and Navy. He led the Falcons to 14 Commander-in-Chief’s trophies awarded to the winner of the annual service academy rivalry. However, Navy has won the last four trophies.

DeBerry has also had problems off the field in recent years. In 2005, he was criticized by some after a 48-10 loss to TCU when he said Air Force didn’t have enough “Afro-American” players, who he singled out for being able to run well. DeBerry was reprimanded by top brass at the academy and offered a public apology.

In 2004, academy officials asked him to remove a banner from the locker room that included the lines “I am a Christian first and last … I am a member of Team Jesus Christ.” The academy was dealing with allegations of religious intolerance at the time.

Despite this lack of adaptation to our politically correct times, DeBerry was an outstanding coach and role model for a generation of Air Force Academy cadets. He will be missed.


Air Force Passes Muster as At-Large Entry

Lee Jenkins thinks Air Force deserves to be in the Big Dance.

The hard-liners who say Air Force does not belong in the N.C.A.A. tournament point to the team’s strength of schedule, rated 158th by the computers. The sentimentalists who say Air Force does belong in the N.C.A.A. tournament also point to the team’s strength of schedule, starting every day at 6 a.m.

That is when the Air Force Falcons put on their uniforms — sometimes dress blues, sometimes fatigues, sometimes flight suits.
Most of their sport is still asleep. Generally, college basketball players are like any other college students, hitting the snooze button and skipping breakfast. At Air Force, players march with their squadron to the mess hall for a buffet of eggs, potatoes and orange juice. They need a head start. Most players take six classes each semester, including Practical Advanced Aeronautical Engineering. They spend the summer flying planes and jumping out of them. They participate in combat survival training and ponder whether they will be sent to Iraq after graduation. If time permits, they manage to shoot some hoops.

Of course, the N.C.A.A. tournament selection committee is not supposed to take curricular activities into consideration. In theory, the selection process is devoid of emotion, based mainly on power ratings and conference indexes. But by selecting Air Force as an at-large entry, the committee recognized a program that faces some of the stiffest challenges in college basketball, even if those challenges are not reflected in the Falcons’ strength of schedule.

Air Force is playing under its third coach in three years. Most members of the team did not get a scholarship offer from another Division I college. A few did not even start in high school. Yet they are achieving more than any basketball team from a service academy has since David Robinson was throwing down dunks for Navy. Air Force is seeded 13th in their bracket, the lowest of any at-large entry, prompting inevitable backlash. The Falcons (24-6, 12-4 Mountain West Conference) have been criticized for playing too soft a schedule, for losing in the first round of the conference tournament, for taking a bid away from a more deserving team.

“I think it’s funny when people hate on us,” Antoine Hood, an Air Force guard, said Wednesday. “We do so much more than your average college basketball player.” Take, for instance, the week that Hood was ordered into a forest with a rabbit, a chicken and nothing else. He had to sustain himself for eight days on only the rabbit and the chicken — killing them, skinning them, cooking them. “You call your boys at other schools and they tell you about the parties,” Hood said. “You don’t want to make those calls too often.”

Jeff Bzdelik, the Air Force coach, might have the toughest sell in the country. His recruiting pitch has to go something like this: Come to an isolated academy in Colorado Springs that is 10 percent female, does not allow underclassmen to be off campus after 7 p.m. on weekdays and requires a permission slip to wear a T-shirt to a football game. Graduate and begin a mandatory five-year military obligation, leaving little chance to ever play professional basketball.

The few who signed up for the deal will face fourth-seeded Illinois (25-6, 11-5 Big Ten) on Thursday in a first-round game in San Diego. “Most of us know that basketball will only take us so far,” forward Jake Burtschi said. “We are setting ourselves up for something more.”

Uncommon foresight is required. Air Force routinely loses recruits to Division III programs. They lost one head coach, Joe Scott, two years ago to Princeton. They lost another, Chris Mooney, last year to Richmond. Princeton, with its high academic standards, can seem a difficult place to recruit, but “it’s still a lot easier than at Air Force,” Scott said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

True enough. There’s no doubt Service Academy life is something unique in college athletics.

Of course, most hoopsters at the big schools won’t be receiving an active duty commission, either. It’s not entirely clear why the obstacles cadets endure have a bearing on whether they should ace another, more talented basketball team out of the NCAA tourney.


Visitors Since Feb. 4, 2003

All original content copyright 2003-2008 by OTB Media. All rights reserved.