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 Pitt Panther Head Coach Foge Fazio dead at 71

He was also a long-time NFL assistant with five different teams. Most recently he was a Pitt radio analyst. RIP.

Foge Fazio, who succeeded Jackie Sherrill as the football coach at alma mater Pittsburgh and later was a defensive coordinator for the NFL’s Vikings and Browns, died Wednesday night following a lengthy battle with leukemia. He was 71.

Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson confirmed Fazio’s death while attending the Pitt-Duquesne basketball game on Wednesday night.

Fazio, who grew up in Coraopolis, Pa., in suburban Pittsburgh, was a former Pitt linebacker and center and was chosen as the team MVP in 1959. He was drafted by the AFL’s Boston Patriots in 1960 but soon after moved into coaching. He spent nine seasons as a Pitt assistant, the final three as defensive coordinator, before being promoted to head coach in 1982, following three successive 11-1 seasons under Sherrill.

Fazio’s first Pitt team, quarterbacked by Dan Marino, began the season ranked No. 1 and started 7-0, but lost three of its final five as the Panthers’ offense struggled. His 1983 team went 8-3-1, but he was fired with two years left on his contract following a 31-0 loss to Penn State in 1985.

Fazio was 25-18-3 at Pitt, including a 3-7-1 record in 1984.

“I don’t know that anyone embodied the Pitt spirit better than Foge Fazio,” Pederson said. “It was obvious from the first time that I met him how passionate he was about this university and its football program. Foge had the unique ability to make everyone he came in contact with feel special. In so many ways he represented all the great things associated with the University of Pittsburgh.”

After leaving Pitt, Fazio was hired as coach Lou Holtz’s defensive coordinator at Notre Dame. He also was an assistant coach with the Falcons, Jets and Redskins and was the defensive coordinator of the Vikings (1996-98) and Browns (2001-02). He retired with Cleveland in 2003 but returned two years later as a Vikings defensive consultant under coach Mike Tice.

Fazio spent the last two seasons as a radio analyst on Pitt football broadcasts, but hadn’t worked this season since the South Florida game on Oct. 24. He recently told broadcast partner Bill Hillgrove he hoped to return for the No. 14 Panthers game Saturday against No. 5 Cincinnati.

“Foge was a true ‘Pitt Man,’ ” Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said. “He loved this university and everyone at Pitt loved Foge.


Former U of Cincinnati and NY Knick Center Paul Hogue dead at 69

Even though he played with Oscar Robertson who was famous for his rebounding ability, it was Hogue who set many of the Bearcats’ records. RIP

Paul “Duke” Hogue, a star center on Cincinnati’s back-to-back national championship basketball teams, has died at age 69.

His wife of 43 years, Patti Hogue, said he died Monday of heart and kidney failure.

The 6-foot-9-inch center helped lead the Bearcats to NCAA championships in 1961 and 1962, both times defeating Jerry Lucas-led Ohio State squads in the title games.

Hogue was chosen the most outstanding player in the 1962 NCAA tournament. He scored 36 points against UCLA in the semifinals.

Hogue was a first-round pick of the New York Knicks in the 1962 NBA draft, playing two seasons for the Knicks and the Baltimore Bullets.


Former NFL player Mike Woods dead at 54

Woods, who was a standout at the University of Cincinnati, had a injury plagued career in the NFL that was brought to a sudden end when he was shot as part of a botched robbery. Woods spent the last 27 years of his life as quadriplegic. RIP.

Mike Woods, the University of Cincinnati football team’s first consensus All-American, died on May 28, 2009 in Cleveland at the age of 54.

Woods played for UC from 1975-77 and was UC’s first consensus first-team All-American in 1977. He was voted the squad’s MVP as a junior and led the Bearcats with 114 tackles as a senior. As a co-captain his senior year, he helped lead the Bearcats defense to a No. 11 ranking in the country. He transferred to Cincinnati in 1975 from the University of Tampa.

He was inducted as a charter member of the Bearcats’ Ring of Honor in Nippert Stadium in 2006.

Following the close of his senior season in 1977, he was selected to play in the Senior Bowl. Woods was drafted by the Baltimore Colts with the 52nd pick in the second round of the 1978 NFL Draft. He played three seasons for the Colts, playing in 48 games, starting 36.

A promising NFL career was cut short in 1982 when Woods was paralyzed in a random shooting in Cleveland. He spent the next 27 years as a quadriplegic.


NFL Draft 2009 Round 7 #227 – Dallas Cowboys – CB Mike Mickens

With the 18th pick in the 7th round, the Dallas Cowboys select Cincinnati cornerback Mike Mickens, the second Bearcat they’ve taken in this draft. notes, “Mickens led the nation in interceptions last season and was a track superstar in high school. He has speed and very good quickness. This is exceptional value for a pick in the seventh round. Mickens has a chance to be the third corner for the Cowboys.”


For 46 consecutive games, Mickens was establishing his reputation as one of the premier pass coverage defenders in college football. It seemed certain that big things would happen, but covering a deep route in the 2008 Louisville contest, Mickens felt a pop in his left knee. Tests after the game revealed that he suffered a torn meniscus and cartilage damage. The injury would sideline him for the final three regular-season games. He would return for the postseason tilt vs. Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl, but he was not 100 percent after undergoing arthroscopic surgery.

He would also have to pull out of the Senior Bowl, as he experienced swelling in the knee during practices in Mobile. He also was unable to work out at the Scouting Combine in February.

Mickens was a two-time All-Greater Western Ohio Conference cornerback at Wayne High School. He helped the Warriors to a 24-9 record and two league titles during his three seasons. He amassed 205 tackles and 10 interceptions, blocked four field goals and returned a kickoff for a touchdown during his career.

The talented athlete also excelled in track, becoming the state 300-meter hurdles champion as a junior. He was also part of the school’s 4×400 meter relay team, helping them to a second-place finish at the state finals during his sophomore year.

Upon Mickens’ arrival at Cincinnati, it was evident that he was going to be something special. He did not play in the Rutgers game, but went on to start 10 games at right cornerback for the Bearcats in 2005. The Freshman All-American second-team pick by Football News, he deflected 14 passes and intercepted another that year. He also finished sixth on the team with 51 tackles (38 solos), making 2.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage.

As a sophomore, Mickens shifted to left cornerback. Constantly challenged by opposing quarterbacks, he made them pay by pulling down three interceptions to go with 15 pass breakups. He again finished sixth on the team with 59 tackles (39 solos), but was more involved in run support than he was as a freshman, registering a sack, 2.5 stops for loss and a forced fumble. His 18 total passes defended ranked eighth in the nation, earning him All-Big East Conference second-team recognition.

Mickens was named All-American and All-Big East Conference first-team as a junior. He combined with fellow cornerback DeAngelo Smith to register 14 interceptions, the most by a cornerback duo in the major college ranks in 2007. Mickens’ six pass thefts rank second on the school single-season record list, as he brought two of those thefts back for scores, gaining 136 return yards. He delivered 53 tackles (33 solos) and deflected six passes while also recovering a fumble.

The 2008 Thorpe Award semifinalist and preseason All-American managed to earn All-Big East Conference second-team honors as a senior, despite missing three late season games. He gained 158 yards (fourth-best season total in the Big East) on four interceptions, scoring for the third time in his career on interceptions. He added ten pass deflections and two stops behind the line of scrimmage, as his career-high 70 tackles (46 solos) ranked second on the squad.

High School

Attended Wayne (Huber Heights, Oh.) High School, playing football for head coach Jay Minton…Two-time All-Greater Western Ohio Conference cornerback…Helped the Warriors to a 24-9 record and two league titles during his three seasons…Amassed 205 tackles and 10 interceptions, blocked four field goals and returned a kickoff for a touchdown during his career…Also excelled in track, becoming the state 300-meter hurdles champion as a junior…Part of the school’s 4×400 meter relay team, helping them to a second-place finish at the state finals during his sophomore year.


Positives: Legitimate cover corner. … Possesses the quick feet and smooth hip turn to change direction and blanket his assignment. … Often forces the quarterback to go to his second option. … Reads the action quickly and gets an excellent break on the ball. … Cognizant defender. … Experienced in man and zone coverage with the combination of athleticism and instincts to play in either scheme at the next level. … Has a second gear to close and uses his long arms well to deflect passes. … Physical enough to make a big hit after his man makes the catch. … Improved hands for the interception in 2007 and has 14 picks and 44 pass breakups over his career. … Natural with the ball in his hands, returning two of his six interceptions for touchdowns last season. … Quick to come up in run support, even when pressing in man coverage, and flashes physicality that belies his frame. … Coachable. … Very confident in his ability. … Plays with attitude, will not back down from any receiver. … Leads by example on the field.

Negatives: Feasts on hastily thrown passes in zone coverage behind a dominant pass rush. … Must improve his ability to beat running back blocks when on the blitz. … A bit tall and stiff in his backpedal, which can make it hard for him to recover when the receiver runs a quick out. … While physical, Mickens has a tendency to lead with his shoulder when making a big hit, instead of wrapping up securely. … Left knee injury that cost him three games in 2008 and sidelined him for the Senior Bowl and Scouting Combine is a significant concern.

Injury Report

2008: Suffered left knee cartilage damage and a torn meniscus vs. Louisville (11/14), missing the team’s final three regular season games vs. Pittsburgh (11/22), Syracuse (11/29) and Hawaii (12/06).

2009: Pulled out of the Senior Bowl after his left knee experienced inflammation during practices, and was unable to work out at the Combine.

Scouts, Inc. gives him a decent grade.

Overall Football Traits
Production 2 2005: Mickens starts nine out of the 10 games he appears in accumulating 51 tackles and one interception. 2006-’07: Mickens starts all 26 games accumulating 112 tackles and nine interceptions. 2008: Mickens starts 11 games accumulating 70 tackles, two tackles-for-loss, four interceptions and 10 passes broken up. He earned first team All-Big East honors in 2007 and 2008.
Height-Weight-Speed 3 Decent top-end speed and good height but below-average bulk.
Durability 4 2008: Misses final two regular season games after having arthroscopic surgery on left knee to repair torn cartilage. Returned in time for team’s Orange Bowl appearance but did not work out at the Combine.
Character 3 There have been no off-the-field or academic issues to our knowledge.
Defensive Corner specific Traits
Recognition Skills/Toughness 2 Finds and gets to the ball very quickly. Shows above-average awareness in zone coverage. Plays with an edge and great confidence but can do a better job of controlling emotions on the field. (See 2008 Oklahoma game)
Closing Burst 3 Displays good short-area burst and can get a tremendous jump on the ball when reads the routes correctly but doesn’t stay low in backpedal and can be a quarter-count late transitioning out of it as a result. Lacks ideal recovery speed.
Fluidity 2 Fluid hips and can change directions quickly. Smooth turning and running with receivers. Can latch on to the receiver’s hip when tracking the ball downfield and forces receivers to go though him to make a play on the ball.
Ball Skills 1 Playmaker. Aggressive going after the football.  Big hands and isn’t going to drop many passes gets hands on.  Does a good job of getting head turned around in time to locate the ball when asked to turn and run with receivers. A threat to take it the distance after every interception.
Run Support 3 Willing to step up in run support but can get engulfed by bigger receivers and needs to do a better job of shedding blocks. Does an adequate job of wrapping up and getting ball carriers to the ground but slides off the occasional tackle and not a big hitter.


NFL Draft 2009 Round 5 #143 – Dallas Cowboys – DB DeAmgelo Smith

Dallas traded up a few spots to take Cincinnati defensive back DeAngelo Smith,  gaving up the 156th and 210th picks to the Falcons to move up.   DMN’s Tim McMahon reports, “The 5-11, 194-pound Smith made 12 career interceptions, including eight in 2007. He was clocked at 4.50 in the 40 at the combine. Smith started 28 games for the Bearcats (23 at corner, five at free safety).”  The guess is he’ll be a safety in the NFL.


Smith teamed with Mike Mickens to form one of the elite cornerback tandems in college football. The two combined for 26 interceptions during their careers together, more than any other active duo in the NCAA in 2008. Always known for his outstanding hands, the right cornerback added a new wrinkle to his game as a senior taking over full-time punt return duties to add to his resume that included handling the bulk of kickoff return chores as a junior.

While not the celebrated tackler that Mickens is, Smith is a top-notch pass defender, breaking up 21 passes as a two-year starter. He ranks tied for second in school history with 12 interceptions and set the Bearcats’ single-season record with eight pass thefts in 2007, ranking second nationally in that category. He also collected 179 yards in returns, the fifth-best total in Cincinnati annals, as his two touchdown returns are good for a third place tie in school history.

Causing problems for opposing quarterbacks is commonplace for Smith, who registered 11 interceptions, returning five for touchdowns, en route to earning All-State first-team honors as a senior at Independence High School. He closed out his career with 20 pass thefts, returning seven for scores.

Smith also caught 14 touchdown passes and totaled seven punt or kickoff returns for scores as a senior. He earned first-team All-City and All-District honors. He was named to the Columbus Dispatch-Agonis All-Star team, as he helped the team to a regional finals appearance in the state playoffs.

Smith enrolled at Cincinnati in 2004, spending the season on the scout team. The Bearcat Academic Honor Roll selection appeared briefly in seven games, mostly on special teams in 2005, finishing with one solo tackle. He was the top reserve at both cornerback positions in 2006, recording 23 tackles (17 solos) with three pass deflections, a pair of interceptions and two fumble recoveries. He made the most of his opportunity in his only game as a starter, earning Big East Player of the Week honors after posting six tackles and returning an interception 84 yards (fourth-longest return in school history) vs. Rutgers. He also gained 65 yards on four kickoff returns that campaign.

Smith took over right cornerback duties as a junior, coming up with 49 tackles (39 solos) that included 2.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage. He caused and recovered two fumbles, as he also deflected eight passes. His eight interceptions set the school single-season record and led the Big East Conference while ranking second in the nation. He also amassed 296 yards on 12 kickoff returns (24.7 avg), earning second-team All-Big East recognition.

In 2008, Smith was chosen All-Big East third-team. He started all 14 games, picking up the leadership slack in the secondary when Mickens was sidelined late in the season. He broke up 10 passes, intercepted two others and caused a fumble. He also had 53 tackles (36 solos) with 3.5 stops for loss. His versatility proved invaluable, as he lined up at free safety for the first five games before returning to his more familiar right cornerback spot for the rest of the schedule. He also averaged 9.5 yards on 23 punt returns.

High School

Attended Independence (Columbus, Ohio) High School, playing football for head coach Alan Jones…Registered 11 interceptions, returning five for touchdowns en route to earning All-State first-team honors as a senior…Closed out his career with 20 pass thefts, returning seven for scores…Also caught 14 touchdown passes and totaled seven punt or kickoff returns for scores as a senior…Earned first-team All-City and All-District honors…Named to the Columbus Dispatch-Agonis All-Star team, as he helped the team to a regional finals appearance in the state playoffs.


Positives: Aggressive, adequately-sized corner with long arms and confidence. … Stays low in his pedal and flips his hips open well. … Good hands for the interception when closing forward on the ball. … Attacks quick screens behind the line of scrimmage, will throw his body into the tackle. … Has played some free safety when needed and also returned kicks. … Works hard to improve his game.

Negatives: Fits best in a zone system where he can see the play in front of him and close on the ball. … Plays near the line at times but does not get his hands on receivers. … Gambles to get to the ball. … Only adequate straight-line speed. … Has trouble adjusting to the ball in the air and making the interceptions when moving backward. … Has a tough time getting off wide receiver’s blocks due to his lack of size and upper-body strength. … Gets turned around easily. … Lacks the suddenness to handle quick slot receivers. … Not a physical tackler. … Whiffs on attempts to cut tackle because he ducks his head. … Questionable ball security, decision-making and speed as a punt returner.

Scouts, Inc. says,

Overall Football Traits
Production 3 2004: Cincinnati red-shirts Smith. 2005-06: Smith starts one of the 20 games he appears in. He records a total of 24 tackles and intercepts one pass. Smith also returns four kickoffs for a total of 65 yards in 2006. 2007: Smith starts all 13 games accumulating 49 tackles and ties for the FBS-lead in interceptions with eight. He returns 12 kickoffs for a total of 296 yards. 2008: Smith starts all 14 games accumulating 53 tackles, 3.5 tackles-for-loss, two interceptions, 10 passes broken up and one forced fumble. He returns 23 punts for a total of 219 yards.
Height-Weight-Speed 4 Height and bulk are adequate but top-end speed is below-average.
Durability 1 Durability is not a concern to our knowledge.
Character 3 Member of the Bearcat Academic Honor Roll during the fall of 2006.
Defensive Corner specific Traits
Recognition Skills/Toughness 3 Reads keys and locates the ball quickly. Instinctive and seems to understand how offenses are trying to attack the coverage.  Can line at corner or safety and can play man or zone coverage. Does not shy away from contact and has good upper body strength but could be more aggressive in run support. Gambles at times and vulnerable to double moves. Can get pushed around by bigger receivers despite being tough for size.
Closing Burst 3 Can plant back foot and drive out of backpedal when a receivers catches the ball is caught in front of him but doesn’t show the same kinfd of burtst .  Marginal recovery speed and going to have tougher time overcoming false steps in the NFL.
Fluidity 3 Quick-twitch athlete that has fluid hips and can change directions in an instant. Can turn and run with receivers smoothly but isn’t fast enough to run with most NFL receivers. Allows too much separation when playing off man and appears more comfortable playing close to the line of scrimmage.
Ball Skills 3 Can snatch the ball out of the air. Has adequate leaping ability, times jumps well and flashes the ability to highpoint the ball. Extends arms and shows a good sense of timing when breaking up passes but doesn’t track the ball well enough.
Run Support 4 Does a nice job of going low and chopping ball carriers legs out from under him but misses the occasional open field tackle and not a big hitter. Needs to shed or slip blocks quicker.


Former NFL and NCAA Coach Lou Saban dead at 87

Saban, who was a distant relative of Nick Saban, had a history of never liking to stay long at University or pro team he worked for. Ask the University of Cincinnati, where Saban was AD for 19 days before taking the Miami Hurricane head coaching job.

I remember him mainly for his two year tenure at the University of Miami. Army was looking for a new head coach and wanted to talk to one of Saban’s assistants. Instead Saban said he was interested in the job. His abrupt departure from Coral Gables had some local sportswriters predicting doom for the Hurricanes.(Saban was 3-8 and 6-5 in his two years at Miami) Four years later, Howard Schnellenberger took the Hurricanes to a National Championship, where as Saban would spend the rest of his coaching days at places like Peru State and the Arena Football league. RIP Lou.


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.


Visitors Since Feb. 4, 2003

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