The bowl season kicks off today with games in New Mexico and Idaho. For any curious soul with no connection to Nevada, Arizona, Toledo or No. 22 Utah State, don’t worry – ESPN has you covered.
Actually, save for a few cameos by its sister stations, CBS and Fox, the network should have you smothered as it will broadcast 29 games from this afternoon through the national title contest Jan. 7 that pits Notre Dame against Alabama.
Granted, things may not be Colin Kaepernick-like exciting as his former Pack take on Rich Rodriguez’s Wildcats, but that game pits two of the country’s top runners – Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey (1,757 yards, 20 TDs rushing) and Nevada’s Stefphon Jefferson (1,703, 22) – squaring off. The nine-win Rockets going against the 10-win Aggies isn’t exactly an awful matchup, either.
Yeah, yeah … we’re all just biding time until the Irish and Tide meet up in that winner-take-all showdown. Aside from alums and the bean counters at each institution, no other bowl means that much. So what?
No reason why we can’t enjoy the ride along the way to that BCS culmination.
That being the case, some things to consider throughout Week 1 of the bowl season include:
– Is San Diego State’s pairing with Brigham Young in Thursday’s Poinsettia Bowl just the precursor to a reunion of Mountain West rivals? The Aztecs’ departure for the Big East looks less likely with each passing day, and the independent Cougars could use a home – perhaps their previous one would do.
– Ball State’s Pete Lembo posted 11 wins in his first season as a head coach – in 2001 at Lehigh of the FCS Division. Eleven years later, he’s looking at his second double-digit victory campaign if the Cardinals can beat Central Florida in Friday’s Beef O’Brady’s Bowl.
– Saturday’s New Orleans Bowl pits one team (Louisiana-Lafayette) that has given up 65 and 50 points in two separate contests, both losses, and another (East Carolina) that has surrendered 59 and 56 … and actually won the former in double overtime.
– Washington, which faces No. 19 Boise State in Saturday’s Maaco Bowl in Las Vegas, may be the most maddening team in the country. Not only did the Huskies beat two top-10 teams while only registering seven wins all fall, but they averaged 23.8 points per game scored … and allowed.
Did You Know? …
– Toledo was one of four MAC teams to start the season 8-1 – Northern Illinois, Kent State and Ohio being the others. Toledo lost its next two before closing out its campaign with a victory against Akron. It hardly was the big loser of the four, though. Ohio dropped its remaining three games, while Northern Illinois and Kent State advanced to the conference title game and then promptly saw their coaches depart for gigs at BCS schools.
– Statistically speaking, it could easily be argued that Kaepernick had the greatest individual career on a collegiate gridiron. The current 49ers quarterback not only threw for 10,098 yards and 82 TDs (against just 24 picks), but he ran for 4,112 yards (6.9 per carry) and 59 scores at Nevada.
– Utah State has two losses this season … by a combined 5 points. The Aggies lost 16-14 at Wisconsin and 6-3 at BYU.