Bowl Rooting Guide
by Matthew McKinley, 12/21/01

(Apologies from for posting this so late in the week.)

Andy Williams has said it best: "It’s the most….wonderful time….of the year." Yes, my Hokie friends, Bowl Season is upon us once again. While some of the players have changed (e.g. Oahu/Aloha Bowls), the song remains the same. And what goes better with bowl games than a printable Bowl Rooting Guide with date/time/TV information—uhh, that should read other than alcohol, a great tailgating spot, TV/satellite hookup with power, beer, tickets to the big game, lots of friends, chips, dips, chains, whips….. Aww, heck! The BRG ranks pretty low on the list, but it’s still fun to have, don’t you think?

And while you won’t see any song lyrics in this version of the Rooting Guide (well, you might, but don’t hold me to that…), you will see plenty of insightful, in-depth, and meaningful commentary on the games themselves. Naaah, who am I kidding? I leave that stuff for Beerman.

From New Orleans to Pasadena, and all stops in between, I got you covered. So, without any further ado, awaaaaaaaay we go!

Pre-New Year’s Day Bowls

New Orleans Bowl – New Orleans, LA
North Texas (5-6) v Colorado State (6-5) – Tuesday, 18 Dec @ 8pm, ESPN

Of all the injustices that the lesser conferences promulgate on my beloved Bowl Season, this one takes the cake. There is NO WAY a 5-6 team deserves the bowl. Even if they DID win the RUTS Belt conference. I’ll still be watching though—that is, if my date doesn’t mind. ;^) Maybe if CSU wins big, the powers that be won’t let this happen to me again.
Root: Colorado State Rams

GMAC Bowl – Mobile, AL
East Carolina (6-5) v (#25) Marshall (10-2) – Wednesday, 19 Dec @ 8pm, ESPN2

Marshall, having tired of the Motor City Bowl—wouldn’t you after going for 20 zillion straight years? It’s in Detroit!—made an arrangement to go to Mobile if they won the MAC. Then they turned around and lost the MAC. Were they setting themselves up for failure? Who knows, but it didn’t matter whether they won or not, they successfully escaped Detroit. Marshall, being on the Hokies’ schedule next year, would be a good choice here.
Root: Marshall Thundering Herd

Tangerine Bowl – Orlando, FL
N. C. State (8-4) v Pittsburgh (6-5) – Thursday, 20 Dec @ 7:30pm, ESPN

Gotta give Pitt some props here. After starting out 1-5, they laid the smackdown on Tech and ran the table on the rest of their season. Can they beat a Wolfpack team that’s been somewhat consistent all year? I don’t know, but for Big East pride, it would be nice. Plus, gamblers always say to go with the hot dice until they lose. Or something like that. Beerman, comments?
Root: Pittsburgh Panthers

Las Vegas Bowl – Las Vegas, NV
Utah (7-4) v USC (6-5) – Tuesday, 25 Dec @ 3:30pm, ABC

Man, I’m going to miss watching the Aloha Bowl on Christmas Day. There’s just something about sitting around the roaring fire, watching five thousand fans in Hawaii watch college football wearing nothing but shorts and leis. (If only that were true about the cheerleaders……) As far as rooting goes, you know how I normally feel about small conference teams v big conference teams, but not this year. Two words: North Texas.
Root: USC Trojans

Seattle Bowl – Seattle, WA
(#11) Stanford (9-2) v Georgia Tech (7-5) – Thursday, 27 Dec @ 7:30pm, ESPN

Man, I’d be ticked off if I were a Stanford fan, ending up in Seattle due to conference tie-breakers and bowl choice rules. Are you listening, Syracuse? You weren’t the only one. On top of that, they have to face that powerhouse Georgia Tech, with their coach of impeccable credentials...whoops! Gotta give GT some credit for letting him go to Notre Dame before the word got out.
Root: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Independence Bowl – Shreveport, LA
Iowa State (7-4) v Alabama (6-5) – Thursday, 27 Dec @ 7:30pm, ESPN

Ahhhh, the Independence Bowl. What fond memories. As I sit here in my VT hat with the Poulan/Weed Eater Independence Bowl logo on the side, I reminisce about the first bowl in the streak. How I ended up sober on New Years’ Eve because cabs were taking 2 hours. How I roped a mechanical calf in Denim & Diamonds Bar. Have fun, guys, it don’t get no better than this.
Root: Iowa State Cyclones Bowl – Houston, TX
Texas A&M (7-4) v Texas Christian (6-5) – Friday, 28 Dec @ 1:30pm, ESPN

What a ridiculous (Ha ha, speeling police, I haev SpellCheck!) name for a bowl. Why not call it the "I Drive 2 Hours to a Bowl Game" Bowl. Or how about the "We’re Not Sure Anybody Outside of Texas Will Watch This, But We’ll Get Great Ratings Here" Bowl. Well, it could be worse. It could be called the "" Bowl. Out of respect for VT’s schedule next year, we should…
Root: Texas A&M Aggies

Music City Bowl – Nashville, TN
Boston College (7-4) v (#19) Georgia (8-3) – Friday, 28 Dec @ 5pm, ESPN

I hear stories from TSL posters about how great this bowl game was (I was in England at the time), so I decided to go see for myself, since I’ll be about 1 ½ hours away in Huntsville at the time. Hey, somebody’s got to be there to cheer for BC, since the airport will probably be shut down, as Georgia is the opponent.
Root: Boston College Eagles

Holiday Bowl – San Diego, CA
(#9) Texas (10-2) v (#20) Washington (8-3) – Friday, 28 Dec @ 8:30pm, ESPN

Just three lousy points, and Texas would probably be playing a few hours up the road in Pasadena. Oh, well. You know that ‘Horns fans must be excited to be playing in the Holiday (Golightly) Bowl four days before the New Year. At least they’ll have the time off to go party and watch the New Years’ Day slate.
Root: Washington Huskies

Motor City Bowl – Detroit, MI
Toledo (9-2) v Cincinnati (7-4) – Saturday, 29 Dec @ 12pm, ESPN

And Marshall passed up the opportunity to play Cincinnati in beautiful Detroit? What were they THINKING?!?!? ;^)
Root: Toledo Rockets

Alamo Bowl – San Antonio, TX
Texas Tech (7-4) v Iowa (6-5) – Saturday, 29 Dec @ 3:30pm, ESPN

Big Ten, Big XII, Big Ten, Big XII…it’s a wash. How about nicknames? Red Raiders, Hawkeyes, Red Raiders, Hawkeyes….ok
Root: Texas Tech Red Raiders Bowl – Phoenix, AZ
Kansas State (6-5) v (#18) Syracuse (8-3) – Saturday, 29 Dec @ 5:30pm, ESPN2

Between all the whining by Crouthamel and Trained Geese, I’m VERY tempted to root for K-State in this game, just to shut these guys up. But would that work? Probably not. I guess I’ll just root for the Big East instead.
Root: Syracuse Orange(wo)men

Sun Bowl – El Paso, TX
(#13) Washington State (9-2) v Purdue (6-5) – Monday, 31 Dec @ 12pm, CBS

At least Washington got to go to San Diego. What’s there to do in El Paso without crossing the border?
Root: Purdon’t Boilermakers

Humanitarian Bowl – Boise, ID
Louisiana Tech (7-4) v Clemson (6-5) – Monday, 31 Dec @ 12:30pm, ESPN

I know where they got the name for this bowl. It’s a great humanitarian effort to agree to play in this bowl. UCLA turned it down because they couldn’t sell 5,000 tickets. So Clemson jumped in and guaranteed 11,000. I don’t know who got the better deal. On a side note, isn’t it sad that I had to look up the postal abbreviation for Idaho?
Root: Clemson Tigers

Silicon Valley Classic – San Jose, CA
(#21) Fresno State (11-2) v Michigan State (6-5) – Monday, 31 Dec @ 3pm, FOXSN

Poor Fresno State got shut out of bowls so many times that the City Fathers of Silicon Valley decided to create a bowl for them. So what happens? They end up good enough that they could travel to a bowl…..and end up at home! BWAAAAHAHAHAHA!
Root: Michigan State Spartans

Liberty Bowl – Memphis, TN
(#17) Brigham Young (12-1) v (#22) Louisville (10-2) – Monday, 31 Dec @ 4pm, ESPN

It’s a battle of the great nicknames: Bring ‘em Young v Loserville. Unfortunately, I’m not sure that I want to root for either one. I’m just glad that Bring ‘em Young lost, so I don’t have to root for Loserville.
Root: Bring ‘em Young Cougars

Peach Bowl – Atlanta, GA
North Carolina (7-5) v Auburn (7-4) – Monday, 31 Dec @ 7:30pm, ESPN

Man, I’m glad I don’t have money on this game. Both of these teams are really up and down. Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about on-the-field performance. I think you all know who I’m going to root for here.
Root: Auburn Tigers/War Eagles

New Year’s Day Bowls

Outback Bowl – Tampa, FL
(#23) Ohio State (7-4) v (#14) South Carolina (8-3) – Tuesday, 1 Jan @ 11am, ESPN

I don’t know what to think of this one. Ohio State DID beat an overrated Michigan team. Maybe they can bet an overrated USC team as well. As far as who to root for, well, USC is right in front of us in the polls….
Root: Ohio State Buckeyes

Cotton Bowl – Dallas, TX
Arkansas (7-4) v (#10) Oklahoma (10-2) – Tuesday, 1 Jan @ 11am, FOX

The Cotton Bowl just ain’t what it used to be: (a) it’s the only bowl on FOX, and (b) kickoff is at 10am local time…on New Years’ Day. That’s what you get for losing to Oklahoma State, I suppose.
Root: Arkansas Razorbacks

Gator Bowl – Jacksonville, FL
(#16) Virginia Tech (8-3) v (#24) Florida State (7-4) – Tuesday, 1 Jan @ 12:30pm, NBC

Is it just me, or was the last time we were ranked higher than FSU sometime around the Great Depression. I think FDR might have commented on it once….

Citrus Bowl – Orlando, FL
(#15) Michigan (8-3) v (#8) Tennessee (10-2) – Tuesday, 1 Jan @ 1pm, ABC

I guess Spurrier was right. You really CAN’T spell CITRUS without UT! (That, and the comment about it’s not his job to play defense for the other team are classic, no matter how much I hate the man.) I don’t think we’ll pass Tennessee if we lose, but we WILL pass Michigan if they lose.
Root: Tennessee Volunteers

BCS Bowls

Fiesta Bowl – Tempe, AZ
(#3) Colorado (10-2) v (#2) Oregon (10-1) – Tuesday, 1 Jan @ 4:30pm, ABC

In the first game of the National Semifinals…..hey, we can dream, can’t we? Let’s see, which team winning will create more controversy, thus hastening a playoff system? I don’t think either one will, because Miami will roll. However, gotta give some props to CU for playing the best football down the stretch.
Root: Colorado Buffaloes

Sugar Bowl – New Orleans, LA
(#7) Illinois (10-1) v (#12) LSU (9-3) – Tuesday, 1 Jan @ 8:30pm, ABC

This is probably the best bowl matchup of the Season. LSU has come on strong down the home stretch, and Illinois has looked pretty good all season. Kittner v Davie. Lloyd v Reed. I can’t wait to see this one, if I’m sober enough to focus, that is.
Root: LSU Bayou Bengals

Orange Bowl – Miami, FL
(#6) Maryland (10-1) v (#5) Florida (9-2) – Wednesday, 2 Jan @ 8pm, ABC

What a story Maryland has been all season. Just like Northwestern back in 1995, Maryland has brought a Cinderella story back into the hears of college football fans everywhere. Okay, I’m laying it on a little thick, but they have done well this year under first year coach Ralph Friedgen, lovingly known as "The Fridge". Can they beat Florida? I don’t know, but check out this tidbit: the two games Florida has lost are the two games where RB Ernest Graham has been unable to play. Is he playing in the Orange Bowl? He’s currently "doubtful" for the game.
Root: Maryland Terrapins

Rose Bowl – Pasadena, CA
(#1) Miami (11-0) v (#4) Nebraska (10-1) – Thursday, 3 Jan @ 8pm, ABC

Well, it all comes down to this. Do we root for Nebraska, and the ensuing controversy? Or do we root for Miami and the Big East? Honestly, it’s nice to dream, but I don’t think Nebraska winning will hasten a playoff system. Therefore, I say (with much chagrin), "One for the thumb, baybeeee!!!"
Root: Miami Hurricanes

Well, that about wraps up the Bowl Rooting Guide, and the college football season as well. It’s a long, long time until kickoff against LSU—recruiting season attenuates this just a bit—so look for me at your local mental institution. I’ll be the guy crouched in the corner, rocking back and forth and sucking my thumb.

What, do you think I have ANY interest in basketball or baseball?

See you all at the game.

Yours in Hokie-ness,

-- Matthew McKinley (Freddyburg Hokie)


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