Cold weather? Check (except you shamelessly lucky soul's hunting Dexter). An abundance of things you mostly love (or can at least feign affection for) you didn't have previously? Definitely. An excuse to take time off from work? Absolutely. No, this isn't the holidays I'm speaking of (though those are fine and all). College football's second season is just around the corner. If you're anything like us, Grandma's story about the air conditioner in the master bedroom is exciting and all, but SMU-Nevada? Sign me up.
Speaking of signed up, if you haven't done so, we're giving away phenomenal swag you'd be a fool to miss out on. You've got until Saturday morning, so head over yonder to TWWL post-haste and throw your approximations in the bucket. You won't regret it. Your degenerate-in-chief laid down a cool W/L(/draw?) of 58-19 with 1 push for the year (~75% for the non-Math majors). Pretty solid, but will it be enough for me to keep up with the loyal commentariat? As a popular absurd fedora rocking news aggregator would say, *DEVELOPING*.
Saturday, December 19th
New Mexico Bowl: Fresno State vs. Wyoming (+11) - 4:30 pm (ESPN)
The game you've been waiting for all of your life. 8-4 Fresno State travels to frigid Albuquerque to battle Dave Christensen's going south for the winter 6-6 Wyoming Cowboys. Fresno State rolls into New Mexico with stud RB Ryan Mathews, who lead all of FBS with 151.3 rushing yards per game. As for the Cowboys? Well, they sure played Texas tough for a half! As outstandingly mediocre as Wyoming appears on paper, this game could be a contest if nothing else for the Bulldogs' paltry D. Fresno ranked 111th against the rush at 212.4 yards per contest and were 81st in scoring defense at 27.8 points allowed per game. In what's sure to be the standard high scoring fare WAC v. MWC showdowns have proven to be in the past, give the slight edge to the Bulldogs. They win the football game, but Wyoming beats the spread, 38-28.
St. Petersburgh Bowl: UCF vs. Rutgers (-2.5) - 8:00 p.m. (ESPN)
America's first ever Guido Bowl takes place in the only place it could: the strip club capital of the world, Tampa, FL. The Knights of Central Florida head southwest to do battle with the Scarlet Knights of the State University of New Jersey. UCF is arguably happy just to be where they are. In lieu of the controversy surrounding coach George O'Leary after a player's tragic death during workouts, many speculated the coach could be on his way out after this season. Rutgers, on the other hand, plays in one of its more underwhelming bowls during their programs recent pinnacle of achievement. Rutgers is led by the diminutive speedster wide receiver Tim Brown, who had 51 receptions for 1051 yards and 8 TDs on the year. The Knight's most prolific player is arguably sophomore tailback Brynn Harvey, who broke the century mark in racking up 1077 yards and 14 TDs on 248 carries. While the opposing fan bases may be prone to fist pump offs and bronzer contests, the game on the field will likely be decided by Rutgers' slight Big East talent differential. Expect the Knights of the Scarlet variety to emerge from this one with a 24-21 W.
Sunday, December 20th
New Orleans Bowl: Middle Tennessee v. Southern Miss (-3.5) - 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Who needs Sunday Night Football when you've got the mighty 9-3 Blue Somethings (okay, okay Raiders) of Middle Tennessee doing war with the 7-5 Fightin' Dr. Saturday's of Southern Miss?! USM enters this game as slight favorites, with former Florida offensive coordinator Larry Fedora leading a relatively high flying offensive barrage (well 31st overall in total offense to the tune of 418.25 yards per showing) against MTSU. The Golden Eagles narrowly missed the CUSA title game after falling to East Carolina 25-20 in their regular season finale. USM's weapon of choice is arguably the highest profile recruit in the school's recent history, the resilient DeAndre Brown, who bounced back from a horrendous broken leg suffered in last year's New Orleans Bowl with 43 receptions, 720 yards, and 7 TDs. MTSU rolls with one of the nation's sweetest names: Dwight Dasher. The 5'10" Junior QB threw for 2627 yards, 21 TDs to 14 INTs, and tacked on a filthy 953 rushing yards and 11 TDs on the ground to go with it. Vegas, and a minor talent advantage would say USM is the pick here, but it's hard to imagine the Southern Miss 77th ranked nationally defense containing the explosive Blue Raider signal caller. Go Sun Belt on this one, 27-21.
Tuesday, December 22nd
Las Vegas Bowl: BYU v. Oregon State (-2.5) - 8:00 p.m. (ESPN)
The first game between team's you've seen play this year, BYU makes their 5th consecutive sin-free trip to Sin City to tango (not too close though) with Civil War runners up Oregon State. BYU quarterback Max Hall, he of the 3368 yards passing with 30 TDs for just 14 INTs wraps up his brilliant college career against the other other OSU's near middle of the pack 50th ranked defense (352.92 yards per game allowed). Oregon State rolls two deep with the Brothers Rodgers, James and Jacquizz. 'Quizz looks to position himself for 2010 Heisman momentum after running for 1,377 yards and a school-record 20 TDs. Big bro James led Oregon State with 87 receptions, 1,007 yards, and 9 TDs. Depending where you look, some see BYU as the prohibitive favorites, while many others go with the Beavers, typically by 2.5-3.5 in whichever direction they lean. Look for the Cougars' struggle to find real, meaningful happiness in Vegas to to continue, as the Beavers pull a close one out 38-35.
Wednesday, December 23rd
Poinsettia Bowl: Cal v. Utah (+3.5) - 8:00 p.m. (ESPN)
A strong Christmas Eve Eve offering brings the perennially in these kind of bowl Golden Bears of Cal against last year's BCS darlings, the Utes of Utah. The other "The U" (they call themselves that, seriously) look to win an impressive, national leading 9th consecutive bowl game, while Jeff Tedford and co. seek to finally figure out the right button combination that can equate to a Pac 10 Championship run in the ensuing year. Sophomore Cal QB Kevin Riley finished the season with 2636 yards, 17 TDs to just 6 picks, but only completed 54% of his attempts. Coming off an ugly 43% multiple turnover performance against home-for-the-holidays Washington, Riley will need a considerably better effort against a plucky Utes secondary, responsible for 15 INTs while limiting their opponents to just 172.8 passing yards per contest. Sadly we've seen senior tailback Jahvid Best for the final time, as the prolific one time Heisman candidates college career was cut short by a frightening neck injury against Oregon state in early November. Utah true freshman Jordan Wynn will look to continue finding his sea legs, as he plays arguably the biggest game of his young college career. Handing the ball to junior halfback Eddie Wide will help ease his growing pains, as the RB accrued 1032 rushing yards with 12 touchdowns while averaging 5.7 yards per touch. Coach Kyle Willingham always gets the Utes ready to play come December/January, but expect the Golden Bears to be a bit too much, taking this one 24-13.