The real bowl season starts Saturday.
You can have your BCS championship games and Rose Bowls and Sugar Bowls. You can have your Outback Bowls, for that matter. I’ve been to three of them and am headed to a fourth. The Tampa Bay Bucs don’t let the college fans use their pirate ship at Raymond James Stadium, which defeats the entire purpose of playing a bowl game there.
Anyway, here are my five faves for this bowl season:
1. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: You have teams from Buffalo and San Diego converging in Idaho to play on a blue field in a game named after potatoes. You couldn’t make that up. Why would you?
Tonight in Boise it’s Tatergeddon. The 2013 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Mash Bash will be downtown. People can vote for their favorite potato, either Mashed or Baked. Again, you couldn’t make that up. Why would you?
To think the Tournament of Roses Committee thinks its parade is a big deal.
2. Little Caesars Pizza Bowl: For the umpteenth time, the Big Ten didn’t have enough bowl-eligible teams to send one of its 6-6 mediocrities to Detroit. Sad, but true.
So it’s Bowling Green against 6-6 Pittsburgh. The Panthers are just happy to be going somewhere other than Birmingham, where they went the past three years to the BBVA Compass Bowl.
Bowling Green beat Northern Illinois in the Mid-American Conference championship game in Detroit’s Ford Field. So Bowling Green returns to Detroit for its bowl, while Northern Illinois skips off to San Diego for the Poinsettia Bowl.
Not only did Bowling Green cost the MAC a lot of money by knocking NIU out of the BCS, but it put itself right back in Detroit three weeks later. Think, Bowling Green, think!
3. Liberty Bowl: The Rice-Mississippi State matchup means nothing to me, but I like the Liberty Bowl.
I covered it last year, it was cold in Memphis the whole time, the Iowa State-Tulsa game was lousy, and my employers made me drive to Tennessee from Iowa in the wintertime. That matter is still being reviewed by the National Labor Relations Board, by the way. Just kidding. Love my job, management is fabulous, I’m making no waves,
Besides, the payoff for the drive was the food. I went to a barbecue place one afternoon that was great. And thinking I might not be back in the Land of the Delta Blues again for who-knows-how-long, I had some tasty barbecue again the next night.
It’s been almost a year. I’m almost to the point where I can have barbecue again. Almost.
4. GoDaddy Bowl: On the night before the national-championship game, we get Arkansas State against Ball State in Mobile, Ala.
How perfect! On the eve of the game for all the marbles, we get a completely meaningless contest between two squads with zero appeal to America.
5. Texas Bowl: Yes, someone put two tickets for this game on StubHub Thursday for 30 cents each.
Imagine the buzz in Houston for this matchup of 8-4 Minnesota and 6-6 Syracuse. Imagine the buzz in Minnesota, which played in this very game last year.
I wouldn’t watch this game in September. But attach a bowl’s name to it, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.
Well, that’s not true. I’ll be in transit from Iowa to the Outback Bowl on the night of Dec. 27 while this game is in progress. At least I’m not driving.
But my heart will be in Houston, with the hundreds and hundreds of fans at the Texas Bowl.
But wait! A tweep has informed me Syracuse fans are buying $44,444 worth of tickets for Houston-area kids, and 1,400 kids will benefit.
That’s good stuff.