Day 10 of the Long March: Six bowls to end 2007 chat
by Bob Timmermann
The Powers That Be in college football bowldom have scheduled six games for today and six more for New Year's Day. Can anyone watch all of them? Two of them will be played at the same time and another will be on the NFL Network, which is available only in Cuba and the Maritime provinces of Canada.
Game 1 Armed Forces Bowl at Fort Worth at 9:30 am PT. This game matches California (6-6) and Air Force (9-3). This is the first of two games to feature Pac-10 teams that saw promising seasons fall apart in a hurry.
Cal started out 5-0 and had a chance to become #1, but lost at home to Oregon State by three points and then the Golden Bears lost five of their last six, which included a pounding by Washington and the surrender of the Axe to the Stanford.
This will be Cal's 18th bowl game. They are 8-8-1 in previous bowls and have won three of their last four bowl games under current coach Jeff Tedford.
Air Force's three losses this year were all on the road: at BYU, at Navy, and at New Mexico. The Falcons, like Cal, have a bowl record of 8-8-1. However, they haven't played in one since 2002 when they lost to Virginia Tech in the San Francisco Bowl.
The Golden Bears and Falcons have met seven times prior to today and Cal has won five times with Air Force winning in 1961 and 2002. Cal won the last meeting in 2004, 56-14 at Air Force.
Game 2 - Humanitarian Bowl at 11:00 am PT from Boise. What better way to end the year than to play on the blue turf of Boise in the outdoors? Such are the fates of Georgia Tech (7-5) and Fresno State (8-4).
The Yellow Jackets fired their coach, Chan Gailey, and will be coached by Jon Tenuta, and then Paul Johnson will take over next season. The Yellow Jackets have played in 35 bowl games previously and have a 22-13 record in them.
The Bulldogs are playing in their 17th bowl with a record of 9-7 in previous bowls at the Division I-A level.
Fresno State has won the only meeting between the only two schools, a 30-21 win in the 2002 Silicon Valley Football Classic. Both schools have played in this bowl game. Fresno State beat Virginia 27-24 in 2004 and Georgia Tech beat Tulsa 52-10 in 2004 when the game was held on January 3.
Game 3 - Sun Bowl at 11:00 am PT from El Paso. What this game is on CBS, not ESPN? How did that happen? Wherever you find it on TV, it will be a matchup of two schools that were both at one time, #2 in the BCS. #23 South Florida (9-3) takes on unranked Oregon (8-4).
The Bulls were #2 in the BCS for one week and then lost at Rutgers and that was pretty much it for them as they lost later to Connecticut and Cincinnati. Oregon got to #2 in the BCS, but it turned out that QB Dennis Dixon had hurt his knee and the Ducks lost to an unnamed Pac-10 school on the road in the Southwest and then kept losing backup quarterbacks and lost at UCLA and at home to Oregon State.
South Florida is playing in its third bowl game in its brief history. The Bulls lost to North Carolina State in the 2005 Meineke Car Bowl and beat East Carolina last year in the Papajohns.com Bowl. The Sun Bowl marks the first non-embarrassing name bowl game for South Florida!
Oregon is playing in its 21st bowl game with a record of 7-13 in the previous 20. The Ducks have lost their last four bowl games and haven't won one since defeating Colorado in the 2002 Fiesta Bowl.
Oregon and South Florida have never met in football before and this will be the first ever game against a Pac-10 team for South Florida.
Game 4 - Music City Bowl at 1 pm PT from Nashville. A pair of 7-5 teams, Florida State and Kentucky, face off in this game.
The Seminoles had to leave behind 36 players because of suspensions in the wake of an academic cheating scandal. The fact that there are guys who had to cheat on a test to pass a class at Florida State is even more remarkable.
Florida State is playing in its 36th bowl game is 20-13-2 in previous games and won a record 11 straight from 1985-1996 (they had two wins and a tie prior to that streak), but since then have gone 4-7.
Kentucky is playing in just its 12th bowl game with a 6-5 record in the previous 11. The Wildcats have played in this game twice, losing to Syracuse in 1999 and beating Clemson last year.
Kentucky leads the alltime series between the two schools by a 3-1-1 mark, but they have not played each other since 1965.
Game 5 - Insight Bowl at 3 pm PT from Tempe. Shh, this one's a secret as only people with the NFL Network can see it. Indiana (7-5) will play Oklahoma State (6-6). Perhaps it's better that way.
The Hoosiers don't go to bowl games often. This is just their ninth bowl game and the first one since 1993, when the played in the Independence Bowl. The Hoosiers are 3-5 in bowl games.
The Cowboys are playing in their 18th bowl and are 11-6 in bowl games. Like Indiana, their last bowl was the Independence Bowl, but that was just last year, a 34-31 win over Alabama.
Oklahoma State and Indiana have met once before, a 7-7 tie in Bloomington on October 11, 1930.
Game 6 - Chick-Fil-A Bowl at 4:30 pm PT from Atlanta - This used to the Peach Bowl and then the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, but this is one corporate sponsorship I can get behind as peaches are a fruit that should be planned from the planet. Oh, yeah, the game. It will be match #15 Clemson (9-3) and #22 Auburn (8-4) in an all-Tiger matchup.
Clemson will play its 30th bowl game and is 15-14 in previous bowls and have played in the Atlanta bowl game six times before, winning two and losing four.
Auburn is playing its 34th bowl game and is 18-13-2 previously in bowls. They have played in Atlanta for bowls twice, splitting the games.
Auburn leads the alltime series between the two schools 32-11-3 and the last meeting was in the 1998 edition of this game (played on January 2), a 21-17 win for Auburn.
Game 1 - Armed Forces Bowl at 9:30 am PT from Fort Worth