Happy New Year's Eve Eve, Dawg fans! Spears and MaconDawg have expertly and superbly carried us through their predictions for the early slate of bowl games leading up to New Year's Eve... and now you're stuck with me for two out of the next three days. What can I say, except that the substitute teacher is now here, and if y'all don't behave... well, there ain't a dang thing I can do about it other than kvetch. (And I'm probably going to be kvetching anyway, so there!)
I think I drew the long straw in these bowl prediction assignments, since I got the glorious combination of games whose names help to awaken one's jingoistic fervour and remind us all about what is best about America (or, in the latter case, perhaps what is the worst). I am a little confused about some of the matchups in those games, however. Perhaps y'all can help me out, here:
Liberty Bowl (December 31, 4:00 p.m.)
Rice v. Mississippi State (-7)
Now this is just danged peculiar. I thought the Liberty Bowl was about celebrating Liberty... you know, one of the founding principles of all this country stands for. So why do we have a starchy carbohydrate that isn't even native to North America playing in it? I don't care for no Rice in a bowl... give me a big, fat bowl of Liberty, instead, baby. And nothing screams "Liberty" like an... ok, well, an English Bulldog doesn't fit the metaphor here, but work with me, people.
Regardless, though, one thing bulldogs love to eat is rice, and the Mississippi State Bulldogs will eat up the Rice Owls (and the points) in this one. Prediction: MSU 38, Rice
overcooked and limp 17
Chik-Fil-A Bowl (December 31, 8:00 p.m.)
No. 24 Duke v. No. 21 Texas A&M (-12.5)
Ah, after a celebration of Liberty, what could be better than settling down in front of the TV on New Year's Eve with a nice Chick-Fil-A? And if you're feeling like it, you can even watch the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, where two thoroughly All-American teams will be squaring off
to see if Johnny Football can manage to give a damn about one more college game.
Now, you might think to yourself, "Wait a minute... How is Duke an All-American school? We ain't got no Dukes or Lords or noblemen of any kind in America!" Well, my arrogant, presumptuous friend, that's where you're wrong. You see, Duke University was so named in honor of wealthy industrialist James B. Duke in 1924. And while there are few things more American than creating a huge industrial empire and using it to fund a university, one of those things is siring two children, Randolph and Mortimer Duke, who would eventually reduce the then-called "Duke and Duke" empire to ashes following a disastrous commodities trading fraud scheme. Man, I bet nobody would want to be trading places with them!
Hmm? What? Oh, right... the game. Well, it's easy to look at the names on the helmets and assume the Aggies will win in a walk. Anyone who underestimates these Duke boys is creating quite a hazard for themselves, however. I just don't think Texas A&M will be giving Duke the respect they deserve, and since Duke will still have their offensive coordinator for one more game before he joins the raging tire fire in Gatorsville (whey they are definitely not just good ol' boys never meanin' no harm), I think the Blue Devils will be able to beat the spread, though perhaps not win.
Prediction: Texas A&M 48, Duke 41
Heart of Dallas Bowl (January 1, 12:00 p.m.)
UNLV v. North Texas (-6.5)
Finally, our triumverate of 'MURRICA bowls concludes at noon on New Year's Day with the Heart of Dallas bowl. I've got no clue whether UNLV or North Texas would be the Ewings or the Barnses here, but given their basketball program's shady background and willingness to throw ethics and rules to the wind, I'm going to christen the UNLV Rebels as the Ewings and the North Texas Mean Green as the Barnses.
Either way, though, I can pretty much guarantee you one thing: the huge ratings success of the bowl's namesake TV series will be almost completely offset by the fact that the only television sets tuned to this game will be in Denton, Texas, and Henderson, Nevada (and perhaps some of the far suburbs of Las Vegas). This is because your Georgia Bulldogs will be kicking off the Gator Bowl against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at the same time, and then one hour later, both the Capital One and Outback Bowls will also kick off, since Georgia will likely already have put the game out of reach that that point. (/Sets empty bourbon bottle back on the counter.)
Since this game does feature their local team, however, the guys in Las Vegas did see fit to lay a line on the game. And since I like our schedule to always look better by having our opponents do well (that is, our opponents not named Florida, Auburn, and Georgia Tech), I'm going to be rooting for the Mean Green to win this one. And by "rooting," I mean "checking the score after the Fiesta Bowl ends around midnight just to see if they won."
Prediction: North Texas 38, UNLV 17
Feel free to post your 'MURRICA BOWLS predictions in the comments below! Also, please use this as your open comment thread for today's bowl action, which consists of 4 bowl games, 3 of which should be surprisingly watchable.