New Year’s Day isn’t quite what it used be, but at least a few Bowls have remained committed to the tradition. There are still six games on the January 1 schedule, but the fact that there are seven more games after today really says something. Nonetheless, I’ve been glued to the TV today and plan to be for the remainder of the holiday. It’s always fun to see what games you end up watching versus what you were anticipating the most. I figured I may as well chime in with my observations periodically throughout the day….
TicketCity Bowl – Northwestern vs. Texas Tech – I don’t even know if I get ESPNU, because there’s never been a game on the channel that I’ve wanted to watch. This game was a pretty good matchup on paper, but I wasn’t going to go out of my way to watch it if there were better games on. Looks like there’s plenty of offense though. Taylor Potts seems to be making a case to be included in the “Year of the Quarterback” group. I’ve got it on in the background now, if nothing else just because it’s the latest into the game. Northwestern has the ball down 14 with 6:21 left right now.
Capitol One Bowl – Alabama vs. Michigan State - I might have been most excited for this one. Michigan State looked pretty good this year and Mark Ingram and Julio Jones would surely go out in style. The game’s turned out to be a lopsided affair, but it’s still been entertaining, despite the score. 35-0 Tide in the 3rd quarter.
Gator Bowl – Michigan vs. Mississippi State – I’ve ended up here a lot as a result of the aforementioned game being a disappointment. Denard Robinson is always entertaining, and the atmosphere’s been a electric. Mississippi State has taken a huge step forward this year, and win over Michigan would cement a Top 20 finish for the year. The Bulldogs lead 31-14 early in the 3rd.
Outback Bowl – Florida vs. Penn State – This one’s had the most hype. It’s Urban Meyer’s last game after six whole seasons. It’s also Joe Paterno’s 114th last game as head coach of Penn State. I don’t care too much for the coaching storylines, but I do hope Paterno coaches Penn State until he dies. I know the administration is pretty ready for some new blood, and I know they were pretty bad for a few years there, but despite a 7-5 down year, they’re still coming off three 11 win seasons in the last 5. They went 9-4 the other two years. Most schools can only dream of that kind of success. Who’s going to take them higher than they already are? Having said all that, this game’s turned out to be the closest of the bunch. Therefore, it will likely remain in sole possession of the TV screen for the duration of the final 22+ minutes. Tied at 17 now.
Rose Bowl – TCU vs. Wisconsin – I’m still pretty bitter this wasn’t a Pac-10 / Big Ten matchup. Sure Oregon got the BCS nod, so they weren’t obligated to have a Pac-10 team, but Stanford was right there for the choosing. TCU could’ve played in the Orange Bowl against Virginia Tech. All complaints aside though, this was still a pretty good matchup, and certainly the main event. I can’t imagine Oklahoma and UConn is going to blow people away. The Rose Bowl lived up to the hype though. After a fast start, the scoring become fewer and farther in between, and it ended up coming down to the last drive for Wisconsin.
Fiesta Bowl – Oklahoma vs. Connecticut – Yep, just like I thought. This game is teetering right on the border of too boring to watch, but too close to turn off. Now that the NHL Winter Classic is over, it’s not like there’s anything else to watch instead. Part of me wants Oklahoma to destroy UConn so it’s that much more obvious to the BCS the Huskies have no business being in this game. The other part of me wants them to at least make it respectable. I guess I’m pretty much getting both right now. Whether or not UConn pulls off a miracle is yet to be seen, but should they lose, as expected, they can find a consolation in the fact that they’ve put up a better fight than major conference schools like Florida State, Texas Tech, Baylor, Colorado, and Iowa State.