By DJ Gallo
Page 2

Have you found yourself wondering in recent days when the San Diego Country Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl is finally going to arrive to kick off the bowl season?

Well, I haven't.

But in case you have been asking yourself that question -- and if so, why? -- here's your answer: it's Tuesday night.

Yes, the 2006-07 bowl season opens Tuesday evening, and 32 bowls and 20 days later it will culminate on Jan. 8 with the BCS Championship Game.

Today I am previewing all the bowls that will be played before Jan. 1. Next Friday, I'll take a look the rest of the bowl schedule for you. (You can consider next Friday's column a late Christmas gift -- kind of like that present you find buried way under the tree a day or two after Christmas every year, only to open it and discover it's a pair of socks from your aunt.)

Anyway, until then, the pre-Jan. 1 bowls...

December 19

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl: Northern Illinois vs. TCU
Location: San Diego
Make fun of an obscure, pointless bowl game like the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl if you wish, but know that the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl has a long and proud tradition of being obscure and pointless. This year's SDCCUPB pits the nation's leading rusher, Garrett Wolfe, against TCU's fourth-ranked run defense. That's a pretty interesting matchup. I just hope the San Diego County Credit Union hasn't responded by raising interest rates.

Bowl Fun Fact: Per tradition, the losers of the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl are forced to eat the poisonous leaves of the poinsettia.

December 21

Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl: BYU vs. Oregon
Location: Las Vegas
A team full of Mormons goes to Las Vegas. If that's not enough to make you watch this game, then you can't ever call yourself a fan of things that are potentially awesome.

Bowl Fun Fact: Looking at Oregon's uniforms on a Pioneer PureVision television will cause both of your optic nerves to explode.

December 22

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Rice vs. Troy
Location: New Orleans
Rice hasn't appeared in a bowl game since 1961. After this game is over, some might say they still haven't appeared in a bowl game.

Bowl Fun Fact: If you don't watch the New Orleans Bowl, well ... let's just say that you will reveal a lot about yourself to Kanye West.

December 23

Papajohns.com Bowl: South Florida vs. East Carolina
Location: Birmingham
This is a huge matchup because the winner of this game faces the winner of the Middle Tennessee-Central Michigan bowl game for the Directional State University Championship.

Bowl Fun Fact: Papa John's promises you will receive enjoyment from watching this game within 30 minutes or the viewing of your next Papajohns.com Bowl is free.

New Mexico Bowl: New Mexico vs. San Jose State
Location: Albuquerque
It has to be exciting for the Lobos to travel all the way from … uh … actually they're playing in their own stadium. OK, but it must be terribly exciting for San Jose State to play a 6-6 team in a bowl game.

Bowl Fun Fact: The New Mexico Bowl is sadly without a sponsor. I hope the organizers aren't America-hating Communists.

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl: Tulsa vs. Utah
Location: Fort Worth
Just as the military has lowered its requirements to join, the Armed Forces Bowl also apparently has minimal requirements for participation. It's really a rather clever bit of synergistic marketing.

Bowl Fun Fact: President Bush plans to declare a victor in the Armed Forces Bowl before the first quarter is over.

December 24

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl: Hawaii vs. Arizona State
Location: Honolulu
'Twas the night before Christmas,
when all through the house,
not a creature was watching the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl,
not even your uncle with the severe gambling problem.

Bowl Fun Fact: Oh, wait. The Hawaii Bowl is on ESPN this year. Just kidding about that stuff above. I'm totally going to skip out on decking halls and donning gay apparel to watch me some Rainbows and Sun Devils on Christmas Eve.

December 26

Motor City Bowl: Middle Tennessee vs. Central Michigan
Location: Detroit
Not only does this game send a participant to the Directional State University Championship, but it will finally prove once and for all which is better: Middle or Central. Personally, I've always preferred Equidistant, but Equidistant State really blew this year.

Bowl Fun Fact: The Motor City Bowl was founded in 1997 to bring high-quality football to Detroit for the first time ever.

December 27

Emerald Bowl: Florida State vs. UCLA
Location: San Francisco
The Bruins could be vulnerable in this game if they're still flying high from their upset victory over USC. But Florida State could also be vulnerable if they're still flying high from, well ... it wouldn't be surprising if many of their players are high.

Bowl Fun Fact: Emerald is a mineral known for its poor basal cleavage, unlike Florida State fan Jenn Sterger.

December 28

PetroSun Independence Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Alabama
Location: Shreveport
I don't get why Alabama can't attract a big-name coach. This is a program that twice in the past six years has played in the Independence Bowl, for crying out loud. If that's not prestigious, then ... yeah, that's not prestigious. So, hmm ... who could they get to coach there? Oh, I know -- maybe they can lure away that guy that Miami just hired. Whatever his name is. Greg something, I think. That would sort of be a coup, right?

Bowl Fun Fact: The first Independence Bowl was played in 1775 when Paul Revere of the Colonies scored on a long play to help defeat Great Britain.

Pacific Life Holiday Bowl: Texas A&M vs. California
Location: San Diego
This game features the best matchup of any of the bowls held before Jan. 1, as both participants are major-conference teams with 9-3 records. So it should be a good game. Heck, even this whale is excited.

Bowl Fun Fact: Last year's Holiday Bowl Offensive MVP was Oklahoma's Rhett Bomar, who was given a big raise for the accomplishment by his employer.

Texas Bowl: Rutgers vs. Kansas State
Location: Houston
This was called the Galleryfurniture.com Bowl from 2000 to 2001 and then the EV1.net Bowl from 2002 to last year. Now it's the Texas Bowl. I didn't know what this "Texas" company is, but I figured it was a dot-com like the bowl's past sponsors, so I did a Web search on it. Turns out it's some sort of organization that promotes guns, big hair and cowboy boots. Looks like the NRA might have some new competition.

Bowl Fun Fact: The Texas Bowl will be broadcast on the NFL Network, allowing Rutgers and Kansas State to expose their programs to as many as 10 or 12 high school players across the country.

December 29

Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl: Clemson vs. Kentucky
Location: Nashville
Pardon me for not breaking down this game analytically like I have all the others, but I just want to say that it shows how far our country has progressed in recent years that two Southern schools are playing in a red state in a bowl game that is sponsored by Gaylord. I think it's fabulous.

Bowl Fun Fact: Kentucky has not been to a bowl game in seven years -- a fact that has many fans pushing for the firing of Tubby Smith.

Brut Sun Bowl: Oregon State vs. Missouri
Location: El Paso
Held since 1935, the Sun Bowl is one of the oldest continuously played bowl games. So hopefully it will be able to withstand this matchup.

Bowl Fun Fact: CBS is scheduled to broadcast this game at 2 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 29. If that means "As The World Turns" isn't going to air that day, I'm going to be pissed. No one messes with my stories.

AutoZone Liberty Bowl: South Carolina vs. Houston
Location: Memphis
What was it that Steve Spurrier used to say? "You can't spell Citrus Bowl without U and T." Well, it's time for him to eat some humble pie because without U, S and C you can't spell AutoZone Scliberty Bowl.

Bowl Fun Fact: Thomas Jefferson once wrote: "The price of liberty is eternal vigilance, but the price of the Liberty Bowl is a few million dollars from an auto parts store."

Insight Bowl: Texas Tech vs. Minnesota
Location: Tempe
The Red Raiders will use their dynamic passing offense to attack Minnesota's horrendous pass defense in a classic battle between the unstoppable force and the easily movable object.

Bowl Fun Fact: Bob Knight has promised to throat-punch every player on the Texas Tech roster if the Red Raiders don't beat Minnesota.

Champs Sports Bowl: Purdue vs. Maryland
Location: Orlando
Surprisingly enough, this will be the first-ever football game between Purdue and Maryland. I think we all can agree that every event in world history up until this point was for the sole purpose of seeing this game come to be.

Bowl Fun Fact: There isn't a single piece of apparel sold in any Champs Sports store anywhere in the world that can fit Ralph Friedgen.

December 30

Meineke Car Care Bowl: Navy vs. Boston College
Location: Charlotte
It's a good thing Tom O'Brien left Boston College before this game to take the N.C. State job. O'Brien graduated from the Naval Academy in 1971, and I don't think anyone would have enjoyed watching him get hanged during the halftime show for treason.

Bowl Fun Fact: There is no fun fact here. Taking care of your car is a very serious matter.

Alamo Bowl: Texas vs. Iowa
Location: San Antonio
Both of these teams had national title hopes when the season started. But then the season had to go and start and ruin everything. Stupid season.

Bowl Fun Fact: An alternate, and widely accepted, pronunciation of the "Alamo Bowl" is "A-Lame-O Bowl."

Chick-fil-A Bowl: Georgia vs. Virginia Tech
Location: Atlanta
The 10-2 Hokies are the superior team, but they'll have to take on Georgia in what is essentially a home game for the Bulldogs. It's just too bad Marcus Vick is no longer Virginia Tech's quarterback, because the Georgia Dome crowd would probably get to enjoy being flipped off by another member of the Vick family.

Bowl Fun Fact: Chick-fil-A Bowl organizers require that players drink nothing but chicken stock during the game when they are thirsty.

December 31

MPC Computers Bowl: Miami vs. Nevada
Location: Boise
Complain about the BCS computer if you want to, but the Ohio State-Florida matchup is a lot better than the stinker the MPC Computers are giving us.

Bowl Fun Fact: The field at Bronco Stadium is not actually blue. It just looks blue to you because another year has passed and you have done nothing with your life. But cheer up. A whole new year starts tomorrow. It can't get any worse, right?

DJ Gallo is the founder and sole writer of the award-winning sports satire site SportsPickle.com. He is also a regular contributor to ESPN the Magazine and has written for The Onion and Cracked. His first book – "SportsPickle Presents: The View from the Upper Deck" – will be in stores soon.




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