After a week plus of relatively mediocre bowl games, we're entering the homestretch for college football season. By this time next week the mythical National Champion will be crowned. The big time bowl games start in earnest today, with a day long slate of worthwhile match-ups to help you while your hangover away.
Outback Bowl: Northwestern vs. Auburn, 11 AM ESPN - Northwestern had a nice season for themselves at 8-4, but the Big Ten hasn't fared too well against the SEC in recent years. Either way, both these teams are probably better than the Sunday tenant of Raymond James Stadium.
Capital One Bowl: #12 LSU vs. #13 Penn State, 1 PM ABC - Probably the best non-BCS game remaining on the bowl slate. Joe Paterno ushers in his 86th New Year's Day on the face of the planet by taking on a very tough LSU team. And, just in case you're interested, Erin Andrews will be covering this game.
Gator Bowl: Florida State vs. #16 West Virginia, 1 PM CBS - Speaking of ancient football coaches, this will be the final game for FSU head coach Bobby Bowden. It's a shame that the legendary coach is being forced out in this way, but his time has clearly passed him by. As a consolation prize, FSU vaulted over more deserving teams (Clemson, BC, Miami, UNC), and received the Gator Bowl nod. Hopefully it'll be a nice send off for Bowden, as he gets to coach his final game in Florida and against the school where he spent ten years prior to getting the FSU job.
Rose Bowl: #8 Ohio State vs. #7 Oregon, 4:30 PM ABC - The Granddaddy of Them All. This one just isn't the same without Keith Jackson calling it. The Buckeye seniors have not won a bowl game in their collegiate careers. This is their final chance, but they'll have to beat a very good Oregon team that managed to take the wild wacky PAC-10.
Sugar Bowl: #3 Cincinnati vs. #5 Florida, 8:30 PM FOX - Does anyone want to coach this game? Cincy head coach Brian Kelly left to take the Notre Dame job last month. The Bearcats will be led by offensive coordinator Jeff Quinn, but this will be his last game on the Cincy sideline as he will be Buffalo's head coach next year. On the other sideline Urban Meyer resigned last Saturday, then un-resigned Sunday saying he would take a leave of absence instead - except no one knows how long that will last. In the interim, offensive coordinator Steve Addazio will lead the program. Addazio's last head coaching experience came more than 15 years ago at the Connecticut high school that Brad Ausmus and Brian Leetch once attended. Addazio got the nod by default, as Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong will depart to take the head coaching job at Louisville following the Sugar Bowl.
That aside, we get the treat of listening to Thom Brennaman call this one. As you may recall, Brennaman paid an inordinate amount of lip service to Tim Tebow during last year's BCS Championship Game. I can only imagine what he has in store for Tebow's final collegiate game.
Enjoy the games Fackers.