Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Hey, do you mind? I wasn't talking when you were bowling.

Was I talking out loud? I'm sorry ...

It's bowl season! Almost an entire month of nothingness is behind us (really, Bush won the Heisman? SHOCKING!!!) and the best two weeks in college football are upon us. Tonight marks the beginning of bowl season, full of pomp and glitter, sunbathed beaches, great teams playing for high stakes and players making tremendous efforts on the national stage where names are made ... oh and also games between 6-5 teams in empty stadiums in games named after random Korean electronics firms.

This week we're going to preview the games for the day each day of bowl season, with insights you won't find anywhere else (for very good reasons). All the way from the exciting New Orleans Bowl tonight until the Grandaddy of them All on January 4th, we've got you covered.

Today's Games (12/20/05):

New Orleans Bowl at Lafayette

That's right, the game is named for one city and is played in another! This should seriously be played up a bit more, it's a new gimmic in the world of bowl advertisement. As the catchy slogan reminds us, Let the Good Times BOWL ... in Lafayette, LA. No offense, but I'm pretty sure nobody has ever confused Lafayette with New Orleans as far as letting the good times roll, but it's a good effort.

Quick Facts:
  • The New Orleans Bowl pits the champion of the Sun Belt conference against a team from Conference USA.
  • Southern Mississippi is playing in the game for the second season in a row, they won last year's contest The New Orleans Bowl became an officially sanctioned game in 2001
  • www.neworleansbowl.org is the worst website in the history of bad bowl game websites Arkansas State is playing in their first ever Division 1-A bowl game tonight
The Stadium:
  • Cajun Field on the campus of UL Lafayette seats 31,000 It is nicknamed "The Swamp" ... though that might be because it becomes one when it rains with the below ground field
  • The field is 2ft below sea level and has multiple pumps and a drainage system to keep from flooding
The Teams:
  • Southern Mississippi and Arkansas State both finished with identical 6-5 records Arkansas State lost to Army 38-10 near the end of the season (Army!)
  • Southern Mississippi lost 3 games by 4 points or fewer - including a 21-17 loss in Raleigh to NCSU
  • Arkansas State played a "home" game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City against Missouri to open the season

The Players to Watch:
  • Southern Mississippi QB Dustin Almond. The Golden Eagles have absolutely no rushing attack (105th nationally) and he's a senior who'd like to close out his career on a high note. He played well in last year's game after two horrible starts to open his bowl career in 2002 and 2003.
  • Arkansas State RB Antonio Warren. Big bruiser who is Arkansas State's only weapon on offense. Look for him to get the ball early, often and late.
The Game:
  • Southern Miss absolutely cannot run the ball, Arkansas State can't stop the run. Should be interesting.
  • Arkansas State can stop the pass, but Southern Miss can throw it a bit as well.
  • Arkansas State basically is one dimentional the other direction with a run heavy offense.
  • Southern Miss has done a good job on turnover margin (6th in the country)
The Line:
  • Southern Miss (-17)
The Pick:
  • Southern Mississippi wins in a laugher, Arkansas State is terrible. Take Southern Miss and give the points.


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