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To get us caught up, a number of football games took place on Saturday. Take our word for it. There are box scores and everything. Here is a rundown on the few remaining bowls prior to a full slate beginning New Years Eve:
AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Texas A&M Aggies (7-5) vs. West Virginia Mountaineers (7-5)
December 29, 1 p.m.
Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis
Someone will win the day in Memphis, carrying the team to victory in Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium to win the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, brought to you by AutoZone.
Russell Athletic Bowl
Oklahoma Sooners (8-4) vs. #17 Clemson Tigers (9-3)
December 29, 4:30 p.m.
Florida Citrus Bowl, Orlando
The Sooners never got over the proverbial hump in 2014, losing to #25 TCU (37-33) and #14 Kansas State (31-30) in close games that could have turned the season. An ugly loss to #12 Baylor (48-14) and an overtime heartbreaker to rival Oklahoma State to close the season relegated OU to the Russell Athletic Bowl, presented by Russell Athletic. We expect Oklahoma to roll in this one. Clemson comes into Orlando lacking an offensive coordinator (Chad Morris departed for the head job at SMU) and a backup at quarterback.
Clemson QB Cole Stoudt has not impressed in recent games, with four picks and no touchdowns in the last two matchups versus Power 5 teams. The Tigers lost to every ranked team on the schedule as well, but we question the importance of the overtime L against FSU (everyone else nearly beat the Seminoles too) and the 28-6 stinker versus #22 Georgia Tech should give Clemson backers pause.
Our pick: Boomer Sooner. The game also has the looks of an unexpectedly high-scoring affair. Now that we've entered into the legit bowl games, a 50-point over/under looks low. Our final score: OU 34, Clemson 24.
Sidebar: How many other big-name schools can't be abbreviated? There's Clemson, Stanford, and . . . who? Plenty acronyms are tweaked in the crawl to avoid confusion (between the University of Texas and the University of Tennessee), but that's easy enough: TX or TEX and TN or TENN, for example. But there's no natural shortened version of Clemson or Stanford apart from CLEM or STAN, which isn't really the same thing. Conversely, how many schools are always shown as an acronym? (LSU, UCLA, USC, etc.) Someone needs to figure this out.
Bonus: Name the nine professional teams (NBA, NHL, NFL and MLB) whose nicknames don't end in 's'.
That ought to keep you busy. Lord knows no actual work gets done this week.
AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl
Arkansas Razorbacks (6-6) vs. Texas Longhorns (6-6)
December 29, 8 p.m.
NRG Stadium, Houston
The AdvoCare 100 website claims the "Texas Bowl creates and celebrates the culture, heritage, and football tradition of the Lone Star State." To which we ask, "How does the Texas Bowl create culture, heritage, and/or tradition in Texas?" Celebrate, sure. We'll buy that part. Invite a team from Texas (say, the Texas Longhorns), wave the flag around, execute a death row inmate at midfield, and presto. But what about the creation bit?
Multilevel marketing companies (i.e. pyramid schemes, like AdvoCare, Herbalife, Amway, et al.) aren't part of the Lone Star State's proud history. Maybe AdvoCare is thinking of the family traditions that will flow from entering the Tailgater of the Game challenge, sponsored by Texas grocery store chain H-E-B.
Roaming judges in the NRG Stadium parking lot will look for tailgaters with "Team Spirit, Food (Exclusive H-E-B Presence is a must!), Originality and Hospitality" with the winner appearing on the big screen during the game. To get competitors started, H-E-B helpfully provided a checklist including tips such as "a hearty main course like brisket," cowboy boots, and koozies. We'd swap out the koozies for floozies, which would pad the Hospitality score.
Our pick: The University of Texas (+7) and 'Merica. If Texas lacked motivation after a lackluster .500 season, Arkansas coach Bret Bielema's "Horns down" move in a pregame press conference should stoke the fires.
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-5) vs. #23 LSU Tigers (8-4)
December 30, 2 p.m.
LP Field, Nashville
Everyone, The College Football Report excluded, hates Notre Dame. Otherwise, what hope would ESPN have of a national audience tuning in for the FAMMCB?
Tip of the week: Give Nashville a wide berth. Tiger fans are liable to transform The Athens of the South into Gomorrah.
Our pick: LSU (-7) and the points.
#13 Georgia Bulldogs (9-3) vs. #21 Louisville Cardinals (9-3)
December 30, 5:30 p.m.
Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte
What's this, a bowl featuring two ranked teams? Forsooth! Verily have we entered the Realm of Intriguing Games.
Our pick: Whither thou goest, we shall go, Bulldogs, prithee thou cover the spread (-6.5).
Foster Farms Bowl
Maryland Terrapins (7-5) vs. Stanford Cardinal (7-5)
December 30, 9 p.m.
Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
Following its debut as the San Francisco Bowl (2002), this one has made the rounds, known at various times as the Diamond Walnut San Francisco Bowl (2003), the Emerald Bowl (2004-09), the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (2010-12), the Fight Hunger Bowl (2013), and briefly reverting to the San Francisco Bowl prior to inking a deal with Foster Farms in November.
We'd question why a chicken company is backing a bowl game, but with the prevalence of so many other oddball sponsors (looking at you, Duck Commander), Foster Farms' presence seems downright reasonable. Our guess is that Foster Farms, headquartered in nearby Livingston, needed a prestigious site for an annual boondoggle. Or maybe there's a sinister poultry bowl conspiracy afoot, led by Popeyes, Chick-fil-A and Buffalo Wild Wings, that Foster Farms wanted to join.
Our pick: What a snoozefest. Maryland? Stanford? Let's consult The College Football Report Free Range Sacred Chicken, he should know. The verdict? Maryland, +14.
Mike Luce is our man on campus. He welcomes your comments.
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