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The World's Greatest College Football Report, Special Edition: Rockets & Roosters

The College Football Report returns for this very special edition, which we hope is just the first in a good old-fashioned bowl series.

Bahamas Bowl
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (6-6) vs. Toledo Rockets (7-5)
December 17, 11 a.m.
Nassau, Bahamas

Sponsor: SERVPRO, "The #1 Choice in Cleanup and Restoration"
(Yes, the underline is correct. Why? We have no idea but the organizers better get that right on the bowl merch*.)

The question isn't "Why is there a bowl game in the Bahamas?" but rather "How will two teams from the Middle of Nowhere get to the Bahamas?"

Who pays the transportation costs for bowl games? Unless the teams travel by rail and Royal Caribbean, someone will have to cover the flight. Let's assume (wrongly, no doubt) that the two teams travel together. If all scholarship and walk-on players on the Toledo and MTSU rosters travel, over 200 people will need an international ticket. Tack on the staff from each school, and the total will push over 250 passengers.

You better believe the staff will be in attendance. Take Middle Tennessee. Twenty-one people make up the Blue Raiders coaching staff, including recent grad Blake Catlett. Defensive Quality Control duties fall to the fresh-faced Blake, along with dragging down the average age in staff meetings. Would you have the heart to tell Catlett he had to stay in the hinterlands while his compatriots lounged on the beach? No, no you wouldn't.

Who pays for a chartered flight of 250 people? How much does the airline stand to make on the deal? Would it be cheaper to buy a plane? A gently used Airbus A300-200 could accommodate up to 253 passengers if seated in three classes. That arrangement works nicely, allowing for separate sections for Head Coaches and Mistresses, Starters and Scrubs. (Catlett will take responsibility for Dark 'n Stormy Quality Control.) The winning team keeps the plane, of course.

Our pick: Should the teams make it onto the Celebration Bermudagrass of Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium (capacity 15,000), the heavily favored Rockets will count on dual-threat QB Dequan Finn. If blustering winds play a role, MTSU will focus on shutting down Finn's passing attack. No matter. Quinn can either scamper or hand off to RB Bryant Koback, just off a 2-TD rampage over Akron to close out the season for Toledo.

As for Mountain Dew State, the outlook isn't good. Vegas opened with the Rockets as 9-point favorites and the line has since jumped up to -10.5 at Caesar's, the official sportsbook of the College Football Report. The Blue Raiders will field a stout run defense (ranked 32nd nationally) but likely won't have enough to outlast Toledo. Mountain Dew lost to Old Dominion (Old Dominion!) while the Rockets gave the (perennially overrated) Irish of Notre Dame a run, losing by just a field goal in Week Two.

Toledo Rockets (-10.5)


Google searches for the Bahama Bowl included, among others:

Resources for more information:

* COVID forced the cancellation of the 2020 bowl. Where did the gear go? ESPN waited until October 2020 to make the announcement. Surely some "2020 Bahamas Bowl" shirts had been printed without the team names by then. Charitable organizations like Good360 distribute the merch of losing teams to places such as Haiti and El Salvador, perhaps the 2020 Bahamas Bowl made it to another troubled part of the world. Like Florida.


Tailgreeter Cure Bowl
Northern Illinois Huskies (9-4) vs. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (10-2)
December 17, 5 p.m.
Orlando, FL

Let's just get this out of the way. A Chanticleer is a male vocal ensemble. Or, singularly, a Chanticleer could be a character from Chaucer, the Duke University yearbook, a rooster, or a race of angelic humanoids.

Huskies are dogs.

In the case of Coastal Carolina, the Chanticleer in question is a teal rooster named Chauncey. The belligerent fowl cheered on CCU this season to 10 wins and a runner-up finish in the Sun Belt. The Angry Roosters bring the heat on offense, ending the regular season 6th in scoring and rushing offense in the nation. The Huskie D gave up 50 points to Wyoming. This could get ugly.

This is a game people who know nothing about college football will point to and say, "Look at those numbers. These guys deserve to play against a big conference team." That opinion is wrong. Coastal Carolina finished #113 in strength of schedule this season. The list ends at #130.

In contrast to our pooh-pooh take on the gallus gallus domesticus from the Low Country, NIU looks intriguing. The Huskies won eight of their last 10, culminating a comeback season with a 41-23 victory in the MAC Championship game. (For the curious, Northern Illinois finished at #97 in strength of schedule.) And yet . . . Wyoming.

Our pick: To make a selection in the Tailgreeter Bowl, look no further than the numbers put up by CCU's redshirt sophomore quarterback. Despite missing three games over his two seasons, QB Grayson McCall has thrown for 5,071 yards, completed 71% of his passes, and has a 50:6 TD-INT ratio. That said, we'd be remiss to omit Rocky Lombardi from the conversation. The Michigan State transfer finished fourth in the conference in total yards and, if pressed, can run play action with tailback Jay Ducker who finished the season with 1,038 yards rushing.

Rocky is related to Vince Lombardi just not that Vince Lombardi. He does keep the Illinois football tradition alive in the family, following his grandfather and former University of Chicago football coach Bob Lombardi.

In other news, the University of Chicago has a football team.

All of this is set against the backdrop of one of the more virtuous themes of the bowl season. The Cure Bowl began as a means to "promote awareness and research of breast cancer, with proceeds going to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation."

In contrast, the sponsor, Tailgreeter, is in business to help you find the best tailgate. While tailgating doesn't measure up to curing cancer, it is pretty awesome. Unless you are at a lame tailgate. Which is where Tailgreeter comes in. Plug in criteria ranging from Amenities, Type of Lot, Beverages, Accessibility of Bathrooms, to Atmosphere Of The Tailgate, and Tailgreeter will serve up a curated list of pre-parties. Feeling mellow? Pick "Classical" in Type of Music. Want to throw down on a budget? Select "Bring Your Own Booze" under Beverages. This is America.

Coastal Carolina Angry Roosters -10.5


Mike Luce is the world's greatest college football writer. He welcomes your comments.

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