Steveo’s Salvos! Happy Bowl Season -December 27, 2015

Happy Bowl Season everybody!  Nineteen games have been played already and we at are just getting started  We will attend four pretty good, competitive, significant games during the next five days.  Seven of the eight teams we will see are ranked in the current Top 25.  Among other  teams that we saw play during the regular season, three have already won and three have already lost.  Seen some pretty good ones on TV and avoided the earlier ones we had no interest in.  As to be expected though there have been some good ones and some total blow-outs.  What we hate seeing, however, are all the empty seats at so many games.  Travel is expensive to warmer climes and in general during Christmas vacations.  The games are played during family oriented holidays when people like to finally spend times with their families, so it’s time to relax instead of travel. Some family members still have to work while kids or spouses have time off from school and work.  And generally day time television during weekdays stink!   If TV sponsors are willing to foot the bill, we now believe more than ever that every team should get an extra game.  However, let’s separate the good ones as “bowl” games from what the others really are – “consolation games”.  These games at least give everyone, not just the top rated teams,  a chance to get some extra practice and an additional game at the end of the season.  We’re contemplating sponsoring The Commode Bowl (much more positive than “Toilet”).   We’ve got some great sponsor ideas that work well during day time television.  The game would be played between the two teams with the fewest wins at the FBS level.  Hopefully both would finish 0-12 so one of them could be able to end the season with a victory.  Our slogan, “In the end, someone feels good after leaving the Commode Bowl”. I think if a school finishing the season at 0-12 played an opponent with the same record ,I think quite a few would tune in to see who would win.  Sounds like an offseason project for us… Among the teams that we saw during the regular season that have  won bowls so far this year, San Diego State last lost back on September 26 when we watched them lose to Penn State, 37-21.  They then ran the table in the Mountain West thereafter and clobbered Cincinnati 42-7 in Hawaii to finish 11-3…  Washington State beat Rutgers, 34-27 on our schedule and the went all the way to the Sun Bowl to beat Miami (F) 20-14, to finish 9-4. While we in the Northeast watched games on TV indoors as mild temps pervaded the outdoors, we watched snow fall on TV in El Paso, Texas…   Duke who lambasted Army, 44-3, during the regular season while we were at West Point,  won over Indiana, 44-41, in OT as a questionable call was made on the Hoosier’s FG attempt to tie it up on their last play.  I didn’t watch the game but heard there were “about a thousand people ” in attendance.  They would have had ten times that if the two schools were playing basketball instead over at Madison Square Garden instead of football Yankee Stadium, a horrible football venue…South Florida, Utah State, and Temple were the three teams we saw that lost their bowl games.  Most surprising to us was not that Temple lost to a very good Toledo team, but we were surprised to see their offense sputter to lose that game without much of a fight, 32-17. The Owls will lose all of their defense next year.  We are considering to see their opener next season on Labor Day weekend  against an improving Army team next season…Our first 2015 bowl game we will be attending this Monday will be Pitt (8-4) of the ACC playing No. 21 Navy (10-2)  at the Military Bowl sponsored by Northrop Grumman at Navy- Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis.   The Mids won’t have the entire Brigade of Midshipmen there to support them as they are all away on Christmas leave.  Both teams lost to No. 8 Notre Dame this season and Pitt’s other losses were to No. 5 Iowa, No. 10 North Carolina, and aforementioned Miami.  Navy’s other loss was to No. 18 Houston.  So both teams have played but fallen to some top competition. Pitt HC Pat Narduzzi has improved the Panther defense and has had three weeks to prepare of Navy’s vaunted triple option averaging 319.2 rushing yards per game. Pitt allows 126.1 rushing yards per contest.  Navy QB Keenan Reynolds enters having  85 career touchdowns (all rushing) before joining the Navy’s Cyberspace Warfare program as an Ensign next spring.  Already the NCAA record holder for career rushing touchdowns, he needs two touchdowns to tie and three to break Kenneth Dixon’s (Louisiana Tech) record of 87 for NCAA career total touchdowns.  He needs just 81 yards rushing to set the career NCAA record for rushing yards by a quarterback held by Michigan’s Denard Robinson, who rushed for 4,495 yards in his career. He’ll have his work cut out for him against Pitt, but being the unselfish player that he is, he’ll be focusing on the win rather than his personal stats to be sure.  This game should be a memorable one and great one to start our 2015 whirlwind, five-day bowl tour!  Meeting Brian Donnelly, “Navy Al”, Jay, and some other fellow Navy fans for a tailgate…  The next day, we fly to Orlando to attend the Russell Athletic bowl in a great matchup between No. 10 North Carolina (11-2)  and No. 17 Baylor (9-3). The game kicks off at 5:30 pm.  UNC lost its first game of the season, 17-13, to South Carolina on some questionable play calls to get into the end zone for a win, and it lost its last game of the season to No. 1 Clemson, 45-37, on a game put out of reach on a questionable onside kick recovery by the officials for the ACC Championship. QB Marquise Williams has thrown for 2,829 yards and 17 TDs. Five receivers have 250 or more receiving yards as he spreads the field. He’s also run for 867 yards and 11 TDs.   RB Elijah Hood does the bulk of the groundwork for the Heels as he’s rushed for 1,345 yards and 17 scores.  The Baylor Bears, who we’ll see play for only the second time, were a top team most of the season under HC Art Briles until his QB corps dropped off along the way due to injuries. The Bears lost three of their last four to Oklahoma (before beating Oklahoma State) and losing their last two to TCU and Texas. We figure HC Briles has been working closely with third string QB Chris Johnson these last few weeks to get him up to par with QBs who have gone down to get him prepared to lead this high-powered passing offense.  Briles has always seemed to develop QBs since his days at Houston and seems to do it on the fly as his starters move on due to graduation or injury.  We expect his offense that averaged 48 ppg to come out firing.  The Heels only allowed 22.6 on defense.  With some ball control by Williams’ passing and Hood’s running , a key will be for them to keep the Bears’ offense off the field. I’m hoping to get Cousin Anthony Cavalli who just finished his Air Force career to join me as he’s back home in Orlando for the holidays… On Thursday,  I will be at the CapitalOne Orange Bowl to see No. 1 Clemson (13-0) and No. 4 Oklahoma (11-1) battle to get to the national championship game in Glendale, Arizona to meet the winner of No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Michigan State on January 11. QBs DeShaun Watson of Clemson and  Baker Mayfield of the Sooners should make this an exciting game.  We look forward to it. It doesn’t get better than this to see our first CFP in person. The last time Clemson won a national championship back in 1981, we saw them beat Maryland in their last game of the 1980 season before running the table the following year to win the national championship. We saw them start a 13-game winning streak to get there under HC Danny Ford.  We saw Oklahoma play in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona back in 2011, but it was a letdown seeing them play Big East champ UConn who was only 8-4 that year, and the Sooners with QB Sam Bradford clobbered the Huskies in a yawner, 48-20.  We also attended the Discover Orange Bowl in 2012 where Clemson started off competitively, but then fell in an onslaught to West Virginia on the short-end of a record breaking Orange Bowl score, 70-33.  We don’t expect a yawner this time for sure, and we don’t expect a blow-out by either team.  This one should be high-scoring and not decided until the last quarter.  We can’t wait for this encounter on New Year’s Eve. It’s only the third time we get to see OU play…The very next morning, we will be on our way to Tampa to finish off our fourth bowl game when we head up to Raymond James Stadium. No slouches here a day after the highly anticipated Playoff game.   We’ll see the No. 23 Tennessee Vols (8-4)  meet the No. 13 Northwestern Wildcats (10-2) .  Funny, we ended last season seeing the Vols hammer Iowa in the TaxSlayer, 45-28, after leading 45-7.  Hopefully the same won’t happen this year.  The Wildcats’ two losses were by wide margins to Iowa (40-10) and to Michigan (38-0).  Most of their wins were by close margins. Among UT’s four losses by seven points or less, one was by seven to Oklahoma in two OTs and one was to Alabama by only five. The Wildcats win close ones and UT loses close ones, but if Tennessee starts off like they did against Iowa last season, the result could be big for the Vols.  HC Pat Fitzgerald’s Wildcats will have to be at the top of their game to hold off Tennessee whose QB Josh Dobbs (2,125 passing yards for 15 TDs and 623 rushing yards for nine TDs) and RB Jalen Hurd (1,158 yards and 11 TDs) got off to fast starts last bowl season. Fitzgerald looks for his defense that only allowed 16.4 ppg to hold tightly against a Tennessee offense that scored 34. 3 ppg this season under HC Butch Jones.  This will be the fourth bowl game for us involving the Vols. In addition to last season’s TaxSlayer Bowl, we saw them defeat Wisconsin, 28-21, in the 1981 Garden State Bowl and we saw them fall in 2007 to Penn State, 20-10, in this same venue.  It will be their fourth Big Ten opponent among all the bowls we’ve seen them play in.  We predict that either UT will win big or lose this one close. Tennessee is already on our slate next year when they will meet Virginia Tech at Bristol Motor Speedway on September 10 so we can help establish the record for the largest attendance ever at a college football game…Stay close to this site during our bowl season. We plan to have our game reviews to you pretty quickly though we are on the road this week.  Happy Bowling!  We think we have some great games to wrap up our 2015 season!


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