Our weekly college football shame index previews the New Year's Day bowl games.
Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl: Mississippi State (8-4) vs. Northwestern, (9-3), noon EST
In 2013, I'd like to run a 5K in 16 minutes. What else can happen in that span of time? Sixteen minutes is all that stood between Northwestern and an undefeated record, as the Wildcats blew fourth-quarter leads in all of their losses this season. Sixteen minutes is also how long Pat Fitzgerald can hold a compact car over his head. After that, the unwilling passenger inside has usually summoned the police.
Those losses were probably just bad luck, no? Given that Northwestern averaged five yards a carry this year in quarters one through three but only 3.96 in fourth-quarter play and allowed seven passing touchdowns in all fourth quarters combined compared with only nine in the first 45 minutes of games, yes, it was just bad luck.
I'm going to this game but it's my first time in Jacksonville. What can you tell me about this fine city? Jacksonville was recently voted America's Best City for Homeless Murders, as victims and as perpetrators.
Mississippi State is the SEC team, but let's assume they're at risk of losing. How might that happen? Lousy pass defense. In their wins, the Bulldogs held every team they faced below eight yards per throw and tallied 14 picks against seven touchdowns. Every team that beat MSU, however, averaged more than eight yards per passing attempt, and Bulldog interceptions dropped to two while opponent touchdowns ballooned to nine.
Heart of Dallas Bowl: Purdue (6-6) vs. Oklahoma State (7-5), noon
I want my future son to be a major part of the Purdue offense, because I don't like kids. What should I name him? Akeems Shavers and Hunt are responsible for 56 percent of Purdue's rushing yards and 62 percent of its rushing touchdowns. It would be absurd, of course, to ask the Boilermakers to recruit only offensive players named Akeem. Just take the easy route and force all the players to change their names.
What is the Heart of Dallas? A prized relic made from the cheeks Jerry Jones had two faces ago, the Heart of Dallas has the power to grant the holder's deepest wish, so long as that wish is for 50 percent off at the Guess Factory Store Outlet.
Oklahoma State is a throwy team, but just HOW throwy? The Cowboys are the only FBS program with three different quarterbacks who threw for 1,000 yards this year—that's how throwy. In news that is only related because I am mean-spirited, Auburn had zero quarterbacks who threw for 1,000 yards.
What can you tell me about Purdue's interim coach for this game? Patrick Higgins steps into the head spot in place of recently fired Danny Hope, but this is not his first promotion of 2012. Higgins was named interim offensive coordinator in November after Gary Nord was hospitalized with a severe back injury. We predict Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke will find himself jailed under suspicious circumstances three hours before kickoff.
Capital One Bowl: Georgia (11-2) vs. Nebraska (10-3), 1 p.m.
Jarvis Jones? JARVIS JONES. Second in the nation with 12.5 sacks, Jones has recorded a tackle for loss in every game he's appeared in. Containing him has to be top priority for the Huskers, who averaged four sacks allowed in their losses this year. Let Jones run free in the backfield, and Nebraska is totally boned.
What's the counterpunch Bo Pelini can employ? The running game, and plenty of it. In Ameer Abdullah, Rex Burkhead, and Taylor Martinez, the Cornhuskers have three players who averaged at least 70 yards per game. The Dawgs were fairly pedestrian this year, allowing opponents to run for 4.1 yards per carry, and they'll be without the services of tackle John Jenkins, who was suspended for poor grades/illegally being a mountain.
Is there some sort of ridiculous Florida entertainment associated with this game? Naturally. The Orlando Citrus Parade features a variety of floats made almost entirely from the state's rich agricultural bounty and was first started so rich Floridians could flaunt their wealth and deprive the poor of Christmas treats.
This worked better when oranges and nuts were actually good Christmas treats.
So which team will actually walk away victorious? These are Nebraska's records in Bo Pelini's first four years as head coach: 9-4, 10-4, 10-4, 9-4. This is Nebraska's current record: 10-3. Pick Georgia, because gambler's fallacy is real and it kills.
Outback Bowl: South Carolina (10-2) vs. Michigan (8-4), 1 p.m.
Look, you like to throw a lot of random statistics out there. Can't you just admit numbers are meaningless? Yes, and now I will use them to show you why. Eleven teams threw more interceptions than touchdowns this year, and most of them were the pitiful shamblewrecks you'd guess—Kansas, Illinois, USF, for example. Only one of those 11 made a bowl game. That one? Your Michigan Wolverines.
I don't like what you did there, but you're saying Michigan should just run instead? Well, that's not a great option, either. Only Utah State allowed fewer runs of 20 yards or more this season than the Gamecocks, and LSU's Jeremy Hill was the only player to rush for 100 yards against South Carolina.
As a Michigan fan, just the idea of Tampa offends my delicate sensibilities. Is there anything of remote interest to a gentleperson of my station? How about the Home Shopping Network headquarters in nearby St. Petersburg? Think of the collectible dolls and loose gemstones you can get ahead of everyone else! You'll be the talk of the Domino's.
Would a win here even matter that much to Steve Spurrier? It would be the ninth bowl victory of his career, moving him ahead of Phil Fulmer, whom Spurrier would undoubtedly prank call pretending to be the San Diego Chargers.
Rose Bowl: Wisconsin (8-5) vs. Stanford (11-2), 5 p.m.
How can the five-loss Badgers be the best the Big Ten has to offer? Who exactly would you prefer in this slot? The Nebraska team they turned into a public seminar on arson techniques? A Michigan State team that thinks consecutive forward passes is "letting the terrorists win?" MINNESOTA?
What makes Stanford's defense so good? For one thing, Stanford gets a ton of pressure on the quarterback. The Cardinal leads all teams with 56 sacks; this is the first defense since Nebraska's 2005 team to average at least four sacks a game.
Maybe Wisconsin can punt Stanford to death? Considering Stanford's Drew Terrell was second in his conference with 12.61 yards per punt return, no, that's not a good plan. It gets worse when you realize the Badgers have only one victory this year when they punt the ball more than five times. Sometimes we wonder if you're Big Ten at all, Wisconsin.
Why is the Big Ten so obsessed with the Rose Bowl anyway? Pasadena is where Jim Delany fell in love for the very first time. The year was 1968, and her name was Beatrice. She was a California Department of Motor Vehicles Employee Manual, but their romance was not to be, thanks to a milkshake and some clumsy hands.
Orange Bowl: Northern Illinois (12-1) vs. Florida State (11-2), 8:30 p.m.
How can you explain the injustice of this team participating in a BCS game? It's unbelievable. You beat one ranked team and manage to sneak your way out of a tinker-toy conference that impresses nobody and suddenly you get to play in the Orange Bowl? Florida State should be ashamed of itself.
So what can we expect out of this game? Turnovers seem like a given, as there have been at least three between both teams in each of the last seven games the Seminoles have played.
Why is NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch so cocky about this matchup? You're sort of allowed to be when you're in the top 20 for yards per passing attempt and the top 15 for yards per rush among players with at least 100 carries. Of course, none of those runs or passes came against Bjoern Werner, the nation's sack leader and the only surviving terrorist from Nakatomi Plaza.
Can't I just get a refund on my tickets? Caveat emptor, buddy.
Celebrity Hot Tub is a college football fan who lost the ability to truly love thanks to three years of Florida head coach Ron Zook. He writes for Every Day Should Be Saturday. Follow him on Twitter @celebrityhottub.