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College ShameDay: Why Is A Physics Professor Running The Fiesta Bowl? Your Non-BCS-Title Bowl Games FAQ


Our weekly college football shame index previews the rest of the Not National Championship bowls.

Allstate Sugar Bowl: Louisville (10-2) vs. Florida, (11-1), 8:30 p.m. EST

What's Louisville's best approach on offense here? This is going to sound weird, given that Florida held every opponent under 160 rushing yards, but … don't throw the ball too much. The Cardinals went 1-2 when they threw the ball more than 40 times, and the one win was in overtime over Cincinnati. (This is totally not a trap. Signed, a Florida fan.)


And their best chance on defense? The Gators have been a notorious second-half team this year, but that actually plays into Louisville's strengths, to some extent. The Cardinals have held opponents to three touchdowns and fewer than four yards a carry in the third and fourth quarters.

Shouldn't Georgia really have gotten this BCS slot? Well, Notre Dame has the only defense other than Florida's to hold every opponent under 28 points and 400 yards, and the Gators secondary has 19 interceptions against just five passing touchdowns allowed—the biggest such margin in the nation—and Florida beat five teams likely to be ranked in the final top 25. But sure, that stupid thing you said.

Could we witness anything historic in this game? I guarantee that you will: In the nearly 80-year history of the Sugar Bowl, this will be the first and perhaps only game coached by two former American Gladiators.


Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: Oregon (11-1) vs. Kansas State (11-1), Thursday

Isn't a matchup between two teams with such different playing styles really confusing to think about? It's even worse on defense, where the Wildcats are the nation's top team in turnover margin at plus-22 and Oregon is close behind at plus-19. Combined, Oregon and Kansas State had only seven games this year where they didn't force more turnovers than they gave up. How that math works here, I have no idea. Maybe a lot of interceptions that are fumbled back to the offense during the return.


Why is the executive director of the Fiesta Bowl a physics professor? Because physics professors are less likely to spend bowl funds on strip clubs and illegal campaign contributions. They are more likely, however, to funnel money into the secret underground construction of an anti-gravity death ray, but that's more manageable from a PR standpoint.

Whom should Kansas State focus on stopping in this game? Marcus Mariota. And Kenjon Barner. And De'Anthony Thomas, because Oregon is the only team that has three players ranked in the top 30 in yards per carry. So yeah, just focus on stopping all of them. Maybe use a trou de loup.


Isn't it grand to bask in the rich history of a game like the Fiesta Bowl instead of these bullshit new games that keep getting thrown together? Not if you're Bill Snyder, who is older than all but five of the current bowl games and was already a father the first time the Fiesta Bowl was played. Bill Snyder has seen the beginning of the universe, and he's going to see the end of it, too.

AT&T Cotton Bowl: Texas A&M (10-2) vs. Oklahoma (10-2), Friday

For the love of everything holy, isn't there anyone on Texas A&M you can talk about other than Johnny Manziel? How about wide receiver Mike Evans, who had the second-most receiving yards of any freshman in the nation this year with 1,022? Evans had at least five catches in every game but one this year and did a ton of damage on first down, where he accumulated over half his yardage.


What should I track if I'm rooting for the Sooners? Two things: third-down conversions and passing touchdowns. In all of its wins this year, Oklahoma had at least five of the former and two of the latter. Unfortunately, technology does not allow us to measure the most essential factor in this game: how lonely Landry Jones is feeling at any given time.

And if I'm rooting for Texas A&M? Then the statistic that matters to you should be rushing yardage, as the Aggies have been held below 150 in both of their losses this year. Oklahoma ranks 97th in yards per carry allowed, however, so it's probably cool if you just practice your weird semaphore routine, or whatever the hell it is.


But A&M hasn't won a January bowl since 1987. Why will this year be different? The top hit that year was a Los Lobos cover of "La Bamba," which is Spanish for "Kevin Sumlin is not Mike Sherman or Dennis Franchione."

BBVA Compass Bowl: Pittsburgh (6-6) vs. Ole Miss (6-6), Saturday

Why haven't I heard Sunseri used as a verb much this year? Though it's been an up and down year for the Panthers, Tino has seen decided improvement compared to 2011—he's averaging an interception once every 180 throws, whereas last year it was once every 35. Even the sack problem has improved slightly, as Pitt is only 103rd in sacks allowed this year instead of dead last. That's good news if you're Tino Sunseri's spleen and bad news if you're Tino Sunseri's spleen doctor.


How did Hugh Freeze get Mississippi back on track so quickly? One of the biggest improvements is with the officials—the Rebels are averaging 23 fewer penalty yards per game compared with last season. That's just the kind of discipline you get when you hire Phil Mickelson's cousin who just got his real estate license.


Is that enough for the Rebels to win here? Well, no. They'll also need their good run defense to show up; in their six wins, the Rebels have limited opponents to five rushing touchdowns and 2.28 yards per carry, but those numbers go up to 12 and 4.6, respectively, in the six losses.

A Pitt fan just hit me with a sockful of golf balls and told me Birmingham is a Big East town. Was she right? So it would seem. This game has been played only six times, and the Big East has been the victor in five of those games.

Advertisement Bowl: Kent State (11-2) vs. Arkansas State (9-3), Sunday

Kent who? Dammit, you really have to start watching something other than the Big Ten Network. Iowa's Best Punts isn't something you can talk about at parties. Instead, why don't you learn something about Dri Archer, the Kent State running back who ranks fifth overall in combined rushing and receiving yards despite not being in the top 100 in rushing attempts or receptions?


Arkanwhat state? Seriously? How much Jeff Smoker: No Renovations can you watch? It's just him sitting in an apartment talking about how he's too tired to paint. Watch this game instead and see if Arkansas State can make it eight straight opponents held under four yards per carry.

Why should I watch this if the coaches who started the season with these teams aren't even bothering to show up? Look, when Purdue and Auburn call, you answer that phone. Ok, technically Auburn still uses messengers on horseback to contact potential hires, but you get what I'm saying.


You didn't answer my question. Because both Kent State and Arkansas State average over 30 points a game, and you're going to fatten up on those numbers before watching Alabama and Notre Dame.

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.

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