Is it Week Two already? Time sure does fly when you are drinking nog [sponsored by Southern Comfort] and the bowl games are multiplying like rabbits. It is a motley assortment of bowl games this week and if you think this week is bad, just wait until next week when the real indifference of the International "Incident" Bowl hits the fan. But this week, there is the fun of bowl game sponsorship that calls itself Meineke Car Care, Champs Sports, MPC Computers, Chick fil-A and the granddaddy of bloated corporate sponsorship – the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl presented by Bridgestone. We thought San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl was bad [and it was in all senses…] but at least in the Emerald Bowl's case, they had the good idea of dropping the rest of the product name and being left with a name that sounds like a bowl a team might want to be in – who wants to be in a bowl game with blue turf that is reminiscent of a computer virus? But we digress. No matter what the name of the bowl is, Tommy is just as predictable and we can see he is up to his old fruitcake-like woofing tricks after only one game is in the oven – at least he is consistent, even in the festive holiday season. Butch received some bad avarice and advice from his Chuck Woolery-shaped ornamental cacti oracle. See, that's why Wink starts and you don't, Chuck! So Butch is moving the cushy cacti consulting gig to Bert Convy this week, because he seems capable of handling that extra game on the schedule. Next week – Butch pulls out the big guns - Alex Trebek and Bob Barker - and Tommy will be in some serious trouble. Let's see what nog-induced haze the boys find themselves trapped in for the second week of the holiday bowl game season...
Tommy: Well, Butchie held his breath and chose NIU. I think the lack of oxygen to his brain affected that pick. Well, this week is another week for my furry friend. Hopefully there is more nogging and fewer instances of depriving the old brain of precious O2.
Butch: It's a good thing Butch doesn't have many brain cells left or else he might corral them all in a hat and teach them how to do the bourgeoisie hokey pokey – how do like them apples, Tommy? Huh? Yeah, more nog…
"Ted Nugent" Motor City Bowl
Central Michigan (-9.5) v. Middle Tennessee State
Tommy: Could there be a more compelling contest? Well, yes. CMU's only conference loss (NIU) embarrassed themselves, and the Sun Belt runner up isn't exactly scaring anyone. Tommy's going to go with the Chippies though because they can pitch and catch the ball well, and MTSU's offense is awful, even with poor competition. We Own Ohio-35, We Choked Against Troy-17.
Butch: The real mystery here is – whatever happened to Upper and Lower Tennessee State? [cue spooky music…]. Butch learned his lesson with that pathetic Northern Illinois team – no more picking Huskies in bowl games this year. A team from the Sun Belt? – that's close enough – Butch takes the Chippewas to win and cover.
UCLA (-4.5) v. Florida State
Tommy: Well, after all that smack talking about the Bruins all season, maybe Tommy deserved what he got in the first weekend of December. Well, I hope the Bruins enjoy their nuts, because they shouldn't have any problem making FSU's pathetic offense look bad. As in the last few games, UCLA will do just enough offensively to get it done. Outcoached Lane Kiffen-17, What If Jeff Bowden Isn't The Problem?-9.
Butch: When Karl Dorrell first arrived in Westwood, he had some trouble winning games late in the year [0-for-the last five of 2001], but he has gradually improved and this year, his team has won three of the last four including an upset of Tommy's boys of Troy. Make that four of the last five. Butch takes UCLA to win and cover…and give Tommy some solace.
Independence "Holiday Fruitcake" Bowl
Alabama v. Oklahoma State (-2.5)
Tommy: Tommy ain't a fan of either of these teams. They are the very definition of mediocre. However, methinks that the Tide will be distracted by all of those farked "Gump To Coach Bama" websites. Besides, if you can't beat MSU, then you don't even belong in a bowl game. We Shoot Guns At Our Games-20, No One Wants To Coach Us-10.
Butch: Look, Butch has said it a million times – looks like he's gonna have to say it again – only a piñata in the form of Bear Bryant will ever satisfy the Jumbo Shrimps' fan base. Butch takes OSU to win and cover.
Texas "NFL Network" Bowl
Kansas State v. Rutgers (-7.5)
Tommy: Well, the Cats did defeat mighty Texas, but they also got hammered by Kansas, Missouri, and...Baylor? Rutgers will control the game with their running game and their defense, and the fact that KSU can't defend will come back to haunt them yet again. We're Close To The Big Apple-35, We're The Little Apple-17.
Butch: This is rutgers' first-ever bowl game as the favorite. Butch is still trying to get used to using the words "Rutgers" and "bowl game" in the same sentence but takes the Scarlet Knights to win and cover if the NFL Network will let you watch it.
Texas A&M v. California (-5)
Tommy: Hey, Pac-10 fans, ready for another disappointment? The Ags were in every game that they played, and stifled Texas. The Bears, on the other hand, slumbered through their last three games of the season, and have sustained a trend of starting the conference fast and finishing slow. There's one more prophecy the Beatniks have to fulfill. They are like the Palestinians. They never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. That means a loss in a visible bowl game. We're Going To Have A Bear Bonfire-24, This Is Why The Rest Of The Pac-10 Hates Us-20.
Butch: Gee, this sounds familiar. California is in the Holiday Bowl favored to win against some team from Texas. They were "in" most of those games, but what has happened at the end of most games for Dennis Franchione-coached Aggie teams in the months of November and December since 2003, Tommy? Thumb and forefinger in the shape of an "L" - to the tune of 2-11. Butch takes Cal to win and cover and hopes Tommy works out his Cal hatred with his therapist.
Music City "Dolly Parton" Bowl
Kentucky v. Clemson (-10)
Tommy: Tommy's not a believer in Rich Brooks, but the Tigers haven't covered since October, and that included a game against lowly NC State. Bowden's boys win, but it won't be pretty. Even Bowden's Good Seasons Are Disappointments-25, Stuck With Rich Brooks-22.
Butch: Butch is on record as saying Clemson is the country's most overrated team aside from Notre Dame [and that's an unattainable level] but they should still win this game because the only thing keeping Ken-Yucky from slamming into the sidewalk is the fact that they played a tougher schedule – well, at least that's what it says on the back of this here bourbon label. Butch takes Ken-Yucky to cover.
Missouri v. Oregon State (-3)
Tommy: Pinkel's guys limped to the finish line, losing four of their last six. The Beavs are hot, even going to the Islands and upsetting the Warriors, who were playing well. Missouri has better stats, but I don't trust Pinkel. Beavs win and barely cover. Riley Owns Carroll-28, Pinkel Makes Iowa State Look Good-23.
Butch: Alexis Serna is good for three all by himself. Butch takes the Beavers to win and cover…and notes, for the record, that Tommy can't call them Bark Rats when they beat his boys.
Liberty "Elvis" Bowl
Houston v. South Carolina (-6)
Tommy: This is a tough one. Tommy is not impressed with mighty Visor's job with the Gamecocks. They didn't beat anyone worth a darn until they squeaked one out against slumping Clemson. Meanwhile, Houston beat Oklahoma State and nearly beat Miami. I'm going to go with hothead Spurrier, but not to cover, because they don't stop the run. Time To Blame It On My Assistants-27, Almost Got A Ten Win Season-24.
Butch: Butch thinks Tommy meant "slumping, overrated Clemson" and Butch agrees. Houston got killed against Kansas in their bowl game last year – not a good sign – but Butch thinks they can do better this year and takes the other Cougars to cover.
Minnesota v. Texas Tech (-6.5)
Tommy: All you need to know: #3 pass offense vs. #115 pass defense. Yikes! We Own All Our Bowl Opponents That Don't Play D-35, No More Maroney-22.
Butch: The head honcho of this bowl game dissed the Pac-10 for this? If Bama and Ok State hadn't already locked up Holiday Fruitcake honors, this game was waiting in the wings. Butch takes Tech to win but Minnesota to cover.
Champs "Sport-O" Bowl
Maryland v. Purdue (PK)
Tommy: Sweet! Time for the mustachioed fat guys to face off for all the marbles. Well, it's not really a big game, and Tiller isn't as fat as Friedgen. Tommy isn't on board the Terp train, since they were actually outgained by 50 yards per game on average. Sure, the Trains' defense blows, but their offense will save the day. Greatest Coach in Boiler History-31, Why Do They Call Him Fridge?-21.
Butch: Purdue gets to bowl games and then, generally, loses them – they are the perfect bowl game opponent if you are their opponent. Butch takes Maryland to win.
Meineke "Lube Job" Bowl
Navy v. Boston College (-6)
Tommy: I love the Middies, but let's face it, they haven't beaten anyone. They've beat one bowl team: mighty East Carolina, by five points. Their forays against Rutgers and Notre Dame ended in disaster. Even with the coaching change, the Eagles take care of business. Goodbye, O'Brien-38, We Don't Have Enough Athletes-20.
Butch: Navy has not beaten a major conference team in a bowl game in a decade and BC is 5-0 SU and ATS in the last five years under O'Brien. Even though he has jumped ship, Navy can't take advantage of the man overboard and Butch takes BC to win and cover again.
Iowa v. Texas (-9)
Tommy: Has anyone been more disappointing this season that Iowa? 6-6? Losses to Indiana, Northwestern, and Minnesota? Sure, Texas didn't exactly barrel into the finish line, but my lord, the Hawkeyes suck! They're going to get steamrolled. From Rose To Alamo-35, Beano Says That Ferentz Is The Best Coach In College??!!!-18.
Butch: Wazzu can attest to what happens when Texas loses interest in a bowl game – let's check that 2003 Holiday Bowl score again. Butch takes Texas to win but Iowa to cover.
Chick "Hearn" Bowl
Georgia v. Virginia Tech (-2.5)
Tommy: The Dawgs just beat the team that smashed Virginia Tech, and this is essentially a home game for them. Easy upset pick, right? Nope. The Hokies handed Wake Forest their only beatdown of the season, and have won six in a row. Plus, they didn't lose to Kentucky and Vandy. Beamer Ball-17, Boring Ball-7.
Butch: Butch takes Techs, Virginia is a Tech, therefore, Butch takes tech to win and cover.
MPC Computers "Boise Blue Virus" Bowl
Nevada v. Miami (-3)
Tommy: Here comes the upset. The Canes have snoozed throughout the season, and will in no way be psyched up to play this one. You're talking about a team that lost to Florida State and Virginia and nearly lost to Houston and Duke. The Pack and their crazy offense pulls off the biggest win in their school's history...which isn't sayin' much. Reno Owns Las Vegas-17, Is It 2007 Yet?-14.
Butch: Man, is Miami gonna hate the cold weather…and the blue turf…and Boise…and this bowl game. Butch takes Nevada to cover.
Penn State v. Tennessee (-4)
Tommy: Seen the Nittany Lion offense lately? Not exactly scintillating. They didn't even average 20 per game in Big Ten play. That won't get it done against a Vol team that will score some points. Rocky Top-27, I've Got To Run To The Bathroom In The Middle Of The Game-20.
Butch: The Nitts play in the Big 11 – translation: at least four easy wins per year. Butch takes Tennessee to win and cover.
Nebraska v. Auburn (-2.5)
Tommy: Has anyone noticed that Auburn has played ugly football all year? They did beat LSU and Florida, but those games were hardly masterpieces. They struggled against teams like Buffalo, Tulane, South Carolina, Ole Miss, and Arkansas State, and got pummeled by ice cold Georgia. Remember what happened to them in their bowl game last year? Get ready for a repeat, with Nebraska's running game doing the job. Next Year Will Be Exciting In Lincoln-35, Cox Ain't No Campbell-20.
Butch: No doubt about that, Tubby's middle name is "Ugly Bowl Game" – and they should beat Nebraska but Butch takes the Cornpones to cover.
Nekkid Crackhead-Eatin' Gator Bowl
Georgia Tech v. West Virginia (-7.5)
Tommy: Ah, what might have been for these schools. Tech played so well for long, and then laid two offensive eggs in their biggest games of the year. West Virginia started the season as everyone's darling, and ended up a two loss Big East team. This spread is too high for a team that has only covered once since October. There will still be burning couches in Morgantown though. I Love The Smell Of Charred Microfiber In The Morning-17, We'll Never Beat Georgia Again-13.
Butch: Butch usually goes for Techs, but Georgia is an embarrassment to Techs everywhere this year so Butch wrecks Tech and goes with West Virginia to get ready to burn couches in the street and win and cover.
Capital One "Late Payment Charge" Bowl
Wisconsin v. Arkansas (-1.5)
Tommy: The Hawgs are going to be completely one dimensional in this game. They are going against the #1 pass efficiency defense in the nation, and the Badgers ain't too shabby against the run either. Get ready for the boys from Madison to take it to an SEC team for the second year in a row. Madtown-24, Parents Run Our Program-13.
Butch: Wisconsin has won three of the last four as the underdog and as we all know – cheese always wins out in the end. Butch takes the Big Cheese to win and cover.
USC (-1) v. Michigan
Tommy: When last we saw the Trojans, they were looking terrible against the Bruins. Ah, but styles make games. The Wolverines run a pro style offense, and they are not as fast defensively as UCLA is. Look for the Trojans to shock the Big Ten yet again, and to open next season #1. Good Guys-20, Meet Ya In New Orleans next Year-17.
Butch: This really is the Granddaddy of all bowls but you'll never know it from this game. Michigan tanks in their bowl games [1-4 in the last five years] and Tommy's boys don't have very far to travel to practice [and they do need to practice, even Wazzu could beat UCLA…] and play now, do they? Butch takes Tommy's boys to win and cover.
Boise State v. Oklahoma (-7.5)
Tommy: Good luck to the Broncos in trying to stop Adrian Peterson, who will be performing his swan song for the Sooners. Oklahoma's defense will stifle the BSU offense, and we'll yet again know why mid majors don't get shots at national titles. Boomer!-35, Back To Reality-13.
Butch: Boise is not going to win this game because it's not on the blue virus turf where they have won their only two games against major conference opponents [Iowa State and Oregon State], so let's just put that out of the way right off the bat. They may, however, cover – they are 4-4-2 in that department in the last five years - but Butch isn't taking any chances and he's going with Tommy on this one and taking the whiny Sooners to win and cover…and then whine some more about the Oregon game.
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