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Life Beyond the Arc

College Football Viewing Guide: 2013-14 Bowl Fact Sheet

Bowl season is upon us. You probably have many questions. We're here to help. Warning: Fact sheet is processed in a facility that may contain non-facts.

New Mexico Bowl

What’s the least that I, the discerning sports consumer, need to know here? The Gildan New Mexico Bowl, featuring Washington State and Colorado State, kicks off at UNM’s University Stadium in Albuquerque at 2 p.m. ET on December 21, with coverage on ESPN. What’s a Gildan? Gildan makes active wear; so far as title sponsor, Gildan has been gracious enough to allow players to wear jerseys with words on them, but not gracious enough to outfit those jerseys with chest pockets.

What are some New Mexico Bowl talking points I can use to impress potential mates at fancy parties? It’s the first postseason game by 90 minutes, so it has that going for it … Last year’s game was a rousing shootout that ended with a one-point Arizona victory achieved in the final 20 seconds of play … The New Mexico Bowl boasts the best trophy craftsmanship of all bowls, with handcrafted pottery and leather shield awards … Postseason college football action in Albuquerque actually dates back to 1980, when the D-II championship game was played at University Stadium under zany circumstances:

In 1980, the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Mustangs played Eastern Illinois at University Stadium in the Division II championship game, called the Zia Bowl. It snowed in Albuquerque just two days before the game and the weather was unusually cold. Helicopters were brought in to dry the fields and the grass was painted green.

Las Vegas Bowl

Chris Petersen and Kyle Whittingham at the 2010 Last Vegas BowlWhat’s the least that I, the discerning sports consumer, need to know here? The Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl, featuring no. 20 Fresno State and no. 25 USC, kicks off at UNLV’s Sam Boyd Stadium at 3:30 p.m. ET on December 21, with coverage on ABC. Hold up, is a gentlemen’s club sponsoring a bowl game? It’s not that much of a Las Vegas Bowl. Royal Purple manufactures “synthetic oil and lubricants,” for vehicles, not people.

What are some Las Vegas Bowl talking points I can use to impress potential mates at fancy parties? This is one of the better press conferences to catch if you can, because it tends to feature coaches being photographed with showgirls in towering headdresses … This year’s welcome reception, held on Fremont Street, will allegedly feature both a player dance contest and a pie-eating competition … Lane Kiffin graduated from Fresno State and used to coach USC, did you know? … The official Pac-12 hotel for the Las Vegas Bowl is Mandalay Bay, which houses the Shark Reef Aquarium, which in turn houses the adorable golden crocodile, a fine stocking-stuffer gift for children of all ages … Following Steve Sarkisian’s hire and interim head coach Ed Orgeron’s departure, the Trojans will be coached in the bowl by interim interim head coach Clay Helton, who served previously as the team’s quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator.

Potato Bowl

What’s the least that I, the discerning sports consumer, need to know here? The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, featuring Buffalo and San Diego State, kicks off at Boise State’s Bronco Stadium at 5:30 p.m. ET on December 21, with coverage on ESPN. Does the descriptor “famous” here indicate that the bowl is famous, or that the potatoes themselves are famous? Definitely the potatoes; previously known as the Humanitarian Bowl, the Potato Bowl has existed in its current form only since 2011, though it has distinguished itself from a crowded field by being the only major college postseason football contest to feature chives in its logo.

What are some Potato Bowl talking points I can use to impress potential mates at fancy parties? The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl is sponsored by the Idaho Potato Commission, which offers helpful suggestions on how to make just about any level of tailgating fare as a potato-based food … The commission also operates the meticulously updated “Dr. Potato Blog,” which is exactly what it sounds like … Despite what the game’s official website might have visitors believe, the bowl itself is not played in a potato field, but rather on Boise’s famed blue turf … The central social event of this bowl is the Mash Bash, which provides fans with the opportunity to “vote for your favorite potato in Tatergeddon.”

New Orleans Bowl

What’s the least that I, the discerning sports consumer, need to know here? The R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, featuring Tulane and Louisiana, kicks off at the New Orleans Superdome at 9 p.m. ET on December 21, with coverage on ESPN. So Tulane basically gets one last home game as its bowl? That’s mean. TULANE IS IN A BOWL. THAT IS AWESOME.

What are some New Orleans Bowl talking points I can use to impress potential mates at fancy parties? Between Green Wave partisans and Ragin’ Cajuns coming in from Lafayette, this is shaping up to be the postseason’s premier tailgating destination … 2013 marks the third consecutive New Orleans Bowl for Louisiana, and the first bowl appearance at all for Tulane since the 2002 Hawaii Bowl … The Charlie Daniels Band and Travis Tritt will play a free concert the night before the game; see if Tritt will change it up a little and play Here’s a French Quarter. Jokes!

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl

What’s the least that I, the discerning sports consumer, need to know here? The Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl, featuring East Carolina and Ohio, kicks off at St. Petersburg’s Tropicana Field at 2 p.m. ET on December 23, with coverage on ESPN. Really? With the apostrophes? We’re still doing that? Apparently!

What are some Boeuf d’Brady Bowl talking points I can use to impress potential mates at fancy parties? The eminently unspellable Beefing Bradys was preceded as a title sponsor in St. Pete by the utterly inscrutable magicJack … Beesting Besties’ menu features a signature cocktail called the Beef ‘O’ Rita, which does not actually contain meat … The bowl is perhaps most affectionately known for the fight that broke out between Louisville and Southern Miss players at a pre-bowl beach party in 2010 when Conference USA players’ dancing abilities were called into question.

Hawaii Bowl

What’s the least that I, the discerning sports consumer, need to know here? The Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, featuring Boise State and Oregon State, kicks off at the University of Hawaii’s Aloha Stadium at 8 p.m. ET on December 24, with coverage on ESPN. So Oregon State’s reward for a season-ending five-game losing streak is a trip to Hawaii? Oregon State’s schedule was pretty terrifyingly back-loaded, to be fair. To be fair, Oregon State’s season began with a loss to a paid FCS opponent. America is the greatest country in the world.

What are some Hawaii Bowl talking points I can use to impress potential mates at fancy parties? Beach balls are not allowed inside Aloha Stadium, which seems counterintuitive … The Hawaii Bowl has no connection to such previous Honolulu postseason games as the Pineapple Bowl and the Poi Bowl, but we always like pointing out that there used to be a Poi Bowl … Participating players receive, among other gifts, a Tori Richard Hawaiian shirt, and we really, really hope it’s one of these.

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl

Little Caesars Pizza mascotsWhat’s the least that I, the discerning sports consumer, need to know here? The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, featuring Pittsburgh and Bowling Green, kicks off at Detroit’s Ford Field at 6 p.m. ET on December 26, with coverage on ESPN. How in good conscience is this not called the Pizza Pizza Bowl? Are these people thinking? We like to have fun with bowl names, but this is the nation’s last standing bowl game named for a pizza chain, and so the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl deserves our protection and our respect.

What are some Pizza Bowl talking points I can use to impress potential mates at fancy parties? With Dave Clawson already installed at Wake Forest, Bowling Green will be coached by Falcons special teams coordinator Adam Scheier … The LCPB marks your last chance to see Panthers defensive tackle and freshly minted Nagurski winner Aaron Donald play in a Pitt uniform … America could face a pizza-bowl-free postseason in 2014, if new title-sponsoring leadership action is not taken … Whatever the future holds, this game will always be remembered as the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl Presented by Hungry Howie’s.

Poinsettia Bowl

What’s the least that I, the discerning sports consumer, need to know here? The San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, featuring Utah State and no. 23 Northern Illinois, kicks off at San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium at 9:30 p.m. ET on December 26, with coverage on ESPN.

What are some Poinsettia Bowl talking points I can use to impress potential mates at fancy parties? As far as our research has been able to determine, this remains for the ninth consecutive season the only bowl game named for a poisonous houseplant … The Poinsettia promises one of the most intriguing unit matchups of the postseason, pitting Utah State’s defense against NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch and friends … Yes, NIU is the team with the high-fiving dog, a dog that’s about to trot off into well-deserved retirement … The game’s San Diego location affords players a trip to the San Diego Zoo, which is usually good for at least a few new photos of terrified-looking elite athletes with rare birds perched on their heads.

Military Bowl

What’s the least that I, the discerning sports consumer, need to know here? The Military Bowl Presented by Northrup Grumman, featuring Marshall and Maryland, kicks off at Annapolis’s Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium at 2:30 p.m. ET on December 27, with coverage on ESPN. That is a terribly unwieldy name for a football game. You want to argue that with the guys who make drones?

What are some Military Bowl talking points I can use to impress potential mates at fancy parties? One of several bowl games that operates with a philanthropic focus, the Military Bowl is dedicated to benefiting the USO … While this might not be the most prestigious postseason destination, don’t expect grumping from Herd and Terps players, all of whom are taking home PlayStation 4s.

Texas Bowl

What’s the least that I, the discerning sports consumer, need to know here? The Texas Bowl, featuring Syracuse and Minnesota, kicks off at Houston’s Reliant Stadium at 6 p.m. ET on December 27, with coverage on ESPN.

What are some Texas Bowl talking points I can use to impress potential mates at fancy parties? The Texas Bowl logo is a football engraved in the style of a Western belt buckle, which contains within it the outline of the shape of Texas. As is only proper, Texas Bowl participants receive commemorative belt buckles … Previous Texas Bowl MVPs include Ray Rice and Andy Dalton … Start your envy engines now: The Orange and Gophers alike get to participate in the greatest bowl week sideshow of them all, the Rodeo Bowl … Minnesota is the only team to appear in the Texas Bowl twice; as such, Minnesota will get the first chance to defend a Rodeo Bowl title.

Fight Hunger Bowl

What’s the least that I, the discerning sports consumer, need to know here? The Fight Hunger Bowl, featuring BYU and Washington, kicks off at San Francisco’s AT&T Park at 9:30 p.m. ET on December 27, with coverage on ESPN. That is a baseball stadium. Not all the time! It housed the Cal Bears while their stadium was being renovated, and though the teams have to share a sideline, at least there are two end zones! Unlike in some places!

What are some Fight Hunger Bowl talking points I can use to impress potential mates at fancy parties? Though Kraft is no longer a title sponsor, and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese remains the best possible hunger-fighting mechanism, the Fight Hunger Bowl attempts to cast a slightly wider net than your personal stomach … The Cougars and Huskies will both spend time on Christmas Day serving holiday meals to local families in need … Bowl week activities also include a tour of Alcatraz … The Fight Hunger Bowl will move to an actual football stadium beginning in 2014.

Pinstripe Bowl

The Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee StadiumWhat’s the least that I, the discerning sports consumer, need to know here? The New Era Pinstripe Bowl, featuring Rutgers and Notre Dame, kicks off at Yankee Stadium at noon ET on December 28, with coverage on ESPN. That is DEFINITELY a baseball stadium. What better place to host what we’re repeatedly told is New York’s most beloved college football team than in what we’re repeatedly told is New York’s finest sporting facility?

What are some Pinstripe Bowl talking points I can use to impress potential mates at fancy parties? The Pinstripe, along with the Heart of Dallas, is the baby of the bowl family, having been established in 2010 … With such a short history, it’s easy to make sweeping statements like “There has never been a Pinstripe Bowl not won by Rutgers or Syracuse” … Thing we learned: It is possible to purchase a Decepticons cap from New Era … The greatest recorded reach in modern bowl scouting trips belongs to the anonymous Pinstripe Bowl rep who got credentialed for the 2011 LSU-Alabama game.

Belk Bowl

What’s the least that I, the discerning sports consumer, need to know here? The Belk Bowl, featuring Cincinnati and North Carolina, kicks off at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium at 3:20 p.m. ET on December 28, with coverage on ESPN.

What are some Belk Bowl talking points I can use to impress potential mates at fancy parties? The 2012 Belk Bowl was a postseason high-water mark, both in terms of on-field entertainment and creative use of the word “Belk” … Blake Shelton is scheduled to highlight the Belk Bowl FanFest concert on December 28; we have already taken the liberty of compiling a Belk Shelton tribute album … In a marketing masterstroke, Belk Bowl participants’ bowl gift will be — a shopping spree! At Belk! Sensibly priced houseware for all!

Russell Athletic Bowl

What’s the least that I, the discerning sports consumer, need to know here? The Russell Athletic Bowl, featuring Miami and no. 18 Louisville, kicks off at Orlando’s Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium at 6:45 p.m. ET on December 28, with coverage on ESPN. The bowl’s Twitter feed is an absolutely essential postseason follow:

What are some Russell Athletic Bowl talking points I can use to impress potential mates at fancy parties? Just quoting its history without tripping up will be impressive enough. Stay with us here: The Russell Athletic Bowl, not to be confused with its predecessor, the Champs Sports Bowl, is played in Florida’s Citrus Bowl Stadium, not to be confused with the Citrus Bowl Game, although both bowl games played in the Citrus Bowl were previously known, at different times, as the Tangerine Bowl. Got all that?

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl

What’s the least that I, the discerning sports consumer, need to know here? The Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, featuring Michigan and Kansas State, kicks off at Arizona State’s Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe at 10:15 p.m. ET on December 28, with coverage on ESPN.

What are some Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl talking points I can use to impress potential mates at fancy parties? Former bowl all-stars include Drew Bledsoe, Ron Dayne, and Aaron Rodgers … Though it’s better known as the former Insight Bowl, did you know that this event is also a former Pizza Bowl? Domino’s sponsored it for a couple of years, way back when it was the Copper Bowl. If you’d like to sport throwback attire at this year’s game, may we suggest this fetching sweatshirt? … Also, if you’re looking for Smash Mouth, they’ve been located.

Armed Forces Bowl

What’s the least that I, the discerning sports consumer, need to know here? The Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, featuring Middle Tennessee and Navy, kicks off at TCU’s Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth at 11:45 a.m. ET on December 30, with coverage on ESPN.

What are some Armed Forces Bowl talking points I can use to impress potential mates at fancy parties? It’s the Armed Forces Bowl, and lolling will not be tolerated: That is, in fact, a 10:45 a.m. local kickoff time … The Midshipmen lead the bowl merchandise race with this year’s classic-looking bowl hoodie … Navy’s seniors received their service assignments last week; you may be interested to know that outstandingly named safety Wave Ryder will be taking to the air as a Navy pilot.

Music City Bowl

What’s the least that I, the discerning sports consumer, need to know here? The Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, featuring Ole Miss and Georgia Tech, kicks off at Nashville’s LP Field at 3:15 p.m. ET on December 30, with coverage on ESPN. If you’re interested in a long sporting weekend, it’s possible to stay in Nashville for three days and take in a college football, professional football, and two professional hockey games. The Predators host the Kings that Saturday and the Titans host the Texans on Sunday, with the bowl game on Monday afternoon and another Predators game, versus the Red Wings, that night.

What are some Music City Bowl talking points I can use to impress potential mates at fancy parties? Georgia Tech and Ole Miss are meeting for the first time since the 1971 Peach Bowl; Tech leads the all-time series between the teams, 2-1 … Bowl week activities kick off with a rib-eating contest on a riverboat, which sounds genuinely delightful, and continue at the Hard Rock Cafe for that true taste of Nashville.

Alamo Bowl

Oregon State players at the 2012 Alamo BowlWhat’s the least that I, the discerning sports consumer, need to know here? The Valero Alamo Bowl, featuring no. 10 Oregon and Texas, kicks off at the Alamodome at 6:45 p.m. ET on December 30, with coverage on ESPN. Not at the actual Alamo. Not at the actual Alamo, although that would not be the worst location for a pregame laser tag party. Oregon’s already got the outfits. You could turn off all the lights in the Alamodome and make it the biggest, bestest laser tag arena in the country. This is actually a plan currently under consideration for the future of the Astrodome.

What are some Alamo Bowl talking points I can use to impress potential mates at fancy parties? At the moment, the central topic of Alamo Bowl–related conversation concerns whether Texas’s coach of 16 years will lead the Longhorns beyond their bowl game; as of this writing, Mack Brown’s Texas future remains a mystery … In the meantime, let’s entertain ourselves by thinking about the teams’ trip to SeaWorld San Antonio, where players will have the opportunity to swim with whales, do sit-ups with walruses (we’re not making this up), and learn exciting facts about the myriad sea creatures native to the Texas Triangle.

Holiday Bowl

What’s the least that I, the discerning sports consumer, need to know here? The National University Holiday Bowl, featuring no. 14 Arizona State and Texas Tech, kicks off at San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium at 10:15 p.m. ET on December 30, with coverage on ESPN. I miss Pacific Life. Us too. That sponsorship was good for at least a dozen airings of the “Whaleslap Fight Song” commercial per game.

What are some Holiday Bowl talking points I can use to impress potential mates at fancy parties? The Holiday Bowl also hosts the finals of the Wienerschnitzel Wiener Nationals, which are held at the site of the balloon parade, marrying the natural pairing of wiener dogs and balloon floats … Unlike some other halftime passing contests (Molly. CALL US), the Holiday Bowl’s is sponsored by Dr Pepper Ten; despite this marketing presence, no visible prohibitions against female participants have been spotted … Did you know that while there’s a Holiday Bowl and a Holiday Bowl in California, there’s also a Miracle Bowl and a Miracle Bowl in Utah?

“Independence” Bowl

What’s the least that I, the discerning sports consumer, need to know here? The AdvoCare V100 Bowl, featuring Arizona and Boston College, kicks off at Shreveport’s Independence Stadium at 12:30 p.m. ET on December 31, with coverage on ESPN. The what, now? This was the Independence Bowl, which is still being played in Independence Stadium, only this year they’re not calling it the Independence Bowl, and next year AdvoCare won’t be there, either. What is AdvoCare, even? Jason Witten likes it. He seems nice.

What are some Independence Bowl talking points I can use to impress potential mates at fancy parties? You need bring nothing to Shreveport save a map of all the neighborhood drive-thru daiquiri windows.

Sun Bowl

What’s the least that I, the discerning sports consumer, need to know here? The Hyundai Sun Bowl, featuring Virginia Tech and no. 17 UCLA, kicks off in El Paso’s Sun Bowl Stadium at 2 p.m. ET on December 31, with coverage on CBS. Uncle Verne! This game is your last chance to hear Verne Lundquist in a football setting until the first CBS game of 2014. Drink in those chortles.

What are some Sun Bowl talking points I can use to impress potential mates at fancy parties? In its long history, the Sun Bowl has experienced all kinds of curious weather patterns, from the 1974 Fog Bowl to the 2010 snow/ice storm that had employees dragging tables across the field to clear the lines … Participating players receive perhaps the quirkiest of all bowl gifts, in the form of Helen of Troy hair dryers … Three Dog Night will be performing at this year’s Fan Fiesta, which also features a “clown internship program” … The Sun Bowl’s tiara game is second only to the Rose Bowl’s.

Liberty Bowl

What’s the least that I, the discerning sports consumer, need to know here? The AutoZone Liberty Bowl, featuring Rice and Mississippi State, kicks off in Memphis’s Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium at 4 p.m. ET on December 31, with coverage on ESPN. That’s two games in a row that are still called what we think they’re called and played in the stadiums we think they’re played in! Don’t get used to it.

What are some Liberty Bowl talking points I can use to impress potential mates at fancy parties? The game partners with the awesome folks at nearby St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital … And while the players don’t actually get to participate in this activity, the Liberty acquits itself admirably in the bowl week fun department with a professional rodeo night and a BBQ-off.

Chick-fil-A Bowl

The 2012 Chick-fil-A Bowl parade (Chick-fil-A Bowl)What’s the least that I, the discerning sports consumer, need to know here? The Chick-fil-A Bowl, featuring no. 24 Duke and no. 21 Texas A&M, kicks off in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome at 8 p.m. ET on December 31, with coverage on ESPN. We’re calling it the Peach Bowl forever, right? We are calling it the Peach Bowl forever, BUT have a canny marketing plan for God’s House of Chicken to consider: Stockpile Georgia peaches. Freeze. Unfreeze and make your narcotic summer peach milkshake available for ONE NIGHT ONLY inside the Georgia Dome during the bowl game — at a premium price, of course — satisfying both Peach Bowl traditionalists and your duty to your brand.

What are some Chick-fil-A Bowl talking points I can use to impress potential mates at fancy parties? This is widely and rightly presumed to be the last game of Johnny Football’s collegiate career, and he gets to play it against Duke’s defense. Duke, on the other hand, gets to play against A&M’s defense. It’s difficult to say who’s getting the better bargain here, positive yardage–wise … Duke students will attend the game for free, thanks to the deep pockets of Duke alums … The highlight of CFA bowl week, as always, is the two-pronged pregame competition of meat consumption and milkshake construction.

Gator Bowl

What’s the least that I, the discerning sports consumer, need to know here? The TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl, featuring Nebraska and no. 22 Georgia, kicks off at Jacksonville’s Everbank Field at noon ET on January 1, with coverage on ESPN2. This sounds familiar, right? It should. The Bulldogs and Huskers faced off in last season’s Capital One Bowl. Georgia rode five Aaron Murray touchdown passes to a 45-31 win. Georgia won’t have the same quarterback; will Nebraska still have the same coach? Bo Pelini practically dared his bosses to fire him and they haven’t, so.

What are some Gator Bowl talking points I can use to impress potential mates at fancy parties? Notably absent from this year’s rematch: Murray himself, whose college career ended in unbelievably cruel fashion with an ACL tear suffered versus Kentucky. In his place: Junior Hutson Mason, famed tire swing enthusiast, who threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns in his first start, the Dawgs’ last game of the regular season, against Georgia Tech.

Heart of Dallas Bowl

What’s the least that I, the discerning sports consumer, need to know here? The Heart of Dallas Bowl Presented by PlainsCapital Bank, featuring UNLV and North Texas, kicks off at the Cotton Bowl at noon ET on January 1, with coverage on ESPNU. At the Cotton Bowl, but not the Cotton Bowl. Right.

What are some Heart of Dallas Bowl talking points I can use to impress potential mates at fancy parties? Along with the Pinstripe, the HoD is college football’s newest postseason addition, inaugurated as the TicketCity Bowl and operating as the Heart of Dallas for the second consecutive year … The Heart of Dallas supports various charitable causes; this year’s game benefits CitySquare … Is it too late for a game bet that awards a university president to the winning school?

Capital One Bowl

What’s the least that I, the discerning sports consumer, need to know here? The Capital One Bowl, featuring no. 19 Wisconsin and no. 9 South Carolina, kicks off at Orlando’s Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium at 1 p.m. ET on January 1, with coverage on ABC. OK, so this is the game that’s played at the Citrus Bowl that actually was, originally, the Citrus Bowl game? Right. What fruit-bowl coup overthrew the Tangerine dynasty in 1983, giving rise to a democratic all-citrus governing body? You know who would think that a perfectly reasonable question? The guy who runs the CapOne Bowl’s Twitter account, your other crucial postseason follow:

What are some Capital One Bowl talking points I can use to impress potential mates at fancy parties? You can start by berating the officials before they even take the field, because eventually needing to seems like a pretty safe bet at the moment. Wisconsin types, here’s the link to attach to your angry emails … Everybody headed to the game, hit us up on Twitter if you spot any bears.

Outback Bowl

What’s the least that I, the discerning sports consumer, need to know here? The Outback Bowl, featuring Iowa and no. 16 LSU, kicks off at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium at 1 p.m. ET on January 1, with coverage on ESPN. Blessed stability. Indeed. The Outback has operated under the same title sponsorship since the 1995 season, blessing bloggers with annual opportunities for endless Bloomin’ Onion jokes since before there were bloggers.

What are some Outback Bowl talking points I can use to impress potential mates at fancy parties? The stadium contains a pirate ship, so keep a weather eye out for Les Miles’s inevitable seafaring metaphors … The Bayou Bengals’ only meeting with the Hawkeyes came in a particularly memorable CapOne Bowl … Outback gives restaurant gift cards to visiting players, which may seem cynical, but recall our midseason interview with Aaron Murray, in which he detailed just how much his linemen can eat in one trip.

Rose Bowl

What’s the least that I, the discerning sports consumer, need to know here? The Rose Bowl Game Presented by VIZIO, featuring no. 5 Stanford and no. 4 Michigan State, kicks off in the actual Rose Bowl at 5 p.m. ET on January 1, with coverage on ESPN. And will distinguish itself by being the fastest-finishing, lowest-scoring Rose Bowl in history, yes? At the moment, that seems close to impossible: The 1922 game, between Cal and Washington & Jefferson, ended in a 0-0 tie. A 2-0 victory, however, might be Mark Dantonio’s ideal game.

What are some Rose Bowl talking points I can use to impress potential mates at fancy parties? It’s the Rose Bowl. It’s positively dripping with history. It’ll only get drippier this year, since it’s the 100th game … Michigan State was described to us earlier this year as “The West Virginia of the Big Ten,” and the affection that engendered has only grown with this little stunt … Vin Scully is this year’s Tournament of Roses Grand Marshal.

Fiesta Bowl

Oregon Ducks mascot Puddles celebrates the Fiesta Bowl in the only proper wayWhat’s the least that I, the discerning sports consumer, need to know here? The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, featuring no. 15 Central Florida and no. 6 Baylor, kicks off in Glendale’s University of Phoenix Stadium at 8:30 p.m. on January 1, with coverage on ESPN. Say, where’s John Junker these days? Not running the Bahamas Bowl. We don’t think. Might want to tag his ear with a monitoring device like a shark to be sure.

What are some Fiesta Bowl talking points I can use to impress potential mates at fancy parties? Apart from waxing poetic about how we all should’ve gone into business as bowl tycoons back when we had the chance, and gaping at how this is Baylor’s first BCS game and UCF’s sixth-ever postseason appearance, and cooing over pictures of Puddles cramming his maw full of tortilla chips in years past: Did you know that the Fiesta Bowl is the only postseason college football contest that also sponsors a moon base design competition? That will probably serve as the operating office for Fiesta Bowl barons once a sustainable plan is achieved? Seriously, bowl-running. Nice work if you can get it.

Sugar Bowl

What’s the least that I, the discerning sports consumer, need to know here? The Allstate Sugar Bowl, featuring no. 11 Oklahoma and no. 3 Alabama, kicks off at the New Orleans Superdome at 8:30 p.m. ET on January 2, with coverage on ESPN. Say, remember what happened the last time Alabama ended up in the Sugar Bowl with a case of the sads? We were there, tagging along with some LSU-aligned pals who had tickets, getting our first in-person look at the pose we would later dub the Surrender Cobra. It was the saddest, weirdest sporting event we’ve ever seen in real life. Saw a lot of that Surrender Cobra on the Plains a couple weeks back.

What are some Sugar Bowl talking points I can use to impress potential mates at fancy parties? How readily, with the sting of missing out on a title three-peat, Bama fans might still be expected to pony up and pile in … what Cochon Butcher’s menu might look like during game week … and whether Alabama’s feelings in general and Bob Stoops’s feelings in particular might set the all-time feelingsball volume record.

Cotton Bowl

What’s the least that I, the discerning sports consumer, need to know here? The AT&T Cotton Bowl, featuring no. 13 Oklahoma State and no. 8 Missouri, kicks off in Arlington’s AT&T Stadium at 7:30 p.m. ET on January 3, with coverage on Fox. Is it too late to start keeping track of games no longer played in the stadiums named for them? Probably!

What are some Cotton Bowl talking points I can use to impress potential mates at fancy parties? 2013 conference championship losses were the Cotton Bowl’s gain; both these participants came within minutes of winning their leagues and landing in a BCS bowl … Mizzou quarterback James Franklin attended high school less than an hour away, at Lake Dallas … The Cotton Bowl has a tendency not to disclose bowl gifts, which makes one wonder whether Jerry Jones is handing out private islands … There’s a strong heathering game in this year’s Cotton Bowl shirts … And a tyrannical ban on binocular cases at the JerryDome … Holy shit, there’s a Cotton Bowl coloring contest, and the results are spectacular.

Orange Bowl

What’s the least that I, the discerning sports consumer, need to know here? The Discover Orange Bowl, featuring no. 12 Clemson and no. 7 Ohio State, kicks off in Miami’s Sun Life Stadium at 8:30 p.m. ET on January 3, with coverage on ESPN. Why isn’t the Orange Bowl played in the Orange Bowl? That stadium doesn’t exist anymore, further tangling our understanding of the histories of citrus-based college football contests.

What are some Orange Bowl talking points I can use to impress potential mates at fancy parties? You might recall Clemson and Ohio State’s only previous football meeting for one very specific reason … Relive the magic of Darwin Cook’s meet-cute with a giant plush orange (he’s sorry, y’all) … While the Orange Bowl doesn’t operate out of the Orange Bowl anymore, it is played in a stadium that was briefly named after Jimmy Buffett’s beer. Related thought: Upon his retirement, will Steve Spurrier lobby to have South Carolina’s field named after his wine? Would anybody protest?

BBVA Compass Bowl

What’s the least that I, the discerning sports consumer, need to know here? The BBVA Compass Bowl, featuring Vanderbilt and Houston, kicks off at Birmingham’s Legion Field at 1 p.m. ET on January 4, with coverage on ESPN.

What are some BBVA Compass Bowl talking points I can use to impress potential mates at fancy parties? Formerly known as the PapaJohns.com Bowl, the only known postseason college football contest ever to be named after a pizza chain’s website, the game suffered from repeated annual failures to fully supply attendees with pizza … The last-ever BBVA Compass Bowl (BBVA Compass is not renewing its sponsorship) is also the first since 2010 not to feature Pitt as a participant. Not content to abandon their pizza-adjacent postseason streak entirely, the Panthers will instead appear in the Little Caesars Bowl.

GoDaddy Bowl

What’s the least that I, the discerning sports consumer, need to know here? The GoDaddy Bowl, featuring Arkansas State and Ball State, kicks off in Mobile’s Ladd-Peebles Stadium on January 5 at 9 p.m. ET, with coverage on ESPN. Why is it not called the GoDaddy.com Bowl anymore? The company made the switch this past spring, because computer reasons.

What are some GoDaddy Bowl talking points I can use to impress potential mates at fancy parties? Arkansas State is already down a head coach, losing Bryan Harsin to Boise, and if athletic directors with vacancies know what they’re doing, Ball State will be playing without Pete Lembo as well by the time this game actually kicks off. It’s something of a tradition at the GoDaddy, the cradle of interim coaches.

BCS National Championship

What’s the least that I, the discerning sports consumer, need to know here? The VIZIO BCS National Championship, featuring no. 1 Florida State and no. 2 Auburn, kicks off at the Rose Bowl at 8:30 p.m. ET on January 6, with coverage on ESPN.

What are some National Championship talking points I can use to impress potential mates at fancy parties? See the Rose Bowl entry, with the added gravitas of this being the final title game of the BCS era. In a way, we’re getting something sort of new and not at the same time: This will be an extrapolated second Iron Bowl in terms of process, if not on-field product, with Jimbo Fisher’s Sabanized Florida State versus Gus Malzahn’s triumphantly reclaimed Auburn. You might fear that, absent the Crimson Tide, this year’s national title game will run low on fan spectacle. Turns out Florida State’s ready to fill that void.

Filed Under: College Football, Sports

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Holly Anderson is a staff writer at Grantland.

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