So three bowl games are down and there were some interesting happenings as I watched the games. Right now my bowl record is not so good as I'm 1-2 entering the official "Bowl Week" where there are games all over the place, including my Heels playing in Charlotte this Saturday.
If you're like me you had a full slate of holiday parties this weekend, watched the Saints run end at the hands of the Cowboys and squeezed in the bowls as you eggnogged it up. Whether yours was a company party, an epic eggnog drinking competition a la our pals over at Gobbler Country or the Tacky Sweater/Sloppy Santa variety I hope you enjoyed yourself. This week drink it all in because between the last minute gift shopping, in-laws, family and old friends visiting we here at ITB will try out best to provide a little escape.
With that said let's get into The Good, The Bad and The Ugly for this first step into the Bowl Pool:
Dwight Dasher has been the biggest treat thus far in the college football's young bowl season. The quarterback put on a show as he ran for 202 yards and threw for another 162 in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. The game itself was absolutely fun to watch as both Southern Miss and Middle Tennessee State got up and down the field. Dasher was unreal, a guy that much of the nation has missed out on this year due to his residence in the Sun Belt.
To go with the excitement of the New Orleans Bowl was the glory that was the New Mexico Bowl. Do not tell Wyoming or Fresno State that the game was meaningless, from where I sat on Saturday night that could end up being the most exciting game in so far as atmosphere is concerned. The game wasn't the most crisp as both teams made some mistakes but there was no questioning the fire each team brought to the game as they got entangled in a little pregame niceties.
This was a game that showed why I love ALL THE BOWLS. Sure you don't always get great match ups and yes at times teams get screwed but when you get a Saturday early evening game like the dandy these teams put on you are seeing what college football is all about. The game went to double OT, it included goal line stands and in the end Wyoming fan's showed what the game meant to them by storming that field in Albuquerque. Clearly there's more to the bowls than just determining a national champion.
I'll lead the way here by licking my wounds and throwing myself under the bus for the bowl picks. More importantly for being proven wrong by both Middle Tennessee State and Wyoming. The article from a few days ago stated that I wouldn't put my trust in a team that hadn't been to a bowl game in recent years because they often times prove themselves unfocused and more or less happy to be there. Well I was wrong and that manifested itself twice in the first three bowl games. Wyoming was in their first bowl since 2004 and they upset Fresno State a team that is a bowl game regular. Middle Tennessee State has only been to one bowl in their brief FBS history and that was three seasons ago in 2006 when the Golden Eagles have made their bones by going to plenty of bowls.
The University of Central Florida gets the second nod as they continue their putrid run through the Big East. For a team that has a dream of getting into the Big East during the next conference reshuffling they are doing little to help their resume. The Golden Knights are now 0-fer in fourteen tries against the Big East. If George O'Leary's squad plans to capitalize on the school's sheer size; 53,000+ they had better find a way to parlay that into wins against the very league they want to join.
Here we go again with Southern California and running back Joe McKnight. The junior running back is under investigation for the possible receiving of "extra benefits" by way of an SUV. As the LA Times reports Scott Schenter is the registered owner and, as in the past, denies that there has been any wrong doing on his part or on the part of the university. The case here is different from the Bush and Mayo cases as there is no "agent" or "handler" involved and it appears that no money changed transferred hands. Rather this Schenter character creates a new issue from an angle that this writer has never seen, the girlfriend.
Apparently Schenter has given plenty of women cars to drive and Johanna Michelle Beltran is just one of the women who he willingly purchases vehicles for and gives access to. Johanna Michelle Beltran also just happens to be the girlfriend of McKnight and thus "allowed" the star running back to drive "her" car. This is going to be a tough one to crack and people are coming out of the woodwork on both sides. In the end it appears to be a what can you prove situation and if Beltran is in fact the true "possessor" of the vehicle then there isn't much the NCAA can do here besides say they frown upon this practice.