Christmas, Bowl Season, and New Years! One Heck of a Week!

We’re back! Here comes my first real blog and I’m very excited about it!

First of all, I would like to say I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! I’m super blessed with the family and friends that I have around me and was lucky enough to spend a lot of time with them. It was nice having everyone back in town for the weekend and getting to see people you may only get to see every couple months or once or twice a year. I had a blast and had a wonderful Christmas, so there’s definitely no complaining on my end. I think it’s always crazy how first of all, it only take what feels like 10 minutes from Thanksgiving for Christmas to get here, but then also how Christmas is over in the blink of an eye. I always hate knowing it’s over and having to wait another year for these great couple of days. But I would like to say thank you to everyone who made my Christmas extra special and I look forward to next year!

There are two major items that factor into my main topic this week. 1. The Packers face the Lions this week and are out of playoff contention, which means this game is completely meaningless for both teams. I’ll hit on the NFL a little bit, but there isn’t a whole lot that gets me excited there. 2. WE’RE HEADING INTO THE BEST WEEKEND OF THE YEAR FOR BOWL GAMES! I can not wait for tomorrow night, which is when a lot more of the interesting games start to roll around.

First, I’ll touch on the NFL. Many playoff spots are locked up already, but we still have a couple major games to keep an eye on this weekend. I find it great that Drew Brees and the Saints were able to lock up the one seed in the NFC. If you haven’t had a chance to watch Drew Brees and Sean Payton dance in the locker room after they clinched, definitely do that now, it is a MUST watch. It’s a mixture of having no moves (like myself) and being old, and it is GREAT! Also, the Rams, Bears, Cowboys, and Seahawks locked up their spots in the playoffs on the NFC side, with the Vikings and the Eagles battling for that 6th spot. They are all great teams and the tough matchups, but with the road to the Super Bowl going through NOLA and the Superdome, it may be tough to not pick the saints (could be me just being biased and rooting for Drew Brees to get there again, too). On the AFC side, the Chiefs, Patriots, Texans, and Chargers have all locked up their spots in the playoffs, with the Ravens and Steelers fighting for the 4 seed, and the Colts and Titans playing this week for a winner goes to the playoffs as a wild card team game. In a way, playoff football starts this week for some teams, which is exciting, but with the Packers being out of it, it makes it a little tougher to pay so much attention to the NFL. I’m caught in-between wanting to lose to get a better draft pick and just wanting to win (tough to root against your team), so these past couple weeks have been rough.

That brings me into COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL SEASON. If you don’t know me well, you might not be aware that I am a college football fanatic. I watch pretty much any game that is on. I spend my Monday’s looking at ESPN to figure out which matchups I have to look forward to on Saturday. Then I plan my Saturday’s around when the best games are to make sure I am in front of a TV for all the important games. If you listen to the608 Show Podcast and my college football segment, you understand what I mean, as I will go in depth about a lot of games that mean nothing to many people, but that may turn out to be good games (for example, I hit big on great matchups between Fresno State and Boise State). So, I do enjoy all the little bowl games that lead us up to this weekend and I do appreciate them, but now we’re heading into the best games on the biggest stages. So first of all, the Badgers and Miami match up tomorrow afternoon in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl in New York. What a crummy place for a bowl game. I just visited New York and it was AMAZING, but for a bowl game, you want to go some place warm, like Florida or California. Unfortunately, we had a rough year and we are stuck in the cold weather at Yankee Stadium. I’m excited for the game, though! It’s a rematch of last year’s Orange Bowl, with two major programs, that are both looking for a good way to end tough/let down seasons. Coan will be starting, so we can expect a heavy dose of Jonathon Taylor on the ground. 4:15 PM tomorrow, check it out.

Moving on now to Friday’s games, we have two great games. The first one is 20 Syracuse vs 16 West Virginia. Obviously, this would be a better game if Will Grier was playing in it, but you can still expect a competitive game from Orlando. Syracuse and their quarterback Eric Dungey are looking to prove that they have turned their program around and we need to show them more respect than that they are just a basketball school in the future. The next one is 24 Iowa State vs 13 Washington State in the Alamo Bowl. Honestly, this is must watch TV. The Alamo Bowl may be my favorite non New Years Six Bowl. You can expect a high scoring matchup, with bowl teams chucking the ball all over the field. The Alamo Bowl never disappoints and is always a ton of fun to watch.

This leads us into Saturday, where we have one News Years Six Bowl and the two HUGE playoff matchups. 7 Michigan and 10 Florida kick it off for us. Michigan is disappointed after a late season loss to Ohio State once again knocked them out of the Big Ten Title game and the playoffs, but they have a lot to prove that they’re fully back. I’m rooting for them big time to take down the Gators from the SEC. I usually (except if it’s Iowa) pull for Big Ten teams during the bowl season because I want them to prove were the best conference in the nation. The first playoff game is between 3 Notre Dame and 2 Clemson in the Cotton Bowl. I can NOT wait for this matchup. I think this is going to be an absolute BATTLE. If the freshman quarterback from Clemson, Trevor Lawrence, plays well, I think they come out on top, but Notre Dame is trying to prove that they belong there and deserve more respect, so this will be an interesting game to watch. The last game of the day is 4 Oklahoma and 1 Alabama. Personally, I don’t think this ends up being much of a game at all. I think Oklahoma will keep it close at first and maybe for the entire first half, but I think Alabama will wear them down. I honestly think Oklahoma needs to score about 50 to 60 points to win, and I don’t know if anyone can do that on Alabama’s defense. With Tua playing, I think Alabama wins this convincingly.

On New Years Eve, we’re in for a couple more good games. Check out Oregon and Michigan State in the Redbox Bowl (Both had relatively disappointing seasons) and the Holiday Bowl, which is 22 Northwestern vs 17 Utah (lets go Wildcats!).

The last major day of the best weekend in Bowl Season is New Years Day, which brings a lot of great games our way. 11 LSU and 8 UCF match up in what UCF will once again call the National Championship (what a joke). Last year I rooted for UCF because of the story, but if you want respect, go out and play big non-conference games then you can complain if you still miss out on the playoffs. As Coach O would say, Geaux Tigers! 14 Kentucky and 12 Penn State match up later, which I think should be a good game. Basketball season is on now, though, so don’t expect too many Kentucky fans to be at that game lol. The next game to check out is the Grand Daddy of them all, the Rose Bowl. 9 Washington vs 6 Ohio State brings an interesting game to us. Will Ohio State’s players be all locked in with them not making the playoffs? Will Haskins prove himself vs one of the top secondaries, if not the top, in the nation? We will see! The last game is 15 Texas vs 5 Georgia. Texas is on their way back, but I don’t think they have enough to take down the Bulldogs, who in my opinion are easily a top 3 team in the nation, but ran into Alabama before others did.

The National Championship game will be a week from Monday, but hopefully I can hit on that in my next blog. That brings us to the end of the best weekend of college football of the season. I’m excited now, but when I go to bed on Tuesday night, I will feel empty inside knowing I have to wait another whole year for another bowl week like this. That will leave me looking forward to March Madness!

I can not wait for this weekend. College football, a long weekend, New Years Eve, and much more. I don’t know what I’m doing for New Years Eve yet, but I’m hoping to ring in the New Year with a bang! And I hope you all get a chance to as well. Be safe, enjoy yourself, and have some fun! Watch some football, have a few drinks, and enjoy some more time with family and friends.

Thank you all again for reading and stay tuned for more to come!

Brandon Slaats