Between now and next Thursday, football fans will have five bowl games to enjoy.
Play is set to start at 1 p.m. Saturday when Wyoming (8-4) takes on Temple (8-4) in the Gilden New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque, N.M. I look for Temple to win this one, which will be broadcast on ESPN.
That same day at 4:30 p.m., Ohio (9-4) will play Utah State (7-5) in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise, Idaho. This will likely be the best game of the day, and I look for Utah State to win. It’ll be broadcast by ESPN.
The final bowl game on Saturday will be the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, which will feature San Diego State (8-4) and Louisiana-Lafayette (8-4). It’ll kick off at 8 p.m. in New Orleans and will be shown on ESPN. I like San Diego State in this one.
On Tuesday at 7 p.m., Florida International (8-4) will play Marshall (6-6) in the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl in St. Petersburg, Fla. I look for FIU to win that game, which will be televised by ESPN.
On Wednesday at 7 p.m., No. 16 TCU (10-2) will play Louisiana Tech (8-4) in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego. ESPN will also broadcast this game, and I look for TCU to win by double digits.
Also this week, we edged a little closer to the best time of year in the National Football League – the playoffs.
The playoff picture became a little clearer after the dust settled from Sunday’s slate of pro games. A number of teams, including the New Orleans Saints, sewed up playoff spots. While no teams in the AFC were a lock for the playoffs yet, the Saints, undefeated Green Bay and San Francisco all qualified for the playoffs.
The Saints can do no worse than the NFC Wild Card spot at this point. Green Bay clinched the NFC North division crown, and the 49ers clinched the NFC West division title.
Depending on who they match up against in the playoffs, the Saints have a very good chance of making another run for a Super Bowl title. The Saints have the best offense in the NFL, and quarterback Drew Brees is breaking offensive records left and right.
Of course, to win it all, their defense is going to have to step it up.
It came as no surprise that Sparta Academy’s varsity girls basketball team was ranked among the state’s best when the season’s first prep basketball poll was released last week. Sparta’s girls program has earned a reputation for excellence, so it was no shock to see them in the year’s first poll.
Hillcrest’s varsity boys and girls teams are better than their records reflect. They’ve already played (and in some cases beaten) some very decent teams, including J.F. Shields, Central-Hayneville, McIntosh and Escambia County.
I’m looking forward to January when they’ll get into area play. The tough games they’ve already played will serve them well when they start battling it out for the area title.