by Daniel Olsen
Image via College Football News
There are plenty of chances to stock your special someone’s stockings with goodness to prepare them for their favorite team’s Bowl game this year. By now you may have already bought tickets for the big game but you need to be prepared! This is what you need to stuff each stocking (maybe a little earlier than Christmas for some):
Utah State – The New Mexico Bowl:
Why this bowl is cool: Viva Nuevo Mexico! This bowl is cool because it’s the first FBS Bowl game of the season. Unless you’re a fan of the FCS playoffs, this is what you live for as a college football fan in December! They are always advertising “The road to the college football playoff”. Well the scenic yellow brick road to the College Football Playoff starts with a bowl game in Albuquerque so fans will definitely tune in on a Saturday at noon.
Historical Facts: This isn’t the first “Running of the Bulls” the Aggies have had in New Mexico. The last bowl win Utah State had was a 21 to 6 victory over UTEP in Albuquerque. Back then the third string Kent Myers made Utah State the best quarterback university west of the Mississippi River. Ohio State may have won a national title that year with their third string quarterback Cardale Jones but Utah State recorded 9 wins with wins over BYU, ACC member Wake Forest and a bowl win. This was part of the winningest class in school history.
About the opponent: North Texas had a respectable 9-3 season and the highlight was probably their fake fair catch in a thrashing of Arkansas. The hogs weren’t a good team at all but they are still an SEC team so the Mean Green won’t be pushed over by an Aggie team going through a major coaching change.
Stocking Stuffers: New Mexico should be good weather even during Christmas. Salsa would be a great stocking stuffer to eat some chips. Hey, the Fiesta Bowl replaced Tostitos with PlayStation so New Mexico would be the best place to have a little Fiesta party with chips and salsa.
You also might want something iconic from the state so get yourself something from the Four Corners if you’re driving down. Playing cards are always fun and can fit inside your stocking. Pottery with the Zia Pueblo symbol would be nice to decorate your bowl party with.
BYU – The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Why this Bowl is cool: The temperature at this bowl is usually the “coolest” of the bowl season so there’s that. Also it’s cool to eat baked potatoes at the luncheon before the game. Idaho really knows how to spice up their potatoes and they have all the fixings. You can top it off with Onions, sour cream, ranch, bacon bits, cheese. Even if you’re not a baked potato fan you have to try a Famous Idaho baked potato.
Historical Facts: This is BYU’s first time in this bowl. Their rival Aggies have a 1-3 record in this bowl with their lone win coming in 2012 over Toledo. This bowl was once called the Humanitarian bowl when Utah State lost the inaugural game to Cincinnati in 1997. The game had the word Humanitarian in it for 13 years until the Aggies played in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in 2011. It is time for BYU to make some history in Boise that doesn’t involve losing to Boise State.
About the opponent: Western Michigan University put the city of Kalamazoo at the top of the college football world in 2016 when they went undefeated in the regular season behind PJ Fleck’s “Row the boat” philosophy. This year they haven’t been too special. They won 7 games so they are in the same middle of the pack boat that BYU is currently in. They have a little bit of history in the Idaho Potato Bowl but nothing they’d like to remember. They lost to Air Force by two touchdowns in 2014 in Boise.
Stocking stuffers: This is pretty easy. Anything Potato related. Chips, fries, mashed, sweet, baked, condiments like bacon bits and sour cream, onions, ranch, cheese, you name it! Stuff the stocking in a way that would make Mr. Potato Head proud. While you’re at it don’t forget to pack “The Singles Ward” so you can quote the part when the Kirby Heyborne gets his call to Boise, Idaho (and is actually really excited about it). BYU fans, if this bowl is beneath expectations, just remember at least you’re just there for a day and not two years!
Utah – The Holiday Bowl
Why this bowl is cool: What better place to play a bowl game than San Diego, California? The weather is EXTREMELY nice! It’s also historic in Utah because this bowl was where BYU won their national championship in 1984 but that’s the last thing Ute fans want to hear about. This is the perfect chance for the Utes to prove they belong with the big boys as they could defeat a Big Ten team who also lost their conference title.
Historical Facts: Utah is making history this year in their first ever Holiday Bowl. Again, the Holiday Bowl history in the state so far is all Cougars. BYU has played in this bowl a total of nine times.
About the opponent: This will be an opportunity for the Utes to go 3-0 against Wildcats this year. The Utes have already defeated the mighty Weber State Wildcats who advanced all the way to the FCS Quarterfinals before losing in the “Maine” event. Now they must play another team of purple Wildcats: The Northwestern Wildcats of the mighty Big 10 Power Five Conference. Consider them Weber State 2.0. They may have lost to Ohio State in the championship game but there is no shame in losing to a perennial powerhouse. There is shame in losing to a MAC school like Akron at home though. Early in the year many Big 10 schools struggled against Group of 5 opponents but it looks like Northwestern has worked the kinks out and should give the Utes a decent game.
Stocking Stuffers: Put some Holiday music in that red Ute sock! Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift have some good holiday albums. For a classic you could try some Mariah Carey or even the hit single “Holiday” by Green Day. Rock on! You could try some sunglasses and some floaties to take your children to Seaworld to swim with the Dolphins!
Prediction: I think all teams from the Beehive State SHOULD win but I don’t know if they all WILL win. BYU has been up and down all year so if they are up they should beat a middling MAC team. This isn’t mighty Northern Illinois here. The Aggies might be a little rusty and emotional with all the staff changes taking place but Frank Maile should make this a good game and the winner of that game will win by a close margin as most of the three North Texas losses have been close. They aren’t a push over team. The Utes look much better than Northwestern on paper but the Utes will have to start much better than they did in the BYU game to have a chance!