NCAA

Why you need to watch every bowl game; a guide from the weird and wacky to the College Football Playoff

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USA TODAY Sports

Why you need to watch every bowl game; a guide from the weird and wacky to the College Football Playoff

Bowl season is upon us and while you think there may be too many or matchups you don't like, I'm here to give you a reason to watch every single game.

Plus a pick if, you know, you're "tangentially interested."

Let's get weird. 

MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL: BOWL GUIDE ON TV

Saturday, December 16th

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, 1 p.m. ET on ESPN 
Who: North Texas vs. Troy 
Why: It has been a week since Army-Navy and you need your scratch that college football itch. I get it, man. You don't have to explain yourself to me.
Pick: North Texas (+6.5)

AutoNation Cure Bowl, 2:30 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network
Who: Western Kentucky vs. Georgia State
Why: You want to justify paying for CBS Sports Network.
Pick: Western Kentucky (-6.5)

Las Vegas Bowl, 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC
Who: No. 25 Boise State vs. Oregon 
Why: Neither of these teams like each other. Remember that LeGarrette Blount punch? So does Boise State.
Pick: Oregon (-7)

GILDAN New Mexico Bowl, 4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Who: Marshall vs. Colorado State
Why: It can't be worse than watching the Chicago Bears set football back 50 years in the same time slot.
Pick: Colorado State (-5.5)

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl, 8 p.m. ET on ESPN
Who: Arkansas State vs. Middle Tennesse State
Why: Last chance to watch a bowl game for a few days and these two should put on a pretty fun offensive show for you thanks to ASU QB Justice Hansen and MTSU QB Brent Stockstill.
Pick: Arkansas State (-4)

Tuesday, December 19th

Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl, 7 p.m. ET on ESPN
Who: Florida Atlantic vs. Akron
Why: Lane freakin' Kiffin. You know he's going to be celebrating early on the sideline as FAU runs up the score.
Pick: Florida Atlantic (-22.5)

Wednesday, December 20th

DXL Frisco Bowl, 8 p.m. ET on ESPN
Who: SMU (7-5) vs. Louisiana Tech (6-6)
Why: SMU WR Courtland Sutton will likely have a big day. Also, the endless opportunities to see DJ Khaled "DXL" commercials. 
Pick: SMU (-5)

Thursday, December 21st

Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl, 8 p.m. ET on ESPN
Who: Temple  (6-6) vs. Florida International (8-4)
Why: I'm sorry, did you miss the title sponsor? Bad. Boy. Mowers. Gasparilla. Bowl. Think of the disdain the announcers are going to have by halftime for repeating that over and over. 
Pick: Temple (-7)

Friday, December 22nd

Bahamas Bowl, 12:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Who: UAB (8-4) vs. Ohio (8-4)
Why: UAB wasn't a program last year. They went 8-4 in their first season back after a two-year hiatus. That's awesome.
Pick: UAB (+7.5)

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, 4 p.m. ET on ESPN
Who: Wyoming (7-5) vs. Central Michigan (8-4)
Why: You get a chance to see Blake Bortles Josh Allen before your favorite team overdrafts him in April! 
Pick: Wyoming (PK)

Saturday, December 23rd

Birmingham Bowl, 12:00 p.m. ET on ESPN
Who: South Florida (9-2) vs. Texas Tech (6-6)
Why: Defense will be set to "Optional" for what could be the most entertaining offensive game of the bowl season.
Pick: South Florida (-2.5)

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, 3:30 p.m ET on ESPN
Who: San Diego State (10-2) vs. Army (9-3)
Why: If you like to be efficient with your time, this game should be over in under three hours. Army may not attempt a pass. 
Pick: Army (+7)

Dollar General Bowl, 7 p.m. ET on ESPN
Who: Toledo (11-2) vs. Appalachian State (8-4)
Why: I have a tough time finding a reason to steer you away from Aaron Rodgers against the Vikings, but maybe you went to Toledo or Appalachian State. Or, maybe you are an Ohio State fan still gleeful about the Mountaineers win over Michigan. To each their own.
Pick: Toledo (-7.5)

Sunday, December 24th

Hawai'i Bowl, 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Who: Fresno State (9-4) vs. Houston (7-4)
Why: There is no Sunday Night Football and you've already seen Home Alone a dozen times by now. 
Pick: Fresno State (+2.5)

Tuesday, December 26th

Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl, 1:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Who: Utah (6-6) vs. West Virginia (7-5)
Why: You can't be guilted to wear that awful sweater your Aunt Mildred got you in public if you don't leave the couch.
Pick: Utah (-6.5)

Quick Lane Bowl, 5:15 p.m. ET on ESPN
Who: Duke (6-6) vs. Northern Illinois (8-4)
Why: Duke's David Cutcliffe didn't leave for Tennessee and it is never a bad time to poke fun at Tennessee for that coaching search.
Pick: Northern Illinois (+5.5)

Cactus Bowl, 9 p.m. ET on ESPN
Who: Kansas State (7-5) vs. UCLA (6-6)
Why: Chip Kelly is back at the college ranks; plus, a look at future top-10 pick QB Josh Rosen.
Pick: Kansas State (-2.5)

Wednesday, December 27th

Walk-On's Independence Bowl, 1:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Who: Southern Miss (8-4) vs. Florida State (6-6)
Why: To see the team Alabama fans spent hours arguing was the key to propping up Alabama's strength of Schedule and why the Crimson Tide made the playoff. A 6-6 Florida State team!
Pick: Southern Miss (+15.5)

New Era Pinstripe Bowl, 5:15 p.m. ET on ESPN 
Who: Iowa (7-5) vs. Boston College (7-5)
Why: To see the other reason Alabama fans spent days arguing they deserved to be in the playoff -- Iowa! 
Pick: Iowa (-3)

Foster Farms Bowl, 8:30 p.m. ET on FOX
Who: Purdue (6-6) vs. Arizona (7-5)
Why: Arizona QB Khalil Tate is a cheat code. He didn't start the first four games, but finished with almost 1,300 passing yards and 1,400 rushing yards. He is a human highlight reel. 
Pick: Purdue (+3.5)

Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl, 9 p.m. ET on ESPN
Who: Missouri (7-5) vs. Texas (6-6)
Why: Because Texas might be ... BACK! (Probably Not)
Pick: Missouri (-3)

Thursday, December 28th

Military Bowl presented by Northrup Grumman, 1:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Who: Navy (6-6) vs. Virginia (6-6)
Why: You love America, that's why.
Pick: NAvy (+1)

Camping World Bowl, 5:15 p.m. ET on ESPN
Who: No. 19 Oklahoma State (9-3) vs. No. 22 Virginia Tech (9-3)
Why: We have our first matchup between ranked teams and it should be a fun contrast of styles.
Pick: Oklahoma State (-4.5)

Valero Alamo Bowl, 9 p.m. ET on ESPN
Who: No. 13 Stanford (9-4) vs. No. 15 TCU (10-3)
Why: Bryce Love was a Heisman finalist and you probably haven't watched him yet because you live on the East Coast and the Pac-12 Network does not exist here.
Pick: TCU (-2.5)

San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl, 9 p.m. ET on FS1
Who: No. 18 Washington State (9-3) vs. No. 16 Michigan State (9-3)
Why: Hopefully you have multiple TV's so you can watch both of these games. Also, Mike Leach is a pirate and conspiracy theorist. 
Pick: Washington State (-2.5)

Friday, December 29th

Belk Bowl, 1 p.m. ET on ESPN
Who: Wake Forest (7-5) vs. Texas A&M (7-5)
Why: The Belk Bowl has the best twitter account and you should reward good tweets.
Pick: Wake Forest (-3)

Hyundai Sun Bowl, 3 p.m. ET on CBS
Who: No. 24 North Carolina State (8-4) vs. Arizona State (7-5)
Why: Maybe a chance to find out if Herm Edwards really knew the mascot for Arizona State was the Sun Devils before he accepted the job.
Pick: North Carolina State (-6)

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, 4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Who: Kentucky  (7-5) vs. No. 21 Northwestern (9-3)
Why: Northwestern RB Justin Jackson will keep your interest if nothing else.
Pick: Northwestern (-7)

NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl, 5:30 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network
Who: New Mexico State (6-6) vs. Utah State (6-6)
Why: New Mexico State hasn't been in a bowl game since 1960, which oddly enough was against Utah State. Revenge game for Utah State?
Pick: New Mexico State (+4)

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Who: No. 8 USC (11-2) vs. No. 5 Ohio State (11-2)
Why: A top-10 matchup of two teams that had legitimate shots at the playoff and both probably had better profiles than Alabama. Plus, future No. 1 pick Sam Darnold!
Pick: Ohio State (-7.5)

Saturday, December 30th

TaxSlayer Bowl, Noon ET on ESPN
Who: Louisville (8-4) vs. No. 23 Mississippi State (8-4)
Why: Lamar Jackson. You know he is going to do something insane one more time in college football and it is your last chance to see him. 
Pick: Mississippi State (+6.5)

AutoZone Liberty Bowl, 12:30 p.m. ET on ABC
Who: Iowa State (7-5) vs. No. 20 Memphis (10-2)
Why: Iowa State's Matt Campbell and Memphis' Mike Norvell aren't going to be at these schools long before they go up to bigger programs.
Pick: Memphis (-3.5)

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, 4 p.m. ET on ESPN
Who: No. 11 Washington (10-2) vs. No. 9 Penn State (10-2)
Why: A few of my bosses are Penn State fans and I like seeing them upset when they lose. 
Pick: Penn State (-2)

Capital One Orange Bowl, 8 p.m. ET on ESPN
Who: No. 6 Wisconsin (12-1) vs. No. 10 Miami (10-2)
Why: Two words -- Turnover Chain.
Pick: Miami (+6.5)

Monday, January 1st

Outback Bowl, Noon ET on ESPN2
Who: Michigan (8-4) vs. South Carolina (8-4)
Why: You're probably still going to be hungover and on the couch and don't want to move. Oh, and BLOOMIN' ONION MAN!https://twitter.com/Outback/status/938123729716023297?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sbnation.com%2Flookit%2F2017%2F12%2F5%2F16740134%2Flocal-man-achieves-his-dreams-becomes-bloomin-onion-mascot-thanks-to-10000-retweets
Pick: South Carolina (+7.5)

Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, 12:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Who: No. 12 UCF (12-0) vs. No. 7 Auburn (10-3)
Why: UCF has a chance to go for an undefeated season and send Scott Frost out to the cornfields of Nebraska in style.
Pick: UCF (+9.5)

Citrus Bowl presented by Overton's, 1 p.m. ET on ABC
Who: No. 14 Notre Dame (9-3) vs. No. 17 LSU (9-3)
Why: Can you imagine how angry Brian Kelly will be if Notre Dame loses?
College Football Playoff at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual, 5 p.m. ET on ESPN
Who: No. 3 Georgia (12-1) vs. No. 2 Oklahoma (12-1)
Why: The Granddaddy of Them All is way less of a mouthful than the official title and way more fun to say in Keith Jackson's voice. Also, and this is probably more important, it is the first playoff game and Baker Mayfield is facing an SEC defense.
Pick: Oklahoma +2

College Football Playoff at the Allstate Sugar Bowl, 8:45 p.m. ET on ESPN
Who: No. 4 Alabama (11-1) vs. No. 1 Clemson (12-1)
Why: You know why.
Pick: Clemson +2.5

Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State

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Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State

The pieces are starting to come together for Patrick Ewing.

On Monday the Georgetown Hoyas picked up perhaps the biggest (literally and figuratively) target of the transfer market, Omer Yurtseven.

From North Carolina State, the transfer from Istanbul Turkey will have two years remaining of eligibility. Due to NCAA transfer rules, he is not allowed to play for the 2018-19 season.

MORE NCAA: TOP BUZZER BEATERS IN NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY

Standing at 7-0, the center helped power the Wolfpack to an NCAA tournament bid this past season. Averaging 13.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks a contest, Yurstseven earned All-ACC Third Team honors in the 2017-18 season. He also touted a 58.3 shooting percentage and was not afraid to pull it up from deep either (22 made three-pointers).

NC State lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to No. 8 Seton Hall, but he was limited due to foul trouble with only two points and two rebounds in 14 minutes of play.

Initially, he is the option to fill the void that Jessie Govan will leave, whether that is during this offseason or next. Already the team has lost power forward Marcus Derrickson

Yurtseven will just be another frontcourt talent for Ewing with the Hoyas.

It was widely reported that he was considering playing options, both in the United States and abroad before this announcement. Easily he has the talent to go in first round of the NBA Draft whichever year he declares.

On the same day, the Hoyas also announced the signing of four-star guard James Akinjo.

After historic season, Virginia's Tony Bennett named AP Coach of the Year

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USA TODAY Sports

After historic season, Virginia's Tony Bennett named AP Coach of the Year

SAN ANTONIO -- Virginia coach Tony Bennett isn't going to waver from his foundation, whether it's the philosophy that built the Cavaliers into a contender or the big-picture perspective that helps him handle the sting of a historically improbable loss.

Both ends of that approach are fully on display now as he is named The Associated Press men's college basketball coach of the year.

Bennett won the honor Thursday after his Cavaliers set a program single-season record for wins, dominated the Atlantic Coast Conference and reached No. 1 in the AP Top 25 for the first time since the Ralph Sampson era. Yet that wildly successful season ended abruptly in the most unexpected way: with the Cavaliers falling to UMBC to become the first No. 1 seed to lose to a 16-seed in NCAA Tournament history.

"They experienced things a lot of guys don't," Bennett said in an interview with the AP. "That kind of success? Oh my gosh. And then that kind of loss? ... But again, their body of work deserves to be celebrated.

"And then so much of what society looks at -- it begs the question -- is it just about how you do in March? Or is it about the whole thing? It's a fair debate (on) what matters. But I told them: I wouldn't trade this team for anything. Even the experiences, as hard as they are, this is part of the process."

Bennett was the runaway winner for the award, which is being presented at the Final Four. He earned 50 of 65 votes from AP Top 25 writers with ballots submitted before the start of the NCAA Tournament.

Tennessee's Rick Barnes was second with five votes after leading the Volunteers to 26 wins and an NCAA bid despite being picked to finish 13th in the 14-team Southeastern Conference. First-year Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann was third with four votes.

This marks the second time Bennett has won the award, the other coming in 2007 when he was at Washington State.

In Bennett's ninth season, the Cavaliers (31-3) went from being picked to finish sixth in the ACC to winning the regular-season race by four games -- the first to win the ACC by that wide a margin since 2000. It then won the ACC Tournament to complete a 20-1 run against league opponents.

MORE NCAA: BEST BUZZER BEATERS IN NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY

Virginia also reached No. 1 in the AP Top 25 for the first time since December 1982 and stayed there the final five weeks of the regular season, the last two unanimously.

And yet, the 48-year-old coach knows much of the focus will be on how things ended: that 74-54 loss to the Retrievers while playing without ACC sixth man of the year De'Andre Hunter.

Dealing with a roster of players in pained disbelief, Bennett said he has told them that they have "an unbelievable captive audience" waiting to see how they would handle it.

"I said how you respond to this will matter to your mom and dads, to your brothers, your sisters, your friends," Bennett said. "If they see that you're not fake about it, that yeah, of course you're going to be discouraged and down after a loss like that, but that you're OK. You can live with it.

"I said: you don't know the power that that's going to have in their life and in your life."

Bennett said he appreciated other coaches offering support, which included Syracuse Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim noting: "If I could hire a coach in this country and I could get Tony Bennett, there would be nobody in second place."

He said he's still reviewing what worked and what didn't, but "certainly you don't overreact" by changing everything that had brought the Cavaliers to this point.

This is, after all, a program that has been a 1-seed three times in the past five seasons with three ACC regular-season titles.

And Bennett won't be deterred from chasing more, even if it means stumbling a few more times on the way to reaching his goals.

"You better have something beyond the opinion of man or just how you feel, because this stuff is fleeting," Bennett said.

"So that's where obviously my faith is everything to me. You hear people talk about their faith in the lord and the relationship with the people that they care about, their family and their trusted friends. Those things stand the test of time. And that's what you have to draw from. And then you move on."