When opponents of bowl games want to make a point, they bring up bowls named after regional business establishments. "How dare a football contest be named after an eatery I cannot attend! Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go buy some watery beers and insurance."
For those people, Exhibit A has to be tonight's game between Florida International and Marshall (ESPN, 8 p.m.). An 8-4 Sun Belt team against a 6-6 Conference USA team. To some, that is the equivalent to insulting their wife. To NFL Draft fans, this game is an intriguing one.
The Beef O' Brady's Bowl features two of the best non-BCS prospects in the 2012 NFL Draft. Marshall defensive end Vinny Curry should be drafted by the end of Day 2. He has a good combination of strength and athleticism. Curry comes into tonight's game second nationally in total tackles for a loss with 21, though he struggled in games against West Virginia and Virginia Tech. The offseason process is going to be critical for Curry and he should get a Senior Bowl invitation.
Florida International's top prospect is wide receiver and all-around playmaker T.Y. Hilton. He's had a solid season with 64 receptions for 950 yards and 7 touchdowns, but a nagging hamstring injury slowed him during the year. He's healthy now and should look like the player who torched Louisville for 201 yards at the beginning of the season. Hilton will also make an impact in the return game tonight.
If you haven't already, download the bowl watch list put together by 3k.
In this game last year: Louisville beat Southern Miss 31-28 in one of the year's best bowl games.
2013 NFL Draft watch: Marshall junior wide receiver Aaron Dobson has submitted paperwork for the draft next year, but I don't expect him to come out. The overall production just isn't there. While Marshall has had questionable quarterback play, Dobson has been a standout. He's got good size at 6-foot-3 and 204 pounds and can make some incredible plays. Observe: