College football bowl game watchability index: Poinsettias, Beef 'O' Brady's, Little Caesar's, oh my

Mark A. Cunningham

Let's stay super scientific and rate each bowl game on its fun factor and overall enjoyment. This installment features the Poinsettia, Beef 'O' Brady's, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Hawaii and Little Caesar's Bowls, otherwise known as the Festive Friends Bowls.

Hello, again. It has been a little while since we left off. Rather than throw you little nibbles during the season of gluttony, I decided to break off a feast of sheer watchability from the appetizer course of bowl season.

As always, the games are given Schnellenberger Pipes based on a variety of things: how great the sponsor commercials and product placements are, the location of the bowl, the fans, the game itself, as well as colors and logos and such.

Shall we?

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl -- 5 Schnellenberger Pipes

December 20, BYU 23, San Diego State 6

The first issue with these weekday games is the timing. We're knee deep in trying to finish out actual work so we can disappear into a haze of cookies and hangovers, and as much as college football is a great escape, a defensive showdown between two niche teams is a lot like going to an Antlers show on a Wednesday night when you have an 8 a.m. conference call the next morning. Sure, if you haven't been to a show in awhile, you're going to go, but if you have a festival coming up, you might save your energy for the long haul.

That's how the Poinsettia Bowl felt to me. It's football, and I love football. And the defensive scores were worth a couple ticks on the Enjoy-O-Meter, but my mind was elsewhere. That said, Kyle Van Noy gets a Schnelly Pipe all to himself for being the most dominant defensive player in the early card of bowl season.

Also, this BYU commercial was a little strange:

Beef 'O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl -- 2 Schnellenberger Pipes

December 21, UCF 38, Ball State 17

The Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl is the high gravity Steel Reserve of bowl games. You know it's not going to end well if you have it. But you consciously choose to welcome it (and the ensuing consequences) into your life anyway. We should all know better. When the most interesting thing about the game was arguably an abbreviation battle, that's saying something.

UCF dominated behind a complete game from Blake Bortles, who 279 yards passing and 79 yards rushing to go with four total scores. But Ball State never really put up much of a fight and the game was an example of a lot of points not always meaning a lot of entertainment.

Oh, and the turf itself was an abomination:

If Beef 'O' Brady's wants to find its way into the hearts of football fans everywhere, it needs an angle. The Potato Bowl was an almost unwatchable game, but it was still a lot of fun. This one wasn't much of anything.

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl -- 6 Schnellenberger Pipes

December 22, Louisiana-Lafayette 43, East Carolina 34

Now we're talking. ULL and ECU fans make a lot of noise and drink a lot of spirits. They also know how to tailgate. This game was fun from the get-go. The Cajuns threatened to bust this thing open early, but the Pirates punched back, making this a highlight-filled performance with some big numbers.

A New Orleans Bowl record 48,828 fans watched Terrance Broadway ran the show as ULL racked up almost 600 total yards of offense. For his efforts, he was awarded this trophy:


Be honest, would you really be upset if every bowl was played in New Orleans?

MAACO Las Vegas Bowl -- 4 Schnellenberger Pipes

December 22, Boise State 28, Washington 26

Boise State is tired of playing in the Las Vegas Bowl. Everyone else is tired of watching Boise State playing in the Las Vegas Bowl. I was just tired. Despite this game getting some much-needed drama in the late minutes, with Boise hitting a field goal (oh, the irony!) to go up 2 with just a smattering of seconds remaining, the rest of this one was rough.

And yes, I did fall asleep in the third quarter. But not before seeing Brent Musburger cranking that lawn mower:


I woke up in the fourth to see the Broncos in a position to win and I didn't feel like I missed anything. Boise State wins a lot of football games. They deserve better than this.

Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl -- 3 Schnellenberger Pipes

December 24, SMU 43, Fresno State 21

The one thing I kept thinking about when I was at church in snowy Ohio was I would actually rather be in Hawai'i. So there's that. But it takes real dedication to pass up Home Alone, Die Hard, A Christmas Story and/or any number of other holiday movies that were on at the same time (including Starship Troopers!) to instead watch June Jones football.

And this happened:


Luckily, SMU made it relatively quick and painless so we could all get our egg nog on.

Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl -- 5 Schnellenberger Pipes

December 26, Central Michigan 24, Western Kentucky 21

Solid game from a couple of entertaining teams. Late game drama, a chance at OT that didn't happen because in the goshdarned pizza bowl you have to play for the goshdarned win.

We had a powerful pregame speech from WKU interim coach Lance Guidry:

The Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl twitter account accurately captured both Little Caesar's and the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl attitude quite nicely:

Fitting, if not exactly delicious.

Bowl Rating

New Mexico 8

New Orleans 6

Poinsettia 5

Little Caesars 5

Potato 4

Las Vegas 4

Hawaii 3

Beef O'Brady's 2

Check the national college football scoreboard right here, and look through SB Nation's many excellent college football blogs to find your team's community.

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