football bowl schedule has been set, with LSU
set for a rematch of the dullest, ugliest game you've ever seen in your life to determine which school gets to have their championship trophy taken away in an investigation six years from now.
Sorry, that's uncalled for and really just not fair. The NCAA would never do such a thing to an SEC school. I apologize for the slight.
Speaking of future SEC schools (that's a professional segue there, folks; the RFT has to pay me extra for those), the matchup most of us around here really care about has been set as well. The Missouri Tigers will play the day after Christmas in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana. The Tigers will take on Butch Davis's Tar Heels of North Carolina. Both teams come in with identical 7-5 records.
The Independence Bowl isn't exactly the Rose Bowl, but it's not bad either. Particularly not for a program in Mizzou which was clearly in a transition year this season. It does have a geographical advantage, as the drive to Louisiana from Tiger country isn't prohibitive at all. Congrats to Gary Pinkel and his staff, as well as the rest of the MU athletic department, on yet another successful season. Just keep the coach away from the celebratory champagne, somebody.
But what's that, you say? Butch Davis is no longer the coach at UNC? Well, you're technically correct, but it's still the team he put together, even if he's been forced to move on. Shame, too. Davis has always been one of my very favorite coaches, particularly the unreal team he put together at Miami
for Larry Coker
to fail to win with. Then again, Davis coached at Miami during what now looks to be some rather heavily scandalized years, and now has been run out of Chapel Hill
for various NCAA violations. Hmm. I may want to rethink my admiration of Butch Davis.
Anyhow, the matchup of UNC is an intriguing one for the Tigers. The Tarheels have sent a ton of players to the NFL of late -- including the Rams' own rookie defensive end Robert Quinn -- and still have a very talented team. On the downside, Everett Withers, the interim head coach following the firing of Davis, is, well, an interim coach. I'm honestly a little surprised to see a program go through an entire season with a coach wearing the interim label; it just seems to me it would create an even more unsettled environment than was probably unavoidable anyway.
Fun fact I was unaware of about UNC: their athletic director is named Bubba Cunningham. I'll take, "Names I would not associate with a major university for $500, Alex."
UNC and Mizzou have only met twice before in football, with the Tigers taking both previous meetings in 1973 and '76. So, you know, not a whole lot of history going in here.
There will be plenty of time later on to properly break down each team and what they bring to the table. For now, I'll just point you to the University of Missouri website
, where you can purchase tickets either for yourself or to donate to various charities or military personnel. If you're more of the low-tech type you can also order by calling 1-800-CAT-PAWS beginning at eight a.m. this morning. (Online sales began Sunday evening.) Shrevport is not a terrible drive from the 'Lou, and a nice city to boot. All in all, you could do a whole lot worse than to use your extra Christmas time off to trek down to the bayou and support the Tigers.