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The Jeff Falconio Blog

The 20 Days of Football

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Everybody knows the classic song "The 12 Days of Christmas" well football fans can rejoice because today begins the 20 days of football.  That's right, there will be football on TV every day for the next 20 days.  That's a 20 day smorgasbord of every bowl game as well as the final three weeks of the NFL regular season.  Now that's what I call festive. 


So, what's on the menu on the 1st day of football?  The first of 34 bowls kicks it off with the New Mexico Bowl featuring Fresno State and Wyoming.  For the Cowboys of Wyoming this is their first bowl since 2004.  A large part of the resurgence is due to the spread offense installed by coach Dave Christensen, who was the offensive coordinator at Missouri when the Tigers were led by Chase Daniel.  Fresno State suffered losses to BCS teams Cincinnati and Boise State and would probably be more in the spotlight had the Bulldogs won either of those games.  Fresno State features a very good running game led by Ryan Matthews, the top rusher in 2009.  Fresno State is coached by Pat Hill, one of the best mid-major coaches in college football.


The nightcap is the St. Petersburg Bowl by Beef 'O' Brady's.  Conference USA member Central Florida takes on the Jekyll-and-Hyde Scarlet Knights of Rutgers.  Central Florida made headlines with their 37-32 upset of ranked Houston and used that win as a springboard into the bowl season.  Central Florida loves to run the ball and grind it out while defensively they are one of the best against the run.  Draft geeks will want to keep their eyes on defensive tackle Torrell Troup.  Meanwhile Rutgers started the year with a crushing 47-15 loss to Cincinnati and then a few weeks later a loss to Pittsburgh put the Scarlet Knights at 0-2 in the Big East.  But they rebounded with nice wins against Connecticut and South Florida.  Rutgers has always been a physical team that runs the ball well and can be aggressive on defense.


The NFL gets into the action as well with a huge NFC showdown between Dallas and New Orleans.  The Saints are 13-0 and have clinched the NFC South as well as a first round bye.  A win tonight coupled with a Minnesota loss would clinch homefield advantage for the high-flying Saints.  Dallas in again in a dogfight in the NFC East thanks to the annual December swoon.  The Cowboys are a game back of Philadelphia in the division and currently hold the last wild card spot.

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