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Friday Open Thread: Bowl season!

Two bowl games: one good, one probably not so much.

NCAA Football: Cure Bowl-Northern Illinois at Coastal Carolina Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Friday, and college football’s bowl season is finally here. Why the sport insists on having a nearly two-week break between the end of the regular season and bowl season, I’ll never know, but here we are with two bowl games for you to watch at work and as a bonus, two lower-division playoff games tonight.

Hometown Lenders Bahamas Bowl: Miami (Ohio) vs. UAB (10:30 AM CT, ESPN): Bowl season gets underway at 10:30 AM in the Bahamas with a pair of 6-6 G5 teams squaring off, and really, I can think of no better argument against the way ESPN handles bowl season than the fact that two 6-6 G5 teams get a trip to the Bahamas while the SEC’s bowl rotation consists of Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, Houston, Nashville, Memphis, and Birmingham. And I guess Las Vegas now instead of Charlotte, but still. The point is that conference tie-ins are stupid, there need to be more P5-on-G5 bowl matchups.

Cure Bowl: UTSA vs. Troy (2:00 PM CT, ESPN): And for more arguments against ESPN’s handling of bowl season, this is the first of three bowl games in Orlando, because we fucking love Orlando I guess. This is also a matchup of two conference champions who are both 11-2, and it’s at 2 PM on a Friday on the very first day of bowl season, which doesn’t exactly scream “matchup of two 11-2 conference champions.” Anyway, this should actually be a really good game.

FCS Semifinals: Incarnate Word at North Dakota State (6:00 PM CT, ESPN2): Surprisingly, NDSU has more losses this season than Incarnate Word does, though NDSU simply lost to the FBS team they played (Arizona) and also lost to #1 South Dakota State, while Incarnate Word lost to Southeastern Louisiana, which finished 9-4. Anyway, Fargo in December.

Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl: Mount Union vs. North Central (6:00 PM CT, ESPNU): Yeah, if you think the FBS playoffs are chalk-heavy, you should check out Division III, where the title game features 13-time champion Mount Union and North Central, which is playing in its third straight title game after winning in 2019 and losing to Mary Hardin-Baylor in 2021 (with no championship played in 2020.) Anyway, I know nothing about this, but have fun.