Boca Raton Bowl: Akron Zips (7-6) vs. FAU Owls (10-3)
When: Tuesday, December 19, 7 p.m.
Where: Boca Raton, Fla., FAU Stadium
5 reasons to watch:
- This is a home game for FAU, fresh off its first ever Conference USA championship, its first football championship in 10 years (won the Sun Belt in 2007).
2. Lane Kiffin is the coach. This makes it must watch television.
3. The spread is 22.5 in favor of FAU. That is ABSURD. To put it in perspective, only one other bowl game has a double-digit point spread (and we’re going to talk about it in a minute). Can High Flying Lane cover?
4. Akron R-Fr QB Kalyn ‘Kato’ Nelson won two state championships at two different schools in south Florida and returns home to try and lead the upset.
5. It is the second bowl trip in the last three years for the Terry Bowden-lead Zips, who were 0-11 the year before he took the job in 2012. This year, Akron played in the MAC Championship Game for the first time since 2005.
Bowl swag: Online gift suite “and an assortment of bowl-branded items.”
Bowl fun fact: Officially known as the Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl and has existed since 2014. Learn more about the titular sponsor juice here.
Gasparilla Bowl: Temple Owls (6-6) vs. FIU Panthers (8-4)
When: Thursday, December 21, 8 p.m.
Where: St. Petersburg, Fla., Tropicana Field
5 reasons to watch:
- Not exactly a home game like FAU, but a short trip across Alligator Alley for FIU fans. Should have the majority in the building.
- Return to Florida for Temple head coach Geoff Collins, who was Florida’s defensive coordinator from 2015-2016.
- FIU’s head coach Butch Davis wrapped up his first year back in the Miami area, where he achieved his most notable coaching accomplishments as the head man at The U, by leading the Panthers to just its third bowl in school history.
- FIU’s center and quarterback are brothers. R-Fr C Shane McGough snaps to SR QB Alex McGough. Usually quarterbacks and centers have a unique relationship, but this one goes well beyond the field.
- This is just the seventh bowl trip in Temple history, and the first time they have ever gone three years in a row.
Bowl swag: Gift suite, Oakley backpack, neck pillow.
Bowl fun fact: Officially the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl (first Battle 4 Atlantic, now the bowl season. I’ve heard too much about Bad Boy Mowers). Formerly known as the St. Petersburg Bowl and the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl. It is the only bowl currently still played in a baseball specific stadium.
We’ll be back next week with more previews for the additional Florida teams that are bowling. Happy bowl season!