BOWL PREVIEW: Texas Bowl
Rutgers has been one of the most uplifting stories in college football this year. They started out 9-0 and, but for an inexplicable implosion against Cincinnati and a narrow loss to West Virginia, would be arguing about why they should really be in the BCS title game.
As a reward for this captivating performance, Rutgers will get the honor of ...
... playing in the Texas Bowl?
We're going to Houston!
Welcome to college football.
For their part, the bowl is "ecstatic about having Rutgers," according to Texas Bowl director David Brady. "This is a top-15 team that was three yards away from a BCS game. We couldn't be happier to have them here."
The Texas Bowl: Gladly accepting the Big East's leftovers since 2006.
Bowl: The Texas Bowl
When: Dec. 28, 8 p.m. ET, The (Screw the) NFL Network
Purported reason for existence: "A Celebration of the Culture, Heritage and Football Tradition of the Lone Star State." Which is why the inaugural game will bring together a team from New Jersey and a team from Kansas.
Real reason for existence: Because bowl games are like government programs. Once begun, they never die.
Teams: Rutgers v. Kansas State
Interest level: That movie you've always wanted to see but never found on TV or at the video store. Because this game is on the NFL Network -- despite it having nothing at all to do with the NFL -- most of us might see snippets of it on ESPN, probably with the quality and questionable authenticity of the Zapruder film.
Key player for Rutgers: RB Ray Rice, who ran for 1,624 yards in his breakout season. But, then, you already knew that.
Key player for Kansas State: DE Ian Campbell, who has terrorized quarterbacks and offensive coordinators, ringing up 11.5 sacks, 16.5 total tackles for loss, three fumble recoveries and a forced fumble.
Winner: Rutgers. Since QB play is completely unimportant to Rutgers, and I sincerely doubt that Kansas State's defense can contain Rice, this one should be settled into a Rutgers-friendly trend by halftime.