Moving on with our reviews of the bowl season, we get to what many couch-bound connoiseurs consider THE prototypical early bowl season evening burner: the GMAC Bowl, a MAC/WAC connection usually resulting in geysers of points spread out over nearly five glorious hours of poor tackling. The MAC traditionally pwnz this game, having never lost in the six year history of the bowl, but Coach Mike Price brings a high-powered UTEP offense in with the added motivation of not only winning the first WAC GMAC title, but also the goal of loosening up Mike Price's leash a few notches with a win, thus freeing him up to toss some dollars around in Mobile's finest shoe modeling parlors with abandon.
Yes, it's a cheap joke, but it's us. With that...enjoy.
Name: The GMAC Bowl.
Motto: "Battle in Bama!" Less a motto, really, than a command.
Intrusive Corporate Sponsor: Umm...GMAC? Unfortunately, Hoar Construction only gets second billing on their site, since the "Hoar Bowl" would instantly rocket to the top of the bowl game marquee in our estimates. A merger with Atlanta-based Gay Construction would be even sweeter.
Tradition rating: Puts some smoke on the n00b New Orleans bowl, having been in operation since 1999, which was coincidentally the year of "Livin' La Vida Loca." Therefore we give the GMAC bowl a tradition rating of: Ricky Martin.
GMAC Tradition Rating: post-Menudo Ricky Martin.
Setup: WACC-USA vs. MAC
Location. Mobile, Alabama, the "South's Easy Vacation Port." The slogan of the city may be designed to invoke slow times and an easygoing attitude, but after driving through the place a few times, we're thinking less of mint juleps and relaxing on the beach and more of easily bribed customs officials and cargo containers filled with Nicaraguan contraband.
The website's bizarre boilerplate doesn't help in clarifying exactly what Mobile's all about:
Mobile Bay is alive! It kicks, dances, shakes, laughs, respects its history and then takes you in its arms and lulls you to sleep with the breath of a gentle gulf breeze.
So Mobile is...like spending a drunken evening with a manic depressive, violent, seizing, and hopelessly affectionate Daughter of the American Revolution? Sounds boffo to us. Combine that with the "tallest lemon meringue" on the coconut cream pie at Tiny Diny, and we're sold, if only for twenty-four hours. Continuing our thoughts from yesterday, though, Mobile does share something in common with the other Katrina Belt bowls: easy access to kickass airboating, a must for the EDSBS staff.
Mobile: they've got meringue.
Matchup quality: Going with the boxing metaphor...if the Rose Bowl is Ali-Frazier, then UTEP--Toledo will be one of those Friday Night ESPN2 bouts between two no-name Latino flyweights who will, for sixty minutes, throw more bricks around than a three-day long Korean student riot in the process of beating each other retarded. The over-under for the game should be done in scientific notation.
What to watch for: Points points points. Toledo has one of the most baffling offenses you'll ever see, a seemingly conservative attack that still manages to amass large digits on the scoreboard. 35 points can't really sneak up on you, can they? In Toledo's case, they usually do. The team is no stranger to pissing contests either, facing Bowling Green once and often twice in a year in some classic MAC sprints. UTEP's got Mike Price calling plays and Carson Palmer's little brother fresh off shredding the WACC-USA (see? that's why we don't get paid to do this, among other reasons.) A five hour game could be in the works, with defensive coaches weeping openly on the sidelines and committing ritual hara-kiri sometime between the third and fourth quarters.
You can also expect the fun of watching the crew grope for material, since they will run out of things to say somewhere around the three hour mark. Expect heavy lifting to be done with the following phrases and shots:
--Oooh, look! Another shot of the U.S.S. Alabama sitting in the harbor.
--"This is what makes this offense so potent."
--"This city has really done a nice job with hosting this bowl game."
--Shots of exhausted kid falling asleep in stands.
--The three fans for each team dedicated enough to not only make the trip but apply body paint for the game, shown up close to conceal rows of empty seats behind them.