LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 24: Fans of the USC Trojans dressed in team colors wave pon pons and yellow towels in the autumn sun during the game against the Oregon State Beavers on October 24, 2009 at the Los Angeles Coliseum in Los Angeles, California. USC won 42-36.Photo Credit: Jeff Golden/Getty Images
Ah, New Year’s Eve, that awful, crushing night where you want something awesome to happen so badly. Instead, it’s freezing cold and you’re either going to be stuck at home watching reruns of Everyone Loves Raymond with your parents, or you’re going to be wedged into a bar with so, so many sweaty people and $12 Bud Lights. It just sucks no matter what you do.
So what can you do to survive the letdown into 2013? Well that’s easy. Get drunk and watch football. After all, that’s been your escape hatch for graduations, funerals, weddings and subsequent divorce proceedings. Why would you change up your game plan now?
Here’s the deal: we’re going to walk you through all 10 of the bowl games from December 31 to January 1, with tips on who’s playing and how to properly tailgate for the game. Of course, to hit all 10, you’d need to be some kind of drinking wizard. But if that’s the case, why would you use your powers of teleportation for partying? That’s irresponsible. You need to rethink your priorities.
10. Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
(December 31, 12:00 PM EST)
Ok, let’s start keeping score, because right now the record for most words in a bowl game name is currently five. Of course, the record is the “Beef O’ Brady Happy Hour American Hero Petsmart.Com Bowl” between the Elon Naps and the Youngstown State Sadness Binges. The Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl (or “FAMMCB,” which just rolls off the tongue) is between the NC State Wolf Pack and the Vanderbilt Commodores. Now, how popular is this bowl game? Well, according to the Facebooks, 6,728 people like the FAMMCB, and 9,723 people like the state of Idaho (seriously). So it’s like that.
Recommended Tailgate Food: Take out from the world famous Loveless Cafe.
Recommended Tailgate Beverage: As much Tennessee whiskey as you can get your hands on.
Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
9. Hyundai Sun Bowl
(December 31, 2:00 PM EST)
Well, color me surprised. Apparently the Hyundai Sun is not an electro-car, and the Hyundai Sun Bowl is not an orange juice drink on Benihana’s breakfast menu. Instead, it’s a throwdown between former #1 USC and perennial guys that are just sorta “there” — the Ramblin’ Wreck of Georgia Tech. Now, this game is being held in El Paso, TX, so you’re going to want to hit up all of El Paso’s amazing clubs, incredible museums, tasty restaurants and happening downtown. Woof
Recommended Tailgate Food: Based on those pictures? Pack some ham sandwiches from home.
Recommended Tailgate Beverage: Juicy Juice and Vodka. Or all the beer.
8. AutoZone Liberty Bowl
(December 31, 3:30 PM EST)
Doesn’t “AutoZone Liberty” sound like AutoZone’s rewards program? Yeah, I know, I used a similar joke the last couple entries, but you know what? These bowl names are ridiculous! I’m going to keep on going back to this well until we go back to “The Freedom Bowl,” because frankly, the “Taco Bell Dot Com Cheesy Crunchalicious Bowl” is all sorts of silly.
At least this bowl is between All World teams Iowa State and Tulsa. Hey! the Autozone Liberty Bowl is held in Memphis, so instead of the Easy Mac Mediocre Bowl, why not spend your tailgate at Sun Records, Stax Records or Beale Street instead? If you miss the game, that’s probably alright.
Recommended Tailgate Food: Forget Rendezvous. It’s overrated. Get yourself some of Gus’ World Famous Fried Chicken.
More like the “TIGER”-fil-A bowl, amirite guys? Haha! Seriously, though, say no to poaching. Now, this should actually be a pretty solid game, not only because both teams are 10-2, but because I can get behind any game that features my favorite name in the history of college football — Barkevious Mingo. He is the Pops-Mensah-Bonsu of college football. I don’t know or care what position he plays. I just know he exists and that’s his name.
Recommended Tailgate Food: If you’re a fan of the predictable? Chick-fil-A, no matter how gross and overrated. If you’re a fan of the unpredictable? A balloon full of beef donuts.
Recommended Tailgate Beverage:Terrapin Beer. These guys apprenticed under the folks at Dogfish Head, and rumor has it that the artist who draws their labels was the same fella what worked on the Grateful Dead. Check ‘em out.
6. Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl
(January 1, 12:00 PM EST)
Fun fact, it’s not the Gator Bowl, sponsored by Taxslayer.com. It’s named after a character named “The Taxslayer.com Gator.” He’s not a business, he’s just a reptile that haaaaaates it when you don’t get your full return! At least you can spend your tailgate partying in… Jacksonville? Ok. Get… whatever food you can and just… try to get through this.
Recommended Tailgate Food: Triscuit crackers.
Recommended Tailgate Beverage: Room temperature water.
Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
5. The Heart of Dallas Bowl
(January 1, 12:00 PM EST)
This bowl is held at the Cotton Bowl, but is not THE Cotton Bowl. Actually, The Cotton Bowl is being held at Cowboys Stadium. Football is silly. One of these days we should really stop talking about it.
Now, the good news about the about the Cotton Bowl (stadium) is that it’s held on the Texas State Fair Grounds. Understand, this is a place that’s famous for frying Coke, lattes, cookie dough, butter and beer. Someone actually won an award for “Buffalo Chicken in a Flapjack.” No, for real. LOOK.
So, tailgating for this game, you’re going to have all this stuff feeding Purdue Fans from Indiana and Oklahoma State fans from, well, Oklahoma. Put on a pot of coffee, Baylor Senior Health Center. This tailgate is going to be amazing, but you are going to do some record business.
Recommended Tailgate Food: Buffalo chicken in a flapjack, apparently.
Recommended Tailgate Beverage: Concentrated fish oil.
4. Outback Bowl
(January 1, 1 PM EST)
Much like its sponsor, the Outback Bowl will feature a salty main course with forgettable side dishes. However, at least you’ll get the chance to witness Michigan’s Denard Robinson spectacularly failing one last time before getting shuffled off to the pros, where he’ll be taken in the 5th round by the Dolphins as a return man. And then we’ll never have to hear from this loose-shoelaced bum ever again.
Recommended Tailgate Food: Get yourself some authentic cubano sandwiches from Ybor City, man.
Recommended Tailgate Beverage: Get thee to Cigar City Brewing and stock up as much as you can!
Photo Credit: Doug Benc/Getty Images
3. Capital One Bowl
(January 1, 1 PM EST)
The Capital One Bowl nee Capital One Florida Citrus Bowl nee Ourhouse.com Florida Citrus Bowl nee CompUSA Florida Cirtus Bowl nee Florida Citrus Bowl nee Tangerine Bowl is a decent bowl match-up (Georgia v. Nebraska. I can buy that) in a good enough town (Orlando. Meh). And who wouldn’t want to visit the home of ’90s super-group O-Town?
While you’re there, pay homage to Capital One while you can. For this tailgate, dress up like a Capital One Viking and use it as an excuse to plunder everyone else’s meat and beer.
Recommended Tailgate Food: Let’s see uh… Orlando… a bowl of oranges?
Recommended Tailgate Beverage: Orange juice and vodka?
2. Rose Bowl Game Presented by Vizio
(January 1, 5:00 PM EST)
What the hell does Vizio even do!? Why can they afford a bowl game!?
Ok, so there’s some good news here. Wisconsin is a state that absolutely loves abusing their bodies with food and alcohol. And Stanford’s located not too far from the Anchor brewery. And even better, the game is being held in Pasadena, which isn’t that far from the Stone Brewery. In other words, between these two fan bases, all you’ll have to do is show up with beer and cheese and the rest of the script should write itself. It’ll be a good way to watch the sixth best team in the Big Ten play in a premier bowl.
Recommended Tailgate Food: All the cheese.
Recommended Tailgate Beverage: All the beer.
Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
1. Discover Orange Bowl
(January 1, 8:30 PM EST)
I like that the name of this bowl game is also a call to action. Like, “Hey, slack-jawed yokel, Discover the Orange Bowl!” Haha. What’s that? Oh! The article!
Right, so this white-knuckle match-up pits the Florida State Seminoles against the Northern Illinois Huskies, teams that not even people in northern Illinois want to see. But hey, that’s the BCS for you.
BUT it’s also the last bowl on our last, so let’s go out with a bang!
Recommended Tailgate Food: Whatever fancy schmancy hors d’oeuvres you can get!
Recommended Tailgate Beverage: ALL THE CHAMPAGNE!
Of course, these are all appetizers for the main course on January 7th. But we’re not talking about that, for fear of jinxing anything. So enjoy the bowl season, enjoy the New Year, and be safe.
Brian Cullen doesn’t know where he’s spending New Year’s. Can he come hang out with you? He won’t take up much room and his doctor assures him that that smell will clear up with some topical cream. Follow him on Twitter @bucketcullen.