Going Bowling

You can hear the biggest and best bowl games on ESPN 97.5 and SportsMap 94.1

Baker Mayfield and the Sooners will play the Georgia Bulldogs in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day at 3pm. Brett Deering/Getty Images

Bowl season is upon us and there are some fantastic matchups this year. Check out the slate of upcoming bowl games that you can hear on ESPN 97.5 and SportsMap 94.1. All times are in Central Standard.

First up, Boise St. faces the Oregon Ducks in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 16 at 2pm on ESPN 97.5 radio. Enjoy this one because the next game won’t occur until after Christmas on Dec. 26 when Kansas St. plays UCLA in the Cactus Bowl at 7pm on ESPN 97.5. On Dec. 28 the Camping World Bowl features Virginia Tech and Okie St. which kicks off at 4:15pm on SportsMap 94.1. Later that evening, Stanford plays TCU in the Valero Alamo Bowl at 8pm on ESPN 97.5. Next up, Texas A&M plays Wake Forest in the Belk Bowl that has an early kickoff at 11AM on Dec. 29, and will air on both ESPN 97.5 and SportsMap 94.1. Later Friday evening, Ohio State plays USC in the Cotton Bowl at 7pm and can be heard on ESPN 97.5.

Saturday Dec 30 will be a full day of football with three bowl games on the schedule. First, the Auto Zone Liberty Bowl that features a matchup between Iowa St and Memphis which begins at noon. All three games on Saturday the 30th will be aired on ESPN 97.5. After the Liberty Bowl concludes, the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl showcases the Washington Huskies and the Penn St. Panthers. The final game of the night is a big one, and will begin right after the Fiesta Bowl. The Orange Bowl pairs Wisconsin against Miami and is the last game of the weekend.

The Peach Bowl begins early on New Year’s Day, so make sure you don't miss UCF vs. Auburn which you can hear on SportsMap 94.1 at 11AM. If the Peach Bowl for some reason doesn’t do it for you, don’t worry. The Citrus Bowl starts just thirty minutes later at 11:30AM with LSU playing Notre Dame and can be heard on ESPN 97.5. The bowl game marathon continues at 3pm when Georgia plays Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl. Directly following the game, the All-State Sugar Bowl kicks off and features a very familiar matchup. Alabama takes on the Clemson Tigers in what should be a fantastic game between two teams that know each other very well. Both the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl will be aired on ESPN 97.5 and SportsMap 94.1.

Finally, it all comes down to this. The National Championship game will begin at 7pm on Jan. 8 and will air on both ESPN 97.5 and SportsMap 94.1.

Enjoy the games!

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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