Trying to make sense of 35 bowl games in 24 days is a task too big for mere mortals, so we asked Mike Hlas, the award-winning Cedar Rapids Gazette columnist and force behind The Hlog, to review each of the games. Here is his first installment of Bowl Game Confidential.
New Mexico Bowl: Brigham Young 52, Texas El Paso 24: Announced attendance: 32,424. BYU improved to 7-6, while UTEP fell to 6-7. ... "I'm a big supporter and donor of UTEP athletics, but we have a bad habit of being embarrassed on national TV," Miners fan Lou Moreno told the El Paso Times. ... UTEP hasn't won a bowl since 1967.
Fun Stat: UTEP had minus-12 yards rushing.
Tweet: @owengood: New Mexico Bowl announces six-year tie-in pact matching up the WAC No. 4 team versus NFC West No. 1.
Humanitarian Bowl: Northern Illinois 40, Fresno State 17. Announced attendance: 25,449. The Fresno Bee estimated Fresno State sold 250 of its 3,000 allotted tickets. It gave 2,000 to charity. ... Interim NIU head coach Tom Matukewicz got the Gatorade bath. He said, "It's cold, but it felt awesome." ... He added, "I feel sorry for Fresno State because they hit the perfect storm because I'm telling you, we would run through windows." ... Matukewicz goes back to being NIU's linebackers coach.
Fun Stat: Since the BCS was created, Fresno State is 0-6 in bowls against non-BCS conference teams, 4-1 against teams from BCS leagues.
Tweet: @ClayTravisBGID: The Humanitarian Bowl is an oxymoron. A humanitarian would not play a crappy bowl game in December in Boise.
New Orleans Bowl: Troy 48, Ohio 21. Announced attendance: 29,519. ... Troy led 38-7 at halftime. ... "It was clear that we had trouble containing them from the very start," Ohio Coach Frank Solich said. ... "I felt a lot of energy," Troy Coach Larry Blakeney said. "I wanted to make sure it wasn't just about being in New Orleans." ... The crowd, small by major-college standards, was nonetheless the third-largest in the 10-year history of the bowl and 1,079 shy of tying the record-high. ... Troy punter Will Goggans, below, went straight to the all-bowl team with his beard alone.
Fun Stat: Troy scored the first eight times it had the ball.
Tweet: @cbssports: On the first day of bowl season, the New Orleans Bowl gave to me, the best beard in American sports history.