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Monday, December 31, 2018


A khaki, canvas bucket hat. It's too small, if I'm honest with myself, especially if I'm in need of a haircut. But every now any again, it comes out. It's one of the few physical keepsakes I have, along with a couple of lapel pins and a watch that stopped keeping time long ago.

Twenty years ago, I marched in the Rose Parade, a senior drummer in my high school marching band. It was the third of five trips the Alexis I. duPont High School Tiger Marching Band made, meaning if you were a four year member of the band from anywhere between 1990  and 2008, you probably made the trip to Pasadena. Along with the tradition of excellence, it's probably one of the things that binds generations of Tiger Band members. Even 20 and 15 years later, my brother and I - he marched in the 2004 parade - still connect over it. And along with the Rose Parade's own tradition, it's the reason I hold it - and by extension the Rose Bowl - at a reverence often reserved for Big Ten or Pac 12 fans.

The 2019 Rose Bowl will return to its traditional roots, pitting the champions of those two conferences against one another. In doing so, Ohio State will make the first trip to the bowl since 2010 (and the first and only with Urban Meyer as head coach), while Washington will return for the first time since 2001. While both schools started (and one ended) the season with their sights aimed higher, it's hard to consider the Granddaddy of 'em All a consolation prize.

Both the Alabama State Mighty Marching Hornets and FAMU Marching 100, adding a pair of HBCUs and another Sudler Trophy winner (FAMU being both) to the parade. In conjunction with American Honda's 60th anniversary, they have put together a 60 member drumline featuring drummers from HBCUs. This is notable because Honda is the title sponsor for both the Rose Parade and, of course, the eponymous Honda Battle of the Bands. The Honda won't take place in 2019 with the Super Bowl taking place in Atlanta, so I appreciate that Honda still kept HBCU bands at the forefront.

Ohio State's band is wrapping up quite the auspicious season. Their own merit got them to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, while their football team's performance got them to the Rose Bowl, putting them in two of the nation's highest profile parades within about five weeks of each other.

Finally, the two Sudler Trophy winners - Ohio State and FAMU - both hit a milestone this season that we'll get to see multiplied in this year's Rose Parade. Both bands welcomed their first Black woman to the drum major ranks: Ohio State's Morgan Davis, and FAMU's Cori Bostic. Bostic is the first woman to hold the role within the Marching 100, while Davis is TBDBITL's fourth woman in the post.

As always, I'll be parked in front of the TV for the 2019 Rose Parade.

Bowl Bands: 2018 TaxSlayer Gator Bowl

A pair of land grant, agricultural schools meet in this year's Gator Bowl. Texas A&M once again sees itself matched up with a North Carolina ACC school after having played Wake Forest in last year's Belk Bowl.

NC State:

Texas A&M:

Bowl Bands: 2018 SDCCU Holiday Bowl

It's not always that championship games track so closely with one another, but Northwestern and Utah, runners up of the Big Ten and Pac 12, respectively, bring a sort of bizarro Rose Bowl to the Holiday Bowl.



Bowl Bands: 2018 Autozone Liberty Bowl

Bowl games have a way of rekindling old relationships, as it will here with Mizzou catching old Big 12 conferencemate Oklahoma State.


Oklahoma State:

Bowl Bands: 2018 Redbox Bowl

Michigan State and Oregon are two of the programs who have participated in the College Football Playoff. It's coincidental that they'll meet in the home of this year's national championship in Santa Clara.

Michigan State:


Bowl Bands: 2018 Hyundai Sun Bowl

The Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band is well known for their "unorthodox" look in bucket hats and blazers, but it wasn't always spats and shakos for Pitt, who donned derbys and sweaters in their early days.



Bowl Bands: 2018 Military Bowl presented by Northrup Grumman

With the Armed Forces Bowl taking Army, the only bowl eligible service academy, the Military Bowl went with the next available option: One of the two senior military colleges to play FBS football, Virginia Tech. In Cincinnati, they'll meet one of the schools they just missed in the Big East after departing for the ACC.


Virginia Tech:

Sunday, December 30, 2018

New New Year Tradition

The College Football Playoff has gotten it right.

Not necessarily the selection, or the number of teams in the playoff, but in allowing the Sugar and Rose Bowls to wag to dog and camp on New Year's Day, the Playoff did the next best thing with the semifinals in years that they aren't hosted by those two bowls:

They made Saturday great again.

There were missteps along the way. New Year's Eve games that took place on a Thursday when many had to work. Saturday fell into their lap in 2016, but the committee was wise to keep the day traditionally reserved for college football holy. Sure it makes for a slight hiccup in the steady crescendo that bowl season becomes with New Year's Day games, and it leads to a lax interpretation of New Year's Six, but a Saturday full of football - the last we'll have until next season begins - that culminates in two games with national title implications sure does feel good.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Bowl Bands: CFB Playoff Semifinal - 2018 Capital One Orange Bowl

While the Cotton Bowl may have loved a traditional Big 12/SEC matchup, #1 Alabama gets this one in south Florida so as to move it out of #4 Oklahoma's backyard. This all-Crimson affair is also a dual Sudler matchup, and shouldn't lack for offensive firepower either. The Orange Bowl's tradition of a pop act will keep both bands off the field during halftime.



Bowl Bands: CFB Playoff Semifinal - 2018 Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic

Notre Dame's scheduling arrangement with the ACC means these two will see a good deal more of each other in the coming years. Their last meeting was in a veritable monsoon in Clemson during the 2015 season, a game that ended in a Tigers victory.

Notre Dame:


Bowl Bands: 2018 NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl

The wolves will howl in Arizona as the Red Wolves take on the Wolf Pack. The two meet in the last game of the year to feature a pair of Group of Five teams, and one of the few televised off of the ESPN family of networks.

Arkansas State:


Bowl Bands: 2018 Chick Fil-A Peach Bowl

These two teams will end 2018 as they began 2016, playing one another. They met in the Citrus Bowl that year, and Michigan prevailed, as they had in the three previous meetings. The Peach Bowl will host a pair of Sudler Trophy winners for the second time in three years.



Bowl Bands: 2018 Belk Bowl

It was in Charlotte that Mary Oates Spratt Van Landingham referred to North Carolina as a valley of humility between two mountains of conceit. Those mountains? South Carolina and Virginia.

On a personal note: I'll be at this year's Belk Bowl, catching a fan's eye view of the game and the bands. Be sure to follow along on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!

South Carolina:


Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Bowl Bands: Valero Alamo Bowl

When Washington State hosted College Gameday this season, they were plucked from the ever waning list of schools that have not hosted the Saturday morning program. At present, Iowa State still sits on that list.

Iowa State:

Washington State:

Bowl Bands: Camping World Bowl

West Virginia and Syracuse are old Big East rivals, though neither currently inhabits the league or its successor. As with the last time they met - the 2012 Pinstripe Bowl - the Ben Schwartzwalder Trophy will not be on the line.

West Virginia:


Bowl Bands: Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl

The dual Sudler matchups this bowl season have been all but quarantined in the New Years Six, but Purdue and Auburn give us the one outlier, fittingly, in the Music City Bowl.



Bowl Bands: Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl

School namesakes R.E.B. Baylor and Cornelius Vanderbilt may have been contemporaries, but their respective football programs haven't met in more than six decades. Gold will be the common thread as the Golden Wave Band meets the Spirit of Gold.



Bowl Bands: New Era Pinstripe Bowl

Miami and Wisconsin met in far warmer climes in last year's Orange Bowl. While both the ACC and Big Ten stake their claim on the Big Apple, this is one of the geographically most disparate options.



Bowl Bands: Walk On's Independence Bowl

While hearing these two schools paired may conjure up images of an late '80s/early '90s showdown between Coach K and John Chaney (1988 East Regional final, for the trivia nerds) these two have never met on the gridiron.



Bowl Bands: Cheez-It Bowl

Both TCU and Cal have been to the Valley of the Sun for bowl trips before. Cal has played before in what was then Bank One Ballpark, while TCU's trips have been to Glendale and Tempe.



Bowl Bands: Quick Lane Bowl

As a pair of programs that have coexisted since Georgia Tech's program began in 1892, these two have never crossed paths. While both Minnesota and Georgia Tech hail from metros with indoor stadiums, neither currently play there, though they'll play indoors in Detroit.


Georgia Tech:

Bowl Bands: SERVPRO First Responder Bowl

For much of the recent past, these two have been in inversion - that is, Boston College has been mid-tier as best as a Power Five program, while Boise State has been the class of the Group of Five and the iconic BCS buster. The two have only met once before, in the MPC Computers Bowl in 2005.

Boston College:

Boise State:

Bowl Bands: 2018 SoFi Hawai'i Bowl

As is often their bowl fate, the University of Hawaii gets to stay home on Oahu. And while Hawaii is close to nothing, it is halfway home for Louisiana Tech's Aussie punter Davan Dyer.


Louisiana Tech:

Bowl Bands: 2018 Dollar General Bowl

The Men of Troy are no stranger to the 170 mile drive to Mobile - In addition to their second bowl game trip in three years, their "Battle for the Belt" rivals South Alabama call Mobile home. Covnersely, Mobile Bay sits quite a ways from the shores of Lake Erie.



Bowl Bands: 2018 Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

If Houston and Army get together, they may build rapport trading war stories about beating Navy - Army's chief rival and brothers-in-arms, and Houston's American Athletic Conference West divisionmates.



Bowl Bands: 2018 Jared Birmingham Bowl

Despite neighboring states, it's a long stretch of I-40 that separates the Piedmont Triad and the Mid-South. Memphis has spent the last two seasons facing a team in black and gold for a conference championship, so in that respect, playing Wake Forest may feel familiar.


Wake Forest:

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Bowl Bands: 2018 Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl

The Bahamas Bowl's a trip for anyone no matter how you slice it, but you can't get much closer than FIU. Toledo, on the other hand, gets to leave Ohio for the tropics, fittingly, on the first day of winter.



Bowl Bands: 2018 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

While a different herd of Broncos may feel at home on the smurf turf, it seems the Western Michigan Bronco Marching Band won't all get to make the trip to Boise. It will hopefully be an easier travel for BYU, who also has a campus in Idaho.

Western Michigan:


Bowl Bands: 2018 Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl

There will be quite a bit of green and gold in the stands at the Herd of Thunder and Thundering Herd meet. It a city that boasts the Lightning, perhaps this much Thunder is fitting. For South Florida, they'll be marching out of the same tunnel they always do as they play this one at home in Raymond James Stadium.



Bow Bands: 2018 DXL Frisco Bowl

With all due respect to both the Marching Aztecs and Marching 110, the game they'll play at may very well be the undercard in Frisco - the stadium will host the Division I Football Championship in a few weeks.

San Diego State:


Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Bowl Bands: 2018 Boca Raton Bowl

While the Marching Blazers never left, UAB is in just its second year back from a two year hiatus following the program's cancellation. Winning Conference USA is not too shabby of a way to come back. They'll face the MAC champion Northern Illinois.



Sunday, December 16, 2018

Bowl Bands: 2018 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

In the pre-colonial days, Middle Tennessee-App State would have been an instrastate (or intraprovince, I suppose) matchup. The states' shared fate continued on into the American Revolution's Overmountain Men, and the two cities' namesakes of the same era: Daniel Boone and Hardy Murfree.

Middle Tennessee:

Appalachian State:

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Bowl Bands: 2018 Raycom Media Camellia Bowl

It's an all-Eagle affair in Montgomery! After seeing Appalachian State as the Sun Belt representative for two of the past three years, fellow recent FCS callup Georgia Southern gets the call this year, while the MAC takes back its representation in the form of Eastern Michigan.

Georgia Southern:

Eastern Michigan:

Bowl Bands: 2018 Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl

It's the Group of Five team, Fresno State, that enters the Las Vegas Bowl ranked, but in its first year with potential CFB wild card Herm Edwards at the helm, Arizona State found themselves with a winning record as well.

Fresno State:

Arizona State:

Bowl Bands: 2018 New Mexico Bowl

The New Mexico Bowl draws upon two of the state's borders for this year's matchup. To its east, the University of North Texas, and from its northwest Four Corners-mate, Utah State.

North Texas:

Utah State:

Bowl Bands: 2018 AutoNation Cure Bowl

Orlandeaux? Tulane and Louisiana are bringing the Bayou to Camping World Stadium as a pair of programs separated by less than 150 miles take the show on the road.



Bowl Bands: 2018 Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl

In the Celebration Bowl's fourth year of existence it sees its first rematch: A&T and Alcorn State played in the inaugural matchup in the Georgia Dome and will meet again, this time in Mercedes Benz Stadium. The Aggies have been the MEAC's representative in two of the three previous matchups, and seek a third championship.

North Carolina A&T:

Alcorn State:
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