Bowl season kicks off with twofer … The preliminary bowl season gets underway on Friday with a doubleheader including the Bahamas Bowl (11;30 AM ET; ESPN), which is played in the Bahamas, and the Duluth Trading Cure Bowl (3 PM ET; ESPN), which fortunately isn’t played in Duluth, but in Orlando. And while in most years the very early bowls are barely worth watching even for family and friends, both of tomorrow’s games between Alabama-Birmingham and Miami of Ohio in the Bahamas game and Texas-San Antonio and Troy in the Cure Bowl have redeeming qualities. The Bahamas Bowl, for example, will feature one of the very best players in college football in UAB RB DeWayne McBride (#22, 5-11, 215) who led the country in both total rushing (1735 yards) and average yards per carry 7.4). He works behind a big offensive line anchored by OT Kadeem Telfort (#77, 6-7, 335) and OG Sidney Wells (#62, 6-3, 330) both of whom should draw at least some late round or free agent interest this coming spring.
Meanwhile, the Cure Bowl has the potential to actually be a pretty good game between a pair of 11-2 teams that are both working on ten-game winning streaks. Ironically, the Cure Bowl is the only bowl this year that matches up two conference champions with Troy from the Sun Belt and UTSA from Conference. And speaking of outstanding college players UTSA has one of their own in star QB Frank Harris (#0, 6-0, 205), a top 10 passer nationally this fall who threw for almost 3,900 yards while completing over 70% of his passes including 31 for scores against 7 picks; for good measure he also ran for almost 600 yards and another 9 TDs. Harris is probably a little small to be more than a fringe draft prospect, but should draw some real interest from CFL teams. Harris also has a couple of intriguing receivers in Zakhari Franklin (#4, 6-1, 185), who had back-to-back 1,000 yard-plus receiving seasons, and Josh Cephus (#2, 6-2, 185), who was second on the team this fall with 86 receptions. The Roadrunners also have a couple of ball-hawking DBs in rangy safety Clifford Chatmon (#4, 6-4, 195) and CB Corey Mayfield (#2, 5-11, 190) who had 4 and 3 picks respectively this year. For its part, Troy has college football’s all-time leading career tackler in LB Carlton Martial (#2, 5-9, 210) who has 563 career stops including 121 this fall; he’s not all that big, but he can certainly find the ball.