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Sunday Morning Quarterback

Sunday Morning Quarterback

Sunday, December 25, 2005

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The Motor City Bowl: Still here!

The least desirable postseason destination this side of Idaho began its life as a bottom-feeding upstart, the 1997 equivalent of the New Orleans Bowl. What a long strange trip it's been! Six whole games have been played in front of it this year, raising its profile from obscure novelty to merely boring. What's next for this Little Bowl That Could? Watch out, Champs Sports Bowl!

Who: Memphis (6-5) vs. Akron (7-5)
Where: Ford Field, champion of the contemporary, faux upscale, Barnes and Noble/Starbucks-inspired stadium design and home of Super Bowl XL (that's 40, though hype is expected to reach extra large girths this January). Hope Motor City Bowl viewers can tell the difference! Hint: the Super Bowl typically has fans in the seats. Inevitably Motown-themed halftime shows, however, will be roughly equal, and play will at least top Saturday's Lions-Saints contest.

Watch Because: It's your last chance to see DeAngelo Williams before he goes LaDainian Tomlinson on the NFL. SMQ has seen the guy rip up on Southern Miss in person three straight seasons; No. 20 is worth the price of admission. Memphis beats Tennessee in November with him in the lineup. He might face some resistance, though: against the best running back it faced all season, the Zips held eventual NCAA rushing champ Garrett Wolfe to 52 yards - and in overtime, no less.
Don't Watch Because: There are big, big sales to get to!
Also, Akron's "Zippy," a towering, vaguely marsupial character anthropomorphically made to wear a crude, 1920s Ivy League pep squad-style beanie and team sweater but no pants, is one of the NCAA's undisputably creepiest mascots.

Get this thing away from me!

What Else is On: You have no life. But the Daimler-Chrysler/General Motors/Ford Motor City Bowl isn't your only option to fill the void eroding your inner soul:
Turner Classic Movies, 3:30 p.m. CST - Casablanca
102 mins. Time goes by, but this 1942 Oscar winner remains an audience favorite. "Casablanca" has been raised to cult status mainly because of its unforgettable performances. Humphrey Bogart had perhaps his greatest role as Rick Blaine, the cynical American expatriate whose Casablanca bar-casino is a hub of wartime intrigue. Equally evocative are Ingrid Bergman as Rick's former love; Paul Henreid as the stalwart Resistance leader Victor Laszlo; and Claude Rains as Louis Renault, the eminently adaptable Vichy police captain. But the film is also notable for its haunting ("As Time Goes By") and for lines of dialogue so familiar they've become cliche - "Round up the usual suspects"; "Play it again, Sam"; and of course, "Here's looking at you, kid." In addition to Best Picture, "Casablanca" won Oscars for director Michael Curtiz ("Yankee Doodle Dandy") and screenwriters Howard Koch and Julius and Philip Epstein. Maj. Strasser: Conrad Veidt. Ferrari: Sidney Greenstreit. Ugarte: Peter Lorre. Carl: S.K. Sakall. Sam: Dooley Wilson.

I am shocked - shocked! - that this timeless classic of love and reluctant heroism is going to get beat in the ratings by Memphis-Akron.

Country Music Television, 4 p.m. CST - Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team
120 mins. A look at what it takes to be a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader. Included: coverage of all activities and closed door decisions.

Sci-Fi Channel, 4 p.m. CST - seaQuest DSV: Bad Water
60 mins. Ford, Craig, Lucas and Dr. Westphalen get caught in a hurricane while trying to rescue a sub trapped in a freshwater sinkhole. Claire: Elizabeth Storm. Ford: Don Franklin. Lucas: Jonathan Brandis. Westphalen: Stephanie Beachem. Krieg: John D'Aquino. Bridger: Roy Schieder.

The History Channel, 5 p.m. CST, Texas' Roswell
60 mins. Examining the supposed 1897 crash of a UFO in Aurora, Texas. According to local lore, the craft crashed into a windmill, and it alien pilot was buried in a local cemetery.

Watchability Rating (click here for the SMQ Watchability Scale): The MAC team has won five of eight in this bowl's history, and Akron can do damage with Luke Getsy, a big QB who didn't want to play behind Tyler Palko, did the downgrade thing from Pitt and threw for over 3,000 yards this season. Memphis' quarterback, on the other hand, has more yards from scrimmage as a rusher and receiver (729) than as a passer (724). DeAngelo Williams is by far the best player here, though, and SMQ goes with his instincts.

SMQ's Pick: Memphis 33, Akron 24
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4:58 PM

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