"Mele Kalikimaka" is the thing to say: Sheraton Hawaii Bowl Open Thread

HONOLULU - JANUARY 30: Hula Dancers during the 2011 NFL Pro Bowl pre-game show at Aloha Stadium on January 30 2011 in Honolulu Hawaii. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)

Merry Christmas Eve. And what better way to spend a Christmas Eve than listening to some Bing Crosby? Specifically, I'm talking about the holiday classic, Mele Kalikimaka.

Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say,
On a bright Hawaiian Christmas Day,
That's the island greeting that we send to you
From the land where palm trees sway,
Here we know that Christmas will be green and bright,
The sun to shine by day and all the stars at night,
Mele Kalikimaka is Hawaii's way
To say "Merry Christmas to you."

And speaking of the land where palm trees sway, we haz college football on Christmas Eve! The Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles, champions of Conference USA, battle the WAC's Nevada Wolf Pack in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl in Honolulu.

If you're watching this game, why not discuss it here? This is your Hawaii Bowl open thread.


Sheraton Hawaii Bowl

Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles (11-2 overall, 6-2 C-USA) vs. Nevada Wolf Pack (7-5 overall, 5-2 WAC)

Southern Miss stunned previously undefeated Houston in the C-USA championship game to ruin Houston's BCS bowl aspirations and seize the conference title. Normally, the C-USA champion (barring a BCS bowl invitation) has its ticket punched to the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in Memphis. But not this year. The Golden Eagles were passed over by the Liberty Bowl in favor of an SEC/Big East matchup between Vanderbilt and Cincinnati. So instead of a trip to Memphis, the Eagles get a date with Nevada in a warmer bowl destination.

So what about this game? I'll leave it to the world wide leader to give you a preview--

Brett Favre will always be synonymous with Southern Mississippi football.

Austin Davis, however, has moved past the legendary quarterback in numerous categories after outdueling one of the nation's best signal-callers his last time out.

Davis will lead the Conference USA champion No. 22 Golden Eagles into their 10th straight bowl game when they meet Nevada on Dec. 24 in the Hawaii Bowl.

One of college football's most stunning upsets came when Southern Mississippi (11-2) handed then-No. 7 Houston its first loss, 49-28 on Dec. 3 in the C-USA championship. The school-record 11th victory for the Golden Eagles cost the Cougars a chance at a BCS berth as Davis threw four touchdown passes in his matchup with NCAA passing leader Case Keenum.

"No one gave us a chance really," Davis said. "On the road, (No. 7) team in the nation, undefeated. I don't know if I could write a better script. I'm glad it worked out the way it did."


Nevada (7-5) finished in a tie with Utah State for second place in the conference to earn a seventh straight bowl bid.

The Wolf Pack expect WAC freshman of the year Cody Fajardo to be back as the starting quarterback. Fajardo suffered a sprained ankle in a 21-17 loss at Utah State on Nov. 26, opening the door for Tyler Lantrip to get the nod the next week in a 56-3 rout of Idaho.

"It feels good, you know, running around, getting it loose," Fajardo said. "The trainers did a nice job in therapy."

Fajardo had the nation's eighth-best completion percentage at 71.4 while throwing six touchdowns and running for 11 as he blossomed into a capable replacement for Colin Kaepernick, a San Francisco 49ers' second-round draft pick this year.

The dual-threat ability of Fajardo has been an asset in a season in which receivers Brandon Wimberly, L.J. Washington and Lemar Durant all failed to play for different reasons.

The lack of depth at receiver has created an opportunity for Aaron Bradley, who had seven catches for 136 yards in the regular-season finale after entering that contest with 14 receptions and 136 yards receiving on the year.

Enjoy the game. And Merry Christmas.

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