The Definitive Top 10 College Bowls List I Threw Together While I Watched The Outback Bowl

By Ian Blum

As bowl season comes to a close I’ve decided to take it upon myself to rank the 10 best Bowl games in FBS college football. It was not easy and I definitely didn’t do this on the fly, but it had to be done.

#10 The Liberty Bowl

The Liberty is number 10 on the list for a few reasons. First and foremost the game has been played since 1959 and has become a staple of Bowl season. When then Villanova AD A. F. “Bud” Dudley started the Liberty Bowl it was played in Philadelphia. The bad news was nobody showed up as it was the only cold weather bowl at the time. Before moving the game to Memphis in 1965 the game was actually played indoors in Atlantic City making it the first college football game played inside.

Utah destroyed West Virginia 32-6 in the 1964 Liberty Bowl (Photo from New Jersey Monthly)

First Game: 1959 #12 Penn State 7 #10 Alabama 0

Last Game: 2020 West Virginia 24 Army 21

#9 The Sun Bowl

The Sun Bowl finds itself in the top 10 for a reason similar to the Liberty Bowl that being history. The first Sun Bowl was played in 1935 making it among the oldest of all the bowl games. Funny enough the first game in the history of this bowl was played by high school teams. The El Paso All-Stars beat Ranger High School 25-21. The next season it would begin its tradition as a college bowl when Hardin-Simmons tied New Mexico A&M 14 a piece.

Today it as known as the “Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl” making it arguably the best sponsored bowl we have.

First Game: 1935 El Paso All Stars 25 Ranger 21

Last Game: 2019 Arizona State 20 Florida State 14

Priest Holmes scored 4 touchdowns in the 1994 Sun Bowl win for Texas over North Carolina 35-31 (Texas.Rivals.com)

#8 The Outback Bowl

The Outback Bowl’s first game under its current name was in 1996 after being called the Hall of Fame Bowl since 1986. Along with the name change an agreement with the SEC and Big Ten was established to make the game a cross over between the two conferences. The first game in the format was a blowout victory for #14 Penn State 43 to 14 over Auburn.

Of course we can’t talk Outback Bowl without bringing up its greatest moment:

First Game: 1986 Boston College 27 Georgia 24

Last Game: 2021 Mississippi 26 Indiana 20

#7 The Holiday Bowl

I’m throwing in two personal favorites before we get to the top 5 and the first one is the Holiday Bowl. The Holiday historically is like the BYU Bowl with the Cougars representing the WAC Conference in the first 7 games of the Bowl’s history and it helped them seal a national title.

In 1984 BYU was the only unbeaten team in the nation and WAC Champions going into bowl season. It was considered an obligation to accept the automatic bid to the Holiday Bowl because of their conference title and were paired with a 6-5 Michigan team. QB Robbie Bosco drove BYU down the field and lifted BYU to a 24-17 win and secured the #1 ranking in the Polls.

Today a team from the PAC 12 gets an automatic bid to the Holiday Bowl to play an ACC team.

First Game: 1978 Navy 23 BYU 16

Last Game: 2019 #19 Iowa 49 #22 USC 24

#6 The Pinstripe Bowl

Nobody is putting the Pinstripe Bowl in their top 6 but me. How can I not? There are only a handful of things in life more sexy than a football game inside Yankee Stadium. I mean just look at it:

Vincent Carchietta-USA Today Sports

Playing a bowl game in a venue like Yankee Stadium is something that purists of the game like myself absolutely eat up. Students of college football will recall those big games in the old Yankee Stadium between Army and Notre Dame in the 40’s when college football was at the height of its popularity. College Football like the Yankees has become a staple of Americana over the years so to have a bowl game played there is very fitting.

This bowl was the first played in New York since 1962 when the “Gotham Bowl” was played between Miami (FL) and Nebraska at the old Yankee Stadium. The Gotham Bowl could’ve landed on the top 10 for the name alone but its better thrown in here.

First Game: 2010 Syracuse 36 Kansas State 34

Last Game: 2019 Michigan State 27 Wake Forest 21

Welcome to the top 5 where you will find the usual suspects, the founding fathers. You all have these in yours only the order is different.

#5 The Cotton Bowl Classic

The origin of the Cotten Bowl is the coolest thing about it. J. Curtis Sanford was a proud Texan and oil executive who I assume wore a very large hat. His hat must’ve been big because he had the big brain idea of having a college football game played at the Texas State Fair Grounds. He paid out of pocket for the first game to be played in 1937. Though it was not profitable till the next year he stuck with it and it grew into what we know now as the Goodyear Cotten Bowl Classic.

As part of the New Years 6 slate of Bowls the Cotton Bowl has hosted two CFP Semifinals in 2015 and 2018.

From Stadiumsofprofootball.com

#4 The Orange Bowl

The Orange Bowl is great because for the longest time it was played in the Orange Bowl. If you are younger and never saw the old Miami Orange Bowl take the time to look it up because it is one the coolest stadiums American sports has ever had.

via Pintrist

By the way, the Fedex Orange Bowl Logo is an all time logo

From Leader Creative

Anyways, the Miami Orange Bowl hosted the game from 1936 to 1996 (once more in 1999 because of a Dolphins playoff game).

History was made by the bowl game on January 1st 1965 when Texas and Alabama played in the first primetime college game aired live on tv.

In 2014 the ACC got a deal thru 2025 for its champion to have an automatic bid to the game. If the highest rated ACC team is the playoff the next highest gets the bid.

A game in southern Florida, a trophy that is a bowl of fruit, what more could you want in a Bowl game?

First Game: Bucknell 26 Miami (FL) 0

Last Game: 2021 Miami North Carolina

#3 The Fiesta Bowl

Fun fact the WAC created this bowl game because they kept being left out of the others.

Arizona State took part in the first three of them.

Also I wanted noted that even though I’m a playstation guy I will prefer when Tostitos was the sponsor

So maybe its the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl I have ranked 3rd. Those games were awesome. Of course the greatest was arguably the Boise State Statue of Liberty game. And how could I not mention the absolute classic played on January 1st 2003. That year the Fiesta Bowl was the sight for the BCS National Championship between Ohio State and Miami (FL). Coach Jim Tressel got the Buckeyes to the title game in just his second season. Meanwhile Miami was the defending champ fielding a team of future NFL stars including, Willis McGahee, Andre Johnson, Johnathan Vilma, Sean Taylor, and Antrel Rolle.

The game was close all night came down to overtime. With Miami up 24-17 they had the Buckeyes on the ropes at a 4th and 3. If Miami gets the stop they win the game and they would get that stop only for it to be taken away by a pass interference call. Ohio State went on to win the game.

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

It was a crossroads moment for two powers going in different directions and one of just a few great games we’ve seen at the Fiesta Bowl over the years. Of course Cam Newtons Auburn Tigers won a title in this bowl game, we had Blake Bortles lead UCF over Baylor and just last season a great matchup between Clemson and Ohio State in the CFP Playoff.

First Game: 1971 Arizona State 45 Florida State 38

Last Game: 2021 Iowa State 34 Oregon 17

#2 The Sugar Bowl

The sweetest of the bowls comes up a spot shy of number 1 on my list. The first Sugar Bowl ever was played in 1935 between Tulane and Temple thought an even more significant moment came in 1956.

Bobby Grier was an African American fullback for the Pitt Panthers and when they were set to face the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Georgia governor Marvin Griffith was opposed to intergration and many were calling for the Jackets to boycott the game. Despite the threats Pittsburgh and Grier showed up to play the game and thanks to Georgia Tech AD Blake R Van Leer who threatened to resign if the game wasn’t played, it all went on as planned. It is considered a big moment on the road to equality in the sport.

Over the years the Sugar Bowl has hosted multiple National Championship games as well as CFP Playoff semifinals.

This is a good spot for me to talk about what Justin Fields did in the Sugar Bowl this year. This years Ohio State team had something it normally doesn’t, skeptics. Many said they didn’t belong in the playoff including Dabo Swinney. Clemson tool an early lead and then Fields took a shot to the ribs and many thought they had assumed correct of the Buckeyes.

Then Justin Fields went on to have one of the greatest performances I’ve ever seen. He completed 22 of 28 passes for 385 yards and 6 touchdowns against a defensive unit that is traditionally one of the best in the game. The way the Buckeyes unloaded on Clemson turned the playoff in its head and has created some potential NFL Draft drama as well.

First Game: 1935 Tulane 20 Temple 14

Last Game: 2021 Ohio State 49 Clemson 28

#1 The Rose Bowl

The Grand Daddy of them all is just that on this list. Only the Super Bowl ranks higher in sporting events I look forward to every single year.

It is the game that captures everything that is great about college football. The traditional powers we see play in the game, the pageantry of the Tournament of Roses Parade and the perfect playing conditions easily make it the best bowl.

I don’t know where this place is but its not on Earth:

From Trip Advisor

Because the Rose Bowl is so special I’ve taken it upon myself to create………META RANKINGS. IAN’S TOP 5 ROSE BOWL GAMES HERE WE GO:

#5 Iowa vs Stanford (The Christian McCaffery Game)

McCaffery set the Rose Bowl record for all purpose yards with 368 (172 rushing, 105 receiving) and scored a touchdown on the first play of the game.

#4 Oregon vs. Florida State (Hello Playoff)

The Rose Bowl was the venue for the first college football playoff game in 2015. It was Jamies Winston and Florida State vs. Marcus Mariota and Oregon.

This game will forever be remembered as the game when Jamies fell over, but it was the first playoff game ever so it earns a spot on the list.

#3 Penn State vs. USC (Sam Darnold vs Saqoun Barkley)

In 2017 we were given an absolute treat with USC taking on Penn State. These are two blue bloods in the sport and seeing those uniforms on that field was awesome. On top of that we had notable NFL names having big games in a back and fourth affair.

Sam Darnold: 33 of 53, 453 yards, 5 touchdowns

Ronald Jones II: 20 carries 55 yards 1 touchdown

JuJu Smith-Schuster: 7 catches 133 yards 1 touchdown

Saqoun Barkley: 25 carries 194 yards 3 total touchdowns.

It was a track meet that came down to a USC field goal that sealed the win for the Trojans.

#2 Georgia vs Oklahoma (Best Playoff Game Ever?)

After that Penn State USC game I thought it couldn’t be topped. Then literally the next year the playoff came but to the Rose Bowl the Dawgs and Sooners put together an all time showing.

It was #2 Oklahoma and #3 Georgia in the semifinal. The high flying Big 12 vs the speed of the SEC. It was an explosion of points from start to finish. Baker Mayfield and Jake Fromm each threw a pair of touchdowns while the backs Sony Michel and Robbie Anderson combined for 5. Georgia would go on to win the game in overtime.

#1 USC vs Texas (The Greatest Game ever played)

Pete Carrolls USC dynasty fell to the hands of Texas in the 2006 Rose Bowl game. There is a NFL Network special and a ESPN 30 for 30 on this game so I’m not going to say much more than “He’s going for the corner, he’s got it! Vince Young scores.”

First Game: 1902 Michigan 49 Stanford 0

Last Game: 2021 Alabama 31 Notre Dame 14

To close there are many, many bowl game memories I didn’t touch on and games that could’ve made the list. That’s why we love college football. There is never a shortage of great stories to be shared and moments to remember.

The 2020 season was a different type of challenge for the sport but the people behind the scenes handling testing and the players and coaches following protocols need credit. We aren’t us without college football and we are glad that you were here.

Ian’s Bowlzzzz Knee Jerk Reaction: The Citrus Bowl

By Ian Blum

GO CATS GO CATS GO CATS GO CATS GO CATS GO CATS GO CATS GO CATS

And we’re back with more bowl game knee jerk reactions after Northwestern absolutely torched Auburn.

B1G Cat Ian is writing this blog and I didn’t expect much of a game from Auburn after finding out they’d be down multiple starters and of course Gus Malzahn was fired. They just didn’t have much to play for in this game and even though they put up a fight for a half it showed as the game went on.

For Northwestern it has been a magical season, add another Big Ten West Division championship after going 3-9 a season ago.

The difference this season has been the the play of Peyton Ramsey at Quarterback and he showed up big in the Citrus Bowl with 291 passing yards and 3 touchdowns. All of us Wildcat fans are hoping that he will return next season.

Undoubtedly the biggest story of the Citrus Bowl has been the Northwestern Defensive Coordinator Mike Hankwitz. “Coach Hank” had been in college football for 51 years to this point. It was announced that this season would be his last and he was sitting on 399 career wins going into the game today. His leadership has had a profound impact on Northwestern’s program so it was awesome to see him get #400 today.

Auburn and Northwestern are both programs that will be transitioning in 2021. Auburn added Bryan Harsin to lead their ship while Northwestern is losing a lot of key pieces on their defense that was among the best in the FBS. Paddy Fisher, Greg Newsome, and Blake Gallagher are just a few of them.

With a decision that needs to made regarding the DC spot for Northwestern some wonder if Pat Fitzgerald will be the one that will make the call. Every year Pat is linked to NFL coaching jobs but this year the rumors seem even louder because of where the program is at. With the amount of talent walking out the door, his DC leaving and AD Jim Phillips already gone maybe this is the year Pat makes the jump.

I think it’s going to take a lot for him to leave Northwestern and I would be in physical and emotional pain if he does. But I guess you never know. I thought maybe a Bears opening would be one he would take but it looks like that won’t be available.

If you’ll excuse me I need to go order my Citrus Bowl Champions t-shirt, while you subscribe to the Unathletic Podcast on Apple and Spotify.

Ian’s BOOWLLZZ Knee Jerk Reactions: The Peach Bowl

By Ian Blum

The Peach Bowl just ended, and I have thoughts. First and foremost, shoutout to Luke Fickell and the Cincinnati Bearcats for a great season. They came into this game 9-0 and AAC champions with many thinking they could’ve been a playoff team or at least should’ve gotten the opportunity.

It pains me to inform the audience that Georgia pulled off the win. After the Bearcats got off to a fast start and held a 21-10 lead, it slipped away.

Georgia’s late season success on offense has been fueled by the play of JT Daniels at quarterback and it held true today. The former USC transfer plays like a senior despite his sophomore status and he showed that maturity, hanging in a game against a very good defense and getting over an early pick to throw for 392 yards and a touchdown.

Georgia was missing some starters on defense but settled into the game as it went on, not allowing a Bearcat score in the 4th quarter.

Kicker Jack Podlesny hit the game winner from 50 yards out and went 3 for 3 on the day.

As far as what the result will mean for the future of the sport it is difficult to say. While I do not expect one game to change the structure of the current format (there are contracts and such signed) I think the more we see Group of 5 schools battle in these games against Power 5 opponents the better. Houston and UCF have won the Peach Bowl previously and of course Boise State has had success in big bowls in the past as well. The Bearcats only fell by 2 points, hopefully the more we see these close games the closer we get to an expanded playoff.

The over didn’t hit so I’m 0-1. Pain.

Subscribe to the Unathletic Podcast on Apple and Spotify.

Welcome to the Unathletic Network

By Ian Blum

After months of waiting, it is finally here, The Unathletic Network is ready to blast off in 2021. Mike, Noah, and I have been working together the last few weeks getting everything ready to roll and we are excited to get started. 

Coming your way January 5th is the first episode of the Unathletic Podcast where we will recap NFL Week 17, the fallout of Black Monday and discuss the New Year’s Six College Bowl Games. 

Paired with the podcast is this blog where you will see posts on varying topics. Make sure to look through my “Knee Jerk Reactions” to the Bowl games on New Year’s Day and keep an eye out for more blog content from me and the rest of the guys from the Unathletic Network soon. 

I’ll be live tweeting during the College Football Playoff games @TheBluminator so feel free to follow along. 

Follow all the members of the Unathletic Podcast @mziegler920 and @noahhaynes88 

We are excited to start this journey and we hope you’ll be part of the ride with us. 

Saying Goodbye to Rays Fan Ian

Now that the season is over, it is time to say goodbye

By Ian Blum

With the World Series behind us my run as Rays Fan Ian has come to a close. I always like to ride with teams each postseason so after my two favorite teams, the Sox and A’s were knocked out I went to the Rays.

The 2020 Tampa Rays were a faceless bunch that used the games new wave of thinking to break waves in the American League. It was for this reason that I found them so compelling.

There were a lot of highs:

And lows:

It was a wild ride and I enjoyed every second of it.

I want to thank everyone who followed along with me throughout the World Series. Being able to come on here and recap each game added a level of excitement to the Series I wouldn’t have had otherwise.

Of course a very special thanks to the guys at the Triple OT for having me on their podcast to talk about the World Series. It was my first experience in podcasting and it was an awesome time. If you’re into sports please do consider checking these out on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

As for the future of the blog we are headed into an offseason unlike any other for baseball. Teams have lost billions of dollars so it will be interesting to see how the market unfolds.

I have some plans for this blog in the mean time including player profiles, looking back at past games, and some other stories I’m excited to share.

In the immediate future I’ll be reacting to trades and free agency along with a new projected titled “Backyard Blogball”

For Backyard Blogball I’ll be playing through the season mode in Backyard Baseball and recapping the player draft, and each game here on the blog as work to win a championship.

It was a great run for Rays Fan Ian, truly the end of an era.

Rays Fan Ian Recaps Game 6: The Dodgers Are World Series Champions

Behind their powerful lineup and a dominate performance from the bullpen the Los Angeles Dodgers capture their first World Series Championship since 1988.

By Ian Blum

And it as quickly as it came, it was gone. The Dodgers put the cherry on top of their fantastic 2020 season in Game 6 on Tuesday night with 3-1 victory over the Rays. The headline going into the game was Blake Snell. He was awesome in Game 2 when he went 4.2 and struck out 9 in route to a 6-4 Rays victory. Now they called to him once more to keep the series alive.

Snell came out guns blazing and went right at the Dodgers. Like a cowboy in an old western film with his back against the wall he mowed through the Dodgers lineup almost with ease.

While Snell did his part Randy Arozarena did what he has done all October long.

The scoring stayed that way through the 5th inning. The Dodgers rolled out the bullpen arms t0 hold off the Rays lineup. Meanwhile Snell kept on tearing through the Dodgers.

Then we get to maybe, probably, the decision that has become the story of the entire series. Blake Snell came out for the 6th inning and got the first out with ease. With 1 out here comes Austin Barnes who would single up the middle. It is at this point that Kevin Cash would come out of the dugout and pull Blake Snell from the game with 73 pitches thrown. He would call on Nick Anderson to come in and get the Rays through the 6th to avoid Snell seeing the Dodgers best hitters for a third time.

Anderson immediately gave up a double to Mookie Betts that moved Barnes to 3rd base. With Corey Seager up Anderson threw a wild pitch that scored Barnes and the game was tied. Seager then hit an infield ground ball that was thrown to the plate. Betts beat that throw and the Dodgers took a 2-1 lead.

Everyone is gonna break this down and tear apart so I won’t spend too much time on it. First off, analytics work. Objectively they do. No one in the sport uses them more effectively than the Tampa Bay Rays. They have their script, their plan, and they stick to it. Charlie Morton was pulled way early in Game 7 of the ALCS for the same reason. It is what they do. I won’t listen to anyone say that their process doesn’t work because Kevin Cash managed a team with a payroll of roughly $28.3 million dollars (3rd lowest) and got them to the World bleeping Series. They are not in this series competing with a team like the Dodgers if they manage conventionally. It would not happen.

Should he have pulled Snell? No and we know that because of the result. But Kevin Cash leaned on what he knew got him there and if you have a process that got you the number 1 seed in the AL, past the Yankees, past the Astros, and a 1-0 lead in Game 6 of the World Series vs the best team in baseball I think anyone would consider sticking to it.

It is also worth noting that Nick Anderson hasn’t pitched great in October. In fact he has the longest active streak in postseason history when it comes to allowing runs. I would’ve gone to Pete Fairbanks personally. So one could argue this is just as much the guy picked to replace Snell.

Anyways, Mookie homered and the Dodgers bullpen gave up absolutely nothing giving the Dodgers the 3-1 victory.

For the Los Angeles Dodgers, congratulations on your first title since 1988. The 2020 MLB season was one for the books after getting shutdown in the spring. The nasty labor negotiations put the season in jeopardy and then of course spring 2.0 and all the challenges of playing in the pandemic. For awhile it really seemed like we wouldn’t make it here but its great that we did.

Just some quick bullets on the night:

-Clayton Kershaw finally got a ring

-Corey Seager won the World Series MVP award after his 2 HR 5 RBI 7 runs scored and .400/.556/.700 slash line in the series

-Blake Snell is the only pitcher in the 21st century to have 9+ strikeouts and 2 or fewer hits aloud in the World Series and he did in both of his starts per MLBRandomStats on twitter

-Justin Turner was removed from the game in the 7th inning because of a positive COVID-19 test. He was seen on the field for the team photo after the game

Nobody knows if it was a false positive at the time of this writing but my goodness I hope it was because this is ridiculously irresponsible

A quick shoutout to drunk Rob Manfred

All jokes aside congratulations to both the Rays and the Dodgers for making it the end of the year. It was a hard fought series that had a lot of great moments. I really do hate to see it end. I’ll let the greatest broadcaster of all time have the final words.

Rays Fan Ian Recaps Game 5: The Dodgers Are 1 Win Away

Kershaw has another solid outing and picks up the Game 5 W to give the Dodgers a 3-2 series lead.

By Ian Blum

After an epic Game 4 finish we were treated with a Game 1 pitching rematch. Clayton Kershaw was not nearly as strong as he was in Game 1 but he got the job done. He was able to go 5.2 allowing 2 runs on 5 hits before being pulled by Dave Roberts.

Meanwhile the Rays needed a better outing from Tyler Glasnow. He started off slow giving up 3 runs in the first 2 innings. He missed spots, and got hit hard but found a way to go 5 innings. That was important for the Rays after they used a great deal pitchers on Saturday. So while it wasn’t always pretty he handed the game to the pen only down 2.

Corey Seager has been on another planet all postseason long and he tallied another RBI when he singled home Mookie Betts in the top of the 1st. That was followed by a Bellinger single that scored Seager and after 1 inning it was 2-0 Dodgers.

In the 2nd Joc Pederson came up and did this:

The Rays got to Kershaw in the 3rd when a Yandy Diaz triple scored Kevin Kiermaier. Randy Arozarena then kept his historic postseason going with a RBI single to left that made the score 3-2 Dodgers.

And for the heck of it here is his spray chart:

Now in the 4th things got wild, again. It started with a Manuel Margot walk. He would find himself on 3rd base after stealing 2nd and an error by Chris Taylor. After Hunter Renfroe walked the Rays had men on 1st and 3rd with 2 outs.

Then this happened:

I have two thoughts here, first one being I respect this play. I love teams that are willing to put themselves out there and try to find ways to win in big games. They tried to steal a run it just didn’t work out.

My 2nd thought is that this is why Clayton Kershaw is one of the best in the game. When you watch the play you see he steps off the rubber and makes a throw to the plate instead of making a pitch. A heads up play by a veteran. It’s a small detail that makes a world of difference when a play comes down to inches.

It seemed as if the Dodgers took the momentum after that. Max Muncy, who had a monster game, confirmed it.

I give this bat drop an 8.7/10

The game tightened up after that. No runs allowed on either side despite both sides having a number of chances

The Rays bullpen allowed 0 runs with work from Loup, Castillo, Sherriff, and Thompson.

Same went for the Dodgers pen that was much improved after last night. Dustin May came out threw for 1.2 innings, followed by Victor González for 0.2 innings.

In the 9th Dave Roberts went to Blake Treinen to get the save in the 9th inning over Jansen. It proved to be a good choice as the Rays got the tying run to the plate but ultimately came up short.

For Clayton Kershaw, he had to grind out the win in Game 5 but he got it done. Something that we couldn’t always say about him. Watching an all time great literally rewrite history has been a treat. Kershaw is a great guy and he deserves all the great things he has gotten in his career.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are now 1 win away from winning their first World Series Title in 32 years.

It looks like a Game 2 pitching rematch for Game 6 Tuesday. It’ll Blake Snell going for the Rays who looked great his last time out while the Dodgers will have a bullpen day.

Rays Fan Ian Recaps Game 4: I Can’t Believe What I Just Saw

Brett Phillips knocks in the tying and winning runs in the 9th and turns the series on its head.

By Ian Blum

I tried to start the recap blog twice as Game 4 unfolded. What can I say, these things take a little bit of time and I wanted to sleep. But each time I did something jaw dropping would happen that caused me to delete whatever I had.

Something to remember is I’m a new baseball fan. I really got into the sport in 2015. So I don’t have the sample size others do when I say that this was the greatest game I have ever seen. Of course it feels like every October this happens. But considering the twitter persona I have taken on and puling for the Rays I will at least say it’s my favorite.

I’m not going to be able to hit on everything because literally everything happened, or at least it felt like it. So I’m just gonna run through what stuck out to me.

Justin Turner did what he does and mashed another baseball tonight. He came up in the 1st inning and hit another homer as he did on Friday night. Then Corey Seager did the same in the 3rd inning and it was quickly 2-0 Dodgers.

That would be followed up Randy Arozarena’s 9th postseason home run to put the Rays on the board and make it 2-1. Max Muncy drove in Corey Seager to extend the Dodger lead 3-1 and off they went.

This thing went completely off the rails with either team scoring at least a run in every inning for the remainder of the game.

The high points for me started with Joc Pederson’s AB in the top of the 7th. Pederson hit the ball just off of the glove of Brandon Lowe and scored Corey Seager to make the score 6-5.

The rollercoaster was already in full swing at this point as Brandon Lowe hit a go ahead home run in the 6th and quickly after had this happen. Ray’s Fan Ian was not immune to the wild October coaster.

Then of course the Baseball Gods came back to us with a blessing in the form of a Kevin Kiermaier solo shot to tie the game at 6 in the bottom of the 7th.

Then Corey Seager drives in yet another run this postseason to give the Dodgers the lead 7-6 in the 8th.

Now to the 9th inning, where I want to change the pace here. As I said I’m a new baseball fan. My entire life has been football and basketball heavy. But tonights game had two things that has caused baseball to capture my imagination. Both can be seen and felt on the play that everyone will be talking about for years to come.

Brett Phillips came up with 2 men on, 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th inning in the World Series. I won’t lie to anyone I have never heard of Phillips before Joe Buck said his name as he walked into the batters box. What I do know about him is that he is 26, was moved from the Royals to the Rays and hadn’t played well in either stop. He was left OFF the Rays ALCS roster. So, needless to say, he probably had no business standing there with a bat.

Baseball is game of heroes. It always has been and always will be. People will say theirs was Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Micky Mantle, Willie Mays or Mike Trout but everyone has a baseball hero. While having these larger than life figures the sport has a funny way about it where every October we get a Brett Phillips or a Geoff Blum and so on. To see guys largely overlooked and maybe not as talented as other players have a moment in the sun is peak baseball.

The second thing I am speaking to is the “Oh Sh*t” moment, as a I like to call it. This moment occurs in the moment between moments. The ball is hit in the air, a runner rounds 3rd base, or a pitch is on its way to the plate. These things happen in a matter of seconds yet somehow it feels like time slows. The ball takes a little longer getting to the plate or to fall from the sky and it leaves just enough to think aloud, “Oh Sh*t”. Those moments are beautiful because it’s where the magic happens. Legends are born when time is almost completely still.

Tonight on the final pitch of the game we had the unlikely hero, and not 1 but 2 “Oh SH*T moments.

Here it is one last time for the sake of the blog:

The first of the two moments happened when the ball lands in the outfield. At this point I have one thing on my mind, extras. The tying run scored easily. However the Dodgers have dudes in the outfield. Chris Taylor bobbled the ball sure but he has a good arm so I don’t see Arozarena scoring on the play. Neither did the rest of planet. This thought was confirmed when we saw Arozarena in between bases, falling all over the place. No way he scores. Then the ball gets away from Austin Barnes which was our second moment. The runner scores and the Rays tie the series.

When it comes to baseball as a sport Game 4 gave you almost everything it could. There was offense all over the place, great pitching and fielding as well. Why this game was so special was that the sport lived up the hype of the intangibles as well. Fans watched and felt all the through it. That’s why a wise man once said:

A picture because Noah likes the pictures

The Tampa Rays have completely turned this series on its head. Now a best of three games situation and they have a great deal of momentum heading into Game 5 Sunday night.

We go back to the Game 1 starters as it is once again Clayton Kershaw vs. Tyler Glasnow.

Kershaw went 6 full allowing only 2 and a run while striking out 8. Glasnow meanwhile was not at his best allowing 6 runs over 4.1 innings. He also struck out 8 but hurt himself by walking 6.

Rays Fan Ian Recaps Game 3: Buehler Dominates as Dodgers go up 2-1

Walker Buehler, Justin Turner shine in Game 3 win over the Rays

By Ian Blum

Alright guys I’m gonna take the blame for this one. While I can’t put a finger on it, for whatever reason I was sluggish today. Got up late, took a little long to get going on the school work and then had a power nap during the 2nd inning. I just wasn’t locked in today and it set the tone for the Rays tonight. I have to be better, you have to be better, we all have to be better tomorrow.

Charlie Morton came into tonight as a big time postseason pitcher. The Rays went into the market place to bring him in and hoped he could help them win big games. Up until this point he had done that. Justin Turner jumped on Morton early and opened the scoring with a homer in the 1st.

Max Muncy followed that up with a 2 RBI single in the 3rd to make it 3-0. A fun moment in the game came after that. Small ball isn’t popular in the age of analytics but it did not stop Dave Roberts from letting Austin Barnes pull a safety squeeze and scoring Cody Bellinger to make it 4-0.

In the 6th Barnes would hit a solo shot that would make the score 6-1. Later Randy Arozarena hit a homer in the 9th to tie the all time record in a single postseason. That is where the score would stay for the rest of the night.

Now that we have the recap out of the way we have to get into the story of the night which was of course the 26 year old Walker Buehler. Walker has been a big game pitcher with World Series experience coming into tonight so this was not anything new for him. However it becomes more and more evident each time he comes out to pitch that he is the new Dodgers ace. For the better part of a decade Clayton Kershaw has been the face of the pitching staff. Now as his career winds down Buehler has come in at a perfect time and has contributed in a big way.

Tonight Buehler went 6 innings allowing only 1 run on 3 hits. He also struck out 10 batters joining Tim Lincecum, Adam Wainwright, and Kershaw as the only pitchers to do that in the World Series since 2010.

The Rays are a team that strike out a lot and they were simply unable to lay off pitches out of the zone with 2 strikes. That’s easier than done of course because if you happened to miss the game, Buehler was absolutely disgusting tonight,

If you don’t follow Pitching Ninja I have no idea what your doing

The Rays looked over matched tonight after I made all this talk about them belonging in this series. Guess what? They still do. I fully anticipate that the Rays will get after Julio Urias tomorrow despite his 4-0 record and 0.56 ERA. Kevin Cash hasn’t announced a Game 4 stater as of this writing but I predict it will be a bullpen day of sorts similar to what we saw from the Dodgers in Game 2. I won’t guarantee a Rays victory but I expect them to come out and have a better showing tomorrow.

While I have you here I want to tip my cap to Ji-Man Choi who made two eye popping plays at first base tonight. The first one of course being when he did the splits. I could not believe it when I saw it and part of me still can’t. I watch this over and over in awe.

That was amazing. But Choi wasn’t done winning over the hearts of Americans with big man athleticism. Check out this tag he put on Corey Seager:

It should be known that this is not a Rays blog, but it will forever be a Ji-Man Choi blog.

Rays Fan Ian Recaps Game 2: The Series is Tied!

Brandon Lowe busts out of massive slump, helps the Rays even the Series

By: Ian Blum

We. Are. Back. I would be a liar if I said I wasn’t a little nervous coming into Game 2. The Rays had to find some sort of offensive production to have a chance in this series and we were gifted 6 runs on 10 hits to get back in it.

Blake Snell set the tone for the Rays from the jump. He pitched 4 hitless innings and struck out 9 batters over his 4.2 innings pitched. Having a dominate start like that helped get the Rays off to an early lead.

A key for the Rays has been and always will be Brandon Lowe. After basically carrying the offensive load in the regular season he has struggled to find his footing in October. With Randy Arozarena transforming into a super hero it hasn’t really mattered until now. It was something that could not be sustained in a series vs a loaded team like the Dodgers. Others had to step up and tonight they did.

Lowe sending a ball out his first time up was a beautiful sight to see.

Then my favorite Ray, Joey Wendle got in on the fun, scoring Ji-Man Choi with a double in the top of the 4th. A 3-0 lead with a pitching staff like the Rays had to have Kevin Cash feeling good. But Brandon Lowe wasn’t satisfied. He was out for blood and sent Rays Fan Ian into a frenzy after a 2 run shot made it 5-0.

The Dodgers would not go down quietly. A Chris Taylor 2 run homer put the Dodgers on the board. If you look at the numbers Snell has trouble staying in games beyond 5 innings. It was discussed in the broadcast that injuries from last season probably play a roll in that. Either way the score was now 5-2 and the Dodgers looked poised to comeback.

After another Wendle RBI for the Rays made it 6-2, Will Smith (no not that Will Smith) and Corey Seager both homered for the Dodgers. I wasn’t having as much fun anymore.

A quick shoutout to Corey Seager who has been a monster in the postseason. Even after winning MVP of the NLCS he can still get lost in the shuffle on a team with Kershaw, Buehler, Bellinger and Betts. Per ESPN Stats and Info Corey Seager is the all time home run leader by a shortstop in the postseason. So here is his postseason spray chart for the heck of it:

With his lead starting to slip in the 8th Kevin Cash listened to math nerds in his brain. Now I am not lucky enough to have former Ivy Leaguers that studied economics in my head but I assume it looks something like this:

The nerds told him they needed 4 outfielders, so they used 4 outfielders. Pete Fairbanks was on the mound with Justin Turner on 2nd base and Will Smith (no not that Will Smith) at the plate. A high leverage moment in the game to say the least. And when Smith hit a ball 102.6 mph right at Wendle playing third my heart dropped.

If he hit that ball at a mortal man that glove would’ve exploded. But Joey ballgame is not like the rest of us. You don’t go barehanded to the plate in the World Series and not snag this ball. It was at this moment I knew the Rays were winning the game.

The final score read 6-4, Nick Anderson picked up the win for the Rays while Tony Gonsolin is credited with the loss. Diego Castillo has been great coming into this series and he kept it up, locking things down to get the save.

This win was a massive one for the Rays. The perception among fans is that despite both teams being the 1 seeds they are not equals. The Dodgers were to bully the poor Rays. After getting punched in the mouth in Game 1 the Rays came out swinging tonight. They showed that they can hang with the big bad Dodgers and that we do have a series.

As for what’s to come in Game 3 Friday night I have two names for you, Walker Buehler and Charlie Morton. Need I say more? Two of the absolute best in the game going toe to toe, pound for pound, winner gets a 2-1 lead in the World Series. Inject it straight into my veins.

Walker Buehler has appeared in 4 games and has a 1-0 record with a 1.89 ERA. Charlie Morton has been just a hair better in one less game. Over his 3 games he hasn’t suffered a loss and has a 0.57 ERA.