December bowl games are more than a month away, but it's not too early to prepare for the onslaught of nomenclature you've never heard of.
For example, one of the postseason games affiliated with the Big 12 Conference is the EV1.Net Bowl. If you know where that game will be played, you either know too much about college football or you live in Houston.
Once known as the Galleryfurniture.com Bowl, Houston's postseason semi-extravaganza now is sponsored by EV1.Net, the largest independent Internet service provider in the U.S. -- or so they say on their Web site -- with over 300,000 users.
Then there's the Champs Sports Bowl. Do you know where that one is? Hint: Kansas played in it last year. Yep, it's the old Mazda Tangerine Bowl, an Orlando, Fla., fixture. I sure hate to see them drop such a traditional term as Tangerine from the bowl name.
Down in Shreveport, La., the Independence Bowl would love to have a sponsor after MainStay Funds opted out of the fourth year of its title sponsorship. As it stands now, the Independence Bowl will not have -- horror of horrors -- a corporate name in its logo.
Ah, for the halcyon days when the Poulan Weed Eater and the Independence Bowl were as familiar as apple and pie. Maybe now that MasterCard sponsors the Alamo Bowl, the Independence Bowl folks can cut a deal with Visa.
Meanwhile, I have a deal for you. It's the "Wanna Whack Woodling?" contest and it's as easy as, well, apple and pie. Go to KUsports.com on the Web, click on the appropriate prompts and you'll have a chance to whack me.
What's the carrot? If you beat me and come closest to predicting the Kansas-Colorado score, you'll win a We Whacked Woodling T-shirt, an item so coveted that eBay is begging for them.
Here are this week's picks:
Missouri 34, Kansas State 26 -- Tigers, toothless on road and terrific at home, return to their beloved Faurot Field and saddle Wildcats with their first losing season since 1992. Only Baylor has surrendered more TDs than Wildcats' wimpy defense.
Nebraska 19, Iowa State 6 -- Punchless Cyclones' designs on going from worst to first in Big 12 North suffer serious setback. Sixth win -- no certainty early in season -- will assure Cornhuskers their 36th straight bowl trip.
Texas Tech 71, Baylor 3 -- No way Bears can get up for Red Raiders after last week's stunning one-point overtime win over Texas A&M.; Sonny Cumbie and Co. will have no trouble reaching coveted six-win plateau.
Oklahoma 34, Texas A&M; 22 -- Aggies surely must be enraged after last week's shocking loss to Baylor and figure to bounce back with a vengeance on their home turf, but Sooners know how important this one is to their national championship hopes.
Texas 40, Oklahoma State 23 -- Don't mess with Texas. Longhorns' lone loss was to Oklahoma, meaning if they win out, they're in a BCS bowl. Cowboys due for a downer after last week's three-point Bedlam Series defeat.
Kansas 31, Colorado 29 -- Even with a new quarterback in Jason Swanson, there's no reason to think this one will be much different than Jayhawks' other free-wheeling Big 12 home games -- a 31-28 win over Kansas State and a 31-30 loss to Texas Tech.