Complete Bowl Preview

DATE: December 19
BOWL: New Mexico Bowl
MATCH UP: Fresno St vs. Wyoming
WINNER: Fresno St
COMMENT: Fresno State’s RB Ryan Mathews has averaged 151 yards per game – the most of any Division 1 back. That doesn’t bode well for Wyoming’s 91st ranked rush defense.

DATE: December 19
BOWL: St. Petersburg Bowl
MATCH UP: Rutgers vs. Central Florida
WINNER: Rutgers
COMMENT: It’s a current Big East team against a potential Big East team. That’s right, if Rutgers bolts for the Big 10 +2, UCF may be the most logical replacement choice for the Big East. They have an emerging football program under George “I lied to Notre Dame” O’Leary and Michael Jordan’s son plays for their basketball team… sorry Adidas…

DATE: December 20
BOWL: New Orleans Bowl
MATCH UP: Southern Miss vs. Middle Tennessee St
WINNER: Southern Mississippi
COMMENT: Umm… Sunday Night Football is airing at the same time. You do realize no one will watch this game New Orleans, don’t you? That’s too bad because Middle Tennessee is the best nine-win team you’ve still never seen. Since I’ve never seen them I’m taking Southern Miss on the strength of their workhorse Damion Fletcher who has rushed for 5,224 yards in his career – that’s not a typo!

DATE: December 22
BOWL: Las Vegas Bowl
MATCH UP: Oregon St. vs. BYU
WINNER: Oregon St
COMMENT: The Beavers have the fewest giveaways in the nation, a QB completing 70 % of his passes, and two super freaks in the Rodgers Bros. Jacquizz everyone knows about – 1377 yards and the whole USC upset, but James has been just as effective – averaging 184 all-purpose yards a game (5th in nation.)

DATE: December 23
BOWL: Poinsettia Bowl
MATCH UP: Cal vs. Utah
COMMENT: No Jahvid Best, no problem. Shane Vereen has filled in admirably. He has 444 yards in three games since Best’s injury averaging more than five yards per carry. The Sophomore quietly has more than 1,500 yards in his career and will be a great starting back the next two years for Cal. Look for him to play well, but the big question for Cal is Kevin Riley’s inconsistency. He’s only completed 53% of his passes with four picks his past four games. There’s also the question of motivation for Cal and Utah comes from the underrated MWC with eight consecutive bowl victories. Kyle Whittingham will have Utah ready to play, while Cal seems to be in its perennial year-end tailspin.

DATE: December 24
BOWL: Hawaii Bowl
MATCH UP: SMU vs. Nevada
WINNER: Nevada
COMMENT: June Jones goes back to Hawaii where his Mustangs will play their first bowl game since 1984. Unfortunately for SMU and Jones, that’s where all the fun will end because there’s absolutely no way a team that lost to Washington St can win a bowl game especially against a team averaging more than 40 points a game.

DATE: December 26
BOWL: Little Caesar’s Bowl
MATCH UP: Ohio vs. Marshall
COMMENT: I don’t know what Little Caesar’s was thinking, but if they were looking for the completely irrelevant bowl – they succeeded. If you like defense though, Ohio has the most takeaways in the nation.

DATE: December 26
BOWL: Meineke Car Care Bowl
MATCH UP: Pittsburgh vs. North Carolina
WINNER: Pittsburgh
COMMENT: These two teams have one thing in common: losing to a pitiful NC State team. Dave Wannstedt has not exactly been the home run choice Pitt alums thought he would be, but he did ruin West Virginia’s championship run in 2007, and he also almost went to the BCS this year. Problem is… almost doesn’t get you anywhere but fired, just ask Charlie Weis. With that said, UNC has just been too sporadic.

DATE: December 26
BOWL: Emerald Bowl
MATCH UP: USC vs. Boston College
COMMENT: It’s been a while since the Trojans played in a non-BCS bowl, but BC is just not good enough to pull off the upset here. BC only converts 29% of their 3rd downs (5th worst in NCAA), which will help out that lack of confidence and self doubt for the Trojan defense. Note to Pete Carroll – run the ball! You’re averaging 5.1 per carry.

DATE: December 27
BOWL: Music City Bowl
MATCH UP: Clemson vs. Kentucky
WINNER: Clemson
COMMENT: What’s the over-under for C.J. Spiller’s total yards in this game? I’ll set it at 299.5 and say he goes over. I may be making a mistake here in picking an ACC team since the conference is so pathetic, but there’s no reason to pick Kentucky at all.

DATE: December 28
BOWL: Independence Bowl
MATCH UP: Georgia vs. Texas A&M
WINNER: Georgia
COMMENT: Talk about one of the most perennially overrated teams, but a match up against Texas A&M’s 106th ranked defense isn’t exactly that much of a challenge. UGA did just be a disinterested Georgia Tech team too.

DATE: December 29
BOWL: Champs Sports Bowl
MATCH UP: Miami vs. Wisconsin
COMMENT: Miami QB Jacory Harris and the Canes will be way too much athletically for the Badgers to handle. This is just another classic Big Ten team being outmatched against a faster, more athletic team. The Badgers have played the traditional Big Ten cupcake schedule and have lost every semi-meaningful game this year.

DATE: December 29
BOWL: Eagle Bank Bowl
MATCH UP: UCLA vs. Temple
COMMENT: Temple will go bowling in the nation’s capitol for the first time since 1979 where they will meet a hungry UCLA team that is the best team they will see all year. Yeah I said it, the 7th best team in the Pac 10 is better than Penn State who should be ashamed of even scheduling the Owls.

DATE: December 30
BOWL: Humanitarian Bowl
MATCH UP: Bowling Green vs. Idaho
WINNER: Bowling Green
COMMENT: Bowling Green has won six of their past seven games with the help of Freddie Barnes’ NCAA leading 138 catches and 2nd best 129 yards per game. Idaho has lost four of their past five.

DATE: December 30
BOWL: Holiday Bowl
MATCH UP: Nebraska vs. Arizona
WINNER: Arizona
COMMENT: Even though they have the top-ranked scoring defense, only giving up 11 points a game, it doesn’t matter if you can’t score, which we saw is the case in the Big 12 Championship. Arizona averages 29 a game, that’s way too much scoring for the Blackshirts, I don’t know if they could score that much if the teams played two games.

DATE: December 31
BOWL: Armed Forces Bowl
MATCH UP: Houston vs. Air Force
WINNER: Houston
COMMENT: It’s a rematch of last year’s Armed Forces Bowl. It’s always great to see an Armed Force in this game, but Case Keenum’s ridiculous top-ranked passing attack (419 yards a game) will be too much for the Falcons the second year in a row.

DATE: December 31
BOWL: Sun Bowl
MATCH UP: Stanford vs. Oklahoma
WINNER: Stanford
COMMENT: Toby Gerhart, who had the Heisman Trophy stolen from him by the voters, will run all over that ‘vaunted’ Oklahoma defense. Don’t forget the Sooners give up 83 yards a game in penalties – the 2nd most in the nation. The Gerhart-penalty combo will stifle that defense regardless.

DATE: December 31
BOWL: Texas Bowl
MATCH UP: Missouri vs. Navy
COMMENT: Navy rushes the ball 86.5% of the time and is still an impressive 9-4. That proves that the option can still be used effectively, just ask Charlie Weis. Missouri has had a pedestrian season with no signature wins.

DATE: December 31
BOWL: Insight Bowl
MATCH UP: Iowa St. vs. Minnesota ‘
WINNER: Minnesota
COMMENT: This game is not exactly conducive to watching offense. Minnesota’s ranked 88th while Iowa St is ranked 99th. Good thing it’s on the NFL Network so no one will see it…

DATE: December 31
BOWL: Chick-Fil-A Bowl
MATCH UP: Tennessee vs. Virginia Tech
WINNER: Virginia Tech
COMMENT: I feel like I’m picking too many ACC teams after an utterly pathetic season from that conference, but Tennessee is no juggernaut and two of Va Tech’s losses are to BCS bound teams.

DATE: January 1
BOWL: Outback Bowl
MATCH UP: Northwestern vs. Auburn
WINNER: Auburn
COMMENT: SEC vs. Big Ten – always pick against Big Ten, no matter what. Auburn has lost five of their past seven games, but Northwestern’s loss to Syracuse and their alliance with the Big Ten is enough to make me pick Auburn 100 out of 100 times.

DATE: January 1
BOWL: Capital One Bowl
MATCH UP: Penn St vs. LSU
COMMENT: I’m not going to lie; the winner of the mascot challenge at half may be the most exciting thing about this game. Penn St has no quality wins after loading their schedule with cupcakes like Eastern Illinois, Akron, Temple and Syracuse. SEC vs. Big Ten again. SEC wins of course.

DATE: January 1
BOWL: Gator Bowl
MATCH UP: West Virginia vs. Florida St
WINNER: West Virginia
COMMENT: Kudos to the Gator Bowl for giving Bobby Bowden one last meaningful bowl game, even if it wasn’t deserved. West Va is just too much for FSU’s abysmal defense. The Seminoles are 112th in the nation in total defense giving up 456 yards a game.

DATE: January 1
BOWL: Rose Bowl
MATCH UP: Oregon vs. Ohio St
WINNER: Oregon
COMMENT: Believe it or not, Ohio St hasn’t played in the Rose Bowl since 1997. They’ve gone eight different BCS games in that time, but none were the Rose Bowl. Oregon hasn’t been in the Rose Bowl since 1995. This is Ohio St’s kryptonite, a dynamic spread offense that will run circles around the Buckeyes all day.

DATE: January 1
BOWL: Sugar Bowl
MATCH UP: Cincinnati vs. Florida
WINNER: Florida
COMMENT: The loss of Brian Kelly combined with playing a very good Florida team will be too much for the Bearcats to overcome. It will be interesting to see Florida’s 2nd ranked defense (248 yards a game) against Cincinnati’s 8th ranked offense (454 yards a game.)

DATE: January 2
BOWL: International Bowl
MATCH UP: Northern Illinois vs. South Florida
WINNER: South Florida
COMMENT: The Big East just destroys the MAC every year north of the border. This year will be no different. USF is just a far superior team.

DATE: January 2
BOWL: Papa Bowl
MATCH UP: Connecticut vs. South Carolina
WINNER: Connecticut
COMMENT: Five losses by 15 points is just too hard to imagine. Even worse, the Huskies led four of those five in the fourth quarter and created new ways to lose games including on a holding in the end zone and a loss on an 83-yard Hail Mary. With that said, this team keeps fighting and won their past two games in nail biters. The Huskies have momentum, while South Carolina’s sputtering offense is 97th and they’ve lost three of their past four games.

DATE: January 2
BOWL: Cotton Bowl
MATCH UP: Mississippi vs. Oklahoma St
WINNER: Mississippi
COMMENT: Can we just call this the overrated bowl? How appropriate to have the two most overrated teams at the beginning of the season in the most overrated bowl game. I’m taking Ole Miss only because Mike Gundy has been the opposite of a man this year. His team completely laid down against Texas and Oklahoma losing by a combined 68-14

DATE: January 2
BOWL: Liberty Bowl
MATCH UP: Arkansas vs. East Carolina
WINNER: Arkansas
COMMENT: Ryan Mallett has emerged as an excellent quarterback. He’s thrown for more than 3,000 yards and averages 16 yards per completion. Skip Holtz and ECU won another C-USA championship, but they haven’t seen a legitimate passer like Mallett all year.

DATE: January 2
BOWL: Alamo Bowl
MATCH UP: Texas Tech vs. Michigan St
WINNER: Texas Tech
COMMENT: This shouldn’t be a surprise, but Mike Leach’s Red Raiders lead the nation in passing plays a game. 69% of their plays are passes. Michigan St is dealing with a scandal and eight suspended players. Sparty will get dominated.

DATE: January 4
BOWL: Fiesta Bowl
MATCH UP: TCU vs. Boise St
COMMENT: The Mountain West is a much better conference than the WAC, TCU had a much better non-conference schedule and the Horned Frogs will beat the Broncos for the second straight year in a bowl. The Broncos have never seen a defense like this, which is 1st in NCAA (231 yards a game.) They’ve also never seen a team like this: 1st in margin of victory (27.6 points a game.)

DATE: January 5
BOWL: Orange Bowl
MATCH UP: Georgia Tech vs. Iowa
WINNER: Georgia Tech
COMMENT: Paul Johnson’s team knows how to control the football. They hold it for 34:42 on average, the best in the nation. That’s too much for a Little 11 team without their QB to overcome. The Little 11 adds to their current BCS streak going 0-8 the past four years. How do they keep getting a second team in every year???

DATE: January 6
MATCH UP: Central Michigan vs. Troy
WINNER: Central Michigan
COMMENT: Central Michigan is looking for a coach after Butch Jones bolted for Cincinnati, but Dan LeFevour will not be denied. LeFevour is the poor man’s Tim Tebow, he has 701 yards rushing, but actually throws it better. He has the best completion percentage (71.1) in the nation and has thrown for 600 more yards than Tebow.

DATE: January 7
BOWL: BCS National Championship
MATCH UP: Texas vs. Alabama
WINNER: Alabama
COMMENT: Texas hasn’t seen a defense like this. If they thought Nebraska was tough, wait until they see the speed of Alabama. Bama is only giving up 12 points a game and is on a mission. Texas really hasn’t been challenge this year by their schedule and maybe the other Texas team, TCU, was more deserving of being in this position. The Long Horns highest ranked victory is over a highly suspect Oklahoma St team, currently ranked 19th.


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