College football’s 2012 bowl season will please every fan on Saturday.
Shootout enthusiasts will be entertained by East Carolina and Louisiana-Lafayette’s high-scoring offenses and pathetic stop units in the R+L Carries New Orleans Bowl at 12:00 p.m. ET on ESPN. At 3:30 p.m. ET on the same network, those who prefer defensive struggles will be pleased to find Boise State taking on Washington in the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas.
Here are previews and predictions for each contest.
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: East Carolina vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
Stars shine brighter on the biggest stages. That’s why the Pirates will edge out the Ragin’ Cajuns in what’s sure to be a back-and-forth battle.
When ECU’s offense needs to make a play, it knows exactly who to get the football to. Running back Vintavious Cooper gained 1,256 yards from scrimmage this season and scored a total of eight touchdowns. Wide receiver Justin Hardy reeled in 83 receptions for 1,046 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Louisiana-Lafayette quarterback Terrance Broadway has a much deeper arsenal of weapons than Shane Carden. But not a single one of them has recorded at least 800 yards from scrimmage this season.
With neither defense bound to offer much of a fight, the Pirates’ go-to game breakers will overshadow the Ragin’ Cajuns’ plethora of weapons.
Prediction: Eastern Carolina, 38-35
Maaco Bowl Las Vegas: Washington vs. Boise State
10-2 Boise State may enter the Maaco Bowl in Las Vegas with a superior record to 7-5 Washington, but don’t put the Huskies in a box based off of two numbers. They’re much better than their win-loss ratio would suggest and have played far better competition than the Broncos have this season.
While Boise State didn’t defeat a single ranked opponent, Washington defeated No. 6 Stanford, who’s going to the Rose Bowl, and No. 13 Oregon State, who’s going to the Alamo Bowl.
Unlike Fresno State-SMU, this game will go down to the wire.
And while Keith Price has had his share of struggles this season, he, unlike Joe Southwick, has been in this position before. When the Huskies' and Broncos’ talented defenses collide, quarterback play will be the equalizer and Price is the better bet to rise to the occasion.
Prediction: Washington, 21-20
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.