Let's Go Bowling: An Early Look at Bowl Season

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Let's Go Bowling: An Early Look at Bowl Season
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College football's best month is just about here: bowl season.  Even if your team is out of it (mine is...damn you Fighting Irish), the bowl season always provides exciting football and sets the stage for next season.

The national championship doesn't kick off until Jan. 7, but the action starts on Dec. 19 with a match-up for the ages: Wyoming and Fresno State in the historic New Mexico Bowl.

That's where I'll start things off.

New Mexico Bowl:  Wyoming vs. Fresno State

Why I'm watching:

I will watch strictly because it's the first bowl game of the season.

Who wins:

Fresno State just beat Illinois because one of their offensive lineman caught a pass to seal the victory.  Luck is clearly on their side, and they'll win.


St. Petersburg Bowl:  Rutgers vs. Central Florida

Why I'm watching:

I might take a glance at this game if it's on at a bar.  Otherwise, I'll probably skip over this one.

Who wins:

Rutgers.  They produced Ray Rice, and he's having a monster year for the Ravens.  That has to count for something.

 

New Orleans Bowl:  Southern Mississippi vs. Middle Tennessee

Why I'm watching:

I'm not.

Who wins:

Who cares.


Las Vegas Bowl:  BYU vs. Oregon State

Why I'm watching:

This game looks great on paper.  BYU took down the mighty Sooners earlier this year and Oregon State was a victory away from playing in the Rose Bowl.

Who wins:

BYU, in a close one.  The Beavers will be partying too hard the night before in Vegas, and the older, more mature Cougars will ditch the glitz and glamor for some much-needed sleep.

 

Poinsettia Bowl:  Utah vs. California

Why I'm watching:

Another game that looks great on paper.  If BYU beats Oregon State, the PAC 10 will need the Bears to help them avoid another loss to a "mid-major."

Who wins:

Cal.  Too much Jahvid Best for the Utes.  Jahvid is the "best" (sorry, I couldn't resist).


Hawaii Bowl:  SMU vs. Nevada

Why I'm watching:

Because I'll need to get away from the family for a few hours on Christmas Eve.

Who wins:

Nevada.  The "pistol" offense works, and you can't beat that name.


Little Caesars Pizza Bowl:  Ohio vs. Marshall

Why I'm watching:

Because Little Caesars makes the hot-n-ready pizzas and they deserve my support.

Who wins:

It doesn't matter.  The game is played at noon and no one really cares.


Meineke Bowl:  North Carolina vs. Pittsburgh

Why I'm watching:

I figure by this time, I'll be on my couch enjoying some Christmas Day leftovers and I'll need something to watch on TV.  This game will do nicely.

Who wins:

Toss up.  The Heels might have more fans because the game is in North Carolina.  Let's go with that thinking and say they win.


Emerald Bowl:  USC vs. Boston College

Why I'm watching:

Because it'll be fun to see Pete Carroll coaching a meaningless game and I'll take a little bit of pleasure in the Trojans' dismal season.  Also, Taylor Mays' last game as a collegiate athlete before he takes his menacing game to the NFL next year.

Who wins:

USC.  Taylor Mays scores six touchdowns and Boston College isn't very good (Notre Dame beat them). 


Music City Bowl:  Clemson vs. Kentucky

Why I'm watching:

C.J. Spiller of Clemson is worth taking a look at.

Who wins:

Clemson wins for the reason mentioned above.


Independence Bowl:  Texas A&M vs. Georgia

Why I'm watching:

Nothing really grabs my attention about this game, but it's football, so I'm all smiles.

Who wins:

Georgia because...I don't know.


EagleBank Bowl:  Temple vs. UCLA/Army

Why I'm watching:

I probably won't; this game doesn't even have a match-up set yet.

Who wins:

Temple.  The Owls are due for a bowl game win.


Champs Sports Bowl:  Miami vs. Wisconsin

Why I'm watching:

A pair of nine-win teams in action makes for good watching.

Who wins:

The U.  But the Badgers always seem to do the opposite of what I think they'll do.


Humanitarian Bowl:  Bowling Green vs. Idaho.

Why I'm watching:

I'm skipping over this one.

Who wins:

Me, for not having to write about this game.


Holiday Bowl:  Nebraska vs. Arizona

Why I'm watching:

The Holiday Bowl always delivers and this game should be no different.

Who wins:

Nebraska because if Colt McCoy hadn't gotten luckier than a son-of-a-gun, the Huskers would be playing in a BCS bowl.


Sun Bowl:  Stanford vs. Oklahoma

Why I'm watching:

Two words: Toby.  Gerhart.

Who wins:

Two more words: Stanford Cardinal.  Oklahoma just isn't the same without Sam Bradford.


Armed Forces Bowl:  Air Force vs. Houston

Why I'm watching:

I've heard good things about Case Keenum of Houston and I should probably see him in action one of these days.

Who wins:

Let's go with Houston for this one in a rematch of last year's Armed Forces Bowl.


Texas Bowl:  Missouri vs. Navy

Why I'm watching:

Good mixture here of totally opposite offenses.

Who wins:

Navy, they run their triple option offense to perfection and it is nothing like anything Missouri has seen.


Insight Bowl:  Minnesota vs. Iowa State

Why I'm watching:

I'm not.  I don't have the NFL Network.

Who wins:

Neither team is very impressive.  Flip a coin and enjoy.  Cyclones have a better nickname, so there you go.


Chick-fil-A Bowl:  Virginia Tech vs. Tennessee

Why I'm watching:

Ryan Williams (1,538 rushing yards) of Virginia Tech might be the best running back no one has heard of.

Who wins:

Hokies make Lane Kiffen 0-1 in bowl games.


Outback Bowl:  Northwestern vs. Auburn

Why I'm watching:

Northwestern QB Mike Kafka is a former teammate of mine in high school.  That's all the reason I need to watch this.

Who wins:

Northwestern beat Iowa (No. 4) and Wisconsin (No. 16) in the season's final month and a half.  They're a very hot team and they'll win their first bowl game in over 60 years.


Capital One Bowl:  Penn State vs. LSU

Why I'm watching:

What a game this could turn out to be.  SEC power LSU vs. Big 10 power Penn State.  Happy New Year!

Who wins:

LSU has the better athletes and who did Penn State even beat this year?  Look at their schedule and you'll see maybe one (Northwestern). 


Gator Bowl:  Florida State vs. West Virginia

Why I'm watching:

Bobby Bowden's final game as FSU coach is reason enough to tune in.

Who wins:

Florida State will send off their coach with a victory on New Year's Day.  Fitting.


Rose Bowl:  Ohio State vs. Oregon

Why I'm watching:

Because it's Terrelle Pryor vs. Jeremiah Masoli.  Because the Ducks will have another incredible uniform scheme on display.  But mostly, because it's the Rose Bowl and this is single-handily the one game every year I look forward to no matter what.  January 1 can't get here soon enough and this will be a fun one.

Who wins:

Ohio State will be blinded by the Ducks' crazy uniforms (and their overall team speed) and lose in a close one.  Jeremiah Masoli is the difference in this one.


Sugar Bowl:  Florida vs. Cincinnati

Why I'm watching:

It's Golden Boy's last game under center for the Gators.  And as a Notre Dame fan, I'll be interested in seeing Brian Kelly on the sidelines coaching in what I hope will be his last game for the Bearcats.

Who wins:

Tim Tebow will simply not let his team lose another football game.  The Bearcats are a nice story, but the Gators are too big, too fast, too good and will win this game by at least a dozen.

 

International Bowl:  South Florida vs. Northern Illinois

Why I'm watching:

I'd like to see Canada's take on the college football game.

Who wins:

South Florida will have jet lag, but they're a far better team than the Huskies.


Cotton Bowl:  Oklahoma State vs. Ole Miss

Why I'm watching:

It's two teams that had pretty lofty (and, possibly, unrealistic) expectations this preseason in a nice "runner-up" bowl game.

Who wins:

Oklahoma State by a point.  But then again, Jevan Snead looked pretty good in this game a year ago.


PapaJohns.com Bowl:  UConn vs. South Carolina

Why I'm watching:

Randy Edsall's troops are playing for their fallen teammate, Jasper Howard.  One more game to honor his memory.

Who wins:

UConn puts it all on the line against the likely-favored Gamecocks and pulls out a win.


Liberty Bowl:  East Carolina vs. Arkansas

Why I'm watching:

Because I believe in Liberty for all.

Who wins:

I also believe in the Razorbacks and I believe they'll win.


Alamo Bowl:  Michigan State vs. Texas Tech

Why I'm watching:

The Spartans had their typical, average season, and the Red Raiders' offense is always worth tuning in for.  This one shouldn't be close.

Who wins:

I hinted at my pick already; it's Texas Tech.  Nothing jumps out at me about Michigan State.


Fiesta Bowl:  Boise State vs. TCU

Why I'm watching:

The first BCS bowl featuring two "non-power" conferences in action should be a good one.  TCU plays defense while Boise State plays offense.  Something's gotta give.

Who wins:

TCU.  Defense, defense, defense, that's how you win championships, right?  It's not for a championship, but it could get the Horned Frogs to No. 2 in the final rankings.


Orange Bowl:  Iowa vs. Georgia Tech

Why I'm watching:

It'll be nice to see the triple-option offense of Georgia Tech on display in a major bowl like this.  Why is Iowa here?

Who wins:

Yellow Jackets win because I don't know how Iowa got here.


GMAC Bowl:  Central Michigan vs. Troy

Why I'm watching:

If you haven't seen Central Michigan's Dan LeFevour in action, shame on you.  He has the NCAA career record for touchdowns.  Yes, that's not a typo.

Who wins:

Central Michigan outscores Troy in the final game before the....


BCS National Championship Game:  Alabama vs. Texas

Why I'm watching:

Are you kidding?  What's not to like?  We have star power (Mark Ingram, Colt McCoy, Julio Jones, Jordan Shipley, etc.).  We have really cool crowd chants ("Roll Tide" vs. "Hook 'em Horns").  We have as many as five first round draft picks on the field....for Alabama alone (Javier Arenas, Terrence Cody, Rolando McClain, Julio Jones, Mark Ingram).  We have Colt McCoy's final game as a Longhorn.  We have Mack Brown vs. Nick Saban...we got it all.

Who wins:

Roll Tide.  This team seems to be on a mission and nothing short of a national championship will do.  Plus, did you see the way they dismantled the mighty Gators?  Dear Lord, this team is scary.

 

So, there you have it.  Make sure you have a comfy couch, good brew and buddies, and fresh batteries for the remote to switch between games.

I love the bowl season.

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