The Complete 2009-10 College Football Bowl Preview

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The Complete 2009-10 College Football Bowl Preview
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Let's begin our quick look into each bowl game this season. There are plenty of great matchups this season, but some real duds, too.

I'll give the basics for each bowl game; who's in it, when, why I (and you) should take the time to watch, and which team gets the early nod.



New Mexico Bowl Dec. 19 / 4:30 p.m.

Fresno State (8-4, 6-2 WAC) vs. Wyoming (6-6, 4-4 MWC)

Why I should watch: This game would normally get my lowest rating, but since Fresno played two Big Ten teams (Wisconsin, Illinois), the Bulldogs offer some spark of interest. Fresno lost four games: at Wisconsin, Boise State, at Cincinnati, and at Nevada.

But those four opponents combined for a ridiculous 42-7 record, including Cincy and Boise going unbeaten.

Wyoming, meanwhile, is just awful. The Cowboys were held to 10 points or less on six different occasions this season, including THREE shutout losses. If this game were on a weekday, it would be virtually unwatchable; but it gets a chance, being on a Saturday.

Give'em: FSU (-12½)
On paper, this game gets a... 1 out of 5

 

St.Petersburg Bowl Dec. 19 / 8 p.m.

Central Florida (8-4, 6-2 C-USA) vs. Rutgers (8-4, 3-4 Big East)

Why I should watch: I'm a North Jersey native, so this game will illicit much more interest for me than the average viewer.

Having seen Rutgers play in person this year, I can say the RU has the ability to play with any team. The Scarlet Knights pushed Pitt and West Virginia; but they also lost to Syracuse in a bad road loss.

UCF is about as mid-majory as a team can get. The Knights were blown away by the BCS teams they faced, and beat most of the other teams on their slate.

Hey, if anything else, this bowl pits the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers against the Knights of Central Florida.

Give'em: RU (-2½)
On paper, this game gets a... 1 out of 5 for normal people; 2 out of 5 for me.



New Orleans Bowl Dec. 20 / 8:30 p.m.

Southern Mississippi (7-5, 5-3 C-USA) vs. Middle Tennessee State (9-3, 7-1 Sun Belt)

Why I should watch: Southern Miss was supposed to be one of those hot picks to crash the BCS this season; but a third-place C-USA East finish doesn't exactly turn heads towards your program.

Four of the Eagles' five losses came by seven points or less, including at Kansas, at Louisville, at Houston and at East Carolina.

Middle Tennessee State plays in the brutal Sun Belt Conference (sarcasm, folks), but even with a decent non-conference schedule, finished with nine wins.

Give'em: USM (-3½)
On paper, this game gets a... 1 out of 5

 

Maaco Bowl Dec. 22 / 8 p.m.

No. 18 Oregon State (8-4, 6-3 Pac 10) vs. No. 14 Brigham Young (10-2, 7-1 MWC)

Why I should watch: For such an early bowl date, this game offers two top-20 teams. BYU wasn't the monster it was thought to be, particularly after its blowout loss to Florida State way back in September.

But the Cougars still won 10 games, and beat No. 23 Utah. Oregon State is in a similar boat, as one more win would have propelled the Beavers to the Pac 10 title and Rose Bowl bid.

Oregon State played an arguably tougher schedule, but I like this game a lot, and will surely tune in.

Give'em: OSU (-2½)
On paper, this game gets a... 3 out of 5

 

Poinsettia Bowl Dec. 23 / 8 p.m.

No. 23 Utah (9-3, 6-2 MWC) vs. California (8-4, 5-4 Pac 10)

Why I should watch: Figure this to be the lite-version of the OSU-BYU game; these are the two losers of both regular season meetings. Had Cal not imploded at Washington on the final weekend (L 42-10), I'd say this game would have gotten a much higher rating.

Utah is just as solid as usual, coming within an overtime brain fart of finishing second in the MWC behind TCU. "Pac 10 vs. Mountain West" is easily the best rivalry between two conferences, even if it's relatively young.

Give'em: Cal (-3)

On paper, this game gets a... 3 out of 5

 

Hawaii Bowl Dec. 24 / 8:00 p.m.

Nevada (8-4, 7-1 WAC) vs. Southern Methodist (7-5, 6-2 C-USA)

Why I should watch: This will be SMU's first bowl game in 25 years. That's about it for this one. Nevada has one of the best offenses in college football, but has that glaring 35-0 shutout at Notre Dame still hanging on its resume.

SMU won four of five down the stretch to become bowl eligible, but against weak opponents. The UN offense rolling over the SMU defense isn't going to be pretty.

Give'em: UN (-15)
On paper, this game gets a... 1 out of 5

 

Little Caesars Bowl Dec. 26 / 1:00 p.m.

Ohio (9-4, 7-2 MAC) vs. Marshall (6-6, 4-4 C-USA)

Why I should watch: This is a matchup of old MAC foes; unfortunately, that's all it is. The Bobcats gave Central Michigan its toughest game of the season in the MAC Championship, finishing with a fine nine-win total for the year.

Marshall lost a bad game at UTEP to finish out the regular season, but still made it into a bowl with a .500 record. If I get out of bed before this game is over, I'll flip in on while I microwave some leftovers.

Give'em: OU (-2½)
On paper, this game gets a... 1 out of 5

 

Meineke Car Care Bowl Dec. 26 / 4:30 p.m.

No. 17 Pittsburgh (9-3, 5-2 Big East) vs. North Carolina (8-4, 4-4 ACC)

Why I should watch: We'll get our first all-BCS conference bowl game in this one. Pitt came so close to winning the Big East over Cincinnati, but just couldn't hold on in a one-point loss.

The Panthers boast probably a future Heisman winner, running back Dion Lewis. I can assure you, he's even more impressive, if possible, in person (the Rutgers game I went to was vs. Pitt).

North Carolina lost three games it had no business blowing: Virginia, Florida State and at NC State.

Had the Tar Heels played up to their potential in those games, UNC would be sitting at 11-1, and surely not playing in this bowl game. Pitt's Lewis is just too good to get bottled up by a not-always-great UNC defense.

Give'em: Pitt (-3)
On paper, this game gets a... 3 out of 5



Emerald Bowl Dec. 26 / 8 p.m.

Boston College (8-4, 5-3 ACC) vs. Southern California (8-4, 5-4 Pacific 10)

Why I should watch: It just feels so wrong (but sooo good) to see USC fall this far in just one season. The Trojans were embarrassed more often this year than the previous eight combined.

If USC loses this game, it will have gone 2-4 in its final six games of the season. Boston College will look to continue USC's trend of losing to sub-par teams this season. I'm not sure it will happen, as Pete Carroll is pissed off, as are his players.

Then again, this is what we've been saying about USC all season long: "They're just too good to lose again! "

Give'em: USC (-9)
On paper, this game gets a... 2 out of 5

 

Music City Bowl Dec. 27 / 8:30 p.m.

Kentucky (7-5, 3-5 SEC) vs. Clemson (8-5, 6-3 Atlantic Coast)

Why I should watch: The Tigers had yet another shoulda-woulda-coulda season (although, better than anyone expected), while the Wildcats landed fourth in an SEC East division that ate itself alive this season.

Kentucky has been money in bowl games under Rich Brooks (3-0); Clemson not so much (0 wins in last three).

These two teams faced off three years ago, in this same bowl game; Kentucky won 28-20. The Tigers have a great shot to finally emerge from its post-season funk.

Give'em: CU (-7)
On paper, this game gets a... 2 out of 5

 

Independence Bowl Dec. 28 / 5 p.m.

Texas A&M (6-6, 3-5 Big 12) vs. Georgia (7-5, 4-4 SEC)

Why I should watch: As Lee Corso would say, Texas A&M "blew its wad" in the season finale against Texas. The Aggies pushed the Longhorns to the brink, but came up short on Kyle Field.

The game felt like one big last-ditch effort to make the season into a success; it didn't work.

Georgia, meanwhile, ended the season as high as a 6-5 team could, downing rival and seventh-ranked Georgia Tech. This bowl features two teams barreling in opposite directions, but could offer more than a few surprises.

Give'em: UGA (-7)
On paper, this game gets a... 2 out of 5

 

Eagle Bank Bowl Dec. 29 / 4:30 p.m.

Temple (9-3, 7-1 MAC) vs. UCLA (6-6, 3-6 Pac 10)

Why I should watch: Could Temple, Temple , win 10 games this year? Well, the Owls have a shot against UCLA in DC.

It was one of the more entertaining stories in football this season, and could have been even better had the Owls made it to the MAC title game.

Temple is going to its first bowl in 30 years. UCLA isn't so happy. The Bruins used to be a force in the Pac 10, but are now just fortunate to reach bowl games. Coach Rick Neuheisel is moving UCLA in the right direction, and a bowl win here would continue that.

Give'em: UCLA (-4)
On paper, this game gets a... 2 out of 5

 

Champs Sports Bowl Dec. 29 / 8 p.m.

No. 15 Miami (FL) (9-3, 5-3 ACC) vs. No. 25 Wisconsin (9-3, 5-3 Big Ten)

Why I should watch: Neither team has been overtly impressive this season, but the Canes and Badgers will vie for the coveted 10th win in this one. The pure talent and speed is one Miami's side, but Wisconsin is probably the better overall team.

The Badgers lost three games to opponents (two going to BCS bowls) that combined for a 28-8 record.

Miami's three came to teams that went 25-12 overall. Watch for Wisconsin running back John Clay and Miami quarterback Jacory Harris; as they go, the winner should follow.

Give'em: The U (-3)
On paper, this game gets a... 3 out of 5

 

Humanitarian Bowl Dec. 30 / 4:30 p.m.

Bowling Green (7-5, 6-2 MAC) vs. Idaho (7-5, 4-4 WAC)

Why I should watch: Hmm... give me a minute. Well, Idaho was a nice story this season, finally reaching a bowl game. At one point, the Vandals were sitting at 7-2, but lost three straight to end the season.

They also have an All-American at guard. Think of Bowling Green as the anti-Idaho, schedule-wise at least.

The Falcons started 1-4, but finished 6-1. If you have the TV on during dinner, at least there's some sort of football to watch.

Give'em: BGSU (-1½)
On paper, this game gets a... 1 out of 5

 

Holiday Bowl Dec. 30 / 8 p.m.

No. 20 Arizona (8-4, 6-3 Pac 10) vs. No. 22 Nebraska (9-4, 6-3 Big 12)

Why I should watch: The Holiday Bowl is usually the best December bowl game every year; 2009 shouldn't disappoint. The Cornhuskers almost rocked the college football world, losing by the slimmest margins to Texas in the Big XII title game.

Interestingly enough, NU's Heisman finalist single-handedly prevented another finalist (Colt McCoy) from winning. Three of Nebraska's four losses came by a combined four points. Arizona was one of the last Pac 10 title contenders standing as Thanksgiving approached.

But the Wildcats' luck ran out. Zona played one of the tougher schedules in the nation, even with I-AA opponent N. Arizona on there. Nebraska and Arizona met in the 1998 Holiday Bowl, a Cats victory.

Give'em: Zona (-1½)
On paper, this game gets a... 3 out of 5

 

Armed Forces Bowl Dec. 31 / 12 p.m.

Houston (10-3, 6-3 C-USA) vs. Air Force (7-5, 5-3 MWC)

Why I should watch: Houston had a bad case of bipolarity this season. The Cougars beat all the teams a mid-major shouldn't (Oklahoma State, Texas Tech), but then lost to teams a potential BCS buster shouldn't (UTEP, UCF), and then lost the C-USA title game to ECU.

Case Keenum is a freak at quarterback, leading the nation in total offense per game. He's thrown for more than 500 yards FOUR TIMES this season, with 43 touchdowns and nine picks.

For the Air Force Academy, the best thing would be to use its potent rushing game to keep the ball away from the Cougar offense, while wearing down the defense. If you're home on New Years Eve day, flip this on while preparing the hors d'oeuvres.

Give'em: UH (-4½)
On paper, this game gets a... 2 out of 5

 

Sun Bowl Dec. 31 / 2 p.m.

Oklahoma (7-5, 5-3 Big 12) vs. No. 21 Stanford (8-4, 6-3 Pac 10)

Why I should watch: Should Toby Gerhart have won the Heisman Trophy? We'll find out if he can put up more big numbers against a Sooner defense that is coming off a 27-0 demolition of Oklahoma State's previously potent offense.

Oklahoma lost Heisman winner Sam Bradford in the first game, then again in his first game back mid-season. Granted, it's tough to play with a guy like that missing, but I think the Sooners greatly underachieved in 2009.

Stanford is another story. The Cardinal became the story of college football, particularly after coach Jim Harbaugh laid the wood on USC in the LA Coliseum. Stanford also handed Oregon its only Pac 10 loss.

Give'em: OU (-8)
On paper, this game gets a... 3 out of 5

 

Texas Bowl Dec. 31 / 3:30 p.m.

Navy (9-4) vs. Missouri (8-4, 4-4 Big 12)

Why I should watch: Service academies always warrant some interest. Both these teams are pretty good, with Missouri at least coming out of a BCS conference.

But they are also polar opposites on the offensive side of the ball. Navy lives on the ground, while the Tigers fly through the air.

Aside from an inexplicable loss at Hawaii, the Middies lost to three teams that combined to go 29-7. Missouri is in a similar boat, dropping one to Baylor, but the other three losses coming at the hands of Nebraska, Oklahoma State and Texas.

Give'em: Mizzou (-4)
On paper, this game gets a... 2 out of 5

 

Insight Bowl Dec. 31 / 6 p.m.

Minnesota (6-6, 3-5 Big Ten) vs. Iowa State (6-6, 3-5 Big 12)

Why I should watch: Call this the "Battle for a Winning Record" bowl. If your TV provider offers the NFL Network, or you got it with your sports package, then go ahead and flip this one on for good background. It's definitely better than those stupid countdown to New Years shows on the major networks.

Minnesota's offense went south with the loss of receiver Eric Decker, while first-year head coach Paul Rhodes led the Cyclones to their first bowl bid since 2005.

Give'em: Minny (-2½)
On paper, this game gets a... 2 out of 5

 

Chick-fil-A Bowl Dec. 31 / 7:30 p.m.

No. 11 Virginia Tech (9-3, 6-2 ACC) vs. Tennessee (7-5, 4-4 SEC)

Why I should watch: The Hokies have a shot to win 10 games for the ninth time in 11 years. The Vols, though, are just happy to be back in the bowl picture.

Tennessee is a portrait of a young team (relatively) learning to win under a new coach, Lane Kiffin, as the Vols pushed some of the best teams on the schedule (Bama, Florida), but lost to some pretty average ones (UCLA, Auburn) as well.

On the other side is Virginia Tech, an example of consistent winning for two decades under Frank Beamer. This is the most interesting matchups of opposite-mannered coaches this bowl season.

Give'em: VT (-4½)
On paper, this game gets a... 3 out of 5

 

Chick-fil-A Bowl Dec. 31 / 7:30 p.m.

No. 11 Virginia Tech (9-3, 6-2 ACC) vs. Tennessee (7-5, 4-4 SEC)

Why I should watch: The Hokies have a shot to win 10 games for the ninth time in 11 years. The Vols, though, are just happy to be back in the bowl picture.

Tennessee is a portrait of a young team (relatively) learning to win under a new coach, Lane Kiffin, as the Vols pushed some of the best teams on the schedule (Bama, Florida), but lost to some pretty average ones (UCLA, Auburn) as well.

On the other side is Virginia Tech, an example of consistent winning for two decades under Frank Beamer. This is the most interesting matchups of opposite-mannered coaches this bowl season.

Give'em: VT (-4½)
On paper, this game gets a... 3 out of 5

 

NEW YEARS DAY

Outback Bowl Jan. 1 / 11 a.m.

Northwestern (8-4, 5-3 Big Ten) vs. Auburn (7-5, 3-5 SEC)

Why I should watch: The Wildcats haven't been to a New Years Day bowl game since 1996 ('97 Citrus Bowl), so getting the nod over Wisconsin in this bowl made more than a few Northwesterners smirk with joy .

Northwestern has become a real, live contender under Pat Fitzgerald.

Auburn is a lot like Texas A&M, in that both teams played so hard in season finale losses against their arch rivals, it could be tough to recover for the bowl game.

The Wildcats have beaten better teams than Auburn this year, so the Tigers can't miss a beat in this one.

Give'em: AU (-7½)
On paper, this game gets a... 3 out of 5

 

Capital One Bowl Jan. 1 / 1 p.m.

Penn State (10-2, 6-2 Big Ten) vs. Louisiana State (9-3, 5-3 SEC)

Why I should watch: Along with the Outback Bowl that starts an hour earlier, the Capital One Bowl will be one of the most important bowl games for the Big Ten conference's national reputation.

LSU is one of three teams this decade to win multiple BCS national championships. The Tigers have had an up and down season, losing to Florida and Bama, but also dropping a late game to Ole Miss, and needing overtime to beat Arkansas in the finale.

Under coach Les Miles, LSU has never lost a bowl game. Penn State comes into its fourth January bowl game in five seasons, a resurgent program that had fallen of the cliff earlier this decade. Joe Paterno holds the all-time record for bowl wins.

Give'em: PSU (-2½)
On paper, this game gets a... 4 out of 5 for normal people; 5 out of 5 for me

 

Gator Bowl Jan. 1 / 1 p.m.

No. 16 West Virginia (9-3, 5-2 Big East) vs. Florida State (6-6, 4-4 ACC)

Why I should watch: This will be Bobby Bowden's final game as head coach of the Florida State Seminoles. Only two other coaching retirements will have ever meant so much to the game...Bear Bryant and, eventually, Joe Paterno.

The Noles struggled early to a 2-4 start, but reached .500 in the end to send Bowden out on a bowl trip.

For West Virginia, it gets even more interesting, as Bowden was the Mountaineers' head coach prior to his arrival in Tallahassee. In a way, this is the perfect matchup to end Bowden's career.

Give'em: WVU (-2½)
On paper, this game gets a... 3 out of 5; 4 out of 5 for the Bowden factor

 

Rose Bowl Jan. 1 / 4:30 p.m.

No. 8 Ohio State (10-2, 7-1 Big Ten) vs. No. 7 Oregon (10-2, 8-1 Pac 10)

Why I should watch: Can the Big Ten finally win a Rose Bowl? While USC is not the Pac 10 representative this year, it might not change the fortune of the nation's oldest conference.

Oregon has been certainly the best team in the Pac 10 this season, but it shouldn't be forgotten that the Ducks looked terrible in losses to Boise State and (most people forget) Stanford.

Ohio State looks like a worse version of Oregon. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor has been given too much credit for the Buckeyes' wins, but also too much blame when OSU loses.

Although Ohio State has played well down the stretch, Oregon is the best team the Buckeyes will face this season.

Give'em: UO (-3½)
On paper, this game gets a... 4 out of 5

 

Sugar Bowl Jan. 1 / 8 p.m.

No. 5 Florida (12-1, 8-1 SEC) vs. No. 3 Cincinnati (12-0, 7-0 Big East)

Why I should watch: I wonder just how badly the Alabama loss hurt Florida's mojo. If Tim Tebow's reaction post-SEC Championship loss is any indicator, it hurt very badly. There was no triumphant speech like after the Ole Miss loss last year; no "one play made the difference" excuse.

This is a battered team right now, ready for plucking; and Cincinnati is just the team to do it. Will the Bearcats win? Probably not.

This game could get ugly if Florida plays the way it was supposed to all season long. But the line does seem a little large for my liking. This will be the first 2009-10 bowl game featuring an undefeated team.


Give'em: UF (-10½)
On paper, this game gets a... 3 out of 5

 

International Bowl Jan. 2 / 12 p.m.

South Florida (7-5, 3-4 Big East) vs. Northern Illinois (7-5, 3-4 Big East)

Why I should watch: The stars were aligning for the Bulls coming into 2009. Their star senior quarterback, Matt Grothe, was set to lead a talent-rich team to a conference title, maybe more. But then Grothe went down early, his shoes too big to fill.

After starting 5-0, USF struggled down the stretch. This is still a dangerous team, but one that could have had so much more.

Northern Illinois played a tougher-than-expected schedule this year, but reached its fourth bowl in six seasons. This game would have been much more interesting if Grothe were playing.

Give'em: USF (-6½)
On paper, this game gets a... 2 out of 5

 

Cotton Bowl Jan. 2 / 2 p.m.

No. 19 Oklahoma State (9-3, 6-2 Big 12) vs. Mississippi (8-4, 4-4 SEC)

Why I should watch: Call this the "Underachievement Classic," as both these teams were shooting for the top, only to fall flat before anyone could even spell B-C-S. The Pokes were riding high after beating Georgia, even making the cover of Sports Illustrated; but immediately fell to Houston at home, then lost out on a BCS bid after getting embarrassed by Oklahoma in the finale.

Ole Miss was hearing talk of being a darkhorse for the national title; but that ended in only week three at South Carolina. The Rebels finished up their disappointing season with a loss in the Egg Bowl. Still, this game offers plenty of talent on two good teams.

Give'em: Miss (-3)
On paper, this game gets a... 3 out of 5

 

Papajohns.com Bowl Jan. 2 / 2 p.m.

South Carolina (7-5, 3-5 SEC) vs. Connecticut (7-5, 3-4 Big East)

Why I should watch: Two great coaches go up against each other, in one of the last retro-sounding "dot-com" bowls. UConn's five losses this season were by a combined 15 points, with many being decided in the final minutes.

Coach Randy Edsall and the Huskies were forced to battle through the loss of a teammate when Jasper Howard was shot and killed mid-season. UConn is a greatly underrated squad.

South Carolina is still waiting for Steve Spurrier's team to finish a season strong, as the Gamecocks dropped four of six to finish the season, after starting 5-1.

Give'em: USC (-4½)
On paper, this game gets a... 2 out of 5



Liberty Bowl Jan. 2 / 5:30 p.m.

Arkansas (7-5, 3-5 SEC) vs. East Carolina (9-4, 8-1 C-USA)

Why I should watch: Who knows where Bobby Petrino might coach this time next year? While he seems to have finally found his place, it's been a tough transition for Arkansas from the run offense of Houston Nutt to the pass offense of Petrino.

Still, with big-arm quarterback (and former Michigan Wolverine) Ryan Mallett, the Razorbacks are always good for a show. The Pirates of East Carolina aren't exactly pushovers, though.

ECU is one year removed from shocking the college football world with back-to-back upsets of Virginia Tech and West Virginia. The Pirates also just beat a very good Houston team in the C-USA title game.

Give'em: Ark (-7½)
On paper, this game gets a... 2 out of 5

 

Alamo Bowl Jan. 2 / 9 p.m.

Michigan State (6-6, 4-4 Big Ten) vs. Texas Tech (8-4, 5-3 Big 12)

Why I should watch: This is one line I'm not sure is big enough for the Red Raiders. Michigan State's pass defense has been atrocious (108th nationally), and we all know about Texas Tech's passing offense (second nationally).

I really like what Mark D'Antonio is doing in East Lansing, but this bowl game might have been put out of reach with the suspension of key players following a recent fight.

The only reason I'm rating this game so high is because it's a Big Ten game, and I try to watch all of each of them.

Give'em: TT (-8)
On paper, this game gets a... 3 out of 5

 

Fiesta Bowl Jan. 4 / 8 p.m.

No. 6 Boise State (7-5, 3-5 SEC) vs. No. 4 Texas Christian

Why I should watch: It's not often you can watch two undefeated teams in a bowl game that's not for the national title. That's just what we get with this year's Fiesta Bowl.

As one writer put it, the Fiesta crew "fell on the sword" for the rest of the BCS; meaning the Fiesta took the plunge and risked poor ratings to match up these two teams.

I don't care how you put it, these are two great teams, and should provide a great game.

Give'em: TCU (-7)
On paper, this game gets a... 4 out of 5

 

Orange Bowl Jan. 5 / 8 p.m.

No. 10 Iowa (10-2, 6-2 Big Ten) vs. No. 9 Georgia Tech (11-2, 8-1 ACC)

Why I should watch: Big Ten teams don't face the triple option all that often. When it did, Navy scared the crap out of Ohio State. I'm actually very surprised the line is set so large for the Yellow Jackets.

The Iowa defense has been stellar (11th nationally), while the Tech defense is only decent (54th nationally).

Most will look at Iowa's November slate and figure this game is already over; but don't forget that Georgia Tech blew a big one to a very mediocre Georgia team in the season finale. This season's BCS bowl lineup is quite tolerable.

Give'em: GT (-4)
On paper, this game gets a... 4 out of 5

 

GMAC Bowl Jan. 6 / 7 p.m.

Central Michigan (11-2, 9-0 Mid American) vs. Troy (9-3, 8-0 Sun Belt)

Why I should watch: Playing this bowl on Jan. 6, I think, does it a great disservice, as no one is going to care about a low-level game this late into the bowl season. When the bowls first get going, fans are raring to watch anything , even the crappy bowl games.

But the night before the national title game? Not so much. Central Michigan only lost to Arizona and Boston College, on its way to a MAC title.

Troy is the perennial upstart that analysts like to peg as the team everyone should "watch out for." These are two in-conference undefeated champions.

Give'em: CMU (-3½)
On paper, this game gets a... 2 out of 5

 

BCS Championship Jan. 7 / 8 p.m.

No. 1 Alabama (13-0, 9-0 SEC) vs. No. 2 Texas (13-0, 9-0 Big 12)

Why I should watch: Fans can at least look forward to the BCS Championship Game featuring two undefeated teams this year. Whichever team comes out on top, it will feel like a breath of fresh air, particularly to those who remember the terrible two-loss 2007 "national champion" LSU.

What's a bit odd here is that it's not just the media analysts that are falling into the what have you done for me lately trap. The line now is set at five to Texas. A bit steep, no? "Well," you say confidently, "Texas almost lost to Nebraska!"

Really, then you will agree with me that Alabama should be equally ragged on for nearly losing at home to Tennessee, or needing a miracle comeback drive to beat Auburn... right?

I'm not going to pick Texas to win this game, but that doesn't mean I'll be shocked if the Longhorns dispatch the Crimson Tide. Colt McCoy is a much better passer than Tim Tebow; Florida didn't have Jordan Shipley catching passes or returning kicks.

But on the other side, Alabama has Terrence Cody, and a blueprint on how to use him against Texas...the Big XII title game tape. Let's just hope it will be a game worth watching in the fourth quarter.

Give'em: Bama (-5)
On paper, this game gets a... 5 out of 5

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