Pac-10 & BCS Bowls: My Preview And Picks
This is the time of year in college sports that I enjoy.
The post season bowls are something that I have always enjoyed, dating back to watching the Rose Parade and subsequent Rose Bowl as a young kid.
Considering that seven Pac-10 schools are involved among the 34 bowl games being played, I thought I'd give some brief views on how I think those games, as well as the BCS contests, will go.
Let's start with the...
LAS VEGAS BOWL OREGON STATE (10-2) vs. BYU (10-2)
This battle in Sin City is going to be among the more entertaining ones, quite appropriate for "The Entertainment Capital Of The World". Max Hall will light it up as BYU's quarterback, as will the Beavers' Rodgers brothers, wide receiver James and running back Jacquizz.
FAVORITE: Oregon State
MY PICK: A Toss-up. Both teams have exciting and dynamic offenses, it will likely come down to who steps up on defense at the end.
POINTSETTIA BOWL, CALIFORNIA (8-4) vs. UTAH (9-3)
Havng been without stud running back Jahvid Best for several weeks due to a concussion, the Golden Bears have played well with Shane Vereen filling in nicely for Best. Their victory over Stanford was a bit of a surprise and says much about the talent of Berkeley's team.
MY PICK: California—That win to get the axe over their Cardinal enemies, has no doubt propelled the Bears; they're on a roll and should prevail over the Utes.
EMERALD BOWL, USC (8-4) vs. BOSTON COLLEGE (8-4)
Everyone knows that this is not the bowl that the Trojans expected nor wanted to be in. Losing three out of their last four games, including two at the Coliseum, was no doubt shocking to the Trojan Family.
A friendly little message to USC fans and alumni: Nothing is forever.
MY PICK : USC—Though the Trojans have been reeling, they have more than enough pride and talent to comfortably handle the Eagles;even with Joe McKnight being investigated for driving that SUV.
EAGLE BANK BOWL, UCLA (6-6) vs. TEMPLE (9-3)
Rick Neuheisel, his team, and everybody in Bruin Nation, is ecstatic to be in the post season after losing to USC and having the Trojans rub it in.
Now that they've sent Navy that thank you card for beating Army and sending them to Washington, D.C., the Bruins must now figure out how to beat a Temple team from Philadelphia that has literally been resurrected from the dead and will no doubt have alumnus Bill Cosby on their sidelines.
MY PICK: UCLA—Though they will be without center Kai Maiava due to his becoming academically ineligible, I think the Bruins, particularly their defense, will find a way to get it done against an Owl team that hasn't really played any BCS teams except for Penn State, who walloped them 31-6. It won't be easy, though.
HOLIDAY BOWL, ARIZONA (8-4) vs. NEBRASKA (9-4)
This is promising to be a real good battle at San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium, as a hot Wildcat team is facing a Cornhusker squad that was one second from stunningly upsetting Texas and denying them their spot in the BCS championship game.
MY PICK: Arizona, but not by much at all. Thay are on fire after beating USC at the Coliseum on December 5th, but Nebraska will put up a very good fight.
SUN BOWL, STANFORD (8-4) vs. OKLAHOMA (7-5)
Much like USC, the Sooners did not expect to be in a mid-level bowl after being picked by many to challenge Texas and Florida for a national championship. Sam Bradford separating that shoulder killed their chances; I knew it when it happened.
Meanwhile, Toby Gerhart has been an absolute stud for the Cardinal; I think he should have won the Heisman Trophy. Jim Harbaugh has done an incredible job building that team.
MY PICK: Stanford—Despite losing the Axe to Cal (how that happened is still beyond me), anyone who has dealt USC their worst loss of this decade should be able to beat an underachieving Oklahoma team, especially with a runnng back like Gerhart.
ROSE BOWL, OREGON (10-2) vs. OHIO STATE (10-2)
This is the bowl that I am most looking forward to and not just because it will be first time in five years that USC, their band, and that horse will not be involved in the game nor the parade on Colorado Blvd.
These Ducks from Eugene have been destined this year. Their 47-20 win over the Trojans, as well as their clinching Civil War victory over Oregon State, has convinced me that the Buckeyes will have to play inspired ball to deny Jeremiah Masoli and LaMichael James.
MY PICK: Oregon—Though Ohio State has talent with Terell Pryor at quarterback, the Ducks' quickness on defense will once again prevail over the Buckeyes' beef, as it has been for almost every Big Ten Champ that has come to Pasadena this decade.
SUGAR BOWL, FLORIDA (12-1) vs. CINCINNATI (12-0)
My sympathies go out to the Bearcats in this BCS game. Any team that has their coach ditch them for another job, even if it is Notre Dame, deserves much better. It was messed up what Brian Kelly did to them; he couldn't hold off going to South Bend for one more game?
Tim Tebow and the Gators meanwhile, will be looking to vent their frustrations on someone after losing their BCS title game spot to Alabama, which is another reason why I feel sorry for Cincinnati.
MY PICK: Florida, and I don't think it will be that close.
FIESTA BOWL, BOISE STATE (13-0) vs. TCU (12-0)
If I was a Bronco or Horned Frog fan or alum, I would be suspicious of the BCS committee putting these two teams together.
I would think that the BCS scheduled these two teams to keep them out of the way of the BCS conference schools, as if they want them to go away and let the big boys play for the title.
Which I feel is complately unfair. Personally, I think the BCS conference suits are scared that Boise State and TCU would likely beat Texas or Alabama; they certainly don't want what happened last season, when Utah handily defeated the Crimson Tide, to happen again.
As such, this game will probably end up on ESPN's Instant Classic.
MY PICK: A Toss-up. It's Boise State's high powered offense against TCU's defense. Don't be surprised if the Broncos pull off trick plays like they did three years ago against Oklahoma.
And you know what? If one of Boise State's players proposed to one of their cheerleaders, that wouldn't surprise me, either.
ORANGE BOWL, GEORGIA TECH (11-2) vs. IOWA (10-2)
These Hawkeyes from Iowa City remind me of that Janet Jackson hit from the 1980s, "What Have You Done For Me Lately?" After having some nice wins (including what I think were some lucky ones), Northwestern and Ohio State did more to expose the Hawkeyes.
Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets' option offense will likely run all over Iowa's defense.
FAVORITE: Georgia Tech
MY PICK: Georgia Tech
BCS CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, ALABAMA (13-0) vs. TEXAS (13-0)
If these two teams had played in the middle of the season, it would perhaps have been the game of the decade. However,the Longhorn offense, with Colt McCoy at the controls, has been slumping.
To say that they were exposed by Nebraska in the Big 12 title game would be an understatement. I'm sure many are saying that Texas should have lost that game, and not just Nebraska followers, either.
Tuscaloosa's Crimson Tide, meanwhile, has been rolling (no pun intended). Led by Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and a beastly defense. Alabama is primed to win their 13th national championship and keep Bear Bryant's legacy alive.
MY PICK: Alabama, though I don't think they'll walk all over Texas as some experts are saying. Despite their recent struggles, the Longhorns are still very talented and are capable of winning their second championship in four years at the Rose Bowl.
Though Bama is playing better right now, it wouldn't surprise me in the least to see Texas win. If you don't believe me, then you don't remember January 4, 2006.
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