Bowl Schedule 2010: 25 Shockers, Stone Cold Locks and Bold Predictions
It's the most wonderful time of the year. And I'm not referring to the holidays. I am referring to bowl season!
The upsetting thing is that college football is coming to a close, but the best part of the bowls is the fact that every team plays with a sense of desperation. A win does wonders for recruiting; a loss gives fans and players a sour taste before the offseason starts.
What upsets are coming? What are some things that are sure to happen in the bowls? Which games are going to be the most exciting?
Read on to find out and be sure to let us know what you think of these predictions.
25. Utah Will Beat Boise State
Utah was in the conversation earlier in the season as far as a BCS team that wasn't an automatic qualifier.
However, after losing to TCU and Notre Dame, the Utes dropped in the rankings dramatically. But in spite of the drop, the Utes are playing right where they were anticipating after their loss to TCU.
Meanwhile, Boise State was hoping for a shot at a BCS National Championship this year, but after losing to Nevada, the Broncos dropped from a certain BCS berth to the Las Vegas Bowl.
I expect the Broncos to have a level of letdown and for the Utes to take advantage of this letdown.
24. San Diego State WIll Win Its First Bowl Since 1969
The last time the San Diego State Aztecs won a bowl game, it was 1969 in the Pasadena Bowl against Boston College.
The last time the Aztecs won more than eight games? It was 1977 when they won 10 as an independent team.
Both of those streaks of futility end this year after SDSU beats Navy in the Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 23. That'd be quite a turn around for a team that hasn't had a winning record since 1998.
23. The Independence Bowl Will Have the Fewest Passing Yards
The Independence Bowl features two teams that have a forte for running the ball.
Both Air Force and Georgia Tech run the option offense. They both specialize in holding onto the ball and shortening the game.
What they don't specialize in? Passing the ball.
Georgia Tech ranks first in the country in rushing offense and 119th out of 120 in passing offense. Air Force is second in rushing offense and 117th in passing offense.
Needless to say, if you like to see teams throw the ball, this isn't the game for you.
22. Iowa Will Get Shut Out
Iowa's offense is going into the Insight Bowl short-handed.
The Hawkeyes will be without their top running back, who was suspended for the bowl game; their top receiver, who was arrested on drug charges last week; and two other running backs who have announced their intention to transfer.
They will also be going up against a top-10 scoring defense in Missouri. I expect the Hawkeyes to struggle all game and Iowa will end up with nothing more than a bagel on the scoreboard.
21. The Alamo Bowl Will Have the Most Points Scored
If you are a fan of offensive football, this will be the game to watch.
Both Arizona and Oklahoma State are among the best teams in the country throwing the ball. While that hasn't resulted in a lot of points for the Wildcats, they still have a very potent offense.
Defense, on the other hand, isn't a premium for either team.
This bowl game will have a lot of points scored and a lot of passing yards. In fact, I would expect the total points in this one to get close to 100. That will be well above any other bowl game.
20. KSU's Daniel Thomas Will Get First-Round Draft Talk After Bowl Performance
In his two years at Kansas State, Daniel Thomas has over 2,700 yards and 27 touchdowns rushing. In a bowl matchup against Syracuse, Thomas will add to both of those totals.
In fact, because there are so few quality running backs in April's NFL Draft, Thomas will start being mentioned as a possible first-round pick after his bowl performance.
19. Tennessee Will Look Like the Worst Bowl Team
I have to be honest: I was surprised to learn that Tennessee was even in a bowl game this year.
The Vols needed four straight wins to finish the season to even be bowl-eligible. Which is impressive, but with a matchup against a skilled North Carolina team, I expect Tennessee to look bad in this one.
18. Washington Will Get Revenge Against Nebraska
The Holiday Bowl is a rematch of a game earlier this season where Nebraska went to Seattle and destroyed Washington. Jake Locker had his worst game of the season, only completing four of his 20 pass attempts for 71 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. The Huskers beat the Huskies, 56-21.
In this one, Locker comes out with something to prove while Nebraska is not playing well down the stretch.
I think the Huskies respond in this one and take a little momentum into the offseason.
17. The Sun Bowl Will Be a Letdown
While the matchup of Miami and Notre Dame might look like a marquee game, this edition of Catholics vs. Convicts will be rather boring.
Neither team has lived up to their historical standards, and as a result Miami is changing coaches.
I think this game turns out to be a sloppy affair with neither team really stepping up. While the game might be entertaining, the sloppiness will detract from the publicity the game will get.
16. The Captal One Bowl Will Be the Best Bowl Game
Alabama has had a disappointing season after winning the BCS National Championship last year. This game will be more about pride and SEC dominance to them than anything else.
For Michigan State this will be a chance for the Spartans to show that they deserved a BCS invitation.
Both teams have something to play for and this will be some very high-quality football.
15. Florida Will Score More Than 60 Points For Urban Meyer
With Urban Meyer stepping down as the head coach at Florida, the Gators will be wanting to send him out on a high note. While a game against Penn State is no gimme, the departure of Meyer gives Florida all the reason in the world to score a lot of points for the offensive guru.
I think Florida really pulls out all the stops and look better than it has all season while eclipsing the 60-point barrier.
14. Oklahoma Will Not Blow Out UConn
While this looks like a mismatch on paper, I think UConn is going to surprise some people in this one.
While I am not prepared to say they will beat Oklahoma, I will say this will be closer than people think.
It was just a few short years ago that UConn was in Division 1-AA (FCS) for football; now the Huskies are in their first BCS game. I think the Huskies take advantage of their situation against a team that has struggled in big games under Bob Stoops.
13. Randy Edsall Will Be Mentioned As a Hot Coaching Prospect
Randy Edsall has been mentioned quite a few times as a coaching candidate for some big-time jobs. During the Fiesta Bowl, the commentators will mention it at least 10 times.
I can understand the publicity surrounding Edsall, he has taken a 1-AA team to a BCS game in just 10 years. That's quite a feat for any coach.
12. TCU Will Keep Wisconsin Under 28 Points
The Badgers average 43.3 points per game and have only been held under 28 points three times this season.
Meanwhile, the Horned Frogs only give up 11.4 points per game and have given up more than 20 points three times this year.
While this is a typical strength-against-strength game, I think TCU's defense is just better and will keep the vaunted Wisconsin offense in check.
11. TCU Will Beat Wisconsin
Wisconsin seems to be the popular pick in this game, but people seem to be undervaluing TCU, which is one of just three undefeated teams this year and the only one not playing in the BCS National Championship game.
While the game looks to be TCU's defense against Wisconsin's offense, the Horned Frogs actually have a top offense as well as an outstanding defense.
I like TCU's chances and I think they win this one going away.
10. Stanford Will Beat VaTech by 21 or More
Stanford's only loss this year was against Oregon in Autzen, which is considered one of the toughest stadiums to play in the country.
While Virginia Tech has won 11 straight games after starting 0-2, the Hokies don't have the firepower that Stanford does.
VaTech has made a living off of having solid defense and outstanding special teams, Stanford has done the same. If the difference in this one comes down to the quarterbacks, it is a mismatch in Stanford's favor.
When all is said and done, this one won't be close and Stanford will win by at least three touchdowns.
9. Andrew Luck and Jim Harbaugh WIll Chose to Stay at Stanford
Andrew Luck is at the top of nearly every mock draft out right now. But he is just a redshirt sophomore who could potentially be at Stanford for another two years.
Luck's head coach, Jim Harbaugh, has been rumored for just about every big job opening up as well as most NFL coaching jobs.
After winning a BCS bowl, both Luck and Harbaugh will make news by announcing their intention to stay together at Stanford with the goal of a national championship.
8. Two Lower-Ranked Teams Will Win BCS Games
Arkansas, after it beats Ohio State, will be just one of the two lower-ranked teams that will win in the BCS.
The Razorbacks have been a fantastic offensive team this year and will be able to put up points on the Buckeyes' solid defense.
Ryan Mallett will cement himself as the second-best draft-eligible quarterback after he leads Arkansas to its first BCS win in school history.
7. Kentucky Will Upset Pittsburgh
Kentucky is just 6-6, while going just 2-6 in the SEC. The Wildcats are by no means a good bowl team, but they do not have the distraction that Pittsburgh has to deal with by going through a coaching change.
I am not sure how they do it, but I think Kentucky finds some way to knock off Pittsburgh in the BBVA Compass Bowl.
6. Nevada Will Rush for 300 Yards Against Boston College
The Wolfpack average over 300 yards on the ground every week, and the bowl game against Boston College will be no different. The Pistol will be too difficult for BC to defend.
Colin Kaepernick will finish his career in Nevada running the offense that has been so successful for him by running all over the Eagle defense.
5. Oregon Will Have Four Different People Score Touchdowns
Oregon has made a living this year by scoring with many different people in different situations. With weeks off between games, Oregon head coach Chip Kelly will find a way to get different players in situations to score.
When the BCS National Championship Game finally rolls around, I think four different Ducks will wind up in the end zone. Maybe a punt return, a defensive touchdown, a wide receiver sweep or a quarterback keeper.
How it happens I don't know, but it will happen.
4. Oregon Will Lose the Time of Possession Battle, 3 to 1
If you have ever seen Oregon play, this should not be a secret: the Ducks try to score as quickly as possible. They are the college football version of the Showtime Lakers.
If I were coaching Auburn, I would try to force Oregon to put together long drives without any big plays. That is only way to contain the Oregon offense.
3. Cam Newton Will Have Three Turnovers
The Heisman Trophy winner has been a steel trap with the football this year. Cam Newton has just six interceptions and has not fumbled this year.
The time off before the BCS Championship hurts Newton more than any other player because he won't be under the play-by-play scrutiny for a few weeks before the BCS title game.
I think Newton's timing will be off enough to cause him to make a few mistakes.
2. Cecil Newton Will Get More Face Time Than Gene Chizik
With the Cam Newton Scandal still hanging over his head, expect ESPN to go into overkill mode and litter the screen with Cecil Newton reactions.
If Cam does something good, I expect to see Cecil. If Cam does something bad, I expect to see Cecil.
I honestly think ESPN will show Cecil Newton more than Auburn head coach Gene Chizik during the game.
1. Oregon Will Win By 14 or More
Honestly I think that the combination of Oregon's offensive speed and Chip Kelly's offensive scheme is the perfect football marriage. Because of just how impossible Oregon is to scheme against, I think the Ducks will surprise everyone and beat Auburn by at least two touchdowns.
I just think the time off will end up being too much for Auburn and Cam Newton. I really feel that Oregon could plug any player on their roster into any position on offense and get just about the same results. That's something that doesn't change with time.