College Football Bowl Predictions: Picks for the Final Four Games
Well folks, college football season is almost over.
Isn't it sad?
When the BCS National Championship has been all played out next Monday night, we will have to say a painful goodbye to all the great Saturday action until next year.
That must mean, then, that we are obligated to enjoy the last few moments of bowl season as much as possible, right?
So, with the spirit of enjoyment in our minds, let's prep the final hurrah of the 2010-2011 college football season with some interesting predictions, shall we?
For the sake of, well, getting them out of the way, let's lay down the score predictions first...
Cotton Bowl: LSU vs. Texas A&M
There is little doubt in my mind about this one.
LSU is simply the better all-around team and the fact that they don't have to travel far to get to the Cotton Bowl doesn't hurt either.
This one ends with a double digit point differential, with LSU coming out on top.
Compass Bowl: Pittsburgh vs. Kentucky
It's gotten me into trouble before, but I have to side with the team that hasn't fired their head coach recently.
Pitt may be the better team, but coaching stability is always a necessity for success and Pitt has been thrown into so much turmoil in that regard that you have to wonder how they will be able to deal with that.
I see the point margin being close, but Kentucky should come out on top in the end.
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Nevada vs. Boston College
It's hard to deny the fact that Nevada is the better team.
After all, they managed to knock off Boise State (no matter how close the game was and how ridiculous it was that they managed it on the wings of two missed field goals).
Boston College hasn't been the same since Matt Ryan. Without that kind of star presence on their team, they don't stand much of a chance of upsetting the Wolf Pack.
I see this one as being another double digit win for Nevada.
BCS National Championship: Oregon vs. Auburn
Much like Chip Kelly is doing in this photo, I've been doing a lot of thinking about this game.
It features two fast paced teams that depend on a mobile quarterback and superior conditioning to bring them through games.
Both teams score a lot of points in the second half.
This makes me wonder...is it worth watching the first half of this game?
What it really makes me wonder is, who is capable of scoring more points in the second half?
In the end, I think that team is Oregon.
Unlike Auburn, Oregon manages to spread the ball to everyone on offense, although they tend to rely more on LaMichael James and Darron Thomas than most others, whereas taking Cam Newton out of the equation for Auburn can be killer for their offensive production.
This game will be close, mind you, but it should be Oregon in the end.
BCS National Championship MVP
LaMichael James, RB, Oregon
The problem with Oregon is that you cannot focus on one element of their offense and hope that that derails them. You can try to take someone out of the equation, but Chip Kelly can make you look somewhere else.
Thus we have LaMichael James. James is extremely dangerous in space and surprisingly still effective when facing seven and eight man fronts. He plays with a lot of strength for a small guy, and he leverages himself very well.
James will be Oregon's big weapon against Auburn. Expect 100+ yards and at least one touchdown out of him on the way to a game MVP.
Colin Kaepernick and Vai Taua Cement Their Legacy
It's sad that a lot of people don't know this, but Vai Taua and Colin Kaepernick are up there with the Pony Express statistically.
The two have silently been the best dynamic duo in college football for the past few years and their final bowl game is shaping up to be their final showing.
If you haven't seen the two play, you should because they are a fun pair to watch.
The Upset Alert
It's hard to call it an upset, but since I picked Oregon, and since the other three games probably aren't close enough for upsets to be possible, Auburn gets the upset alert in the last four bowl games.
Auburn has turned itself into a power house on the wings of Cam Newton and they are flying high heading into the National Championship game on Monday.
With a surprisingly physical and effective defense to complement their killer offense, the Tigers are more than capable of pulling off the upset on the big stage.
Draft Stock Improves: Drake Nevis, DT, LSU
Right now, Drake Nevis is rated as one of the top defensive tackle/defensive end prospects in the 2011 NFL Draft.
However, there are some concerns about his playing abilities as well as his size.
While Texas A&M isn't the best proving ground for his abilities as a player, making a statement in a bowl game can still catapult a players draft stock (see Cameron Heyward).
Nevis has the opportunity to make a huge impact on the game and he needs to take advantage of that. If he does, he could find himself up in the top three defensive tackle prospects.
Draft Stock Falls: Jonathan Baldwin
With Pitt in turmoil after the firing of their head coach, it's difficult to gauge how they will perform against Kentucky.
Mind you, Kentucky isn't the highest of competition, but they aren't going to roll over either.
In any case, should Pitt come out rusty, or in any other shape than game shape for that matter, Jonathan Baldwin could suffer.
Baldwin needs a solid performance to end the season to prove that he has improved enough to where he is a legitimate potential first round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Von Miller Makes a Statement
Von Miller doesn't have a whole lot to play for as far as his draft stock is concerned.
Miller is the clear top linebacker prospect in the 2011 NFL Draft, but that doesn't mean he will sit by and let LSU do their thing.
Von Miller is a disruptive player and would be the key to an upset should Texas A&M be able to pull one off.
I'd keep my eyes on Miller during this game. Whether he leads an upset or not, he should still make some great plays on the way to a game that lets NFL teams know that they'd be making the right choice in picking him.