Bowl Games Preview, Part One: Six Top Fives for Bowl Season

Jonny SAnalyst IDecember 9, 2008

It's the most wonderful time of the year...that is, until they create a playoff system to decide the best teams on the field rather than by Microsoft Excel.

It is what it is though. We all know that some teams got left out in the cold, while other teams had a nice warm seat saved for them next to the fire. Nonetheless, the bowl season has arrived, and there are some great matchups. 

I looked through each and every bowl game.

Enjoy and feel free to chime in.



5.  International Bowl: UConn vs. Buffalo

I would never criticize Buffalo because what their head coach has done there is truly remarkable. However, only true, die-hard college fans will be able to watch this entire game. I think if this game was played internationally in, let's say, London, it might have the same attendance.


4. EagleBank Bowl: Wake Forest vs. Navy

First, these two teams already played this year, when Wake Forest was somehow ranked and Navy upset the Demon Deacons. I think Wake might win this game, but quite honestly, who cares? Both teams have boring styles to top it off.


3. R + L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Southern Miss vs. Troy

I think Troy is actually a decent team, but combine them with Southern Miss, and the New Orleans Bowl becomes very painful to watch.

2. Motor City Bowl: Florida Atlantic vs. Western Michigan

FAU is another Sun Belt team, and although their coach is a legend, the FAU program is far from that. Western Michigan and Ball State was decent, but my feeling for this game have to be a student/alumnus to enjoy watching these two teams. 


1. Independence Bowl: Northern Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech

I only have one comment for this game...ZZZZZZZZZZZ.



5. San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl: TCU vs. Boise State

Some people may find this a surprise, but I really don't think either team will score a ton of points. Boise State doesn't have a great defense, but it is solid enough to hold a pretty weak TCU offense down. While TCU has a somewhat weak offense, they have a tremendous defense. If they held Oklahoma's mighty offense to 35 points, I can't imagine Boise State will score near that.


4. Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl: Boston College vs. Vanderbilt

First things first—neither team has a good offense. Also, BC has a tremendous defense that will show up ready to play. I think BC wins comfortably in a low-scoring battle, but I really think Vandy will show a lot of pride in their first bowl appearance in how many years?


3. AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Kentucky vs. East Carolina

If Kentucky has all of their defensive players back healthy, ECU will struggle to put up a lot of points. That said, Kentucky doesn't have a legitimate offense, and ECU's defense is decent enough to hold the Wildcats to under 20 I think.


2. International Bowl: Buffalo vs. UConn

Not only is this game on my list for most unwatchable games, I also think this will be a very low-scoring game. UConn plays very hard, and I see them giving Buffalo a lot of trouble. The Huskies are also not the most dynamic offensive team and may struggle versus an underrated Buffalo team. I am thinking this game will be around 14-10, seriously.


1. Outback Bowl: South Carolina vs. Iowa

I really think the team with the best field goal kicker for this game may be the outright winner. I am sensing a 10-7 or 13-9 game. Anyone else?



5. Sheraton Hawaii Bowl: Hawaii vs. Notre Dame

Most people are laughing about this game because it is amazing how far the Irish have fallen. Yet I actually think this game may be exciting and rather high scoring. I hope the golden domers aren't taking this game lightly, because Hawaii will show up ready to play. 

4. Capital One Bowl: Georgia vs. Michigan State

If Georgia shows up to play, I think they could win fairly easily by two touchdowns. However, I am not too confident that the Dawgs are going to show up ready to play. They began the season as the favorite, and each time they played in a big game, they lost. I think most people expect the big bad SEC team to whip the overrated Big Ten boys, but not me...I think this is a game to watch.


3. Meineke Car Care Bowl: West Virginia vs. North Carolina

Both teams were in the top 20 several times this season, and both teams ended up out of the top 25. Pat White will want to leave WVU on a high note, and I think he will...but I think the game will be much closer and better than people expect.


2. Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl: BYU vs. Arizona

BYU is a very good team and could very well win this game, but Arizona is a better team than given credit for. The Wildcats are a difficult team to figure out, but if they show up, BYU better be ready to play, because this one could go down to the fourth quarter.


1. Brut Sun Bowl: Oregon State vs. Pittsburgh

This game may not get a lot of the headlines, but this could be one of the better games any of us will see this bowl season. Both teams have extremely talented and young running backs. Oregon State has a better passing game, but if Pitt needs it, they can pass too. I see this game being in the mid to upper 20s, and whoever makes the fewest turnovers will win. 


5. Gator Bowl: Clemson vs. Nebraska

While both teams are not in the bowl games they would have liked to be in, this should make for a pretty good game. Neither team has a very strong defense, and the offenses are good enough to put up some big numbers. I think Clemson's running backs will have a huge game, but I also think Nebraska's passing game will be very successful. 


4. BCS Championship Game: Oklahoma vs. Florida

I am not going to reveal my winner yet, but I do think the offenses will have a lot of success. Neither team has played their opponent's style. I think the first quarter will be very low scoring...from then on, it will be an offensive battle. 


3. Texas Bowl: Rice vs. Western Michigan

Rice has a tremendous passing game but not much defense either. Western Michigan should be able to put up some points as well. I think Rice will put up over 40 points and will outscore WMU, who I see putting up around 30 points. 


2. Cotton Bowl: Ole Miss vs. Texas Tech

We all know Texas Tech can put up huge numbers, especially passing—yet I bet a lot of people didn't realize Ole Miss has a TERRIBLE secondary. Meanwhile, the Rebels gave Florida fits, and I see the same thing happening in this game. Neither team will really stop one another. Instead, whoever does the best job at containing the other should win.


1. Holiday Bowl: Oregon vs. Oklahoma State

This bowl game is typically a shootout, and this year should be no different. I was somewhat surprised to see Oklahoma State here and not Texas Tech, but I actually think this is the better matchup. Oregon can run the ball as well as anyone in the can the Cowboys. I think both teams will score in at least the 40s, and whoever has the ball last will win. Don't miss this one!



5. Capital One Bowl: Georgia vs. Michigan State

I think most people expect the Dawgs to punish the Spartans, but I really think MSU will play the Dawgs tough. I think the fact that UGA didn't expect to be in this position helps MSU.


4. Chick-fil-A Bowl: Georgia Tech vs. LSU

I really don't think this game will be that close. I think the Yellow Jackets will dominate this game from start to finish. LSU has a weak offense and a very overrated defense. GT put 45 on Georgia, and I expect around the same against LSU. That may surprise a lot of you but it won't surprise me.


3. Orange Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech won the ACC, yet I still don't think they are even close to the best team in the ACC. Cincinnati is better than people think they are, and I see them tasting oranges at the end of this one. I know they almost lost to Hawaii last weekend, but I really don't think they cared too much since they already clinched a BCS bowl game.

This is not the same Virginia Tech team as years past. The Hokies are still a solid team, but I think Cincy pulls this one out!


2. Emerald Bowl: California vs. Miami

Call me crazy if you want...I think Cal beats Miami by two touchdowns, possibly a little more. Miami is definitely on their way back, but their defense has been terrible against the run this season. Ironically, Cal runs the ball very well and has probably the best running back in the nation that no one has heard of.

I don't see Miami scoring a ton of points against Cal, and I think the Bears run wild on the Canes. Oh, and the backyard atmosphere for Berkeley doesn't hurt either. 


1. Humanitarian Bowl: Nevada vs. Maryland

The Terps were once in the top 25 and on their way to Tampa for the ACC title, but a blowout loss to Florida State spelled the end for them. Nevada played Boise State very tough the entire game and were a Hail Mary away from pulling a shocker off. Call me crazy again—I like Nevada to show up and simply outplay Maryland for the win.



5. Fiesta Bowl: Ohio State vs. Texas

This could very well be a good game, but until it is played, it will be criticized over and over again because many people feel like the Buckeyes shouldn't be there. Coincidentally, many people don't think Texas should be here but instead should be in the title game. So until January, be prepared: This game is going to constantly be referred to as the mistake game.


4. Rose Bowl: USC vs. Penn State

Joe Paterno is going to get a lot of attention and a lot of love—deservedly so. Pete Carroll and the Trojans' defense are going to get a ton of hype—deservedly so. Some people are going to suggest this will be another Trojan blowout, while others are going to say, "Don't count out those Nittany Lions." Either way, most of us will be relieved when the game finally starts on New Year's Day.


3. San Diego Poinsettia Bowl: Boise State vs. TCU

So many people are upset that Boise State isn't in a BCS game that this game will be called the "BCS game that's not really a BCS game." I think Boise State is deserving of a BCS bowl as well and helps prove more and more why a playoff is needed. TCU is going to be an underdog for sure and may just be motivated enough to knock off Boise State. This game is about respect, and trust me, all of us will be aware of that by game time.

2. Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. Utah

I know not ALL SEC fans are claiming this is going to be Georgia vs. Hawaii part two, but trust me, enough of you have already said it! I do think Alabama is the better team. I do think they will win. However, I do think Utah is better than last year's Hawaii team.

I don't think John Parker Wilson will have a lot of success in this game, but I think Glen Coffee will have an enormous game. I think it will be closer than people think, but I am already tired of hearing how great the SEC is when clearly they are in a major down year. (Calm down, 'Bama fans: I am not saying your Tide is overrated—just the conference in general.)


1. BCS Championship Game: Oklahoma vs. Florida

I have already heard the line "five consecutive games of 60-plus points" enough to drive me insane. I have heard about how fast and ridiculously skilled the Gators are and how these two teams are the hottest in the country. Hottest or the best? That's another debate for another time.

These two teams are incredibly talented and deserve a lot of respect. But I cannot turn on the TV without hearing "this game could be Heisman vs. Heisman." Please, January, come quickly—and please, ESPN, stop playing Tebow's crying speech after the Ole Miss game every night on SportsCenter...I am going to go insane.


Part Two will be coming shortly. Hope you enjoyed!


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