Well, ACC fans...we are officially halfway through the league’s 10 bowl games and have yet to surpass the number of wins from last year’s bowl season—two.
They may have all been close losses, but the ACC dropped its third bowl game Monday night when N.C. State—hit with injuries, including one to starting QB Russell Wilson—lost a close one 29-23 against Rutgers.
If the league had 17 points to spread around between the three losses, they would be undefeated, losing by seven, six, and one point.
The nail in the coffin perhaps is that the league is 0-2 against Big East teams...yes, those same Big East teams that ACC fans claimed they were so much better than...the same Big East that has been ridiculed in the media for not being "deserving" of an automatic bid to the BCS.
Granted, the two teams the ACC has lost to are West Virginia—who has an amazing QB in Pat White leading the way—and Rutgers, who finished the season on a seven-game win streak.
But the bottom line is that the ACC needs to start winning some bowl games. There are five left, all of which are favorable matchups. I could see the league winning the five remaining games, but I can also see them losing all five. It’ll be interesting to watch over the next three days...
Anyway, tonight features another ACC team as Maryland takes on Nevada.
Humanitarian Bowl [Dec. 30, 4:30 p.m., Boise, Idaho]: Maryland (7-5) vs. Nevada (7-5)
Ahh, the battle on the Smurf Turf in Boise, Idaho...a very interesting game here for the Terps. Believe it or not, Nevada comes into this game with the fifth-ranked offense in the land, Maryland is a mediocre 74th (of course, which ACC team isn’t that far back, right?). Nevada also owns the second-best rushing attack in the FBS.
Maryland is going to have their hands full in this game, and the Terps haven’t fared so well on the road. Nevada is also the No. 5 rushing defense in the country. No surprise here if an ACC team falls to a very well coached WAC team with WAC Player of the Year Colin Kaepernick.
My Prediction: Maryland 24, Nevada 31
Pacific Life Holiday Bowl [Dec. 30, 8:00 p.m., San Diego, California]: No. 13 Oklahoma State (9-3) vs. No. 17 Oregon (9-3)
Both teams rank in the nation’s top 10 in scoring with more than 41 points a game, and neither is particularly stout on defense, so expect the scoreboard to be busy. The difference might be Oklahoma State’s balance, with quarterback Zac Robinson hooking up with Dez Bryant. Of course, the Ducks’ passing offense did pick up late in the season, with quarterback Jeremiah Masoli throwing for 572 yards and five touchdowns in the final two games. — Ted Miller.
My take on this game: This has got to be one of the most interesting and anticipated bowl games of the bowl season. Both of these teams had some big wins this year and can put the points on the board.
My Prediction: Oklahoma State 38, Oregon 35
Texas Bowl [Dec. 30, 8:00 p.m., Houston, Texas]: Rice (9-3) vs. Western Michigan (9-3)
Rice will stay at home with hopes of winning its first bowl game since 1954. James Casey and Jarrett Dillard were the only pair of receivers in the nation to average 100 receiving yards per game. They will be facing a Broncos defense that ranked 96th nationally in pass defense but allowed only five touchdown passes over the final six games of the season. — Tim Griffin
My Prediction: Rice 27, Western Michigan 21
Record Last night: 1-1
Bowl Record Overall: 4-3
So there ya go...my picks for tonight’s matchups. While I know (and hope) the ACC needs to get going in the "W" column again, I just don’t see them doing it with an inconsistent Maryland team facing the high-powered offense of Nevada. The Oklahoma State and Oregon game should be a blast to watch. I guess I’ll channel surf between both that bowl and the Texas bowl on NFL Network...
Anyway, that’s all for now. Check back tomorrow for five more bowl predictions, including two more ACC teams in action!
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