Maryland Puts ACC Over the Two-Win Hump, Plus More Bowl Predictions

Ben BombergerSenior Writer IDecember 31, 2008

Thank you Maryland. Well, thank you as an ACC fan for putting the league over last year's two-win bowl season total, but no thank you to Maryland, because I picked you all to lose.

That's right—the team that was one of the most inconsistent and played pretty bad away from home went to Boise and dominated Nevada's defense all afternoon.

It was a good game to watch and looked like the Wolf Pack had a chance to come back near the end before a failed onside kick attempt sealed the deal.

The win puts the ACC back at .500 with a 3-3 record heading into the final four games. Two more teams take to the field this afternoon and evening, while the final two will play on New Year's Day.

Here is a look at all five games for college fans today, as well as my predictions on each.


Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl [Dec. 31, 12:00—Fort Worth, Texas]: Air Force (8-4) vs. Houston (7-5)

Two of the most underrated young coaches will square off when Air Force's Troy Calhoun matches coaching wits with Houston's Kevin Sumlin. It should be a classic matchup of Air Force's potent rushing game against Houston's offense, which led the nation in total offense. -- Tim Griffin

My Prediction: Air Force 24, Houston 14


Sun Bowl [Dec. 31, 2:00—El Paso, Texas]: No. 20 Pittsburgh (9-3) vs. Oregon State (8-4)

These two started slowly, got on a roll, then suffered late-season disappointment, as both were in the running for BCS bowls. The running backs might be the key in this one. The Beavers defense needs to get off the carpet and slow down LeSean McCoy, while the Panthers will need to concern themselves with Jacquizz Rodgers. -- Ted Miller [Correction: Rodgers will miss today's game against Pitt—he is out with a late-season shoulder injury]

My Prediction: Pittsburgh 28, Oregon State 24


Music City Bowl [Dec. 31, 3:30—Nashville, Tenn.]: Boston College (9-4) vs. Vanderbilt (6-6)

Boston College fans think they deserve to be in a higher game after losing their second consecutive ACC Championship Game to Virginia Tech. The problem being, fans don’t attend the games, thus the consolation prize for losing the ACCCG. BC needs to be fortunate that the ACC has a rule that the loser of that game can’t fall below this bowl game—and trust me, that rule was made for BC specifically.

Anyway, BC is going against a very hungry Vandy team that hasn’t played past the regular season in 26 years. Both offenses here are less than stellar, with BC ranking 99th overall and Vandy 118th [yes, out of 119 teams]. People though the ACCCG was going to be boring with two poorly ranked offenses—wait until they see this "slug-fest."

BC was one of only two ACC teams to take home bowl victories last year and can do the same if their defense shows up more than it did against the Hokies.

My Prediction: Boston College 17, Vanderbilt 10

Insight Bowl [Dec. 31, 6:00—Tempe, Arizona]: Minnesota (7-5) vs. Kansas (7-5)

Both teams struggled down the stretch after early-season success. The Jayhawks limped home with four losses in their last six games, although a pulsating victory over Missouri in the regular season finale should provide them momentum. Minnesota hopes to rebound after a disappointing four-game losing streak to finish the season, capped by a humiliating 55-0 loss to Iowa in their regular-season finale. -- Tim Griffin

My Prediction: Minnesota 24, Kansas 31


Chick-fil-A Bowl [Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m.—Atlanta, Ga.]: Georgia Tech (9-3) vs. LSU (7-5)

Georgia Tech finished the season as what most determined to be the "hottest" team in the ACC. Granted, they went into Athens and beat a very tough Georgia team, but their defense has got to step up and quit letting so many points on the board—remember that team named Louisville who put 50+ points up every week last season, but gave up 55+ points every week.

LSU is the defending national champions, far from what they were a year ago, but still a very tough opponent for GT.

Overall, offenses rank 52nd [GT] and 53rd [LSU], but GT with their Triple-Option is No. 3 in rushing offense. This game should see a lot of points on the board, and it’ll be interesting to see if GT can back up all their “we deserved to be in the ACCCG” talk they’ve done in recent weeks.

My Prediction: Georgia Tech 35, LSU 31


That wraps up the 2008 bowls. Hopefully later today I'll be back to include my predictions for tomorrow's bowls, seeing as I doubt I'll be up early enough to do them in the morning.

Record Last night: 1-2

Bowl Record Overall: 5-5