Bowl Schedule 2010: 25 Bold Predictions & Shockers You Won’t See Coming
The bowl schedule for 2010 has some goodies on it, and the season itself is mere hours away from kicking off with BYU and UTEP in the New Mexico Bowl.
Predicting what's going to happen during bowl season is always a tricky proposition, and the best idea is usually to expect the unexpected.
But that's no fun. Instead, we've decided to come up with 25 bold predictions and shockers that you otherwise wouldn't be looking for as we head into bowl season.
So without further adieu, start the slideshow to have your mind blown.
25. The Independence Bowl Will Be the Most Boring Bowl Of All Time
Georgia Tech and Air Force are two of the top three rushing teams in the country, and both of them will be piling up the carries in the Independence Bowl.
So unless you like a whole lot of running and a whole lot of not throwing, I'd recommend watching something else. This one's not going to be very exciting.
24. Chad Spann Will Have a Star-Making Performance against Fresno State
The only player in the country that had more rushing touchdowns this season than North Illinois' Chad Spann was LaMichael James.
In fact, Spann had just as many (20) as Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick. And he'll get a chance to strut his stuff in Saturday's Humanitarian Bowl matchup against the Fresno State Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs have given up 22 touchdowns on the ground this season, and over 150 rush yards per game. Those numbers obviously bode well for Spann.
23. Tulsa's Pass Defense Will Show Up against Bryant Moniz
The nation's top passer in 2010 did not play for Auburn, Boise State or Oklahoma. He played for Hawaii, and his name is Bryant Moniz.
Indeed, nobody moved the ball through the air better than Moniz and the Warriors. And to them, Tulsa and their passing defense must look like a picnic. The Golden Hurricane had the worst pass defense in Conference USA, which basically means they are sorely outmatched against Hawaii.
But all good things come to an end sooner or later, and what better time and place for Tulsa's defense to show up than in the Hawaii Bowl? They'll get it done.
22. A.J. Green Will Cement Himself as the Best WR in the 2011 Draft Class
The Georgia Bulldogs will face the UCF Knights in the Liberty Bowl in what will be A.J. Green's final audition before the NFL draft.
And it will be a good one.
UCF does have a pretty good defense, as they led Conference USA in opponents' points per game (18.0) and total defense (318.1 yards/game). That being said, I doubt that anything they've seen in C-USA is on par with what green brings to the table.
I'm thinking 150 yards receiving and at least two touchdowns is a very real possibility. And in April, he'll be a top 10 pick.
21. Nick Foles Will Outduel Brandon Weeden in the Alamo Bowl
I don't know about you, but what I'll remember most about the 2010 Oklahoma State Cowboys is their secondary getting absolutely shredded against Oklahoma.
And because Nick Foles has as good an arm as anybody, not to mention his very good wide receiver Juron Criner, I'm going to go out on a limb in guessing that he'll know exactly what to do after watching the tape of that Bedlam game.
20. Taylor Martinez Won't Finish the Game against Washington
On paper, the Holiday Bowl matchup between Nebraska and Washington is one of the more lopsided matchups out of all the bowls.
Indeed, Nebraska already beat Washington 56-21 this year.
But some of the things we've learned since then are that A) Taylor Martinez is terribly inconsistent, and B) that he has trouble staying on the field.
Well, the Huskies had to watch Martinez burn them for four touchdowns earlier this season, so they'll be taking a few shots at him. Given his recent injury history, what do you want to bet one of those knocks him out of the game?
19. Steve Spurrier Will Run Up the Score on Florida State
Nobody ever accused Steve Spurrier of being the classiest son of a gun on the planet, and he definitely has no love lost for Florida State.
Well, he'll have his chance to beat them again in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. If the Gamecocks grab an early lead, it would be a good bet that Spurrier will do everything in his power to make sure it becomes a downright demoralizing lead.
That is, after all, his style.
18. Missouri Will Get Blown Out by Iowa
Despite the fact they finished the season as the No. 12 team in the BCS rankings, I'm of the opinion that Missouri has been severely overrated all along. Sure, they looked good when they beat then-No. 1 Oklahoma, but that's really the only impressive win they had all season.
True enough, there isn't much to hang your hat on when it comes to Iowa's season, and they are going to be missing a couple of their best weapons in Adam Robinson and Darrell Johnson-Koulianos.
But let's not forget that this is still a very talented team, and they did win the Orange Bowl last season. Methinks that they can not only beat the Tigers, but that they can beat them down.
17. Stanford's Defense Will Steal the Spotlight against Virginia Tech
It wouldn't be much of a bold prediction to say that Stanford will beat Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. Indeed, they're favored by three points and they just seem to be the better team, even if the Hokies do have a conference championship to their name.
But while I'm sure Andrew Luck will have a fine game, I think the more impressive performance could end up coming from the defense, which is charged with the task of containing Va Tech's high-scoring offense. For as much attention as Luck gets, the Cardinal defense was the best unit in the Pac-10—an honor that it had to earn against some pretty good offenses.
If they perform up to their capabilities, we could end up having a blowout on our hands.
16. Boston College Will Play Better Than Expected against Nevada
The BC Eagles and Nevada Wolf Pack have the honor of playing the last bowl game before the BCS championship, as they'll butt heads in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in AT&T Park.
We all know what Nevada's offense brings to the table. Behind Colin Kaepernick and underrated back Vai Taua, they run the most efficient pistol offense in the country.
But they've also shown that they can be a hit-or-miss kind of team, and they're going to be facing a hot Eagles team that won their last five games en route to San Francisco.
Nevada already has their trophy win, and it's not hard to see them being flatter than usual after a couple weeks off. They will struggle, and perhaps even lose.
15. Nick Fairley Will Be Completely Useless against Oregon
I think it's safe to say that Oregon doesn't do a whole lot of running between the tackles. Indeed, that's not their style. And that's going to come in handy against Auburn.
Nick Fairley is undoubtedly Auburn's most dangerous defender, but he's going to be doing a whole lot of running and panting as he chases after Oregon's combination of zone reads and off-tackle runs.
Besides which, nobody in the SEC is as mobile as Darron Thomas, which is likely going to frustrate the heck out of Fairley.
14. Michigan State Will Be the Angriest Team of the 2010-2011 Bowl Season
Of all the teams that deserved to go to a BCS bowl, you could say that the Michigan State Spartans have the biggest gripe.
And that's precisely why the Alabama Crimson Tide should not take them lightly when they square off in the Capital One Bowl. People have doubted Michigan State all season, and one suspects that they would love a chance to release their frustration on the defending champs, on national TV no less.
Nick Saban, you've been warned.
13. Notre Dame Will Blow Out Miami
There was a point in the 2010 regular season when the Irish seemed to have reached rock bottom. That would be when they lost to Tulsa, which put a sad kind of finality on a week in which they had to deal with the tragic death of Declan Sullivan and the season-ending knee injury to Dayne Crist.
But they bounced back to win their last three, two of which were against tough opponents in Utah and USC.
As for Miami, they weren't all that great to begin with, and it's hard to see them being any better without Randy Shannon. The Sun Bowl could get away from them quickly.
12. Texas A&M Will Upset LSU
The LSU Tigers get to face one of the hottest teams in the country in the Cotton Bowl, where they have to take on Mike Sherman's Texas A&M Aggies.
An afterthought for the early part of the season, the Aggies reeled off six wins in a row to wrap things up, which included big victories over Oklahoma and Nebraska.
After seeming destined for the Sugar Bowl for the better part of the season, the Tigers were beaten by Arkansas in their final game. As such, the Cotton Bowl could be something of a disappointment.
Besides which, the Tigers have had quarterback issues all season, and there doesn't seem to be much reason to have faith in them at the end of all things.
11. Oklahoma Won't Cover against Connecticut
I'm not about to suggest that UConn can actually win its Fiesta Bowl matchup with the Oklahoma Sooners.
But UConn's biggest strength does play into one of Oklahoma's relative weaknesses, and as such I don't think the Sooners will be able to cover the 17-point spread.
The one thing the Huskies do best is run the football. Thanks to Jordan Todman, they averaged nearly 180 rushing yards a game during the regular season. Oklahoma allowed an average of 151.8 rushing yards per game, so they'll have their work cut out for them.
In other words, bet on the Huskies.
10. Jake Locker Will Prove Himself Worthy against Nebraska
The Huskies had to fight tooth and nail just to become bowl eligible, only to find themselves 14-point underdogs against Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl.
But of all the players that will set foot on the field in that game, nobody has more to prove than Washington's Jake Locker. He was lauded as a Heisman candidate before the season, and there were many who thought he was good enough to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft.
Instead, he's had a pretty mediocre season that has done major damage to his draft stock. A strong game against the Cornhuskers and their great defense is a fine way for Locker to earn his stripes, and I see him doing just that.
9. Terrelle Pryor Will Outperform Ryan Mallett
Mallett's final passing numbers outpace Pryor's by over 1,000 yards, and he also threw five more touchdown passes than Ohio State's star quarterback.
But I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the Buckeye defense is going to give Mallett fits. There were only three teams in the whole country that allowed fewer passing yards per game than Ohio State, and that should mean that Mallett will see at least a partial decrease in his totals.
To clarify, I'm not saying the Buckeyes will win. Just that Mallett will have a tough day.
8. Baylor Will Win Its First Bowl Game Since 1992
The Baylor Bears will face the Illinois Fighting Illini in the Texas Bowl in what will be Baylor's first bowl appearance since the 1994 Alamo Bowl.
The Illini represent a pretty good opportunity for the Bears to win their first bowl game in nearly two decades, as the only win Illinois had in its final four games was over a Dan Persa-less Northwestern squad in Wrigley Field.
They'll get it done.
7. Rich Rodriguez Will Make Things Difficult by Winning His First Bowl Game
Rich Rodriguez has led Michigan to a bowl game for the first time in his three-year stint as head coach, but you still get the sense that he's a dead man walking as far as his job is concerned.
And true enough, his defense can't stop anybody, and they have their work cut out for them in the Gator Bowl against a tough SEC opponent in Mississippi State.
But if the Gator Bowl develops into a shootout, the Wolverines have the advantage. And if they win, well, it will be pretty hard to fire Rodriguez if they do.
So here's my question for Michigan fans: If you knew that a loss in the Gator Bowl would cost Rich Rod his job, would you still want them to win?
6. Urban Meyer Will End His Florida Career with a Loss in the Outback Bowl
The Gators did manage to go 7-5 this season, but each of their seven wins came against some pretty dreadful competition. Instead, a true indication of this Gator team's status overall can be found in their ugly loss to South Carolina.
True enough, the Nittany Lions haven't been any more impressive, but they did play pretty well down the stretch.
So as much as I'm sure Meyer would love to go out with a bowl win, I for one just really don't think his team is good enough to go out there and win one for him.
5. Army Will Beat SMU for First Bowl Win Since 1985
It's not every year that Army gets to play in a bowl game. In fact, they haven't played in a bowl since the Independence Bowl in 1996, and they haven't won one since the Peach Bowl in 1985.
They face SMU in the Armed Forces Bowl, in which they're eight-point underdogs.
Well, call it a hunch, but I like Army to win this one. That may not be a very informed prediction, but you can't say it's not bold.
4. Boise State Will Beat Utah by at Least 40 Points
As you well know, Boise was one bad kick away from playing in a BCS bowl.
Instead, they'll take on the Utah Utes in the Las Vegas Bowl, and the line has the Broncos favored by 17 points.
Given the way the Utes played down the stretch, that's not nearly enough. Of all the teams not playing in a BCS bowl, the Broncos are by far the best. And they will show that they are by making a mockery of Utah.
Final score: 51-7 Boise State.
3. TCU's Defense Will Get the Better of Wisconsin's Offense
Much has been made in the last half of the season about Wisconsin's ability to put points on the board at will, and their depth at the running back position is insane.
However, there are plenty of people out there who seem to be severely underrating TCU's defense because of their relatively weak schedule.
I say that any team that can hold opponents to 11.4 points and 215.4 yards per game throughout the course of an entire season deserves some respect. And there's no better way for them to get that than by shutting down one of the most dangerous offenses in all the land.
2. Cam Newton Will Be Outperformed by All Three Heisman Runners-Up
This might be the boldest prediction of all if it weren't for what I'm about to drop on you next, but I'm going to make it anyway.
Indeed, Cam Newton hasn't really had a bad game this season, and he certainly deserved the Heisman Trophy.
But we should also remember that past Heisman winners haven't always performed well in bowl games, particularly when it comes to the national championship. You might recall how Eric Crouch, Jason White, Troy Smith and Sam Bradford fared in the BCS national championship after winning the award.
Make no mistake, the so-called "Heisman jinx" is very real. And that leads me to point No. 1...
1. Oregon Will Beat Auburn
For some of you, this undoubtedly hardly counts as a "bold" prediction.
But for those who know that Auburn is favored by three points, and for the vast majority of people that consider the SEC to be a gift from the college football gods, saying that an upstart Pac-10 power is going to win the 2011 BCS National Championship Game might just be nothing short of blasphemy.
But Oregon will beat Auburn. For as good as Cam Newton and the Tigers are, the Ducks are perhaps the one team in the country that gives them more matchup problems than they're going to be able to deal with.
While I'll admit that Oregon's defense will probably be just as powerless to stop Newton as any other team, it is also my opinion that road goes both ways. It's going to be a high-scoring affair, and the Ducks are simply more equipped to outlast in a game like that.