Bowl Schedule 2010: 25 Bold Predictions & Shockers You Won't See Coming

Zachary D. Rymer@zachrymerMLB Lead WriterDecember 18, 2010

Bowl Schedule 2010: 25 Bold Predictions & Shockers You Won’t See Coming

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    CORVALLIS, OR - DECEMBER 04: The Oregon Ducks hold their helmets high before the game against  the Oregon State Beavers during the 114th Civil War on December 4, 2010 at the Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Oregon.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    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

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    ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 27:  Marcus Dowtin #38 of the Georgia Bulldogs tackles Orwin Smith #17 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Sanford Stadium on November 27, 2010 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    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

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    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

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    HONOLULU - SEPTEMBER 2:  Quarterback Bryant Moniz #17 of the University of Hawaii Warriors makes a pass against the University of Southern California Trojans during first half action at Aloha Stadium September 2, 2010 in Honolulu, Hawaii. (Photo by Kent N
    Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

    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

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    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

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    TUCSON, AZ - DECEMBER 02:  Quarterback Nick Foles #8 of the Arizona Wildcats throws a pass against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the college football game at Arizona Stadium on December 2, 2010 in Tucson, Arizona. The Sun Devils defeated the Wildcat
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    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

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    ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 04:  Quarterback Taylor Martinez #3 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers fumbles the ball under pressure from defensive back Demontre Hurst #19 of the Oklahoma Sooners at Cowboys Stadium on December 4, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. The Sooners
    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    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

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    COLUMBIA, SC - NOVEMBER 06:  Head coach Steve Spurrier of the South Carolina Gamecocks cheers on his team during warm ups before the start of their game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Williams-Brice Stadium on November 6, 2010 in Columbia, South Carol
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    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

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    IOWA CITY, IA - NOVEMBER 20:  University of Iowa Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz takes the field with his team for the Ohio State Buckeyes NCAA college football game at Kinnick Stadium on November 20, 2010 in Iowa City, Iowa. Ohio State won 20-17 over Io
    David Purdy/Getty Images

    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

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    BERKELEY, CA - NOVEMBER 20:  Marvin Jones #1 of the California Golden Bears in action against the Stanford Cardinal at California Memorial Stadium on November 20, 2010 in Berkeley, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    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-10β€”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

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    CHESTNUT HILL, MA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Alex Albright #98 of the Boston College Eagles tackles David Wilson #3 of the Virginia Tech Hokies on September 25, 2010 at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Virginia Tech defeated Boston College 19-0.  (Ph
    Elsa/Getty Images

    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

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    AUBURN, AL - OCTOBER 16:  Defensive lineman Nick Fairley #90 of the Auburn Tigers celebrates a play during the game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Jordan-Hare Stadium on October 16, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
    Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

    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

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    STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 27: Running back Edwin Baker #4 of the Michigan State Spartans carries the ball during a game against the Penn State Nittany Lions on November 27, 2010 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. The Spartans won 28-22.(
    Hunter Martin/Getty Images

    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

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 27:  Head coach Brian Kelly and quarterback Tommy Rees #13 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish embrace after the game against the USC Trojans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 27, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  No
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    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

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    AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 25:  Quarterback Ryan Tannehill #17 of Texas A&M passes against the University of Texas during the second half at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on November 25, 2010 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Darren Carroll/Getty Images)
    Darren Carroll/Getty Images

    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

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    EAST HARTFORD, CT - NOVEMBER 27:  Jordan Todman #23 of the Connecticut Huskies carries the ball around the Cincinnati Bearcats defense on November 27, 2010 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut. The Huskies defeated the Bearcats 38-17.  (Photo
    Elsa/Getty Images

    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

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    SEATTLE - OCTOBER 30:  Quarterback Jake Locker #10 of the Washington Huskies passes against the Stanford Cardinal on October 30, 2010 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    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

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    COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 27:  Quarterback Terrelle Pryor #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes rolls out of the pocket against the Michigan Wolverines at Ohio Stadium on November 27, 2010 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    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

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    AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 8:  Quarterback Robert Griffin #10 of the Baylor Bears passes the bal downfield during the game against the Texas Longhorns on November 8, 2008 at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas.  Texas won 45-21. (Photo by B
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    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

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    COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 27:  Head Coach Rich Rodriguez of the Michigan Wolverines watches one of his assistants send in a play against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium on November 27, 2010 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    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

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    GAINESVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 16:  Coach urban Meyer of the Florida Gators checks the scoreboard during play against the Mississippi State Bulldogs October 16, 2010 Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    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

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    PHILADELPHIA - DECEMBER 11: Army Cadets cheer during a game against the Navy Midshipmen on December 11, 2010 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Midshipmen won 31-17. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
    Hunter Martin/Getty Images

    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

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    BOISE, ID - SEPTEMBER 25:  Quarterback Kellen Moore #11 and the Boise State Broncos celebrates a touchdown against the Oregon Stage Beavers at Bronco Stadium on September 25, 2010 in Boise, Idaho.  (Photo by Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images)
    Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images

    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

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    SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER 6: Jereme Brooks #85 of the Utah Utes is hit by Tanner Brock #35 of the TCU Horned Frogs during the first half of an NCAA football game November 6, 2010 at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by George Frey/Ge
    George Frey/Getty Images

    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

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    NEW YORK - DECEMBER 11:  Cam Newton, quarterback of the Auburn University Tigers, speaks after being awarded the 2010 Heisman Memorial Trophy Award on December 11, 2010 in New York City.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
    Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

    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

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    CORVALLIS, OR - DECEMBER 4: LaMichael James #21 of the Oregon Ducks celebrates a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the game at Reser Stadium on December 4, 2010 in Corvallis, Oregon. The Ducks beat the Beavers 37-20 to likely go on to the BCS Championshi
    Steve Dykes/Getty Images

    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.

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