Friday, December 10, 2010

2010 Bowl Predictions


My favorite season of the year, full of family, friends, and banquets of Delicious, coma-inducing, food. 

Bowl Season.

It has gotten so huge that it raises the ire of non-fans.  It has gotten so huge that the NCAA's argument against the playoff system becomes more and more ludicrous.  It's gotten so huge that my DVR cannot hold it, and I could not be happier.

But regardless of happiness, let's see if I know as much as I think I do.

Here are my Bowl Predictions for the 2010 football season.

NEW MEXICO BOWL -  December 18th

Why do we have a bowl game that the average football fan wouldn't even watch if they stumbled across it?  Both of these teams were barely bowl eligible out of conferences that were weak relative ot most of the country.    BYU lost 4 games by a combined 127 to 53 before getting into their Mountain West schedule.  And, on paper, they are the good team in this match up.  UTEP had a losing record in conference USA.  BYU did finish fairly strong but the only quality wins they have this year are home wins against Washington to start the season and a close win against San Diego State.  UTEP is 70th in scoring and 58th in scoring defense.  They should just cancel this one now.  That said, BYU should win this game.

Northern Illinois vs. Fresno State

The Huskies were the class of the MAC until they lost in the championship game.  They are very good statistically, but one can't help but wonder how good they really are in a down year for the MAC.  They can score the ball though.  Fresno is in a down year, but managed a bowl game and a decent record including a win against Illinois to end the year, the same Illinois team that beat the Huskies earlier this year.  Look for a lot of points out of this match up with Fresno following Robbie Rouse to a bowl victory.

NEW ORLEANS BOWL - December 18th
Troy vs. Ohio

My good lord, but it is hard to give a crap about this game?  Ok, what can I come up with?  Well, Troy can score and always seems to out-recruit the other mid-major level teams.  Ohio only played one good team team all year and got drilled by Ohio State, but have only lost 1 game since struggling through the first month of the season.  I am thinking Troy, but that's more about the players they have had recently than anything this year because, frankly there was no reason to watch either of these teams this year.  Why are they in a bowl again?

ST. PETERSBURG BOWL - December 21st
Louisville vs. Southern Mississippi

Charlie Strong is one of the up-and-coming rockstars of the coaching profession after leaving the Gators to become head coach at Louisville.  He has them running the ball and playing good defense, but they need one of their two QB's to get healthy in time to be 100%.  Southern Miss is the better team, and if they can carry over their hot play as of late, this could be a comfortable win for them.

LAS VEGAS BOWL - December 22nd
Utah vs. Boise State

This is crap.  Everyone in the country wants to see how Boise State matches up against an AQ team, and Utah is not that team yet.  Boise will win this game going away with their defense coming out motivated after costing them a shot at the BCS by caving against Nevada.

POINSETTIA BOWL - December 23rd
San Diego State vs. Navy

I am really excited to see this game.  San Diego State is an up-and-coming team with an explosive offense, and Navy is a really solid football team with a dynamic veteran QB.  Look for Ricky Dobbs and Navy to do their damndest to keep the Aztecs off the field.  This should be a tight, tight game.  I give The Aztecs about a touchdown edge with this basically being a home team.

HAWAII BOWL - December 24th
Tulsa vs. Hawaii

This is going to be the longest game of the season.  Neither of these teams likes to run, they will throw it all over the field.  Over under is probably 70+.

I can't wait, and I give the Warriors the edge.

LITTLE CAESAR'S BOWL - December 26th
Toledo vs. Florida International

Why?  Why do we have to suffer through these crappy games.  I wouldn't watch this game if it was during the regular season.  Why on earth would anyone watch it now?

Georgia Tech vs. Air Force

This is going to be the shortest game of the bowl season.  This could legitimately be a game without 25 passing attempts.  If you love old school, option football, you are going to love this game.  These are 2 well-coached teams who live an die with option football.

I give Air Force the edge, but that may change if Josh Nesbitt gets back in time to play in this game and is healthy enough to have his normal impact.

CHAMP SPORTS BOWL - December 28th
North Carolina State vs. West Virginia

This game is going to come down to whether the West Virginia defense can continue their ball-hawking ways against Russell Wilson.  If Wilson can protect the ball, I think the Mountaineers are going to be in trouble.  But the Pack is going to need every possession to count because the Mountaineers can score in bunches.  Jock Wilson is a big time athlete on the outside for West Virginia. 

I think the Mountaineers have the edge, but it's close.

INSIGHT BOWL - December 28th
Iowa vs. Missouri

Iowa is a mess right now.  This has been a disappointing season and they just lost their best receiver to drug charges.  Missouri is too good to play against short-staffed.  The Tigers need to run away with this one to take that next step in national recognition.

I think they will do just that.

EAGLEBANK BOWL - December 29
Maryland vs. East Carolina

I really love the East Carolina offense.  The problem is, everyone else loves their defense.  They gave up 70 points to Navy and are in a bowl game.  There is something seriously wrong with that.  Maryland finished strong, and will continue that momentum against the Pirates.

TEXAS BOWL - December 29th
Illinois vs. Baylor

This is a really intriguing game as both of these teams played a ton of bowl teams this year, with Illinois going 4-3 and Baylor going 2-5 you might think that Illinois has the advantage.  I disagree.  They are going to be hard pressed to deal with Robert Griffin.  The Bears had a letdown after becoming bowl-eligible, but that game is here now, and they are going to be ready to go.  Look for them to put up a big number.

ALAMO BOWL - December 29th
Oklahoma State vs. Arizona

This is going to be one of most fun games of the year.  These are 2 of the best passing attacks in the country with the Bilentnikoff winner on one side and one of the best QB's in the country on the other.  Arizona is going to have to break 40 to win, which they won't do.  It is going to be a fun one though.

ARMED FORCES BOWL -  December 30th
SMU vs. Army

Talk about dichotomy in a football game.  June Jones against Army's airless attack.  Army needs to keep their offense on the field to have a chance.

They won't.

PINSTRIPE BOWL -  December 30th
Syracuse vs. Kansas State

This game is about 2 teams who are on the way back.  They over-achieved by playing solid defense and running the ball.  The difference will come down to who is further along in their recruiting.  K-State can't throw it much, but they are stacked when it comes to running the ball.  Look for Collin Klein and Daniel Thomas to wear the Orange out and give Bill Snyder another bowl win.

MUSIC CITY BOWL - December 30th
North Carolina vs. Tennessee

Tennessee just backed out of a series with the Tar Heels, and there is a reason.  The Heels have shown the quality of Butch Davis' recruiting this year, and the Vols have not restocked yet.

Look for Carolina to play SEC style football and stomp Tennessee.

HOLIDAY BOWL - December 30th
Washington vs. Nebraska

Really?  Why are we doing this again?  Huskers by 25.

Clemson vs. South Florida

As talented as these teams are, I didn't even know their were bowl eligible.  Uhm, Clemson?  I guess.  They have to put it together at some point this year.
SUN BOWL -  December 31st
Notre Dame vs. Miami

Man, this just looks rights to see these names on the marquee.  The Canes are more talented, but it will be interesting to see how they respond to Randy Shannon getting fired.  That said, I expect their pride to show through.  Canes by 11.

LIBERTY BOWL - December 31st
Central Florida vs. Georgia

This is an intriguing game.  These 2 teams will go as far as their young QB's can take them.  Godfrey is still a relative unknown in most college football circles, but he is a serious dual-threat talent.  Aaron Murray is more of a pure passer, but is a fine athlete in his own right.  Since getting AJ Green back, the Dawgs have been awfully good, and they will have him for this game.

I don't think the Knights can cover him.

PEACH BOWL - December 31st
Florida State vs. South Carolina

Though they are disappointed to be here, this is a really exciting game for both of these teams.  They get the chance to win a big time game which will really launch them into the new year and the upcoming recruiting battles.  I think it comes down to this, if the Noles D-Line can get to Stephen Garcia, the Noles win.  The Cocks are going to try to set up play action, but the Noles pressure with 4, which makes them less susceptible.  You can look at the Miami game to see what they want to do.  If you can hit Garcia, he falls apart.  If you don't hit him, he will kill you throwing the ball to Alshon Jeffry.

The Noles need to rediscover the explosive running attack that carried them earlier this year as well.

I am biased for my Noles, so I am going to abstain on a prediction, but I am really looking forward to this match up.

Northwestern vs. Texas Tech

Texas Tech is going to drill Northwestern.

OUTBACK BOWL - January 1st
Penn State vs. Florida


The Gators in a bad place, but they are so much more athletic than the Nittany Lions.  Look for the defenses to dominate this game, and the Gators' D is better.

CAPITAL ONE BOWL - January 1st\
Michigan State vs. Alabama

Michigan State is well coached and tough, but this is Bama guys.  The Crimson Tide is proud, and didn't reach their goals this year.  Look for them to take it out on Sparty.

GATOR BOWL - January 1st
Michigan vs. Mississippi State

This is going to be a meeting of 2 of the best minds coaching the Spread offense that you are going to see.  I think Mullen and MSU has the advantage everywhere except QB.  I like the Bulldogs in a shootout.

ROSE BOWL - January 1st
Wisconsin vs. TCU

I really want TCU to win this, but Wisconsin has probably been the best team in the country the last 2 months.  That said, if there is a D that can deal with their red-hot offense, it's TCU.  Look for the Horned Frogs to come out mad and for Andy Dalton to have a career game.  I am not sure why, but I have a feeling.

FIESTA BOWL - January 1st
Oklahoma vs. Connecticut

Really?  Stoops is going to grind his boot into Randy Edsall's team.  UConn is tough and well coached, and they can really run the ball.  However, there aren't many teams who can run like the Sooners can, and Landry Jones has been really good the last half of the year, against better teams than the Huskies.

ORANGE BOWL - January 3rd
Virginia Tech vs. Stanford

This is a game that I am really looking forward to.  Both of these teams are very well coached, with great QB's at the helm.  I think that Va. Tech is more talented top to bottom, but Andrew Luck has that offense clicking.  Look for Va. Tech's running attack to be the deciding factor.  If they can run the ball on Stanford, there is no way the Cardinal will slow down Tyrod Taylor.  If they can't, the Cardinal will slowly wear the Hokie defense down.  That said, since week 2, no one has been as consistently good as Va. Tech outside of those guys headed to Glendale.

SUGAR BOWL - January 4th
Arkansas vs. Ohio State

You think Ryan Mallett is looking forward to this after starting his career at Michigan?  I am really high on Arkansas, but Ohio State is just loaded with talent from top to bottom.  I think the difference is Bobby Petrino.  He is willing to take the risks that give his players room to make plays.  Look for Mallett to bring Arkansas through in a tough game.

GODADDY.COM BOWL - January 6th
Miami (Ohio) vs. Middle Tennessee State

Why is MTSU in a bowl game?  As much as I love watching Dasher play ball, he is not good this year, and neither is his team.

COTTON BOWL -  January 7th
Texas A&M vs. LSU

LSU is much more talented, but they do not play as well as a team.  I love this game as an old rivalry match up and will be rooting for the Aggies.  That said, the Tigers are going to be ready.  Les Miles knows how to coach up for a big game.

Pittsburgh vs. Kentucky

This is a mess.  Wannstedt is fired, Hartline is arrested.  Look for Dion Lewis to carry Pitt in a pride game.  After all, how else are we going to get overly-excited about them for next year if they lose?

Boston College vs. Nevada

Nevada by 20.  This match up is crap.  BC is tough, and played their way in after a tough start, but Nevada was a 15 team with a record setting backfield and a gutsy defense.  They just had the best year in their program's history and they are playing against BC in the Fight Hunger Bowl. I just threw up in my mouth a little.

Auburn Tigers      vs.    Oregon Ducks
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