With college bowl season about to kickoff tomorrow night, I figured I’d be super-creative(sarcasm) and slop together my own thoughts and predictions regarding this year’s 64 lucky teams (out of 120, which means more than half of the teams in college football are participating in the post-season, all hail mediocrity!) who made it to one of 32 bowl games. Part One includes all the games leading up to the Alamo Bowl. I’ll have the rest of the bowl games up eventually.
I also apologize if the spacing is all fucked up as WordPress apparently doesn’t do a very good job of translating stuff that I’ve pasted from Microsoft Word…
Poinsettia Bowl, 12/20, 9 PM ET ESPN
Utah (8-4) v. Navy (8-4)
Reason to Watch: Seeing one of the nation’s best rushing offenses in the country in Navy go up against the nation’s best scoring defenses in Utah. Something’s gotta give…
Navy 35, Utah 34
New Orleans Bowl 12/21, 8 PM ET ESPN2
Florida Atlantic (7-5) v. Memphis (7-5)
Reason to Watch: There is no valid reason to watch this game. Get drunk and watch one of your favorite Christmas specials instead. If you’re a Communist who doesn’t like X-mas specials, just watch something else. I’m sure TBS has something good on for its Friday night “Dinner and Movie” show. Oh wait, they’re showing “Diary Of A Mad Black Woman”, scratch that idea…Neither team has eye-popping statistics but I’m gonna go with Florida Atlantic because they’re coached by Howard Schenllenberger, the same guy who saved Miami’s football program from dropping out of Division I-A and led them to their first ever national title nearly 25 years ago. Plus, Schnellenberger smokes from a pipe, you don’t ever want to fuck with somebody who still does that.
Florida Atlantic 21, Memphis 20
Howard Schnellenberger: One of the few productive senior citizens in the state of Florida
Papajohns.com Bowl 12/22, 1 PM ET ESPN2
Southern Miss (7-5) v. #22 Cincinnati (9-3)
Reason to Watch: Cincy is one of those up-and-coming programs led by an up-and-coming coach in Brian Kelly. They run a spread offense that averages 37 ppg and was 2nd in scoring in the Big East. Southern Miss meanwhile, will be trying to send outgoing coach Jeff Bower out with a win.
Cincy 38, Southern Miss 21
New Mexico Bowl 12/22, 4:30 PM ET ESPN
Nevada (6-6) v. New Mexico (8-4)
Reason to Watch: Seeing a New Mexico team that had a bowl game specially created to reward them for their own mediocrity potentially get beat by a Nevada team struggling to finish above .500. This game is another perfect example of why the bowl season has become so diluted. If it were up to me, this would be one of several bowl games that would be contracted.
With that being said however, Nevada appears to have a dangerous offense ranked 8th in the nation thanks to freshman QB Colin Kaepernick, who despite taking over mid-season, has thrown for over 2000 yards and 19 TDs with only 3 picks, and tailback Luke Lippincott (1380 yards, 15 TDs, and a cool-sounding last name). New Mexico’s greatest asset is its ACL-less kicker, John Sullivan, who is 26-for-29 on the year in field goal attempts but they also feature a 1000+ yard rusher (Rodney Ferguson) and a 1000+ yard receiver (Marcus Smith). Did I forget to mention “home field advantage” for New Mexico in this one?
New Mexico 31, Nevada 28
Las Vegas Bowl 12/22, 8 PM ET ESPN
#17 BYU (10-2) v. UCLA (6-6)
Reason to Watch: If you’re a fan of grudge matches: These two teams met earlier this season with UCLA winning 27-17. Fast forward to today, UCLA’s head coaching position is vacant, though it appears Rick Neuheisel may be the front-runner at the moment (despite the fact Neuheisel was rumored to be at Penn State and taking classes there while playing the mouth bow in Graham Spanier’s band at the Phyrst on Saturday nights, all while waiting to succeed Galen Hall as offensive coordinator) and BYU is riding a 9-game winning streak led by QB Max Hall( 3617 yards passing for 24 TDs) who will have himself better acquainted with the nation at this game’s end.
BYU 24, UCLA 17
Hawaii Bowl 12/23, 8 PM ET ESPN
#24 Boise St. (10-2) v. East Carolina (7-5)
Reason to Watch: Because the game’s in beautiful, sunny, Hawaii…Oh, and it’s also a rare chance to see Boise State tailback Ian Johnson, who famously proposed to his cheerleader girlfriend right after scoring the winning 2 point conversion in OT last year in the Fiesta Bowl.
Boise 38, East Carolina 35
What kind of crazy post-game celebration will Ian Johnson come up with next?
Motor City Bowl 12/26, 7:30 PM ET ESPN
Purdue (7-5) v. Central Michigan (8-5)
Reason To Watch: Another grudge match game here: Purdue walloped Central Michigan 45-22 in the regular season but both teams are headed in opposite directions coming into this one with Purdue having lost three straight while CMU’s won four of its last five, winning the MAC conference thanks to improved play from dual-threat QB Dan LeFevour who has surpassed 3000 yards passing and 1000 yards rushing this season. As tempted as I might be to pick the upset here, I’m gonna have to go with Purdue. As bad as the Boilers have been lately, they would still go unbeaten in the MAC.
Purdue 45, Central Mich 42
Holiday Bowl 12/27, 8 PM ET ESPN
#11 Arizona St (10-2) v. #19 Texas (9-3)
Reason To Watch: This bowl game usually produces very fun high-scoring shootouts between the Pac-10 and Big 12 teams that get invited to this game. This year should be no different, Arizona State in its first year under coaching vagabond Dennis Erickson, features a high-flying passing attack led by Rudy Carpenter (3015 yards, 23 TDs). Considering the Longhorns’ struggles stopping the pass(275.5 yards given up per game), Carpenter has got to be licking his chops. For Texas, Jamaal Charles and his 1458 yards rushing will be the lifeblood of the offensive attack. QB Colt McCoy, despite throwing for over 3000 yards himself, has struggled mightily with his accuracy, throwing 18 INTs to accompany his 21 TDs.
Texas 35, ASU 31
Champs Sports Bowl 12/28, 5 PM ET ESPN
#14 Boston College (10-3) v. Michigan St. (7-5)
Reason To Watch: To see whether Sparty can feed off of its improbable comeback against PSU (which is the only reason they’re in a bowl game, by the way) and upset a BC team that not too long ago was thinking BCS Championship. Heisman-trophy candidate Matt Ryan (4258 yards, 28 TDs) leads BC’s offensive attack while Michigan St. will be led by its dynamic duo of a backfield in Jehuu Caulcrick and Javon Ringer, and its Brian Hoyer-to-Devin Thomas connection which ate up PSU’s secondary.
BC 28, MSU 21
Texas Bowl 12/28, 8 PM ET NFL Network
TCU (7-5) v. Houston (8-4)
Reason to Watch: If you’re one of the few people out there who gets the NFL Network, just so you can brag to your friends that you get the NFL Network and are watching this game just because you can.
Houston 42, TCU 38
Emerald Bowl 12/28, 8:30 PM ET ESPN
Maryland (6-6) v. Oregon St. (8-4)
Reason to Watch: If you’re a PSU fan like me, then this is a good chance to scout our opponent in Oregon State before we play them less than nine months from now. The Beavers’ tailback Yvenson Bernard’s 1000+ yards rushing seem to carry the offense because both of their QB’s have put up downright atrocious stats (more INTs than TDs). Maryland seems to be the same way, relying on Keon Lattimore and Lance Ball as their one-two ground attack. I’m going to give the advantage to Oregon St. though because it’s on the West Coast and the Terps have been a real “Me, Myself, and Irene” team this year
Oregon St. 24, Maryland 17
Meineke Car Bowl 12/29, 1 PM ET ESPN
#25 UConn (9-3) v. Wake Forest (8-4)
Reason To Watch: Another yawner of a contest here between two teams that are about as thrilling to watch as the Lord of the Rings trilogy (In case you couldn’t tell, I’m not a fan of LOTR). I’m gonna go with Wake since they’re a little more battle-tested in the ACC, and I hate the Big East and the constant over-hyping it gets.
Wake 24, UConn 17
Liberty Bowl 12/29, 4:30 PM ET, ESPN
Miss. State (7-5) v. UCF (10-3)
Reason to Watch: Sylvester Croom in his fourth year as head coach of a program still ridding itself of the NCAA violations courtesy of its previous coach Jackie Sherrill has finally managed to get Miss. State into its first bowl game since the Bulldogs’ memorable OT win in blizzard-like conditions in the 2000 Independence Bowl. UCF meanwhile, sports the nation’s leading rusher in Kevin Smith, who has rushed for nearly 2500 yards. Look for the highly underappreciated Smith, who recently announced he’s coming back for his senior season, to jumpstart his Heisman campaign for 2008.
UCF 21, MSU 14
Much like the actor/director, UCF’s Kevin Smith is highly talented but not getting nearly as much deserved attention
Alamo Bowl 12/29, 8 PM ET ESPN
Texas A&M (7-5) v. Penn St. (8-4)
Reason To Watch: A chance to see an epic battle between two teams that are both talented, but under-coached (at least at A&M however, coaches are held accountable for their performances). It’s also the most maligned QB in PSU history, Anthony Morelli’s swan song. Will Morelli go out with a bang (and by “bang”, I mean no WTF mistakes)? Will “Rodan Kinster” (That’s Rodney Kinlaw and Evan Royster’s names combined, for you newcomers) put up one last dyn-o-mite performance on the ground? (the “Rod” and “Kin” have used up their eligibility). What about that struggling, non-existent PSU secondary that single-handedly blew a 17-point lead against Michigan State? Will they get their act together for this one? Could this be Justin King’s final game in a PSU uniform? A&M meanwhile, features a solid running game led by its QB Stephen McGee, 265-pound behemoth Jorvorskie Lane, and a little speedster named Mike Goodson. It’ll be interesting to see how Dan Connor and the linebacking corps handles these guys. Not to mention the fact, I expect a nail-biter of a contest here…
PSU 27, A&M 24
Will Anthony Morelli make it an Alamo to remember?