Friday, December 29, 2006

It's Bowlin' Season

I figured since I am such a huge sports fan, I should try my hand at predicting bowl games. Obviously there have already been several games played, but let's be honest with ourselves here, most of those games were about as exciting as watching Forest Hills Central lose in its annual battle with East Grand Rapids. I mean, when Peter Krauss is your star player you know you are in trouble. I'm aiming for getting 75 percent of these picks right. I'm going to predict scores in the game, but in reality I probably don't know enough about each team to correctly pick a score...but I'm 100 percent sure my game winners will be correct...atleast 75 percent of the time.

Here's a recap of the bowl games that have already occurred:
Poinsettia Bowl: TCU 37, Northern Illinois 7
Las Vegas Bowl: BYU 38, Oregon 8
New Orleans Bowl: Troy 41, Rice 17
Papa Bowl: South Florida 24, East Carolina 7
New Mexico Bowl: San Jose St. 20, New Mexico 12
Armed Forces Bowl: Utah 25, Tulsa 13
Hawaii Bowl: Hawaii 41, Arizona State 24
Motor City Bowl: Central Michigan 31, Middle Tennessee St. 14
Emerald Bowl: Florida St. 44, UCLA 27
Independence Bowl: Oklahoma St. 34, Alabama 31
Texas Bowl: Rutgers 37, Kansas St. 10
Holiday Bowl: Cal 45, Texas A&M 10

Again, I want to repeat that I didn't pick any of these games because the teams in fact blow...well, except for Cal and Texas A&M, which I can't believe was such a blowout.

Friday, 1 p.m: Music City Bowl
Clemson vs. Kentucky
This is a game of contrasting offenses. Kentucky, as usual, relies on their passing game and QB Andre Woodson. Clemson relies on its two-headed rushing attack of CJ Spiller and James Davis. I've seen Clemson play a couple times this season and have been thoroughly impressed with their athleticism. It also helps that both the Rios' younger brother and Andrew McElroy (a fellow pool manager go there). My instincts tell me to go with Clemson, but Andre Woodson just sounds like a name of a player that will just go off in a bowl game. But you gotta love the pool karma Clemson has going for it. And just to let you know, this prediction was made at 12:50 -- before the game started.

Prediction: Clemson 35, Kentucky 24

Friday, 2 p.m: Sun Bowl
Oregon State vs. Missouri
This is an easy one to pick. It's a game feturing teams heading in opposite directions. They have similar records with Missouri at 8-4 and Oregon State at 9-4 (they got to play 13 games because the NCAA allows a team to play an extra home game if they are willing to travel to Hawaii for a game). But if you remember from earlier in the year, Missouri started the season 6-0. That means they are just 2-4 since then. Oregon State started the year 2-3, and promptly won 7 of their last 8 including wins over USC, Hawaii, and Oregon. Missouri runs the spread offense, but it makes no difference to me, because I always side with Mr. Momentum.

Prediction: Oregon State 27, Missouri 10

Friday, 4:30 p.m: Liberty Bowl
South Carolina vs. Houston
I think the key to predicting bowl games is identifying players who are just going to go off in games, whether it's a preview for next season or a way to show off to the pro scouts. Well, this game has Gamecock sophomore wide receiver Sidney Rice. He had 64 catches this season, and may be the best sophomore wide receiver in the nation (although I would take Mario Manningham over him any day of the week). I've got a hunch that he is just going to have one of those unreal bowl games and propel himself to elite status heading into next season. Not to mention, they are facing a Houston team that I doubt has the talent to match up with a Steve Spurrier offense.

Prediction: South Carolina 41, Houston 21

Friday, 7:30 p.m: Insight Bowl
Texas Tech vs. Minnesota
This is one of those who gives a fuck bowl games. Because let's be honest with ourselves, who gives a fuck about this game outside the state of Minnesota and the town of Lubbock, Texas. The Gophers are a running team from the Big Ten, while we all know Texas Tech can pass with the best of them. Seriously though, Minnesota went 6-6 and Texas Tech went 7-5...those aren't good seasons.

Prediction: Texas Tech 45, Minnesota 31

Friday, 8 p.m: Champs Sports Bowl
Maryland vs. Purdue
Purdue is literally the quietest 8-4 Big Ten team I have ever seen. I go to school at Michigan, and I don't know a thing about Purdue football. They simply beat all the bad teams and lost to all the good teams. They apparently have a 'high-flying offense' according to, but so did our Mudbowl team. That doesn't mean we can beat a Maryland team that should have gone to the ACC Championship Game this year. I like this Terp team as long as QB Sam Hollenbach doesn't try to force things and throw INTs. And you gotta support Terps football because who knows how much longer they will be good. The Fridge could die at any moment in time with the amount of weight he's carrying around these days.

Prediction: Maryland 24, Purdue 17

Saturday, 1 p.m: Meineke Car Care Bowl
Navy vs. Boston College
This is one of those awkward games for BC, since Tom O'Brien left to go coach at NC State. If I were a player on that team I would feel pretty embarassed that my coach just left for another team in your own conference. Did I mention that the guy coaching the Eagles in the bowl game is a lame duck coach. See, BC hired the Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator, but obviously he's still got an NFL team to coach. That makes Frank Spaziani a lame duck. And who doesn't like Navy. You can't go wrong with the armed forces in a bowl game. Oh wait, Navy lost its star running back to injury in the Army-Navy game...I'm off the bandwagon.

Prediction: BC 24, Navy 7

Saturday, 4:30 p.m: Alamo Bowl
Texas vs. Iowa
Ah, the Alamo Bowl...the game for the big disappointments in the Big Ten and the Big 12. The good ol' Wolverines were in this one last year, and it was viewed as an embarassment to the program (although I see the players still wear the stupid backpacks they got from it around campus all the time). This year, Iowa, led by QB Drew Tate, takes on Texas, who really faltered to end the season. For Iowa, it has been a hard season, especially on Tate, who was plagued by a terrible team en rout to a 6-6 record. I like Tate because he called Michigan's 'D' the best he'd seen all season. But I like Texas more because Mack Brown is an SAE. Oh yeah, I forgot to ask: why the hell is Iowa in a bowl game?

Prediction: Texas 31, Iowa 14

Saturday, 8 p.m: Chick Fil-A Bowl
Georgia vs. Virginia Tech
This is going to be a good football game. Va Tech is 10-2, and finished the season on a 7-game winning streak. Georgia was real streaky, but finished the year off with impressive wins against Auburn and Georgia Tech. Now, imagine if Marcus Vick, the reigning ACC Player of the Year, was still playing for the Hokies. This team would most certainly be in the BCS, and would have challneged for the title game. Both teams have terrible QBs, but the difference is that Va Tech's Sean Glennon is just a little bit better than the Bulldogs combo of Joe Tereshinski and Matt Stafford. Plus, you gotta support anyone who has a kick ass growth on the side of their neck.

Prediction: Virginia Tech 21, Georgia 17

Sunday, 7:30 p.m: MPC Computers Bowl
Miami(Fl) vs. Nevada
The fact that I put the (Fl) after Miami should indicate how sorry the Hurricanes are these days. I just wanted to make sure everyone knew that this was the Miami in Florida and not the one in Ohio. In the past, the MPC Computers Bowl would be something the mighty RedHawks would have participated in. This is Larry Coker's final game as coach of Miami, and he's hoping to go out with a bang. But I don't think he'll be able to replicate the melee that ensued in last year's Peach Bowl between the Hurricanes and LSU. But I think the bigger question heading into this highly anticipated matchup is: do you think any players on Miami know the what the capital of Nevada is?

Prediction: Miami 24, Nevada 14

Jan. 1, 11 a.m: Outback Bowl
Penn St. vs. Tennessee
I'm going to say this upfront: I would take Peter Krauss as quarterback over Anthony Morelli any day of the week. Now, Eric Ainge...I wouldn't mind him leading us into the next year's Mudbowl. Add on the fact that Penn State hasn't beaten a good team yet this year (and that Jeremy is going to the game), and it spells a Vols victory.

Prediction: Tennessee 31, Penn St. 14

Jan. 1, 11:30 a.m: Cotton Bowl
Auburn vs. Nebraska
The justification for Florida going to the National Championship game over Michigan was that it played in such a tough conference, that their loss to Auburn was understandable. I'm going to be honest, I want Nebraska to win this game so badly because I hate everything SEC related right now. That conference is simply full of good ol' boys who think their football is the greatest in the world. And the leader of these whiners is Tommy Tuberville. What kind of name is that anyways? Now Bill Callahan, that's a name you bring home to the parents.

Prediction: Nebraska 20, Auburn 17

Jan. 1, 1 p.m: Capital One Bowl
Arkansas vs. Wisconsin
This is going to be one of those grind it out on the ground type of games. The Badgers rely on a sick offensive line and sophomore standout running back P.J. Hill. But against the one elite team they faced this season (Michigan) that running game was halted. Arkansas relies on next year's Heisman favorite Darren McFadden, who sometimes plays QB in the Razorbacks' Wildcat formation. I think the Badgers only chance to win is if QB John Stocco can make a few big plays along with the running of P.J. Hill. But can the Badgers keep up with Arkansas' team speed?

Prediction: Arkansas 34, Wisconsin 20

Jan. 1, 1 p.m: Gator Bowl
West Virginia vs. Georgia Tech
This is your last chance to watch WR Calvin Johnson in action, as it is 99 percent guaranteed he is going to go pro after the game. The Jackets will be without QB Reggie Ball, which probably isn't that bad considering how terrible he was all year. I bet if we stuck him in a yard with one of those tires hanging from a tree, he would get a football through maybe 50 percent of the time. That's how inaccurate he is. WVU has Pat White and Steve Slaton, both of whom will have big games. I wonder if White will do the Yellow Jacker buzz just like he did the Pittsburgh Panther growl.

Prediction: West Virginia 45, Georgia Tech 17

Jan. 1, 5 p.m: The Rose Bowl
Michigan vs. USC
This one is simple. The winner is going to be preseason No. 1 heading into next season. USC has some beastly receivers in Steve SMith and Dwayne Jarrett, and I really don't think Leon Hall, let alone Morgan Trent can handle them. Michigan needs to be able to get consistent pressure on John David Booty with just its front four. This shouldn't be an issue given how flimsy USC's O-line has been this season. Michigan needs to control the clock with Mike Hart and its run game, and Chad Henne must avoid turnovers. USC's corners have to avoid allowing Mario Manningham to get any sort of big plays. That being said, this one is really a coin flip and my pick is rightfully biased considering I am a Wolverine fan myself.

Prediction: Michigan 31, USC 27

Jan. 1, 8 p.m: Fiesta Bowl, 8 p.m.
Oklahoma vs. Boise St.
What a great story Boise St. has been all season. The Mid-major that could. Thye feature a great running back in Ian Johnson, and they play on a blue field. They also killed an Oregon State team that is now one of the hottest teams in the country. Too bad it doesn't mean anything now that Adrian Peterson is back. This is going to be one of those tour de force performances by the junior running back. See if he goes off like I think he will, his draft stock will once again skyrocket. The scouts want to see if Peterson is healthy again, and I don't think he will disappoint.

Prediction: Oklahoma 31, Boise St. 17

Jan. 2, 8 p.m: Orange Bowl
Louisville vs. Wake Forest
I'm sorry, but I just don't think either of these teams would stand a chance against an elite team like Ohio State, Michigan, LSU, or Florida. So why are they in a BCS game? Wake Forest is a nice story, but it's the kind of nice story you expect to see in the Gator Bowl or something like that. Louisville has superior talent, offense and coaching which would lead me to believe...

Prediction: Louisville 27, Wake Forest 13

Jan. 3, 8 p.m: Sugar Bowl
Notre Dame vs. LSU
Notre Dame has two losses this year -- aganist the two good teams on its schedule. LSU has lost two games as well this season, while maneuvering its way through the 'tough' SEC. Both teams have great QBs in Brady Quinn and JaMarcus Russell. Both teams have good coaches in Charlie Weis and Michigan alum Les Miles. Both teams should have sizable cheering sections at the Superdome because Notre Dame is Notre Dame and LSU is playing in its home state. All the prognosticators are predicting a blowout by LSU over a Notre Dame that simply doesn't have the speed to keep up with the Tigers. But I'm going against the grain on this one. Something tells me that if you give Charlie Weis a month to prepare for a team, he will more often than not win. The bowl losing streak will end for the Irish.

Prediction: Notre Dame 34, LSU 30

Jan. 6, Noon: International Bowl
Cincinnati vs. Western Michigan
Brooks Bunbury, a cousin of Peter Krauss, plays for Western, so I think it's obvious who the pick in this one is going to be. Not to mention that Cincy's coach did career suicide and took the job at Michigan State.

Prediction: Western Michigan 24, Cincinnati 20

Jan. 7, 8 p.m: GMAC Bowl
Southern Miss vs. Ohio
I didn't mention this but I think that it is a brilliant idea by these shitty bowl games to move their dates in between the BCS games. They can't get lost in the shuffle with all of the other bowl games that don't really matter to more than 2,000 people. Does the new date mean I am going to watch the game? Hell no!
Prediction: Ohio 27, Southern Miss 13

Jan. 8, 8 p.m: BCS National Championship Game
Ohio State vs. Florida
First of all just to make this clear: if this were a legitimate national championship game it would be a rematch between Ohio State and Michigan. Florida does not deserve to be in this game given its loss to Auburn, and they way it narrowly defeated every team it faced. The Buckeyes are the clear number one team in the nation. They have proven it all season with their dynamic offense which absolutely torced Michigan a month and a half ago. Florida's offense features the two-headed monster of Chris Leak and Tim Tebow. They are good, but I don't know if they are good enough to beat James Laurinitis and the Buckeye defense. Matt Brown mentioned to me that this game could end up like the Miami-Ohio State national championship game from 2001, where the BUckeyes -- led by Maurice Clarett -- pulled off the improbable upset. The similarities are definitely there. Just like Ohio State in '01, the Gators come in as decided underdogs. And just like the '01 Bucks, they have a playmaker freshman in Tim Tebow, who could be a huge difference maker if Ohio State has trouble with the spread offense. This game also pits two elite coaches against each other. The experts say that if you give Urban Meyer a month to prepare for a team, you are in trouble. On the other hand -- when was the last time a Jim Tressel team lost a big game? It just doesn't seem to happen. I think this one will be closer than people expect, but the big plays will be made by the Buckeyes down the stretch. As much as this pains me to say...
Prediction: Ohio State 41, Florida 28

Expect more goofy-ass grins come January 8th

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