Thursday, December 20, 2007

Time to go Bowling Again Part 1

I returned home to Maryland a few days ago and my first adventure was to go to the friendly confines of College Park. It was a fun night with some boozing and what not, until the late hours of the evening. That is when good friend and blog enthusiast, Matt "See that mop" Brown accused me of being horrible at picking game, events, etc. The statement shocked and stunned me because I think I'm pretty smart when it comes to sports...I mean I have a blog and everything. The problem with Matt's argument about my poor prognostocating skills is that he used my near certain prediction of "Les Miles will be the coach at Michigan next season", which I was advocating over Thanksgiving as the prime example of my flaw.

Well, I got news for you I said in that last post, Les Miles would be the coach here had it not been for media sabotage. Besides that, you should be happy my prediction didn't come true because now Maryland may not have to lose by 40 points to West Virginia anymore.

That being said, Matt's statement made me look back on past predictions and reflect on what I've accomplished. And the sobering fact is...I do suck at predictions. I'm the guy who said the Miami Heat would win the Eastern Conference (if you've watched the NBA at all, you'd realize they are a shell of the team that won the title a few years back). I predicted the Mets and Padres to make the playoffs with a month left in the season. Oh yeah...and in picking 20 bowl games last year...I went 9-for-20. Definitely a good batting average, but for picking games that's just horrendous. So Matt, I've reflected and realized you were right even if you were wasted and had bad reasoning. But that's all about to change with this post...the 2007-08 edition of Bowl Pick 'Em. I'm predicting every bowl game and I'm going to be good at it...I promise...I hope.

San Diego Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl: Utah vs. Navy, Dec. 20 9 pm, ESPN
*Disclaimer...My Poinsettia Bowl pick was, in fact, made before the game actually happened. I just didn't finish all the bowls in time to post before Utah won.

This is your classic strength vs. strength game. Navy's rushing offense against Utah's rushing defense. I hate picking lame duck coaches and that's what Navy's Paul Johnson is because he's going to take over at Georgia Tech following the game. Chances are 30 percent of his mind went into making a gameplan for this bowl and the other 70 percent is already in Atlanta. Also Utah plays Air Force every year, so the whole surprise factor of the triple option (which Navy runs) shouldn't be there. I'm curious to see how many underclassmen perform well for Utah since they are coming to the Big House next season in a non conference game.

Utah 35, Navy 17
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Memphis vs. Florida Atlantic, Dec. 21 8 pm, ESPN2

Florida Atlantic just started playing Division-I football back in 2001, and this is its first bowl game. Memphis went 7-5 this year, five of which were by a margin of three points or less. Both teams apparently have high-flying offenses so there should be some scoring. But seeing as I haven't seen either of these teams play this season, you'd think a prediction would be hard to make. But if we look at common opponents, Memphis went 0-2 against Sun Belt Conference teams. Florida Atlantic, which is in the Sun Belt, went 6-1 in conference play.

Florida Atlantic 49, Memphis 38 Bowl: Southern Miss vs. Cincinnati, Dec. 22 1 pm, ESPN2

Obviously, I'm a huge Bearcat guy considering I wanted their coach to be the next coach at Michigan. But it has to have been a distraction for the team when its coach keeps cropping up in rumor mills. Southern Miss on the other hand will be playing its final game for "legendary" coach Jeff Bower, who is stepping down after 17 seasons. Did you know he led the Eagles to 14-consecutive winning seasons? I didn't. The only problem here is Southern Miss is a runnning team and Cincinnati's weakness is its secondary. Add in my man Brian Kelly and I think you know where I'm going with this one.

I think I may have a Brian Kelly fetish.

Cincinnati 30, Southern Miss 24

New Mexico Bowl: Nevada vs. New Mexico, Dec. 22 430 pm, ESPN

Right off the bat, you'd think New Mexico would win considering it's going to have home-field advantage. But seriously, how many New Mexico fans are there anyways. Add in the loss of their leading rusher, Rodney Ferguson (academically ineligible) and inconsisten QB play throughout the year and this one looks easy to predict. I'm actually going to watch this because with Nevada freshman QB Colin Kaepernick (19 TDs, 3 INTs after becoming the starter in October), the Wolf Pack are poised to be the next Hawaii or Boise State in a season or two.

Nevada 31, New Mexico 14

Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl: UCLA vs. BYU, Dec. 22 8 pm, ESPN

This game looks like it should be easy to pick considering the Bruins and Cougars played earlier this season with UCLA winning 27-17. But like I said earlier with Navy, I'm not a huge fan of picking teams with lame duck coaches and Karl Dorrell is one of those guys. But wait, it gets complicated because Dorrell has chosen not to coach this game after getting fired, giving the reins to DeWayne Walker. BYU is riding a nine-game winning streak and has that potent offense that those dang Mormons always seem to have. The big question to me is whether UCLA can move the ball against the Cougars. The Bruins will be getting several playmakers back on offense because of the long break between the end of the season and the bowl game. This one really could go either way.

BYU 24, UCLA 20

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl: Boise State vs. East Carolina, Dec. 23 8 pm, ESPN

I've always wondered what state East Carolina was in because as we all know there is a South and a North Carolina but no East Carolina. So I did some research and it is in Greenville, North Carolina. East Carolina is also coached by a son of Lou Holtz (his name is Skip), so you know this team is going to have some sort of ridiculously funny/mildly motivating pregame speech going into this one. Oh, but wait, Boise State has lost twicein two years and one was to Colt Brennan. My only issue is that apparently Boise State is enjoying Hawaii too much already. The Broncos leading receiver has already been suspended for the game and their best offensive lineman got hurt in pratice. Here's an interesting factoid about this game...the Boise State players had a choice to play in this game -- which is in Hawaii -- or in the Humanitarian Bowl, which is in Boise. Their fan base is pissed the players chose Hawaii, but c'mon can you really criticize the choice.

Boise State 31, East Carolina 20

Motor City Bowl: Purdue vs. Central Michigan, Dec. 26 730 pm, ESPN

Well, if you've watched Big Ten football this year, you'd know Purdue is your classic "win games against the bums, lose games against anyone near decent" team. A interesting caveat in this game will be motivation because this is a big deal for Central given it's the only bowl game the MAC gets into. Purdue is the sixth-seventh best team in the Big Ten and still got in a bowl. But the Chippewas already got their big time upset of the holiday season in basketball when they beat Michigan the other day. Add in the fact that Purdue blew out Central in the beginning of the season and it's obvious where this is going.

Purdue 38, Central Michigan 17

Holiday Bowl: Arizona State vs. Texas, Dec. 27 8 pm, ESPN

Every year, the Holiday Bowl always seems to have one of those teams that just barely missed out on a BCS bowl game and now has to settle for a lesser one. This year, that team is Arizona State. Obviously, the big thing in this one is motivation. Texas coach Mack Brown has said he has no depth chart for this game, meaning a lot of younger players will be in the lineup. That's good and bad because you lose some experience, but those younger guys are going to be amped up to play. But it's not like ASU is one of those teams that's going to be lacking for motivation playing a big time school like the Longhorns. Rudy Carpenter is a better QB than Colt McCoy, so that's who I'm going with.

Arizona State 35, Texas 31

Champs Sports Bowl: Michigan State vs. Boston College, Dec. 28 5 pm, ESPN

C'mon, you really think I'm going to pick Little Brother and Mark Dantonio. Speaking of the Spartans coach, I'm really starting to get annoyed with him. I realize you think your program is on the up and up but there's no need to shove it in our faces. Even though State is finally going to a bowl game again, it's not like it actually beat anyway good. I mean, I guess wins over Purdue, Penn State and Indiana are good...but c'mon it's the Big Ten. No one was really that good. The Spartans do have a potent offense that should be solid. Expect this game to be Matt Ryan's unveiling as the top QB prospect in the upcoming NFL Draft. You heard it here first...or maybe second because I think Todd McShay of ESPN is saying the same thing.

Boston College 42, Michigan State 31

Texas Bowl: TCU vs. Houston, Dec. 28 8 pm, NFL Network

This is definitely one of those games I'll be tuning in for...NOT!Oh wait, I don't have the NFL Network here in Maryland, so I have an excuse. As for a pick, I don't know much about either team but Houston lost 56-7 to end the season when the C-USA title was on the line.

TCU 30, Houston 27

Emerald Bowl: Maryland vs. Oregon State, Dec. 23 830 pm, ESPN

On paper, this looks like an absolute blowout. The Terps were extremely mediocre this season, whereas the Beavers are coming in hot after winning six of their last seven games. The one loss was to USC in the Colisium. Maryland has an awful running game and Oregon State has the No. 2 rushing defense in all the land. The Terps' rank 103rd in the nation in sacks allowed compared to Oregon State's No. 3 ranked pass rush. But the Beavers are battling the injury bug. Star running back Yvenson Bernard will not be 100 percent after getting his knee scoped and QB Sean Canfield is deifnitely out. But although the Fridge is a sweet coach when he has more than a week to prepare, I think the injuries only make this one closer than it would have been.

Oregon State 27, Maryland 20

More predictions to come, I promise. Remember I have very little to do here in Maryland right now.

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