Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Let's Go Bowling

It is that time of year again, where teams that play average football get rewarded with postseason play. 35 bowl games are on the schedule this year, all with a wide variety of sponsors. There are the elaborate sponsors: Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, S.D. County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, Bridgeport Education Holiday Bowl. You have your food bowl games: Beef O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl, Little Caesars Bowl, Chick-fil-A Bowl, Outback Bowl, Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, Tostitos Bowl. There is even an automobile category: MAACO Las Vegas Bowl, Valero Bowl, Meineke Car Care Bowl, AutoZone Liberty Bowl, uDrove Humanitarian Bowl. An absurd amount of bowl games with ridiculous names. But they must be played and we have the teams to fill the slots, so here we go! Here it is, your rundown of all 35 bowl games, ranked from worst to first. Let's start it off with....

35. R & L Carriers New Orleans Bowl Ohio vs Troy
Here is a match-up of two teams that benefit from playing in weak conferences. These two teams have had little success in bowl play. Former Nebraska head man Frank Solich leads a good defensive Ohio team against an offensive-minded Troy squad. Who wins: Troy
34. Bowl Middle Tennessee vs Miami (Ohio)
It is a good year to be a football team from Ohio. The RedHawks take on Middle Tennessee in what use to be the...I forget, they change the names of these bowl games too often. Miami stole the MAC Championship from Northern Illinois to earn this trip. What a great was to celebrate a championship season, eh? Who wins: Miami (Ohio)
33. Little Caesars Bowl Florida International vs Toledo
The Little Caesars Bowl is played at Ford Field in Detroit. This game used to be known as the Motor City Bowl. I am going to say the name change was a bad idea. FIU played Michigan St earlier this season at Ford Field, that did not end well. Toledo has a high-powered offense that was expected to have a better finish. Who wins: Toledo
32. Beef 'O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl Southern Miss. vs Louisville
Possible the best (and worst) name for a bowl game. However, this game doesn't appear to be lots 'O' fun. Southern Miss is a post season veteran as of late. Louisville last bowl game?? The Orange bowl in 2007. It has been quite a fall from grace for them. Who wins: Southern Miss
31. TicketCity Bowl Northwestern vs Texas Tech
A match-up between two teams that seasons changed on a dime. Northwestern had Michigan St on the ropes late, before Sparty pulled it out. Texas Tech lost a tough home game to a sub-par Texas team. Both NW and TT struggled after their respective losses. NW could be without star quarterback Dan Persa. Who wins: Texas Tech
30. uDrove Humanitarian Bowl Northern Illinois vs Fresno State
N. Illinois lost their conference championship game in "upset" fashion. They can put up points in a hurry. Fresno St had a chance to knock off Boise St, but got thumped 51-0. They return to the blue turf looking for another win. Who wins: N. Illinois
29. S. D. County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl Navy vs San Diego State
A home game for the Aztecs. I doubt it will help. Navy is a beast on the ground. Who wins: Navy
28. Sheraton Hawaii Bowl Hawaii vs Tulsa
A home game for Hawaii. A vacation for Tulsa. Who wins: Hawaii
27. Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl Army vs SMU
Fitting that a military team is playing in the Armed Forces Bowl (could be required, I am not sure). Army is the only military academy that doesn't make their living on the ground. SMU is historically known to be a good running team (see: Pony Express). Army is having a charmed season. Who wins: Army
26. BBVA Compass Bowl Pittsburgh vs Kentucky
A battle between to under-achieving BCS teams. Pitts struggles came early with a loss in their opener to Utah. They never recovered. Kentucky was suppose to challenge in the SEC but made a bowl game anyway. This one is really a toss up. Who wins: Kentucky
25. Military Bowl East Carolina vs Maryland
Neither are military schools...??? Who wins: Maryland
24. Meineke Car Care Bowl South Florida vs Clemson
This should be called the George Foreman Bowl. South Florida is still fighting for respect against big brothers Florida, Florida State and Miami. Clemson was close to beating Auburn earlier this year. Tajh Boyd may get the start at QB for the Tigers, will it help? Who wins: Clemson
23. AutoZone Liberty Bowl Georgia vs UCF
Georgia struggled early. Started 0-3 in the SEC and also lost to Colorado. With A.J. Green in the line-up, UCF stands no chance. Who wins: Georgia
22. New Era Pinestripe Bowl Kansas St. vs Syracuse
Here is a sponsor that makes some sense! Good work, New Era. Syracuse is starting to turn it around, but the Big East isn't quality competition. Kansas St. started hot, then cooled off. Who wins: Kansas St.
21. Champs Sports Bowl West Virginia vs NC State
Dag nabit- NC State had a chance at the ACC title game, but blew it against Maryland in their final game. West Virginia is co-Big East champs, but settle for the non-BCS bowl game. NC State has a good passing game. Who wins: NC State
20. New Mexico Bowl BYU vs UTEP
No surprise where this game is being played. BYU is probably happy they aren't in the Las Vegas Bowl (Vegas probably isn't a hot destination for someone from BYU anyways). The Cougars had made five straight Las Vegas Bowl apperances, so New Mexico is a welcome change. UTEP got to a bowl game on their pre-season schedule. Who wins: BYU
19. Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl North Carolina vs Tennessee
This is a match-up of one team that is happy to still be playing (Tennessee) against a team that may wish it wasn't (North Carolina). Who wins: Tennessee
18. Bridgeport Education Holiday Bowl Nebraska vs Washington
How did Washington make a bowl game? These two will meet next year at Nebraska. The Holiday Bowl has been one of the more entertaining games of the bowl season in past years. That won't be the case this year. Who wins: Nebraska
17. Hyundai Sun Bowl Notre Dame vs Miami
This use to be a top-5 match-up. Two teams steep in tradition. Notre Dame is coming of a big win at USC. Miami has lost two straight. Notre Dame can turn a corner with a bowl win. Who wins: Notre Dame
16. Texas Bowl Illinois vs Baylor
Two teams that are just one or two wins away from playing in a New Years Day bowl. I look for Baylor to out-gun the Illini. Who wins: Baylor
15. Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Nevada vs Boston College
B.C. was here last year, playing USC. Now they face the Giant Killers, Nevada. Expect Colin Kappernick to run and pass all over B.C. Who wins: Nevada
14. AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl Air Force vs Georgia Tech
May be one of the most underrated bowl match-ups this season. Don't expect the ball in the air a whole lot. Rushing yards per game: Air Force-317 ypg (2nd in FBS) Georgia Tech-327 ypg (1st in FBS). Who wins: Air Force
13. MAACO Las Vegas Utah vs Boise State
Two teams who did not imagine themselves in this bowl game three weeks ago will have to settle for Vegas. Utah's late season collapse (losses against TCU, Notre Dame) goes against BCS fraud Boise. Do the Broncos come out inspired or dejected? Who wins: Boise St
12. Gator Bowl Mississippi St. vs Michigan
Mississippi St is doing quite well under Dan Mullen. If he wins this bowl game he could be the hottest commodity in coaching. Michigan under-preforms again and Rich Rod may be the least valued coach in the country at the moment. Who wins: Mississippi State
11. Insight Bowl Missouri vs Iowa
Both teams had visions of vying for conference titles. Missouri knocked off Oklahoma, Iowa beat Michigan State. Both have good quarterbacks, so expect a shootout. Who wins: Missouri
10. Outback Bowl Florida vs Penn State
Next to the Vegas Bowl, no other match-up features two more disappointing teams. The firepower in this game won't even see the field. JoPa vs Urban will be the key match-up. Who wins: Florida
9. Chick-fil-A Bowl South Carolina vs Florida State
Formally known as the Peach Bowl, this is a good match-up between the SEC and ACC. Both losers of their respective conference championship games, these two want to prove they belong in the top-15 in the nation. Look for Alshon Jeffery, Marcus Lattimore and co. to overwhelm the 'Noles. Who wins: South Carolina
8. AT&T Cotton Bowl LSU vs Texas A&M
LSU pulled out some games they had no business winning. Texas A&M had a solid season and will feel somewhat at home in the Cotton Bowl. The LSU offense will hinge on the quarterback position. How well will Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee play? Who wins: LSU
7. Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Connecticut vs Oklahoma
I think the Fiesta Bowl feels bad for Oklahoma. Their last two trips to Arizona ended in losses (Boise St. and West Virginia). It would be a MAJOR upset if the Huskies pull this one out. It shouldn't even be close. Who wins: Oklahoma
6. Valero Alamo Bowl Oklahoma State vs Arizona
Arizona ended the season on a 4-game losing streak and apparently can't make an extra point. Nick Foles can throw the ball though, and so can Oklahoma State. The Pokes may have the best receiver in football with Justin Blackmon. Scoreboard operator, get some sleep before this one. Who wins: Oklahoma State
5. Capital One Bowl Alabama vs Michigan State
Sparty is the highest rated conference champ not going to a BCS bowl game. Alabama is looking to bounce back after choking away a 24-0 lead at home against Auburn. Alabama should break down Michigan State in the 2nd half. Who wins: Alabama
4. Allstate Sugar Bowl Ohio State vs Arkansas
Can Terrelle Pryor replicate his Rose Bowl performance of last year? If he can, the Buckeyes win. Arkansas can choke in big games (see: vs 1. Alabama, SEC champ game). Who wins: Ohio State
3. Discover Orange Bowl Stanford vs Virginia Tech
Here we have a pro-style offense (Stanford) vs a scrambling quarterback. Two-way player Owen Marecic will be a big key, as will Heisman Trophy candidate Andrew Luck. Stanford has to make the cross-country trip, too. Who wins: Stanford
2. Rose Bowl Wisconsin vs TCU
This is where I wish Stanford could replace TCU. Wisconsin has been running over everyone lately. TCU's defense will have to put up a near-flawless effort to handle the rushing attack of the Badgers. TCU finally gets the chance to prove itself in a BCS bowl against a true BCS opponent. Who wins: Wisconsin
1. BCS Championship Oregon vs Auburn
The two most consistent teams all season will face off in Glendale for it all. We all know about the offenses. This game comes down to defense, who can stop who first. The Ducks have the better defense on paper. Can the show up on the big stage? If the D shows, the Ducks win. Who wins: Oregon

There are the predictions. Obviously I will be back to recap the bowl season sometime after January 10th. Hopefully that one prediction comes true!

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