Okay, so that first round of Bowl Games was less than spectacular but there are still 26 contests to go. Let’s hope this next batch of games picks up the pace a little bit.
In this installment of my 2010 Bowl Preview I will discuss the final 13 games of 2010. For me they will end with New Year’s Eve in El Paso. What could go wrong?
Tuesday 28 December
West Virginia vs. NC State
At a glance this looks like a tough pick. NC State had a pretty respectable 8-4 season and we know that Tom O’Brien was a pretty successful bowl game coach at BC. We also know that Bill Stewart was money in bowl games so long as Pat White was under center. So where are we on this one?
I like the West Virginia defense against a pass happy Wolfpack offense. The Mountaineers only lost 3 games by a combined 14 points this fall and that includes a 6 point loss on the road to LSU in week 4. I think they might be a little better than most are giving them credit for. As Stewart enters his second to last bowl game I like the Mountaineers to rally around their lame duck coach and pick up a W.
Missouri vs. Iowa
Hey check it out, this one isn’t on NFL Network anymore. Bonus! I never could figure out why the NFL Network had the rights to a bowl game in the first place. Anyway…..
Kirk Ferentz has been great about preparing his teams for bowl games but he has a few things working against him in this one. First is the sometimes erratic play of quarterback Ricky Stanzi. Second is the fact that the Hawkeyes will be forced to start a reserve true Freshman running back due to the suspension of Adam Robinson and Jewel Hampton’s departure from the team. Oh yeah and WR Derrell Johnson-Koulianos is otherwise occupied lawyering up to battle some drug charges.
I think that all spells doom against a Mizzu squad with Blaine Gabbert under center and a defense that has been surprisingly good this year.
Wednesday 29 December
Military Bowl Presented By Northrop Grumman
East Carolina vs. Maryland
Hey there isn’t an Academy in the Military Bowl what the hell? Oh yeah, there are like 5 military themed bowls now. I wonder if that trend will hold after OEF ends? Nevermind. This is basically a home game for Maryland who will be playing for the recently fired Ralph Friedgen for the last time. Word has it that the Dread Pirate Mike Leach is inbound to College Park which is highly interesting. More on that another time.
ECU can throw the ball like it is going out of style but their defense is dreadful in every respect. I like the Turtles to rally around their recently fired ACC Coach of the year and win one last game for Big Ralph.
Illinois vs. Baylor
RGIII vs. the Zooker in Reliant Stadium. Interesting. Will the Bear fans show up in force for their first bowl appearance since 1994? Yeah, you read that right, 1994. This 70 team format is working out for the Bears. On paper this looks like it is going to be a close game. I’ll take RGIII over the Zooker though. This is a perfect opportunity for him to show the country what he is capable of.
Oklahoma State vs. Arizona
9:15 pm ESPN
This is easily one of the better pre New Year’s matchups. Okie Light has a sick offense and boasts none other than "I’m a man, I’m 40" Mike Gundy as their front man. Dig it. Toss in those OG play cards with the random pictures and I’m in. I think Little Stoops takes one on the chin here in a shootout.
Thursday 30 December
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces
Army vs. SMU
I find it interesting that the bowl sponsored by Bell Helicopter managed to snag the one branch of the service that doesn’t actually fly their flagship V-22 product. Whatever. Will they run a bunch of V-22 commercials anyway? Most likely.
As for the game itself this is just a trip across town for the Mustangs and I think June Jones and his "Pony Excess" boys will put on a Run & Shoot clinic against a dreadful Army pass defense.
New Era Pinstripe
Kansas State vs. Syracuse
K State vs. Syracuse in Yankee Stadium eh. I’ll take K State, primarily due to a dreadful Syracuse offensive unit. I wonder what kind of turnout Orange will bring with them? I’m guessing K-State will travel light. Then again they do have that whole "From the Little Apple to the Big Apple" thing going for them.
Franklin American Mortgage Music City
North Carolina vs. Tennessee
North Carolina has a pretty good football team. Tennessee doesn’t. Heels roll. Moving on.
Bridgepoint Education Holiday
Nebraska vs. Washington
Why is Nebraska playing in this game? This bid is reserved for Big 12 #5. Didn’t the Huskers play in the Big 12 title game? What did I miss? Just a little kick in the junk from the Big 12 on the way out the door eh. What a hose job.
This might be the worst pairing of the entire bowl season. The Huskers hung 56 on Washington in a week 3 beat down in Seattle. That game was a bit of a coming out party for then hot stuff Taylor Martinez. Three months later the Huskers were ultimately rewarded for their 10 win season with a re-match against the 6-6 Huskies. Oh yeah, these two are set to play again next September in Lincoln. Fail.
Friday 31 December
Meineke Car Care
South Florida vs. Clemson
Both of these teams play pretty good defense and are fairly poor on offense. Both also suffered a handful of close losses en-route to becoming bowl eligible by the thinnest of margins. Skip? Dabo? Pick your poison, this one is a coin flip. I picked Clemson simply because the Big East is um, not so good.
Notre Dame vs. Miami
Notre Dame, Miami and New Year’s Eve in El Paso. This is a great rivalry matchup in a cool setting. I like everything about it, especially considering what the Notre Dame bowl prospects looked like around October 30th. I will have a lot more on this game in a separate post but the short version is this. I think that Notre Dame is going to win the game, and I am going to be there when it happens. Go Irish!
Georgia vs. UCF
UCF went 10-3 this season. The catch? They did it against a schedule that Sagarin ranks as #108 in the country. I’ll take a 6-6 Georgia squad in what will likely be A.J. Green’s last game. ESSSEEECEEE.
South Carolina vs. Florida State
This is a very interesting matchup and a tough pick. Both teams are 9-4 and both came up short in their respective conference title games. South Carolina was blasted by Auburn and Virginia Tech beat the Noles by 11. Both units play solid run defense but are suspect to varying degrees against the pass.
Both teams also have QBs that can cause you some problems when they are on. I am going with South Carolina. I think that the Cocks have a couple more difference makers than FSU in the form of Alshon Jeffrey and Marcus Lattimore. This should be a very good game though. Wait, did I just pick Stephen Garcia!