Will This End Up In South Bend? - Matt Cashore-US PRESSWIRE
This is it people, we have arrived at the big finish. Following the 4 games slated to be played today we will only have 12 more to go in the month of January.
Enjoy it while you can, the dreaded off-season will be here before we know it. For any of you that want to go back and take a look the first 23 games were discussed in Part I and Part II of this viewers' guide.
As far as your respective bowl pools are concerned I suspect that most pseudo knowledgeable fans picked this last group of games in similar fashion due to an unusually large number of mismatches in the "big" games. As a result a late surge in any bowl pool could prove to be difficult. I hope that you already have a nice lead.
This final installment of the Bowl Game Viewers' Guide will take us from January 1st through the BCS Championship Game between Notre Dame and Alabama on January 7th. We are close.
Rankings are per the BCS Standings.
*All times listed below are EST.
Tuesday 1 January
Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl
Mississippi State (8-4) vs. #20 Northwestern (9-3)
The Bulldogs are pretty middle of the road and I think they are getting a lot of love from the talking heads in this matchup solely due to the fact that they are an SEC team. Pat Fitzgerald and Northwestern tend to show up for their bowl games and I don't expect this one to be any different. I like Northwestern in a close one.
Heart of Dallas Bowl
Purdue (6-6) vs. Oklahoma State (7-5)
All of the confidence points. If there is one game that is likely to end up ugly it is this one. Purdue is playing with an interim coach and even if they weren't I don't think that they could stop Okie Light from hanging 50 on them. Pokes roll at the old Cotton Bowl Stadium.
#7 Georgia (11-2) vs. #16 Nebraska (10-3)
I just don't trust the Nebraska defense at all. Bo what happened to the Blackshirts? You were one of the best Defensive Coordinators in the country just a few years ago! Dawgs.
Capital One Bowl
#10 South Carolina (10-2) vs. #18 Michigan (8-4)
Hmmmm. Ole Ball Coach vs. Brady Hoke huh. Will Denard be under center? Can we count on a few passes off the back foot that should have never been thrown going for Michigan TDs? I don't think it matters who Michigan plays at QB in this game. Cocks.
Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO
Wisconsin (8-5) vs. #6 Stanford (11-2)
I really think that Stanford should win this game comfortably. Now that I said that Barry Alvarez patrolling the sidelines will give the Badgers a much needed boost and turn this into a game. Right? Right? Nah. And so begins a weak slate of BCS games.
Discover Orange Bowl
#15 Northern Illinois (12-1) vs. #12 Florida State (11-2)
After the Champs Sports Bowl last year many thought the Noles might make a BCS Championship run this season. Instead Notre Dame is playing for the BCS Championship and the Noles are mixing it up with the MAC Champs in the same stadium one week prior. So will EJ Manuel play bad enough to keep Northern Illinois in this one or will it look like the Colt Brennan massacre of 2008? I'm thinking the latter. FSU rolls.
Wednesday 2 January
Allstate Sugar Bowl
#21 Louisville (10-2) vs. #3 Florida (11-1)
I like Charlie Strong as a coach, and Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is fun to watch, but I just don't think Louisville can knock off Muschamp and the Gators. I don't think this one will get too out of hand but I really can't imagine Florida losing this game.
Thursday 3 January
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
#4 Oregon (11-1) vs. #5 Kansas State (11-1)
I had tickets to this game and it was challenging to get rid of them. Kansas State, Bill Snyder and Collin Klein have been a great story in 2012 but they got exposed at the end of the season by the Baylor offense. So what do you think Oregon is going to do to the Cat defense? I really enjoy watching Chip Kelly run his offense and this game should be no exception. By the time the final gun sounds in this one we should all be sure that Kansas State wasn't quite as good as they were once touted to be. Side note, will this be Chip Kelly's last game as a college coach?
Friday 4 January
AT&T Cotton Bowl
#9 Texas A&M (10-2) vs. #11 Oklahoma (10-2)
This is one of the more intriguing matchups of the bowl season. Can Johnny Manziel handle the weight of the Heisman? Will Kliff Kingsbury's departure to Tejas Tech affect Sumlin and the Aggies? How good is Oklahoma really? How good is TaMU? I can't wait to watch this game. In the realm of the "SEC is king" argument this game is second only to the BCS Championship. I'll take the Sooners in a shootout.
Saturday 5 January
BBVA Compass Bowl
Pittsburgh (6-6) vs. Ole Miss (6-6)
For starters I hate that this game and the next one are crammed into the weekend prior to the BCS Championship. Play this game in mid December and I'm all about it. Play it on January 5th and you can go pack sand. Seriously. Everybody and their brother is picking Ole Miss in this one for the SEC > Big East thing. Got it. But I actually think that Paul Chryst is starting to have a positive impact on the program and Pitt started to turn the corner a little bit at the end of the season. The Panthers are playing in the BBVA Compass Bowl for the 3rd consecutive time and they are probably over the trip to Birmingham which could play against them. Then again, it could also help minimize the "distractions" to a point that Pitt just shows up and takes care of business. I like Pitt in an upset.
Sunday 6 January
#25 Kent State (11-2) vs. Arkansas State (9-3)
Had Gus Malzahn not bolted for Auburn I would pick Arkie State without even thinking twice about it. Even with Malzahn gone I think I'll throw caution to the wind and pick my 4th Sun Belt team over yet another MAC squad. Will I get burned again? Bring it MAC!
Monday 7 January
BCS National Championship
#1 Notre Dame (12-0) vs. #2 Alabama (12-1)
In the interest of keeping all discussion about this game underneath the other dedicated posts about it I will include my prediction with those of the rest of the staff at the end of this week. This game can't get here fast enough for me. Go Irish!