Wednesday, December 29, 2010

“We Bowlin Baby” – Week 2

This is more like part two of the bowl week blog instead of week two because this entry will only cover three days.  That is because almost a one third of the bowl games are played in these three days (11 games total).  I will have a post for the January bowl games on New Year's Eve.

This is the group of games during the bowl season where it really gets fun to me.  Games are played from early afternoon through the night each night.  Whether you are at work or on vacation, it is fun to keep up with the games all day long.

Bowl Season Record Through the 27th: 5-6 Straight Up ; 4-6-1 Against the Spread.  Not necessarily off to a blazing start!  Time to play catch up... 

Wednesday, the 29th

Military Bowl: East Carolina vs. Maryland (-7.5) – East Carolina’s defense is the worst one in Division I; Maryland’s coaching staff is a mess.  Not a lot of excitement here, but probably a lot of scoring.  Terps win 38-28.

Texas Bowl:  Illinois (+1.5) vs. Baylor – Although Baylor is 7-5 and Robert Griffin is a great talent, the Bears are lucky to be bowl eligible.  They had three wins of eight or less and are on a three game losing streak – losing by double digits in each.  I assume Baylor is the favorite because it is Texas, but how many Baylor folks will really show up and make it a home field advantage?  Nathan Scheelhaase not only takes up a lot of room on his jersey with his last name; he has been fun to watch this year.  I’m going with the minor upset here Illinois 24-21.

Alamo Bowl: Oklahoma State (-5.5) vs. ArizonaOklahoma State’s offensive coordinator is on his way out the door to West Virginia, so there is instability for the Cowboys.  Arizona has been reeling after a fast start to the beginning of the season losing four straight.  Arizona has just appeared to not care about finishing strong.  I see an Okie State rout here 31-17.

Thursday, the 30th

Armed Forces Bowl: Army vs. SMU (-7) – This is a home game for SMU.  Army has not beaten anyone of significance this year.  SMU will be hungry to redeem themselves after a CUSA Championship Game loss.  Mustangs roll 31-20.

Pinstripe Bowl: Kansas State (-1) vs. SyracuseThese are both programs on the rise with the new (old for K-State) coaching staffs in place.  Who thought it would be a good idea to have a bowl game at Yankee Stadium on the December 30th?  It will be a balmy 37 degrees on Thursday though…could be a lot worse.  I like Kansas State 21-17 in this one in a pretty boring game.

Music City Bowl: North Carolina (-2) vs. TennesseeI have managed to pick every game of the Vols season right so far.  I hope I am wrong on this one, but I don’t like the matchup of the Tar Heels passing game versus the Vols secondary in this one.  Also, Tyler Bray will be facing an experienced defense that will likely confuse him.  On top of that, in the past eight years, the Vols have played and lost to three ACC teams in bowls by an average of 21 points.  The Vols are just happy to be in a bowl (the extra practice is huge for next year), and the Tar Heels need this win more.  Tar Heels 31-21.

Holiday Bowl: Nebraska vs. Washington (+14) – I am going against the majority on this one; everyone is picking the Huskers in a blow out.  The bowl rule that applies here is the Huskers do not want to be here.  First of all, they had an opportunity at playing in a BCS game when they played and lost to Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship.  Second, this is a rematch game in which they blew Washington out in Washington in September by a score of 56-21 and made Jake Locker look like he should never be drafted by an NFL team.  The only hungry team in this rematch will be Washington.  I can just see Nebraska half-assing it through practice everyday and then sneaking over to Tijuana at night to party.  Third, I no longer trust Taylor Martinez.  It appeared at times that he was trying to sabotage the Huskers in the Big 12 Championship against Oklahoma with his pitiful fumbles and decision making.  All that being said, I can’t predict an outright upset because the Huskers are way better than the Huskies.  Nebraska 24-23.

Friday, the 31st

Meineke Car Care Bowl: South Florida (+6) vs. Clemson – This will probably be the worst bowl game including two BCS conference teams.  Good thing they reserved the worst named bowl for the occasion.  You have an inept offense led by a bad quarterback in USF against an always underachieving Clemson team with a coach on the hot seat and a QB ready to call it a career and move on to baseball.  Rumor is Dabo Swinney may be out as head coach if they lose this game.  On the other side, Skip Holtz is a helluva coach to have this very mediocre Bulls team at 7-5.  They lost some close ones this year.  I like them upsetting Clemson here.  South Florida 17-13. 

Sun Bowl: Notre Dame (+3) vs. Miami (FL) – Oh what a matchup!  Renewing the old Catholics vs. the Convicts rivalry except they are far from what it was 20 years ago.  I think Miami has a more talented team, but Notre Dame has more stability with Randy Shannon being fired after the season and Al Golden being hired by Miami.  There will be a transition phase, and it is beginning as we speak during bowl preparations.  I gotta think that Shannon was well liked by the team, and they are still upset about the firing.  Notre Dame started catching on at the end of the year, and I like Brian Kelly with several weeks to prepare.  Irish 31-27.

Liberty Bowl: Georgia vs. Central Florida (+7) – Remember when I raved about Central Florida during championship week and said the SEC team they play better watch out?  Well, it’s the Georgia Bulldogs that better be focused on UCF, or they will be in for a big surprise.  UCF is very athletic taking after the SEC mold.  They have an exciting offense and a fast defense (a little undersized though).  I have to wonder how excited Georgia will be about playing in Memphis on New Year’s Eve.  Will AJ Green show up or will he already be on his cell phone on the sideline talking to NFL agents?  I guarantee you two things with him in this one:  1) he won’t get hurt in this game because he will not put forth the effort and 2) he has already sold his game worn jersey to someone.  I like Georgia, but a lot closer than what most people think.  Georgia 31-30.

Chick-fil-a Bowl: South Carolina vs. Florida State (+3) – This is another tough one to pick.  Both are coming off of conference championship game losses.  The SEC Championship game loser typically bounces back in their bowl game going 11-7 since 1992 (and yes three of those losses are by Arkansas).  Both drummed Florida pretty good in back to back games so the common opponent gets us nowhere.  Both of these teams have a tendency to be inconsistent and sloppy although they both have talent all over the place.  I like the Gamecocks in this one with the deciding factor being they can build off this game to get a top 10 or maybe top 5 ranking to begin next year.  South Carolina 28-27. 

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