Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Bowl Picks Part I

Today, I take a look at all of the bowl games outside of the ACC and SEC.

Poinsettia Bowl San Diego
Utah vs. Navy Dec. 20, 9 p.m. ESPN
Navy runs the triple option offense, which is very tough to prepare for, but they just lost the architect of that offense, Paul Johnson, to Georgia Tech. This will be like a home game for Navy in San Diego. Utah has been very tough in bowl games over the last few years and a perennial contender for the MWC title. I think the turnover on the Navy staff is too much to overcome. I like the Utes to win this one with the turnover on Navy’s staff in a high scoring affair.
Pick: Utah

New Orleans Bowl New Orleans
Florida Atlantic vs. Memphis Dec. 21, 8 p.m. ESPN2
Quite possibly the worst bowl game of the year. Florida Atlantic is coached by the guy who started it all at Miami, Howard Schnellenberger. FAU beat Minnesota this year and hung with South Florida for 3 quarters. Memphis' passing attack ranks in top 15 in passing offense. I am going to take the Owls over the Tigers of Memphis.
Pick: Florida Atlantic

Papajohns.com Bowl Birmingham
Cincinnati vs. Southern Miss Dec. 22, 1 p.m. ESPN2

Is the pre game meals going to be pizza in this one? Cincinnati should win this one easily with their talent and the So. Miss head coach resigned at the end of the year. The Golden Eagles feature Damien Fletcher at RB who averages over 100 ypg and had 15 TDs on the season. Still, you wonder if the Bearcats are sulking because of this bowl offer. The Bearcats are great at creating turnovers and have 23 picks on the season.
Pick: Cincinnati

New Mexico Bowl Albuquerque
Nevada vs. New Mexico Dec. 22, 4:30 p.m. ESPN

A home game for the Lobos against an old WAC foe in Nevada. Both have mascots pertaining to the canine family. Nevada run this pistol formation where a RB lines up behind the QB in a shortened shotgun. The Wolfpack came the closest of anyone in beating Hawaii, sans Colt Brennan though. New Mexico is at home and I am taking them.
Pick: New Mexico

Las Vegas Bowl Las Vegas
UCLA vs. BYU Dec. 22, 8 p.m. ESPN

A rematch of a game earlier this year that UCLA won. Karl Dorrell is out in LA and nobody is in yet. BYU wants to finish off the season strong after a dramatic come from behind win over rival Utah in their last game. UCLA came into the season with high expectations after beating USC last year and many starters returning. The Bruins have been up and down this year and a coaching switch on top of that makes things very unpredictable for them. BYU has the 2nd longest winning streak in the nation at 9 games. The Cougars have not allowed a 100 yard rusher all year.
Pick: BYU

Hawaii Bowl Honolulu
Boise State vs. East Carolina Dec. 23, 8 p.m. ESPN

Humanitarian Bowl. This will be a game featuring two running backs named Johnson; Chris from East Carolina and Ian from Boise St. Skip Holtz has put together some good seasons at East Carolina as of late, including a win over North Carolina this year and playing Va Tech very close in the first game of the year. Boise State was here just a month ago and lost to Hawaii, but they lobbied for this game as opposed to a home game in the Boise State. This could be a pretty good game between two up and coming head coaches.
Pick: Boise State

Motor City Bowl Detroit
Central Michigan vs. Purdue Dec. 26, 7:30 p.m. ESPN

This is another rematch in a bowl game that Purdue won handily at home in late September. These two teams have gone on divergent paths since that game. The Chippewas won the MAC for the 2nd straight year. Central Michigan is led by Dan LeFevour at QB who had more than 3000 yards passing and 1000 yards rushing, but their defense is horrible. Purdue finished on a downward slide with a 3 game losing streak. Look for a high scoring game on the turf.
Pick: Central Michigan

Holiday Bowl San Diego
Arizona State vs. Texas Dec. 27, 8 p.m. ESPN
This game and the Chick Fil A Bowl are the two best Pre New Years Day bowl games. The only downside to this game is that 1 team is usually down in the dumps after being left out of a BCS bowl; Arizona State is that team this year. With that being said, I cannot figure out Texas this year. They have not seemed to play with much passion and intensity at all this year and Colt McCoy is really missing WR Limas Sweed; McCoy has 18 INTs on the year and has a penchant for getting rattled. Dennis Erickson is once again proving his worth at the college level in Tempe - (Dennis, please do not go to the NFL again). The Sun Devils two losses were to USC and Oregon when both were playing their best ball of the season.
Pick: Arizona State

Texas Bowl Houston
Texas Christian vs. Houston Dec. 28, 8 p.m. NFL Network
Two teams from Texas that no one will be able to see on the NFL Network. TCU started the year as a Boise State BCS type candidate and then they played very tough against Texas early in the year, but they quickly faded. Houston just lost their coach to Baylor and will lose this game.
Pick: TCU

Alamo Bowl San Antonio
Penn State vs. Texas AM Dec. 29, 8 p.m. ESPN
I can envision it now – Javorskie Lane meets Dan Connor. That is if the Aggies decide to run the ball. After Dennis Franchione resigned from the job minutes after he beat Texas for the 2nd straight year, Texas A&M wasted no time grabbing Mike Sherman from the NFL. It will be interesting to see the Texas A&M crowd in the Alamodome considering the closeness of the A&M campus to San Antonio. Penn State has a chance to finish the season off well after largely disappointing most of the year.
Pick: Penn State

Armed Forces Bowl Fort Worth
California vs. Air Force Dec. 31, 12:30 p.m. ESPN
Just two months ago, Cal was #2 in the country and driving for the winning score against Oregon State. Now they are 6-6 after losing to bay area native and arch rival Stanford and in the Armed Forces Bowl against Air Force. Something tells me Cal doesn’t want to be here. Air Force's option offense will be tough to prepare for since Cal has never seen it.
Pick: Air Force

Sun Bowl El Paso
Oregon vs. South Florida Dec. 31, 2 p.m. CBS
The Ducks football hopes came crashing down when Dennis Dixon’s knee crumpled in Tuscon. They are a shell of what they were on offense and the speed of South Florida’s defense will make it even more difficult on Mike Belloti’s crew. The only thing standing between South Florida and the win could be their penchant for turning the ball over.
Pick: South Florida

Insight Bowl Tempe
Indiana vs. Oklahoma State Dec. 31, 8 p.m. NFL Network
One of the over looked stories this year is Indiana’s “Play 13” slogan from former coach Terry Hoepner who passed away in the off season. Oklahoma State is best known for their colorful coach Mike Gundy who proclaimed his manhood so famously. Okie State runs a high powered offense and a swiss cheese defense. It will be interesting to see how the Cowboys’ offense plays after losing OC Larry Fedora to Southern Miss. This bowl practice has got to mean so much to the Indiana players because they don’t ever get to have it and I think they come through in the bowl game.
Pick: Indiana

International Bowl Toronto
Rutgers vs. Ball State Jan. 5, noon ESPN2
Ball State makes the third team from Indiana to play in a bowl game. The Cardinals almost upset Nebraska earlier in the year. Rutgers has been a nice story in college football and Greg Schiano will be making his rounds of job turn downs again this year (until Penn State comes open). The Scarlet Knights and Ray Rice run all over Ball State.
Pick: Rutgers

GMAC Bowl Mobile
Bowling Green vs. Tulsa Jan. 6, 8 p.m. ESPN
Bowling Green is reaching out to Ohio State fans to sell more tickets to this game. They are hoping Buckeye backers will make Mobile a side trip on the way to New Orleans. Other than that….Gus Malzhan is the OC at Tulsa so they like to throw it around a lot.
Pick: Tulsa

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