2011 Bowl Preview
NEW MEXICO BOWL
Wyoming 37 Temple 24
Wyoming versus Temple, this game is as exciting as a trip to Albuquerque. Seriously this is a bowl match up? If this is not a sign we have too many bowls I don’t know what is. Any way New Mexico is Mountain West territory and the Cowboys used to playing at altitude, will have just enough offense led by QB Brett Smith and stamina to outlast the Owls.
IDAHO POTATO BOWL
Utah State 27 Ohio 20
Ahh the Blue Turf of Boise sees a battle between Utah and Ohio, the Bobcats have some more talent than the Aggies, but the stadium should provide a home field edge for nearby Utah State, and RB Robert Turbin who has played on the Blue grass before. It will be close, but in the end Ohio remains O for Bowls.
NEW ORLEANS BOWL
San Diego State 31 LA Lafayette 27
The Mercedes Benz Superdome hosts three bowls this year, including the one that counts and the Sugar Bowl. This is the one they will forget two minutes after it is over. Of course for Louisiana Lafayette there are memories of their first ever bowl game, and while they have a home field edge they are just a Sun Belt team. SDSU led by RB Ronnie Hillman is not a bad team and will win a second straight bowl game.
ST. PETERSBURG BOWL
Florida International 37 Marshall 17
If Florida International and Marshall were playing outside my window I would close the blinds. Seriously why is their a Beef O’Brady Bowl? Why is 6-6 Marshall in a bowl and why is being played inside a B.J.’s Warehouse? Oh I am mistaken that the beautiful Tropicana Field. Panthers win.
TCU 38 Louisiana Tech 17
Among the horrible unwatchable bowl games before Christmas are a few gems, this is one of them. TCU deserve much better than playing on December 21st in the Poinsettia Bowl. Louisiana Tech is not a bad team, but they don’t watch well with the Horned Frogs, who won a BCS game last year and are still a solid team that could compete with some of the big boys. Look for TCU led by QB Casey Pachall to make a statement as their offense is too hard to contain.
Boise State 51 Arizona State 13
Boise State missed a perfect season by a missed field goal for the second straight season, and for the second straight year they are in the historic Maaco Bowl. You can not spell BCS without the B.S. and the C stands for corruption. The Broncos are ranked well ahead of BCS bound West Virginia. Expect the Broncos to have a big day as Kellen Moore looks to impress pro scouts in his final game, earning his 50th career as Boise State QB against a Sun Devils team that quit trying a long time ago.
Southern Miss. 27 Nevada 20
It may be a bowl nobody cares about, but it’s Hawaii and for the players of Nevada and Southern Miss it is a week in paradise. For the boosters who can afford it its paradise. The Eagles have had a good year quietly winning 11 games, while Nevada at 7-5 had trouble replacing QB Colin Kaepernick . Southern Miss has some pro prospects like CB Marquese Wheaton and will edge the Wolfpack in Hawaii.
Missouri 27 North Carolina 21
This is a rare gem in the early bowl week games, both teams are about as even as you can get and both teams would like to make a statement for next season. Especially the Tigers who are getting set to enter the jungle known as the SEC. Mizzou has slightly more talent at the skill positions with QB James Franklin will get the win in what should be a close exciting game in Shreveport.
LITTLE CAESARS PIZZA BOWL
Purdue 31 Western Michigan 17
It’s the Big Ten against the MAAC in game they should be as appetizing as a week old slice from Little Caesars’. Purdue is 6-6 and Western Michigan is not much better at 7-5. You would think the Boilmakers who played a much tougher schedule should win this game easily, but playing for MAAC pride in Detroit, don’t write off the Broncos. In the end Purdue will have too much defense.
NC State 27 Louisville 17
With a strong finish and a strong defense, the Cardinals were one of the best teams in the NCAA in the latter half of the season as they finished tied for the Big East Championship. However, instead of playing in the Orange Bowl they get a road bowl game against NC State in Charlotte. The Wolfpack are a solid team led by QB Mike Glennon who rarely makes the big mistake and that will be the key in this one as NC State gets the win.
Air Force 37 Toledo 17
Air Force always plays above their skill level, and with Army and Navy both having bad seasons, they alone represent the services academies in the bowl season. Toledo could be a tough team to beat from the MAAC, but in the end the Falcons option has the Rockets sputtering by the end of the game as Air Force flies away with a win thanks to playmaker Jonathan Warzeka who can break one at moment.
Texas 38 California 17
This should be an interesting bowl, as the Holiday Bowl often is, with Texas facing Cal in a battle of contrasts. Both teams also have many similarities as they have young talented teams who could make some noise in 2012. The Longhorns look like the have found a QB of the future in Case McCoy, the brother of longtime Longhorn star Colt. This game will be a coming out part for Case as he shows he is the real McCoy for Texas to return to the BCS.
CHAMPS SPORTS BOWL
Notre Dame 20 Florida State 17
Both of the teams will be looking to build off this bowl game, as they hope to make a serious run for the BCS next season. The Irish shook off two ugly losses early in the season and had a solid year, while Florida State did not quite meet ACC expectations. This could end up being one of the better games, as both teams are evenly matched. In the end Notre Dame will get the win as Sophomore QB Andrew Hendrix will make the big plays down the stretch.
Baylor 44 Washington 20
This is not just a bowl game; it is the RGIII show, as the Heisman winner gets a chance to show why he won in the Alamo Bowl. The game should be a huge home field advantage for Baylor as fans will look to send Robert Griffin III a grand send off to the pros. The Huskies don’t have the offense to keep up and their defense won’t be able to stop Griffin as the Bears win a laugher in San Antonio.
ARMED FORCES BOWL
BYU 49 Tulsa 42
Tulsa did not play well outside of Conference USA this year posting a 1-3 record. BYU playing as an independent did not play any conference games and posted a solid 9-3 record. The Cougars have not spent much time on the national stage, but this is a game they need to win to legitimize their season. This game has the makeup of an old fashioned shoot out, look for both G.J. Kinne and Riley Nelson both have big passing numbers.
Rutgers 27 Iowa State 13
On November 5th, Iowa State won the biggest game in school history as they handed Oklahoma State its only loss of the season. Since then it has been all downhill for the Cyclones. Rutgers came within a whisker of the BCS as they were in the Big Least scramble until the last week of the season. The game is at Yankee Stadium and will give the Scarlet Knights a big home edge. Rutgers has already played and won in the Bronx this year and they will do it again, beating Iowa State, look for a big day from Rutgers playmaker Mohamed Sanu.
MUSIC CITY BOWL
Mississippi State 30 Wake Forrest 13
Need more proof there are too many bowls? This is another battle of 6-6 wonders. Let me get on a soap box, no six team should ever make a bowl game, but when you get 35 bowls you have a watered down field. Mississippi State played in the SEC West Division against teams like LSU, Alabama and Arkansas. Outside of the SEC the Bulldogs were 4-0; they will go 5-0 as the win easily against an overmatched Wake Forrest squad.
Oklahoma 38 Iowa 10
It was not a great year for the Hawkeyes as they had mediocre season in the newly expanded Big Ten, Oklahoma meanwhile also had an unsatisfactory season losing three tough games in their conference. The Sooners are considerably more talented and QB Landry Jones wants to make a good impression for the draft as he hopes to get his stock to rise where it was earlier in the season, as the Sooners crush Iowa in Tempe.
MEINEKE CAR CARE BOWL
Northwestern 20 Texas A&M 16
The game may be in Houston, Northwestern has not won a bowl game in 62 years, but they are due. In fact they are overdue, in the past few seasons the Wildcats have come closer and closer only to come up short. This is their time. Texas A&M is changing coaches and changing conferences and they instability will leave them ripe for the pickens as Northwestern wins the great belt buckle thanks to a big effort on defense.
Georgia Tech 37 Utah 17
Utah had a rough season in their inaugural Pac 12 season, losing games to the likes of Colorado. Georgia Tech had a nice season, but was unrewarded. This is a chance to put a good ending to their season. Look for the Yellow Jackets to the Utes early and often with QB Tevin Washinton leading way in an easy win in the West Texas town of El Paso.
Vanderbilt 31 Cincinnati 13
The key for the Bearcats success the last few years was QB Zach Collaros, though Munchie Legaux played well in his place, Cincinnati is not as good without their starter. Vanderbilt may be a 6-6 team, but they played in the SEC and held a 4-0 record out of conference. Look for an upset in this one as Vanderbilt playing in their own backyard gets a rare bowl victory in Memphis.
Illinois 17 UCLA 13
The Kraft Fights Hunger Bowl might as well be called the American Standard Toilet Bowl, because there are not two less deserving teams to be in the bowl season. Both teams have fired their coaches, and both teams played terrible down the stretch. The Illini come in with six straight losses and the Bruins are the first seven loss bowl team, only here because they won the dreck Pac 10 South due to USC’s postseason ban. This is terrible, Illinois will win and nobody should care.
Auburn 24 Virginia 10
Auburn knew it had a tough act to follow up on after winning the BCS National Championship last season. However, playing in the SEC West Division which had the top three teams at one point they managed a solid 7-4 season. Last year the Tigers won with the play of QB Cam Newton, this year defense has been the key. Auburn will get the win facing a Virginia team playing in their first bowl game since 2007.
TICKET CITY BOWL
Houston 38 Penn State 30
Cougars QB Case Keenum picked a bad time for his worst game of the year when he lost the Conference USA title game. However, Keenum still hopes to impress pro prospects and his best chance is in the bowl game against Penn State. The Nittany Lions are still reeling from the sex abuse scandal that ended the Joe Paterno era, and for this it sets up well for a Houston day as Case Keenum has another big game to lead Houston to a 13-1 season.
Michigan State 31 Georgia 27
The Outback Bowl is turning into one of those must see bowl games every season, as it often features teams good enough to be in the BCS. Both these teams lost conference championship games. The Bulldogs even had a halftime lead against LSU, while the Spartans lost a heartbreaker in the Big Ten title game. The Spartans have more talent led by QB Kirk Cousins who hopes to put himself in the mix for the NFL Draft. The game will be close and in the end it will be a Sparty Party in Tampa.
CAPITAL ONE BOWL
South Carolina 20 Nebraska 16
Earlier this year Coach Steve Spurrier sent his team a big message, when he dismissed QB Stephen Garcia, after continued off the field trouble. The Gamecocks still managed a solid 10-2 season, thanks to the running of Brandon Wilds. In this game it will be defense that plays the key as both teams can shut the other down. Look for Carolina to make life miserable for Huskers QB Taylor Martinez.
Ohio State 17 Florida 13
Both teams underwhelmed and posted 6-6 records; however, the drama and specter of Urban Meyer adds some juice to an otherwise blah game. The Buckeyes will regret playing in this game if the NCAA hands out a big penalty, as next year Meyer takes over and he should have them back in BCS contention in no time. They should have taken themselves out hoping to avoid a USC type two year ban. That being said Ohio State will get the win, as the Gators wish somehow Meyer had stayed in Gainesville.
Oregon 37 Wisconsin 27
This promises to be a good one as Running Backs LaMichael James and Montee Ball square off in a battle of talent laden teams that with a little luck could have played in the BCS Championship. Both teams also have solid Quarterbacks with Russell Wilson leading the Badgers and Darron Thomas leading the Ducks. For this one it will be about speed and Oregon has more of it and they will get the win in Pasadena.
Stanford 38 Oklahoma State 24
A battle of 11-1 teams who each think they should be in the BCS Game instead of Alabama. The key will be Andre Luck who should have won the Heisman, and will be the first player chosen in the NFL Draft. Everyone will be tuning in just to see Luck and he will not disappoint, putting up big numbers in his final college game. Look for Levine Toilolo, (who was once sung about in an old Russian TV show now a youtube hit) to be his favorite target.
Michigan 41 Virginia Tech 24
This is going to be the Denard Robinson show as the Michigan quarterback will look for a big performance in his first BCS game. He will also be looking to put himself in the Heisman talk for next year. The Hokies honestly have no business in the BCS after losing to Clemson in the ACC Championship. They benefited from a mostly easy schedule and will be exposed in the Sugar Bowl.
Clemson 44 West Virginia 27
The Mountaineers are here because somebody from the Big Least had to go to the BCS; there are at least half dozen more deserving teams. Clemson did upset Va. Tech to get here and has more overall talent. Look for Running Back Sammy Watkins and Quarterback Tajh Boyd to have a big day in South Beach as the Tigers win going away.
Arkansas 37 Kansas State 20
This game is good enough to be a BCS Bowl, and it should be a BCS Bowl. If we are stuck with this horrible system, why can’t we add another BCS Bowl? It will open two more spots both these teams deserve it, and the Cotton Bowl should restore its once great luster as being the big four. Both teams are 11-2, Arkansas only losses came to LSU and Alabama the two teams playing for the National Championship. Look for QB Tyler Wilson to have a big day as the Razorbacks win going away.
BBVA COMPASS BOWL
SMU 34 Pittsburgh 10
The Pittsburgh Panthers are an utter mess; their Coach Todd Graham left them high and dry for the Arizona Desert. One person happy to see him gone is QB Tino Sunseri, who has been ripped all season. However, this team is too much of a mess to salvage this one and SMU will gallop their way to an easy win.
GO DADDY.COM BOWL
Northern Illinois 47 Arkansas State 38
One thing for sure about Northern Illinois they find ways to make things exciting as they have a solid quarterback in Chandler Hamish, but no defense leading to weekly shootouts for the Huskies. This one has shootout written all over and Hamish will be the star as Northern Illinois makes some noise in Mobile.
BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
LSU 20 Alabama 10
In 2003 and 2007 when the BCS rotated through New Orleans, it was the LSU Tigers standing there to win the National Championship. It’s Tiger power again in the Superdome as the Bayou Bengals are back in a rematch with Alabama who they beat November 5th 9-6. The Tigers are the only unbeaten team this season and they are heads and tails better than anyone beating all competitors everywhere and anywhere. They beat Oregon, Virginia Tech, Arkansas and Georgia all who are in the BCS or could be in the BCS. Best of all they beat the Tide in Tuscaloosa. That game was two teams playing cautiously and looking to avoid the big mistake. This time the Tigers will be a little looser and will open it up a bit and with their super defense they will frustrate the Tide and win another National Championship in New Orleans adding to the purple and gold pride of Louisiana.