2012 Bowl Preview
NEW MEXICO BOWL
Arizona 45 Nevada 27
Nothing beats the excitement of a bowl game played at 11 AM local time in Albuquerque ten days before Christmas. Well if you like offense this one may be for you as both teams have plenty of fire power. Arizona comes in with 17th ranked offense, averaging 37.3 points per game led by RB Ka’Deem Carey and QB Matt Scott, while Nevada has the seventh rank rushing attack led by Stefphon Jefferson.
IDAHO POTATO BOWL
Utah State 20 Toledo 17
Last year Utah State suffered a heartbreaking loss to Ohio in Boise in the Potato Bowl, this year they come back for a second helping, as they hope to mash Toledo. The Rockets come in with three losses all by a touchdown or less beating Cincinnati while the Aggies of Utah State have the eighth best defense in the Nation and were in every game themselves. Defense will be the key as Utah State with a home area edge beats Toledo on the blue turf.
San Diego State 27 BYU 10
This one has blowout written all over it as San Diego State faces BYU in what is basically a home game at Qualcomm Stadium. The Cougars barely qualified for a bowl game, posting a 0-3 record against the Top 25. The Aztecs come in at 9-3 with seven straight wins, including an upset over Boise State on the blue turf. SDSU has a solid running game led by Adam Muema who will be the game’s difference maker as San Diego State gets a win for the home team.
BEEF O' BRADY'SBOWL
Ball State 51 Central Florida 48
They should call this game the American Standard Toilet Bowl, because there is no worse bowl name in a worse venue as Ball State faces Central Florida at a B.J. Warehouse called Tropicana Field. Ball State lost three games all against ranked teams, while Central Florida is coming off a loss in the Conference USA Championship Game. Both teams defense leave plenty to be desired so this has Arena Football score written all over it, which fits since the Trop is better suited for Arena Football than real football.
NEW ORLEANS BOWL
UL-Lafayette 37 East Carolina 30
Last season the Rajin’ Cajuns earned their first ever bowl win with a thriller at the Superdome against San Diego State. This year Louisiana Lafayette will seek a second straight win in the New Orleans Bowl as they face East Carolina. These are two similar teams with solid offenses and record of 8-4. The most impressive game played by Louisiana was a loss as they gave #3 Florida all they could handle at the start of the season. With some home cookin’ I see another win for the Cajuns.
Boise State 20 Washington 17
This was basically a rebuild season for Boise State, as they lost two games and struggled through a bulk of their season. However, with a third straight Maaco Bowl win in Las Vegas and they are in a good position as they get set to join the Big East. Washington beat Pac-12 Champ Stanford, but also loss to Washington State and ended the regular season in a tailspin. Look for that to continue as the Broncos win again on defense.
Fresno State 38 SMU 17
Derek Carr, whose brother David was once the top overall pick in the draft looks to make a name for himself a Fresno State faces SMU in Hawaii on Christmas Eve. Carr a Junior had a solid year with 36 Touchdown passes tied with Matt Barkley for fourth most touchdowns In his last five games he had 17 touchdowns with just one interception. SMU meanwhile was a mediocre 6-6 and needed to win its last game just to be eligible for a bowl game.
Cent. Michigan 30 Western Kentucky 13
This match up is an example of what is wrong with the College Football Bowl season. Louisiana Tech though not slotted for this Bowl took too long to answer a bowl invite and was excluded from any bowl despite a 9-3 record, while 6-6 Central Michigan faces 6-6 Western Kentucky in a bowl game. This is an awful match up and I can’t think of any reason to actually watch it other than to see the Hilltoopers big red mascot. The game is in Detroit so that should give an edge to the Chippewas and since its WKU first bowl they get bowled over.
San Jose State 27 Bowling Green 20
It was a good year to be a member of the MAAC as they had two teams that were quite capable of cracking the BCS. They also had several other competitive teams that could play well during bowl season. One of those teams is Bowling Green who won seven of its last eight games. However, the Spartans of San Jose State just have more talent and a better overall team. This should be a close somewhat exciting game, put the San Jose State has a better defense and a solid passing game and will get the win.
Duke 20 Cincinnati 17
It is not very often that the Cameron Crazies can pack up and watch Duke Football play in a bowl game, as they are playing in just their third bowl since 1960 and first since 1994. When the games are close they have a chance as they allowed an average of 48.1 ppg in their six losses. Cincinnati does not have the offense to put up those numbers in addition Coach Butch Jones is going to Rocky Top Tennessee. With the aide of a home crowd in Charlotte I see the Blue Devils winning their first bowl game in 52 years by a Field Goal.
UCLA 51 Baylor 41
It was a good a year for the Bruins as they beat rival USC and won Pac-12 South Division title and played a solid game in the Pac 12 title game before losing late. Jim Mora Jr. clearly has UCLA heading in the right direction and if he can cap things off with a bowl win they can have some momentum for next season. Both of these teams have strong offenses, as Baylor finished third in the nation in passing despite losing RGIII. This will be one of the best bowl games of the season as UCLA wins a shoot out in San Diego.
UL-Monroe 27 Ohio 16
Things looked good early for Ohio as they started the season strong, winning their first seven games, including an upset win over Penn State to start the season. However, the Bobcats won just one of their last five games in the competitive MAC. Louisiana-Monroe has the home edge with the game in Shreveport and come it finishing the seasons strong thanks to the passing of Kurt Browning. I see the Warhawks soaring in this game.
CHAMPS SPORTS BOWL
Rutgers 16 Virginia Tech 9
Rutgers may be the most disappointed team in the bowl season, as they lost their last two games, including blowing a 14-3 lead to Louisville in the finale. Had they won either game they would be playing in the Orange Bowl. It would not be hard to imagine the Scarlet Knights laying another egg in Orlando, but they face a Hokies team that at 6-6 struggled all season. Rutgers has a strong defense and will stymie Virginia Tech as they score just enough to extend their bowl winning streak to a NCAA high six games.
MEINEKE CAR CARE BOWL
Texas Tech 45 Minnesota 24
Thanks to an easy early out of conference schedule, Minnesota started 4-0 and despite a 2-6 season against the Big Ten they slipped into a bowl game. Things won’t be that easy this time around as they face Texas Tech in Houston. The Red Raiders went 7-5 against a very tough schedule and have a strong offense. This one will not even be close as Texas Tech wins by at least 20.
ARMED FORCES BOWL
Rice 41 Air Force 37
A pair of 6-6 teams will look to slug it out in Fort Worth as both teams have strong offenses, but struggle on defense. Air Force prefers a ground attack, while the Owls like putting in the air. Either way this will be a game where the team with the ball last will win the game, and I see Rice with quick strike passing getting the win, as the Falcons lack of a passing offense will haunt them.
KRAFT FIGHT HUNGER BOWL
Navy 31 Arizona State 17
The Sun Devils had a tough road to the bowls this season as they had a tough schedule in the Pac-12. They did finish strong taking the last two games to get Bowl eligible. Navy meanwhile finished strong beating Army to finish the season, as they won eight of their last ten games after a 0-2 start, I like the Midshipmen in this one as Arizona State lacks in defense and will have a tough time stopping the Navy ground game.
West Virginia 59 Syracuse 24
It’s welcome home to the Mountaineers as they face former Big East rival Syracuse at Yankee Stadium. West Virginia started the season strong, winning their first five games as Geno Smith was an early Heisman favorite. However, against the tough part of the Big XII schedule Smith and West Virginia struggled, nonetheless he passed for 4,000 yards with 40 touchdowns. Syracuse has a solid passing game too, but Ryan Nassib has been known for throwing the bad interception and that will be the difference as West Virginia wins in a laugher.
Texas 27 Oregon State 24
Oregon State was one of the big surprises of the NCAA season, earning wins over Wisconsin and UCLA, while Texas despite losses in their final two games had another solid season. The issue for the Longhorns is finding consistent play at quarterback as David Ash and Colt McCoy both struggled at times. If one can emerge Texas could be a BCS team next season, and to get some momentum for next year I see them winning a close game against the Beavers.
BUFFALO WILD WINGS BOWL
TCU 27 Michigan State 17
The Horned Frogs had a successful first season in the Big XII, beating Texas on the way to a solid 7-5 season. Meanwhile, Michigan State struggled as they finished 6-6 despite wins over Wisconsin and Boise State. TCU comes in finishing the season by facing five straight ranked teams; this will make the Spartans seem like a piece of cake. Look for TCU to feast on Sparty as they have a Buffalo Wing party.
MUSIC CITY BOWL
Vanderbilt 24 NC State 16
It was an up and down season for the Wolfpack as they beat Florida State, but lost four games in the mediocre ACC. Vanderbilt meanwhile, faced three teams in the Top 10 and despite losing them all they allowed just 18.3 points per game during the season. The Commodores get a home game, with this game just down the street at LP Field and with that they should do a Tennessee Waltz and win a second straight bowl game by shutting down NC State’s offense.
USC 54 Georgia Tech 24
This is not how Matt Barkley envisioned his USC career ending as the quarterback who started the season as the Heisman favorite passed up the chance to be picked in the top ten pick to return more season with the Trojans. Though it was a porous defense that led to five losses for Southern California, it was a bad season all the same as he has slipped in NFL pre draft rating. A strong finish could restore Barkley’s luster if he plays after injuring his shoulder against UCLA. Even if Matt Barkley does not play USC should roll all over 6-7 Georgia Tech.
Tulsa 34 Iowa State 13
Tulsa quietly is one of those teams that is better than people think as they captured the Conference USA Championship with a 10-3 record. Iowa State meanwhile at 6-6 is just happy to be in a bowl after losing three of their last four games. The Golden Hurricane have one of the best rushing attacks in the country with Trey Watts, Alex Singleton and Ja’Terian Douglas combining to average 240 yards per game. This one will not even be close as Tulsa flattens Iowa State.
LSU 17 Clemson 13
This should be a good one as LSU and Clemson are both solid programs that with a bounce here and there could be in a BCS Bowl. Clemson is led by Quarterback Tajh Boyd who drives the sixth best offense in the NCAA. LSU will look to hold the Tigers with one of the Nation’s best defenses that allowed less than 17 points per game. The ACC has not faire well against the SEC this season and that trend will continue as LSU finishes the season on a high note.
TICKET CITY BOWL
Oklahoma State 45 Purdue 17
The heart of the bowl season starts deep in the heart of Texas as Okie State faces Purdue in the first New Year’s Day Bowl game. The Boilermakers finished the season strong, winning their last three games just to be bowl eligible, while Oklahoma State has the fourth highest scoring team in the nation. This will not even be close as the Cowboys have a field day against Purdue.
Northwestern 41 Mississippi State 38
Northwestern has had a lot of baggage over the years from its long losing streak to bowl game failures. The Wildcats have not won a bowl game in 65 years though in recent years they have come agonizingly close. At the Gator Bowl they get a chance to end their nine game bowl losing streak. This year Northwestern flirted with the Top 25 all season, and come in perfect position to get the monkey off their back. Mississippi State will not be a pusher over having gone through the SEC with a solid 8-4 record. However, the Wildcats are due for a bowl win.
CAPITAL ONE BOWL
Georgia 52 Nebraska 13
Both teams lost Conference Championship games, Georgia came five yards from playing for the National Championship, losing to Alabama in the SEC Championship while Nebraska was dismantled by Wisconsin in the Big Ten Title Game. By all rights the Bulldogs should be in a BCS Bowl, but the dumb BCS rules limits the SEC to two teams so they settle for the Capital One Bowl and they are out for blood and there will be blood as they take out their anger on the Cornhuskers with an old fashioned beat down in Orlando. In their loss to Wisconsin, Nebraska allowed 500 yards in rushing. I see a similar day for the Huskers as UGA shows the Nation they deserved better from the BCS.
South Carolina 34 Michigan 31
Another great bowl match up see Michigan taking on South Carolina in Tampa. Both of these teams are battle tested having faced tough schedules. The Gamecocks, handed Georgia its only regular season loss, while the Wolverines faced both teams in the NCAA Championship, and unbeaten Ohio State. Michigan lost all three of those games and will lose again, as South Carolina wins a thriller by a Field Goal.
Stanford 24 Wisconsin 20
Both teams come into the Rose Bowl riding high, as Stanford has won seven straight since their overtime loss to Notre Dame, while the Badgers scored 70 in the Big Ten Championship against Nebraska. The Cardinal due tend to play close games, as the Rose Bowl will be no different, as Wisconsin despite the best efforts of Montee Ball will not be able to outlast Stanford, who scored one of the biggest upsets of the season when the y beat high powered Oregon to win the Pac-12 North.
Florida State 41 Northern Illinois 13
Its been a great story for the Huskies of Northern Illinois, who became the first team from the MAC to make a BCS Bowl, a spot they rightfully earned by finishing in the Top 15. However, this is not one of those Non-AQ teams of the past, Northern Illinois is nowhere near the level of Boise State of TCU and they face a Florida State team that has more pros on their roster than they have faced all season. The Seminoles are among the best teams in scoring and points allowed this season and they should have no trouble winning this game as Midnight strikes in Northern Illinois.
Florida 48 Louisville 10
Can you say blowout in the Superdome? Louisville may be one of the least deserving BCS teams ever as they finished in a four way tie in the Big East thanks to Rutgers choking away the finale in Pisctaway. If there was any justice in the BCS a team even in a AQ conference must finish in the Top 25 at the very least to keep their spot. Least is the key word as the Big Least keeps losing talent and teams and this will be an embarrassment as the Gators chomp their way to a Big Easy win in New Orleans.
Oregon 51 Kansas State 47
If you like scoring and excitement this is going to be the bowl for you as both teams have high powered offenses that at difficult to stop. Both teams lost just once during the season and were ranked 1 and 2 late in the season, meaning this could have been the National Championship Game if everything held out to form. The Ducks have a balanced attack that is the second best offense in the Nation, while the Wildcats are led by Heisman finalist Colin Klein who leads one of the top passing games in the NCAA. This will be back and forth and the last team to have the ball will be the winner. That team will likely be Oregon whose no huddle offense will be the difference in a thriller in the desert.
Oklahoma 34 Texas A&M 24
Former Big XII rivals meet in the Cotton Bowl as Oklahoma whose only losses came at the hand of Kansas State and Notre Dame faces Heisman winner Johnny Manziel and the Aggies. Manziel has already won on the big stage upsetting Alabama on the road. However, Johnny Football has to deal with the press for the first time after being shielded most of the season and will face even more pressure with the Hesiman Trophy. Heisman winners tend to struggle in bowl games and for a freshman it would take nerves of steel not be somewhat effected. Look for the Sooners with Landry Jones auditioning for the pros to get the win in Jerry’s World.
BBVA COMPASS BOWL
Ole Miss 27 Pittsburgh 13
Another lackluster bowl game featuring two 6-6 teams being played on the same day the NFL Playoffs start. Yup this one is going to have a lot of eye balls watching this one. I think even the parents of the players will want to miss this one. Pitt finished 6-6 with wins in their last two games in the Big Least, while the Rebels faced a SEC schedule, and faced much tougher teams week in and week out. It should be a big day for Mississippi as
They get an easy bowl win in Birmingham.
GO DADDY.COM BOWL
Kent State 27 Arkansas State 10
It was a season for the ages for Kent State, who came with in an eye lash of reaching a BCS Bowl as they lost to Northern Illinois in the MAC Title game. The Flashes have proved they are more than a flash in the pan, beating Rutgers when they were unbeaten and ranked #15. Arkansas State should provide little resistance to Kent, who led by a tough defense wins a bowl game that looks more like a boat race.
BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Notre Dame 17 Alabama 13
Year number three it is the magic number in South Bend, Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian, Dan Devine and Lou Holtz all won National Championships in their third year at Notre Dame. This is Brian Kelly’s third season with Fighting Irish and Notre Dame, who was written off an echo of college football’s past has put together a season for the ages to reach the BCS Championship. Rightfully Notre Dame are underdogs, as Alabama is seeking to win a second straight championship and third in the last four years. No doubt the Crimson Tide are first class as the SEC has won every BCS Championship since 2007. If this was a series no doubt Alabama would win, as they would easily beat the Irish eight times out of ten. However, from the start of the season when they blew apart Navy in Dublin, it was clear that Notre Dame had this attitude. Defense is what drives both teams and this game will be no different as it will be a low scoring game, which will keep the Irish in the game. No team has been better in goal line situations as they won games against Stanford and USC thanks in part to a penetrating defensive line and the tackling of Manti Te’o. All season Notre Dame has been doubted and I think that helps to motivate them. There is some luck left in that leprechaun they found in Ireland and it is this that will help them to score the upset and cap one of the legendary seasons in the history of college football. Alabama does have all the talent, but they could have lost to Georgia and LSU, Notre Dame’s defense is better than both of those schools and that is what will make the difference. The Irish will shut down Bama’a running game, and the pass rush will get some big turnovers as the Echoes rise to bring Notre Dame its first National Championship since 1988.