Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bowl Season

The Game: Armed Forces Bowl
The Date: December 31
The Location: Fort Worth, Texas
The Teams: Houston and Air Force
The Line: Houston -3.5
What's at Stake? This is a rematch of a regular season game won by Air Force 31-28. A win would give Houston 8 victories in Kevin Sumlin's first season as coach and would also be the Cougars first bowl win since the 1980 Garden State Bowl. An victory for Air Force would be their first bowl win since 2000.
Why You Should Watch: Sophomore quarterback Case Keenum threw 43 touchdown passes for the Cougars (2nd in the nation behind Sam Bradford). Air Force averages 269 yards per game on the ground.
Spread Prediction: Air Force allowed 534 yards to the Cougars in the first meeting, but held on to win thanks to winning the turnover battle (+2). In the other rematch this bowl season, Wake extracted revenge on Navy after blowing the first game with turnovers. Look for history to repeat itself here.

The Game: Sun Bowl
The Date: December 31
The Location: El Paso, Texas
The Teams: Oregon State and Pitt
The Line: Oregon State -2.5
What's at Stake? Oregon State seeks their fifth bowl win in 6 seasons. This would be Pitt's first bowl win under Dave Wannstedt.
Why You Should Watch: The Beavers are consistently underrated by the nation at large. Tune in to see one of the most inconspicuous coaches in the game, in Beaver coach Mike Riley. Pitt running back LeSean McCoy has over 1700 yards rushing in 2 seasons.
Spread Prediction: Mike Riley should be able to coach circles around Dave Wannstedt. Add to that the fact that Oregon State was extremely well balanced (3rd in the Pac 10 in offense and 4th in defense) and you have all the trappings of a Beaver win.

The Game: Music City Bowl
The Date: December 31
The Location: Nashville, Tennessee
The Teams: Houston and Air Force
The Line: Boston College -3.5
What's at Stake? Boston College is seeking their ninth straight bowl win (last loss in the 1999 Insight Bowl), while Vandy is looking for their first bowl win since 1955.
Why You Should Watch: You like defense, or maybe an absence of offense? This is the game for you. Both teams are pretty good on defense and average (Boston College) to terrible (Vandy) on offense.
Spread Prediction: Unfortunately for the Commodores, neither their offense or defense is as good as the Eagles.

The Game: Insight Bowl
The Date: December 31
The Location: Tempe, Arizona
The Teams: Kansas and Minnesota
The Line: Kansas -9.5
What's at Stake? A win for Kansas would be their second strsight bowl win and give them an unthinkable 20 wins over the past 2 seasons. A win for Minnesota would make a 6 and a half game improvement on last season's 1-11 debacle.
Why You Should Watch: Todd Reesing of Kansas is a great college quarterback. He's a junior, so catch him while you still can. If Minnesota harbors any hope of an upset, defensive end Willie VanDeSteeg (9.5 sacks this season) needs to apply some pressure.
Spread Prediction: This one should be very entertaining, a Holiday Bowl-lite perhaps. Kansas had a pretty bad defense this season (only Iowa State, Texas A&M, and Kansas State allowed more yards in conference play). That's good news for a Minnesota team that was last in the Big 10 in offense. Minnesota won't win, but they will do enough to keep this one to single digits.

The Game: Chick-Fil-A Bowl
The Date: December 31
The Location: Atlanta, Georgia
The Teams: Georgia Tech and LSU
The Line: Georgia Tech -4
What's at Stake? A win gives Georgia Tech 10 in Paul Johnson's first season. Les Miles desperately needs a win to salvage a disappointing season.
Why You Should Watch: Paul Johnson's triple option attack would never work at a BCS conference school. Tune in and watch it not work (sarcasm). Opponents ran back 7 LSU passes for touchdowns. Can Georgia Tech make 8 enough?
Spread Prediction: Georgia Tech was the best team in the ACC, and LSU was an also ran in the SEC. The Jackets should roll.

The Game: Outback Bowl
The Date: January 1
The Location: Tampa, Florida
The Teams: Iowa and South Carolina
The Line: Iowa -4
What's at Stake? A win for Iowa will cap off one of the most under the radar seasons ever. South Carolina needs a win lest Steve Spurrier drop his record to 13-12 over the past 2 seasons.
Why You Should Watch: Iowa running back Shonn Greene topped 100 yards in each game this season. As a team, South Carolina rushed for less than 100 yards 7 times.
Spread Prediction: As much as it pains me to say it as a South Carolina alum, this team is just not that good. Iowa should roll.

The Game: Gator Bowl
The Date: January 1
The Location: Jacksonville, Florida
The Teams: Clemson and Nebraska
The Line: Clemson -2.5
What's at Stake? A win here would give Clemson 6 victories over IA teams. Am I a little bitter Clemson got to the Gator Bowl with 7 wins? Maybe. Nebraska is looking for its first bowl win since 2005.
Why You Should Watch: This will be your last chance to catch Thunder and Lightning (James Davis and CJ Spiller) in the same backfield for Clemson. This is the final game for Nebraska senior quarterback Joe Ganz.
Spread Prediction: Both these teams came alive down the stretch. Nebraska won 5 of 6 with their only loss coming to Oklahoma. Clemson won 4 of 5 with their lone loss coming to Florida State. Clemson has the superior defense and Nebraska the better offense. Take the Huskers since they are getting points.

The Game: Capital One Bowl
The Date: January 1
The Location: Orlando, Florida
The Teams: Georgia and Michigan State
The Line: Georgia -8
What's at Stake? Georgia is looking for their third straight bowl win and sixth in the last 7 seasons. Michigan State is looking for their first bowl win since 2001.
Why You Should Watch: A pair of dynamic running backs in Knowshon Moreno and Javon Ringer should provide their share of highlights.
Spread Prediction: Michigan State was very fortunate to go 6-2 in the Big 10. They had the profile of a 4-4 or 3-5 team. Georgia has issues on defense, but they should do enough to cover the 8 point spread.

The Game: Rose Bowl
The Date: January 1
The Location: Pasadena, California
The Teams: Southern Cal and Penn State
The Line: Southern Cal -9
What's at Stake? A third straight Rose Bowl win for Southern Cal or Penn State's first Rose Bowl triumph since 1994 (January of 1995).
Why You Should Watch: It's the Rose Bowl. Jo Pa and the Trojans.
Spread Prediction: Most seem to think the Trojans will roll in this one. Their defense is outstanding, but Penn State's defense is pretty good too. This one will come down to the wire and Penn State could pull off the upset.

The Game: Orange Bowl
The Date: January 1
The Location: Miami, Florida
The Teams: Cincinnati and Virginia Tech
The Line: Cincinnati -2
What's at Stake? The first ever BCS bowl win for Cincinnati or the first BCS bowl win by an ACC team since 1999 (Florida State over Virginia Tech).
Why You Should Watch: Brian Kelly is one of the best coaches in the NCAA. He will match wits with another great coach, Frank Beamer.
Spread Prediction: Virginia Tech has real issues on offense (tenth in the ACC in yards), and that will be their undoing against a very solid Cincinnati defense.

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