Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bowl Games: Opening Weekend

Full predictions are now uploaded. As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

  • Wake Forest vs. Navy, EagleBank Bowl (@Washington, DC; 11:00 AM, ESPN): Maryland should've been here for a somewhat rare intra-state matchup with Navy, but instead we get a rematch of Navy vs. Wake Forest. Navy actually won the first time around, but I think Wake's a decent enough team to not lose twice to the Midshipmen. Demon Deacons in a close one, 24-21.
  • Colorado State vs. Fresno State, New Mexico Bowl (@Albuquerque, NM; 2:30, ESPN): If there's such a thing as a WAC institution, it's Fresno State, and that's why they got preferential bowl treatment over, say, Nevada, who got sent to Boise. CSU qualified by the skin of their teeth, and Fresno just got worked over by Boise. Nonetheless, I think Fresno is the better team here and should prevail in the end.
  • Memphis vs. South Florida, St. Petersburg Bowl (@St. Petersburg, FL; 4:30 ESPN2): This is definitely not where USF envisioned being at the end of the year. If I were less lazy, what I would probably do is calculate the most "disappointing" seasons for each bowl team and track how they do in bowl games, because at least from a subjective standpoint this seems to have as much to do with post-season performance as anything else. That said, USF is still light-years better than 6-6 Memphis and should win, though probably by not as much as they or you expect.
  • Brigham Young vs. Arizona, Las Vegas Bowl (@Las Vegas, NV; 8:00 ESPN): BYU has two losses this year to the best teams they played, and a close (and also controversial) victory over a Washington team Arizona blew out. In the first a few games that go against my usual thinking, I'm taking the Wildcats.
  • Troy vs. Sourthern Mississippi, New Orleans Bowl (@New Orleans, LA; 8:00 ESPN): Troy finally won the Sun Belt as they should, despite managing to lose to UL-Monroe. After that, they just reeled off 3 wins and an almost upset of LSU, and wrapped up the season against UL-Lafayette and Arkansas State by a margin of 83-12. USM also had a pretty strong finish, winning 4 straight kicked off with a 70-14 blowout over UAB. That said, USM sports some bad losses and I honestly think Troy is just as good, if not better, so I'm going with the Trojans.
  • Texas Christian vs. Boise State, Poinsettia Bowl (@San Diego, CA; 8:00, ESPN): Ordinarily, the Poinsettia's sister bowl, the Holiday, signals the traditional start of bowl matchups people actually care about. That's not the case this year, as undefeated Boise State battles a darn good TCU team. And you know what? I think TCU will win this matchup. Boise is good, yes, but I think they are overrated and sport an incredibly soft schedule. It's not like TCU's losses came against chumps, either, unless you think that about Utah and Oklahoma. TCU sports a pretty good defense, good passing offense, and superior special teams that I think can knock-off the Broncos.
  • Notre Dame vs. Hawaii, Hawaii Bowl (@Honolulu, HI; 8:00, ESPN): In yet another test of motivation, we have an exceedingly mediocre Notre Dame team versus a pretty mediocre Hawaii team. Two advantages of Hawaii, though: 1) It's a home game, basically, and 2) They're more than happy to be there. I watched them nearly beat a decent Cincinatti team that wasn't prepared to be there, so I can't really fathom how ND will work up with the motivation to perform a team they should definitely outclass. The Warriors Formerly of the Rainbow win, perhaps easily.
That warps up the pre-Christmas slate. Next up, the bowls of December 26th through the 28th.

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