Bowl Games 2009: The Slaughter Continues

Merry Christmas! Anyway, this first set of games has proven exactly why I attach the following disclaimer to my posts:
As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Saturday, December 26
1:00: Ohio vs. Marshall (Little Caesars Pizza Bowl @ Detroit, MI; ESPN): Well, ordinarily I would say something about, “well, we’re talking about a 6-6 C-USA team that barely got into a bowl” and use that as my logic for picking Ohio here. But I think SMU is thoroughly debunking that as I type this. So, well, I already picked Ohio, so let’s hope they can pull it out.
Previous meetings: These former MAC foes have met 52 times, most recently in 2004 (a 16-13 Marshall win). The Bobcats hold a 29-17-6 series lead.
Last bowl game: Ohio’s last game was the GMAC Bowl back in the 2006 season, where they lost to Southern Miss 28-7. It was Ohio’s first bowl game since the 60’s, and the Bobcats are 0-3 in bowl games. Marshall went to plenty of bowls after moving back to Division I-A in 1997. In fact, their first four appearances were with this very bowl, but their last appearance was in the 2004 Fort Worth Bowl, where they lost 32-14 to Cincinnati.

4:30: North Carolina vs. Pittsburgh (Car Care Bowl @ Charlotte, NC; ESPN): I hate pick Pitt in anything, but though they last their lost game to Cincy in the de facto Big East title game, they certainly ended on a higher note than UNC, who lost to a very bad NC State team in their last game. So, despite all my instincts, I’m going with Pitt.
Previous meetings: The schools have only met 6 times, all since 1974. Their last meeting was in 200, which UNC won 20-17. UNC also holds a 4-2 series lead.
Last bowl game: UNC appeared last year in this bowl, losing to Pat White and West Virginia 31-30. Pitt supposedly was at last year’s disaster of a Sun Bowl, where they supposedly lost 3-0 to Oregon State.

8:00: Boston College vs. Southern California (Emerald Bowl @ San Francisco, CA; ESPN): These are both hard teams to read at this point, and it was very difficult to go with USC here. I can’t imagine either of these teams are terribly motivated here. BC partisans are, of course, not excited about getting the ACC bowl shaft again, and I can’t imagine USC planned out a trip to San Francisco back in August. However, it’s hard to ignore the talent advange USC should have, but then again USC should’ve out-talented Stanford and Arizona as well.
Previous meetings: These teams have only met twice, in 1987 and 1988. BC lost both games, 23-17 and 34-7.
Last bowl game: BC landed in last year’s Music City Bowl, where they inexplicably lost 16-14 to Vanderbilt. USC was in some sort of Rose Bowl thing? Apparently they beat Penn State 38-24.

Sunday, December 27
8:15: Kentucky vs. Clemson (Music City Bowl @ Nashville, TN; ESPN): Speaking of unmotivated teams, Clemson fans are really unexcited about landing in Nashville after their ACC title game loss. Hopefully their team doesn’t share those feelings, as I still like C.J. Spiller and friends over a mediocre-seeming Kentucky team.
Previous meetings: Kentucky leads the all-time series, 8-4. The last two matchups have been in bowl games, the latest 2006’s Music City Bowl, a 28-20 Kentucky victory.
Last bowl game: Kentucky beat ECU 25-19 in last year’s Liberty Bowl, while Clemson fell 26-21 to Nebraska in the Gator last year.

Monday, December 28
5:00: Texas Agricultural and Mechanical vs. Georgia (Independence Bowl @ Shreveport, LA; ESPN2): Well, A&M flashed some competence in their last game against Texas, but (unfortunately) so did UGA. I begrudgingly like Georgia here, which usually means they’ll lose by 30.
Previous meetings: While TAMU is 3-1 against UGA, the last meeting in 1980 was a 42-0 rout in favor of Georgia.
Last bowl game: TAMU’s last bowl game was the 2007 Alamo Bowl, where the lost 24-17 to Penn State. UGA beat Michigan State in last year’s Capital One Bowl, 24-12.

Tuesday, December 29
4:30: Temple vs. California-Los Angeles (Eaglebank Bowl @ Washington, D.C.; ESPN): Well, I mean, UCLA isn’t a very good football team. Nonetheless, I can’t really take Temple over them. If this were during the season, this would be even easier, but as I’ve learned so far, any team has a chance in during the bowls.
Previous meetings: This is the first meeting between these two teams.
Last bowl game: If you guessed that Temple’s last bowl was “a while” ago, you’re absolutely correct. Their last post-season appearance was the 1979 Garden State Bowl, where they beat California 28-17. UCLA last appeared in the 2007 Las Vegas Bowl, where they lost 17-16 to BYU.

8:00: University of Miami vs. Wisconsin (Champs Sports Bowl @ Orlando, FL; ESPN): Wisconsin was embarrassed by a much faster team in last year’s edition of this bowl. Provided Jacory Harris gets his mojo back in time for the game, I think Miami should beat the Badgers. Not easily, perhaps, but beat them nonetheless.
Previous meetings: Miami is 2-1 against the Badgers, the last two coming in decisive (51-3, 23-3) victories back in 1988 and 1989. Wisconsin’s lone win dates from a 20-0 shutout back in 1958.
Last bowl game: “Da U” lost last year’s Emerald Bowl, 24-17, to Cal. Wisconsin played in last year’s Champs Sports Bowl where they got downright beat (42-13) by Florida State.

Wednesday, December 30
4:30: Idaho vs. Bowling Green (Humanitarian Bowl @ Boise, ID; ESPN): Well… um… I’m not really sure what to write about this WAC-MAC battle. I guess BGSU is going to win? Idaho did lose four of its last five games, including a blowout loss to Boise State in their last blue turf appearance.
Previous meetings: This is the first meeting between these two teams.
Last bowl game: This is Idaho’s first appearance since a 42-35 loss to Southern Miss in the 1998 Humanitarian Bowl. Bowling Green was last seen getting blown out (63-7) by Tulsa in the 2007-2008 GMAC Bowl.

8:00: Arizona vs. Nebraska (Holiday Bowl @ San Diego, CA; ESPN): The Wildcats got here thanks to their upset (are they really upsets at this point, though?) of USC in their last Pac-10 outing, while Nebraska got here due to losing the Big 12 title game. Despite that, however, Nebraska certainly has the best defense Arizona has faced all year, so provided the Cornhuskers show up and can manage to score a TD (or, just maybe, two touchdowns) I think they can eke this out.
Previous meetings: These teams have met twice. The first was a 14-14 tie back in 1961, while the last was the 1998 Holiday bowl, which Arizona won 23-20.
Last bowl game: Arizona won last year’s Las Vegas Bowl, which was their first bowl appearance since 1998. Nebraska, meanwhile, beat Clemson in last year’s Gator Bowl (as mentioned previously).

I’ll do separate posts for the 31st, 1st, and 2nd most likely. Until then, Merry Christmas!

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