Bowl Games 2010: Actually, Now It’s 2011 But Let’s Just Roll With It

Well, it’s all going downhill now. The predictions are still here. Let’s get this over with.

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Saturday, January 1
Noon: Texas Tech vs. Northwestern (TicketCity Bowl @ Dallas, TX; ESPNU): This is definitely one of those occasions where I look back at the predictions I made and wonder what, if anything, I was thinking. Okay, well, neither of these teams are exactly world beaters. But I have TTU by 13 here and by golly I guess I’ll stick to it.
Previous meetings: This is the first meeting between these two teams.
Last bowl game: TTU beat Michigan State 44-31 in last year’s Alamo Bowl. For the first time in their history, Northwestern has made three bowl games in a row. They were last seen in last year’s Outback Bowl, a thrilling 38-35 loss to Auburn.

1:00:

  • Florida vs. Pennsylvania State (Outback Bowl @ Tampa, FL; ABC): I’ll spare you the usual platitudes about Urban Meyer and Joe Paterno. I expect this to be a pretty tight game, as both teams have unstable QB situations and neither has done much to impress on offense. I like UF in a close one.
    Previous meetings: Just two: the 1962 Gator Bowl and the 1997 Citrus bowl. Florida won both games.
    Last bowl game: Florida pounded Cincy 51-24 in last year’s Sugar Bowl, and this year is their 20th consecutive bowl (good for second longest in the country). Penn State beat LSU 19-17 in last year’s Capital One Bowl.
  • Alabama vs. Michigan State (Capital One Bowl @ Orlando, FL; ESPN): Nick Saban made a name for himself back at MSU. I’ve maintained all year that this year’s Alabama team is not last year’s Alabama team, and they finally got around to proving me right. That said, I think they’re still good enough to be a slightly overrated Michigan State.
    Previous meetings: This is the first meeting between these two teams.
    Last bowl game: Alabama played in last year’s national championship game, which they won over Texas, 37-21. Sparty appeared in last year’s Alamo Bowl, where they lost 41-31 to Texas Tech.

1:30: Mississippi State vs. Michigan (Gator Bowl @ Jacksonville, FL: ESPN2): Dan Mullen has the Bulldogs going in the right direction. Not that I think Michigan is going in the wrong direction, and I can’t really understand why RichRob is under such intense heat. (General twitter consensus seems to be that he’s out.) I don’t really think this game will help his cause, as I don’t think the Wolverine defense will be able to make the couple of stops they need against MSU’s explosive offense.
Previous meetings: This is the first meeting between these two teams.
Last bowl game: Miss State was last seen in the 2007 Liberty Bowl, in which they beat Central Florida 10-3. Michigan, which had gone to a bowl every year from 1975 to 2007, is back in the fold. They won that 2007 Capital One Bowl 41-35 over Florida.

5:10: Wisconsin vs. Texas Christian (Rose Bowl @ Pasadena, CA; ESPN): I’ve had an extremely hard time reading this game. Wisconsin has run over a lot of teams, but those were teams like Indiana and Purdue. TCU has one of, if not the, top defenses in the country and a decent offense to go with it. I’m predicting TCU here, but I don’t feel great about it.
Previous meetings: Precisely one, in 1970. They tied 14-14 in Madison.
Last bowl game: TCU lost year’s Fiesta Bowl, 17-10, to Boise State. Meanwhile, I’m sure Wisconsin is just glad to be somewhere other than Orlando, the site of their last two bowl games. They won last year’s Champs Sports Bowl over Miami 20-14.

8:30: Oklahoma vs. Connecticut (Fiesta Bowl @ Glendale, AZ; ESPN): Well, most of the other games I’ve felt really good about have been absolute busts so far this year. But this is easily the biggest on-paper blowout of the bowl season. If UConn wins it may be the upset of the year. It may even be a minor victory if they can even keep it within a couple of scores.
Previous meetings: This is the first meeting between these two teams.
Last bowl game: OU beat Stanford 31-27 in last year’s Sun Bowl, helping us erase the memory of the awful 2008 edition. UConn meanwhile makes their third straight bowl, and they beat South Carolina last year in the papajohns.com Bowl, 20-7.

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