The Bowls, 1/1-1/7

Why do I always wait until thirty minutes before a bowl stretch starts to write an article? Well, here’s my analysis up to the national championship game…

Tennessee vs. Penn State, Outback Bowl (Jan. 1, 11 AM ET, ESPN): Tennessee was a few plays away from beating Florida and LSU, the two SEC teams in the BCS. They were also a few plays away from losing to Air Force, Alabama, and Kentucky. Penn State’s four losses were to the top three teams in the Big Ten and Notre Dame. I think Tennessee pulls it off, but it is going to be a good game.

Auburn vs. Nebraska, AT&T Cotton Bowl (Jan. 1, 11:30 AM, FOX): Auburn’s two losses this season came during games that started before noon. They also came against teams that were coming off big losses, and Nebraska was handled in the Big 12 Championship game. Brad Lester, a Tiger tailback, will not play due to suspension, along with some key defensive backs. Tommy Tuberville has done a poor job of motivating his team for the post-season recently. Sad as it is, I think Nebraska’s going to win this one.

West Virginia vs. Georgia Tech, Toyota Gator Bowl (Jan. 1, 1 PM, CBS): Even if Georgia Tech figures out a way to contain Slaton and White, the Yellow Jackets won’t be able to outscore the Mountaineers.

Arkansas vs. Wisconsin, Capitol One Bowl (Jan. 1, 1 PM, ABC): I’m pretty interested in this one. Both offenses have been run powerhouses of late, so this should be a ground-pounding struggle. Wisconsin is still unproven, having only played one ranked team (Michigan). Arkansas, on the other hand, was a quarterback away from a shot at the national championship. Arkansas will win, but I’m not sure what the margin will be.

USC vs. Michigan, The Rose Bowl presented by Citi (Jan. 1, 5 PM, ABC): Lloyd Carr is about to go all out on USC for being swindled out of a rematch with Ohio State by the voters at large. I can’t wait to see Pete Carroll’s face as the two coaches shake hands at the end of the game. It should be priceless.

Boise State vs. Oklahoma, Tostitos Fiesta Bowl (Jan. 1, 8 PM, FOX): This is a BCS matchup? (Oklahoma wins close.)

Louisville vs. Wake Forest, FedEx Orange Bowl (Jan. 2, 8 PM, FOX): This is a BCS matchup? (Louisville wins big.)

Notre Dame vs. LSU, Allstate Sugar Bowl (Jan. 3, 8 PM, FOX): There are quite a few teams that deserve this BCS spot more than Notre Dame, but I guess we’ll have to live with their favored position in the media’s eyes. LSU is supposedly the most talented team in the SEC, despite being destroyed by Florida and held to three points by Auburn. JaMarcus Russell has been a beast, and it will be fun to see him dominate the Fighting Irish as a farewell address.

Cincinnati vs. Western Michigan, International Bowl (Jan. 6, 12 PM, ESPN2): Throwing this game and the next between the Sugar Bowl and championship game is offensive. Also, this game is going to be played in Canada, so doubly offensive.

Ohio vs. Southern Mississippi, GMAC Bowl (Jan. 7, 8 PM, ESPN): I’ll probably leave this on the TV while I unpack for the first day of classes on the 8th. Seriously, how far into January is the bowl season going to stretch?

Ohio State vs. Florida, BCS Championship Game (Jan. 8, 8 PM, FOX): More on this later on in the week. I just thought an extra reminder of the date, time, and channel couldn’t hurt anyone.

Sorry folks, no picture on this one. I have just ten minutes to get ready for a day of football viewing.