Monthly Archives: December 2007

Bowl Games: Main Course

All right folks, though this is being posted before the end of tonight’s game, I’ve updated my main predictions and my competition with my erstwhile brother, who is way behind in predictions. I even managed to get the Emerald Bowl score completely correct.

Anyway, now it’s time for the New Year’s Eve and Day games, the main course of the bowl season buffet. As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Dec. 31:

  • Air Force vs. California, Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl (12:30, ESPN): Well, for starters, it’s a bowl named in honor of the armed forces, so obviously it confers Air Force an advantage. Also, Cal is terrible and was last seen losing to Stanford. So I’m calling Air Force.
  • Oregon vs. South Florida, Brut Sun Bowl (2:00, CBS): I don’t expect a lot of points here, at least out of Oregon at any rate. This probably won’t be very exciting, but the alternatives abound. (Not really.) USF wins.
  • Fresno State vs. Georgia Tech, Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl (2:00, ESPN2): Woooooo. Predicing GT out of blatant homerism more than anything else. I can only how we bother to show up unlike the last time we were on the west coast.
  • Kentucky vs. Florida State, Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl (4:00, ESPN): It should come as no surprise I’m picking Kentucky here. FSU will do good to score as many points as they had players suspended, in all likelihood.
  • Oklahoma State vs. Indiana, Insight Bowl (5:30, NFL): The latest in bowl games you probably can’t watch even if you wanted to! Yes, that’s right kids, Indiana’s return to post-season won’t be seen by you! I picked Indiana and I can’t remember why, so there.
  • Clemson vs. Auburn, Chick-fil-a Bowl (7:30, ESPN): This is probably, by far, the most worthwhile game of the day. I will guarantee you that the Tigers will win! Hah! See what I did there? I bet no one’s thought of that before!
    (Ahem.) Anyway, I personally like Clemson here. They have a pretty darn good offense, and Auburn has been inconsistent at best.

Jan. 1:

  • Wisconsin vs. Tennessee, Outback Bowl (11:00, ESPN): Who’s idea was it to have games before noon on New Year’s Day? I’ve been trying to figure this out for years. Anyway, I’ve thought Wisconsin is an overrated team in a bad conference, while Tennessee is pretty decent. So I like the Vols here.
  • Missouri vs. Arkansas, AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic (11:30, FOX): Missouri: likes to pass. Arkansas: can’t pass. I think the Mizzou will just air it out over Arkansas’s heads all day long, though there’s always a chance Darren McFadden could make it interesting.
  • Florida vs. Michigan, Capital One Bowl (1:00, ABC): I’ll be honest here. I don’t think Michigan stands a chance. We watched fast, athletic teams run all over this Michigan team all year and I don’t see any reason why they’ll suddenly start succeeding here.
  • Virginia vs. Texas Tech, Konica Minolta Gator Bowl (1:00, CBS): The Gator hosts an over-achieving ACC team the second year in a row. I don’t think there’s any way UVA can keep up with the Texas Tech offense.
  • Illinois vs. Southern California, The Rose Bowl Game presented by Citi (4:30, ABC): Here’s another blow-out worthy game, as once again I’m giving the Big Ten little chance. (Notice a theme here?)
  • Georgia vs. Hawaii, AllState Sugar Bowl (8:30, FOX): Sigh. My heart says Hawaii while my brain says Georgia. So, against everything I stand for, I’m picking the Dogs.

Anyway, sorry for the rush job there, haven’t lots of time. I’ll be back late New Year’s Day to take you through the finale of this bowl season.

Bowl Games: Hors d’Å“uvre

And we’re now starting to get to the decent stuff in this buffet that is bowl season. Also, A5 and I have put together a little contest, and I’m beating him by one game so far.

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

  • Central Michigan vs. Purdue, Motor City Bowl (Dec. 26, 7:30, ESPN): This one is just underway, but that doesn’t really change the fact I predicted Purdue to win here. Helps that Purdue already beat them 45-22 this season. Of course, as I write this CMU goes up 3-0.
  • Arizona State vs. Texas, Pacific Life Holiday Bowl (Dec. 27, 8:00, ESPN): I always consider this the first real game of bowl season. This year is no exception, as we get our first matchup of marquee names, as well as the first with two BCS conference teams. I like Arizona State here for no particular reason.
  • Boston College vs. Michigan State, Champs Sports Bowl (Dec. 28, 5:00, ESPN): I doubt this is where the Eagles wanted to end up, while I’m sure Mich. State is more than happy to be here. Will “happy to be here” be enough for them to beat the Eagles and Matt Ryan playing in his last collegiate game? I doubt it.
  • Texas Christian vs. Houston, Texas Bowl (Dec. 28, 8:00, NFL): TCU has won the last 7 games in this series, including 4 since 2000. Seeing as how it’s on the NFL network, you probably won’t get to see them go to 8 straight.
  • Maryland vs. Oregon State, Emerald Bowl (Dec. 28, 8:30, ESPN): I still don’t really think Maryland is that good, as they demonstrated by them losing 4 of their last 6. Meanwhile, Oregon State’s last 7 is only blemished by a loss to Southern Cal. I like the Beavers in a close one.
  • Wake Forest vs. Connecticut, Meineke Car Care Bowl (Dec. 29, 1:00, ESPN): Yet, I like Wake over UConn. Both teams are considered exceedingly lucky. I can’t believe I’m typing this, but when it comes to skill, I like the Deacons.
  • Central Florida vs. Mississippi State, Autozone Liberty Bowl (Dec. 29, 4:30, ESPN): Not sure I can quantify why I like UCF here, as Miss State should be about on par talent-wise. UCF does have one major advantage at running back, as they bring in the nation’s #1 running back, Kevin Smith. Miss State sports the nation’s 65th ranked rushing defense (at 159 yards/game), which isn’t all that great.
  • Texas Agricultural and Mechanical vs. Pennsylvania State, Valero Alamo Bowl (Dec. 29, 8:00, ESPN): TAMU is definitely an upset pick here, but they do already have a new coach in place and are playing in the state of Texas, which should give them a definite home-field advantage.
  • Colorado vs. Alabama, Petrosun Independence Bowl (Dec. 30, 8:00, ESPN): Battle of 6-6! Only one team advances to a winning record, and we all know how much Bama is paying for those these days. Perhaps I’m letting my biases get in the way, but I like the Buffs here.

Anyway, two more bowl preview posts coming up for y’all. First set will be our main course of the 31st and 1st, followed by a rich dessert plate for the post New Year’s BCS bowls and national title game.

Bowl Games: Opening Slate

You can see my predictions for all the games right here, but you can only get my commentary for the first set below. So let’s go. As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

  • Utah vs. Navy, San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl (Dec. 20, 9:00, ESPN): And it’s the opening salvo of bowl season, replete with an absurdly long sponsor’s name. Navy scores a lot of points has demonstrated repeatedly they don’t score a lot of points. They’re also minus a coach and going against a very solid Utah team that’s beaten some big boys this year. In the end, I think Navy will get the ball often enough and triple option their way down the field to victory.
  • Florida Atlantic vs. Memphis, R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl (Dec. 21, 8:00, ESPN2): It looked like Troy was going to roll their way into New Orleans, but FAU pulled out the win a few weekends ago and thus earn the bid. That said, Troy probably stood a chance here, FAU, probably not such much. Memphis rolls.
  • Southern Mississippi vs. Cincinnati, Bowl (Dec. 22, 1:00, ESPN2): I think I’ve ranted before about how stupid this bowl’s name is, so we’ll move on. For whatever reason, USM fired their long-time coach Jeff Bower after the season. All things considered, Cincy had a pretty good season and got shafted by the Big East bowl tie-ins. I like the Bearcats here.
  • New Mexico vs. Nevada, New Mexico Bowl (Dec. 22, 4:30, ESPN): Nevada isn’t a bad team by any means, but this is essentially a home game for New Mexico, so based pretty much on that I like them here.
  • Brigham Young vs. California-Los Angeles, Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl (Dec. 22, 8:00, ESPN): BYU is the best team you’ve never heard of this year. UCLA isn’t. The Fightin’ Mormons, with the lack of anything else to do in Las Vegas, will be ready and should roll.
  • East Carolina vs. Boise State, Sheraton Hawaii Bowl (Dec. 23, 8:30, ESPN): So, Boise State wanted a bowl in a warm weather environment. What they didn’t count on was that their fans would feel downright spurned that they didn’t want to stay home and play in front of them. Long story short, they’ve sold a few hundred tickets (at least the last time I checked). That said, they should still win.

That does it for now. Join me next week as I predict the real start of bowl season and take you all the way up to the Independence Bowl.

Week Fifteen (?)

How many of you have been waiting at your computers since Sunday morning, constantly refreshing your Facebook notes page to see if I had written this column? Well, refresh no more, for it is here! (No one, of course, falls into that category. Is the laziness joke getting old yet?)

Thanks to the injured status of Matt Flynn and Glenn Dorsey, Tennessee managed to put up a fight against LSU. The announcers even recognized this fact, stating, “…this is a fight for the SEC Championship.” I typically like CBS’ commentators, but that remark is one of the worst I have heard on television. During one return from a commercial break, the camera showed UT’s mascot barking intermittently. Verne Lundquist waited a few seconds, then calmly greeted the dog by saying, “Hello, Smokey.” However, these quips were nothing compared to the constant assault of brain-numbing Dr. Pepper commercials.

I should have known that West Virginia was going to lose, given the predictable unpredictability of this season. The Mountaineers’ collapse against 4-7 Pittsburgh is understandable, given the nature of rivalry games and Pat White’s mid-game injury. The officials tried to prevent the upset with phantom holding calls in the fourth quarter, but they did not succeed. The ending, the Panthers punter walking out of the end zone for a safety as time expired, was either the most hilarious or the most pitiful I’ve ever seen. At least Slaton and White have one more year to make a run at the title.

Missouri’s Chase Daniel was less than spectacular against Oklahoma’s defense. The star quarterback completed 23 of 39 passes for 219 yards but failed to find the end zone even once. The Sooners stuffed the Tigers in the red zone on multiple occasions, forcing field goals. In other news, Florida International topped North Texas for their first win of the season, and Stanford broke a five-game losing streak to Cal. The ACC Championship was sparsely attended, mostly due to its irrelevance.

The losses by West Virginia and Missouri paved the way for a coaches’ call-in show on SportsCenter. Mark Richt, Les Miles, and even Pete Carroll all tried to sell their team to the voters. (Jim Tressel, whom I suppose was confident about his chances, was noticeably silent.) The decision on Sunday evening? 11-1 Ohio State will face 11-2 LSU in the national championship game. The Buckeyes are likely to receive another spanking from the SEC, but I’ll save the rushed and extremely brief prediction detailed pre-game analysis for a later post.

Those darn islanders won again! And would you believe it, somebody actually gave them a first-place vote in the AP poll! Does someone really think that Hawaii could stand against one of the traditional powerhouses? I guess we’ll see when they face Georgia on New Year’s Day. Here’s hoping Matt Stafford reminds them that you need offense and defense to win a football game.

Here’s my Heisman ballot.

3. Thomas Weber, kicker, Arizona St.: Weber was 42/43 on extra points and 22/23 on field goals (that’s 95.7%). He made two over fifty yards, one from 53. In four games, his Sun Devils would not have won without his leg.

2. VINCE YOUNG, quarterback, Texas: Come to think of it, I’m officially renaming the Heisman the YOUNG Award. I would have given my first-place vote to VINCE YOUNG for the third year in a row, but his successor has finally arrived. That successor is named…

1. Tim Tebow, quarterback, Florida: I don’t think it’s possible to describe Tim Tebow without sounding idolatrous. The man (it is reprehensible to refer to Tebow as a “guy”) was only contained by four defenses this season: Ole Miss, Auburn, LSU, and Georgia. His lowest output during those games? 221 total yards of offense against the Bulldogs. 221 yards was his minimum! Against South Carolina, he appeared to run for first downs whenever he felt like doing so. I foresee Tebow winning at least three YOUNGs during his career, if not four (one will be bonus).

In the midst of all the recent coaching changes, I have an announcement to make. Due to my wedding in June and the beginning of my teaching career in the fall, I do not think that I will have time to write this column next season. Therefore, it is with great sadness that I announce my resignation from asimsports, effective January 9. I will finish out this season with bowl commentary during the holidays, but the chances of me returning in August are slim. (The CFP may be shut down indefinitely as well.)