Yearly Archives: 2010

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.


  • 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 Bowl, 20-7.

Bowl Games 2010: You Hopefully Can Start Watching Bowl Games Now

The last couple of days have had some real blowouts, haven’t they?

I haven’t been doing so well myself, either. After a blazing 5-2 start, I’ve gone 2-5 in the last seven games to drop me to an even 7-7. Let’s hope things improve.

As usual, all times Eastern and predictions wrong.

Thursday, December 30
Noon: Army vs. Southern Methodist (Armed Forces Bowl @ Dallas, TX; ESPN): Perhaps this isn’t a terribly great place to start, but you go to the couch with the bowl games you’ve got… or something like that. Army’s stats against teams that are worth a darn are pretty abysmal. Now, I’m not sure if SMU is worth a darn, but I’m reluctantly going to take the Ponies here.
Previous meetings: These teams have met exactly twice. The first meeting was in 1928, which Army won 14-13. The second was in 1967, which Army also won, 24-6.
Last bowl game: Army breaks a pretty long bowl drought, which dated back to the 1996 Independence Bowl. They lost to Auburn 32-29. SMU broke their own bowl-less streak last year, beating Nevada 45-10 in the Hawaii Bowl.

3:20: Kansas State vs. Syracuse (Pinstripe Bowl @ New York, NY; ESPN): There may not be snow on the ground in the House Steinbrenner Built, but it’ll still be cold, with a projected high of 40 tomorrow in the Bronx. (Of course, at least the field fits (barely) in this particular ballpark.) Syracuse’s 5th ranked defense is somewhat deceiving considering their competition, which is why I like K-State here. This could be low scoring but I don’t think it’ll be low scoring enough for the Orange to win. But hey, at least they probably won’t give up 51 like last time (see below).
Previous meetings: These teams have met twice previously, both in bowl games. The first meeting was the 1997 Fiesta Bowl, which K-State won 35-18. The second was the 2001 Insight Bowl, which KSU lost 26-3.
Last bowl game: Kansas State’s last bowl the 2006 Texas Bowl, where the lost 37-10 to Rutgers. Meanwhile, Syracuse provides one of my favorite cautionary tales, most recently demonstrated by Tennessee in a classic case of “you don’t know what you’ve got ’till it’s gone”. Syracuse got pounded by Georgia Tech 51-14 in the 2004 Champs Sports bowl, and I’ll never forget the in-booth interview with Syracuse’s then new athletic director, who basically fired long time coach Paul Pasqualoni on air. What followed was the Greg “Gerg” Robinson era, which was probably most notable for a Syracuse blogger’s longing for the now-defunct International Bowl than anything else. (Indeed, in the first two years of the post-Gerg era the ‘Cuse has already won more games than they did during his four year tenure.)

6:40: Tennessee vs. North Carolina (Music City Bowl @ Nashville, TN; ESPN): This game happened essentially because of a game that won’t happen next year: Tennessee had a home-and-home with UNC starting next year but backed out to soften the schedule. (They don’t really even deny it, but it’s late so you can Google that yourself.) This was something of a lost season for UNC, but they pulled through and got to a bowl. Tennessee finished strong, but you should finish strong when your last four games are Memphis, Ole Miss, Vandy, and Kentucky. I think the Tarheels are an overall better team and I like them here.
Previous meetings: These teams have played each other 28 times, but they haven’t met since 1961. The first meeting was a 1908 contest the Vols won 12-0, while the last was won by the Tarheels 22-11. Tennessee holds a 20-7-1 overall record in the series.
Last bowl game: Tennessee inexplicably appeared in last year’s Chick-fil-a Bowl, where they were pounded 37-14 by Virginia Tech. UNC appeared in both of the last two Car Care Bowls, and even appeared in the 2004 Continental Tire Bowl (without appearing in a bowl in between), making this their first trip to a different bowl since the 2001 Peach Bowl. Carolina lost last year’s Car Care Bowl 19-17 to Pittsburgh.

10:00: Washington vs. Nebraska (Holiday Bowl @ San Diego, CA; ESPN): Husky Stadium is, generally, considered one of the loudest venues in major college football. Which doesn’t seem to help the eponymous home team much, especially back in September when Nebraska pounded them in Seattle. In certain situations, bowls don’t mind re-matches of oft-met or regular season foes. This isn’t one of them. I’m not big on “moral victories” but it will be one for Washington if they don’t get blown out here. I picked Nebraska to only win by 10 because I’m not sure of Taylor Martinez’s ankle, or after this Big 12 Championship Game, his brain, but we’ll see.
Previous meetings: September 18th of this year was the most recent meeting between these two, where U-Dub got pounded 56-21. They’d met 7 times before this year, in 1925, 1926, 1967, 1991, 1992, 1997, and 1998. Including this year, Nebraska holds a 4-3-1 series lead.
Last bowl game: Nebraska won last year’s Holiday Bowl, beating Arizona 33-0. Meanwhile, Washington is making their first postseason appearance since the 2002 Sun Bowl, which they lost to Purdue 34-24.

Friday, December 31
Noon: Clemson vs. South Florida (Car Care Bowl @ Charlotte, NC; ESPN): I have Clemson by the thinnest of margins here. Which Clemson team you get on a given day is always something of a crapshoot. I expect this game to be pretty low scoring, but provided the Tigers show up they should win.
Previous meetings: This is the first meeting between these two teams.
Last bowl game: Clemson won last year’s Music City Bowl 21-13 over Kentucky, while USF won the last-ever International Bowl over Northern Illinois, 27-3.

2:00: Miami vs. Notre Dame (Sun Bowl @ El Paso, TX; CBS): It’s Catholics vs. Convicts again! Well, kind of, since the one thing that could be said about Randy Shannon was that he did generally keep his guys out of trouble. (I’ll spare you a “speaking of trouble” segue that has to due with the players not being allowed to cross the border into Jaurez.) Motivation will be a factor here, I suspect, but the problem is I’m not sure whom it’ll be in favor of. I’m going with “da ‘U'” for now.
Previous meetings: These two former independent powers first met in 1955, which Miami lost 14-0. The real fun began in 1971, when they played each other every year until 1990, when Miami lost 29-20 in South Bend. ND leads the overall series 15-7-1.
Last bowl game: Miami lost last year’s Champs Sports Bowl to Wisconsin 20-14. Notre Dame didn’t go to a game last year even though they could have, so their last appearance was the 2008 Hawaii Bowl, which blew out the home team 49-21.

3:30: Central Florida vs. Georgia (Liberty Bowl @ Memphis, TN; ESPN): In addition to the uniforms, George O’Leary has done his best to recreate late-90’s Georgia Tech down at Central Florida. (Hopefully the administration is actually keeping the kids eligible this time.) If he could also recreate great victories over UGA that would also be just peachy. I’ve cheekily picked the Knights, who’ve actually been pretty decent this year. Well, at least in C-USA. I’m not terribly comfortable with this, of course, but hey, UGA’s lost 6 games this year and I’m pretty sure they could out-athlete any of those teams, A.J. Green or no, except maybe Auburn.
Previous meetings: Once, in what was presumably a guarantee game in 1999. Georgia won 24-23.
Last bowl game: UGA beat Texas A&M in last year’s Independence Bowl, 44-20. UCF lost last year’s St. Petersburg Bowl 45-24.

7:30: Florida State vs. South Carolina (Chick-fil-a Bowl @ Atlanta, GA; ESPN): It’s the ACC-SEC runner-up show-down! Nonetheless, this should be a pretty decent matchup of two teams that can score and old visor wearin’ ballcoach against his former arch-rival. Also, South Carolina has Marcus Lattimore, who is pretty much the human personification of a freight train. As a freshman, hopefully he’s been able to use the break to recharge a bit. Also, while they may not have been able to stop Cam Newton (hardly something unique to them) South Carolina’s defense has held up well against other opponents. Suffice it to say, I like the Gamecocks here.
Previous meetings: These two have played 18 times, all between 1966 and 1991. FSU won the 1991 contest 38-1 and holds a 15-3 series lead. The Gamecocks haven’t beaten FSU since 1984.
Last bowl game: FSU won last year’s Gator Bowl 33-21 over WVU, and also owns, by far, the longest consecutive bowl streak in the country at 29 years in a row. South Carolina, meanwhile, lost last year’s Bowl to UConn 20-7.

Bowl Games 2010: Winding Toward the New Year

I’m off to a much better start this year as compared to last, but will it hold up over the next week (when the vast majority of games are)? Stay tuned and see!

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Sunday, December 26
8:30: Florida International vs. Toledo (Little Ceasars Pizza Bowl @ Detroit, MI; ESPN): It’s tough to really do predictions for these sorts of games, as they’re not exactly teams I spend every week of the season watching. When it comes to teams like this, one has to sort of ignore how badly they get beat up by the teams they collect checks from and look at their conferences, which is the reason why I like Toledo here.
Previous meetings: Somewhat surprisingly, these teams have met twice, with FIU winning at Toledo in 2008 but losing at home last year, 41-31.
Last bowl game: Given their short history (DI-A since 2004) it’s perhaps not a surprise this is FIU’s first bowl game. Toledo had a pretty good thing going back in the late-90’s and early 2000’s but they haven’t been a bowl since the 2005 GMAC Bowl, wherein they beat UTEP 45-13. This is also their 4th appearance in what used to be the Motor City Bowl, which they last made the trip to in 2004.

Monday, December 27
5:00: Georgia Tech vs. Air Force (Independence Bowl @ Shreveport, LA; ESPN2): As all three of my readers have probably noticed, I generally avoid picking Tech games. This is mostly because of two reasons. First, well, it’s just bad form to root against your own team, even if logically they are underdogs. Second, I don’t generally like picking them to win because I think it’ll jinx them even though I know better. So, when it comes to situations like this, I decide the latter is the lesser of the two evils and predict a narrow win for the good guys. We’ll see if it works.
Most of the talk surrounding this game has been related to the two option offenses playing each other in a bowl game that could actually run under three hours. This is possible, for sure. But these are also two different option offenses. Georgia Tech runs what Paul Johnson calls the “spread option”, which is an option offense run from the “flexbone” formation that has more in common with the run-n-shoot principle of “getting the ball to players in space” than with the 1970’s Oklahoma wishbone (or the 1950’s GT wishbone, for that matter). Air Force will also run some flexbone, but they have a more “pure” historical option family tree and also mix in some option plays from other formations, from the classic wishbone and I-formations to the shotgun.
Georgia Tech will be missing at least 5 players. The first and foremost is senior QB Josh Nesbitt, who is still out from the broken arm he suffered in the Virginia Tech game. Tech will also be missing two starters and two backups due to academic issues. Mario Edwards is the missing starting safety, which is bad due to the general lack of talent and depth on defense. Stephen Hill has not had a great year, but he is a tall physical presence at WR that will be missed.
Air Force has given up around 22 points per game but allows close to 5 yards per carry. While they shut down the Navy offense earlier this year (which is still very similar to Tech’s) I’m not sure how much of that was AF or how much was bad play on the part of the Midshipmen. Tech’s defense isn’t very good, but you already knew that.
So what do I expect here? Well, anything really. I’m just going to pull for the Jackets and hope for the best.
Previous meetings: Georgia Tech has played Air Force 3 times overall, all from 1977-1979. Air Force was pretty bad back then and GT made quick work of them, to the tune of a 3-0 record by which GT outscored them 93-24. The 1978 game in Colorado Springs featured GT running back Eddie Lee Ivory setting what was then the NCAA single-game rushing record.
Last bowl game: Georgia Tech is making its 14th consecutive bowl appearance, a streak which dates back to the 1997 Carquest Bowl. Only 4 other schools have as long or longer streaks (Georgia, VPI, Florida, and FSU). GT played in last year’s Orange Bowl and lost 24-14 to Iowa. Meanwhile, AF is in its 4th consecutive bowl game, the previous three of which were the Armed Forces Bowl. Last year they pounded Houston 47-20.

Tuesday, December 28
6:30: West Virginia vs. North Carolina State (Champs Sports Bowl @ Orlando, FL; ESPN): Despite his general lack of coaching prowess, I’m not sure anyone really deserves the treatment Bill Stewart has gotten lately from the WVU athletic department. That’s part of the reason why I’ve picked them to win. The other is that West Virginia has quietly had an awesome defensive year. They rank 3rd in the country in total defense and have allowed an average of less than 13 points per game. I think NCSU will manage to score more than that, but one side has a great defense and is playing for their embattled coach, while the other had a shot at getting to the ACC title game but blew it in an inexplicable loss to Maryland.
Previous meetings: These schools have met a total of 9 times in what appear to be one off home-and-homes and a couple of Peach Bowls. The first meeting was in 1914, which NC State won 26-13. They would meet again in 1917 and then  in three straight years from 1953-1955. Then there were the 1972 and 1975 Peach Bowls, after which they’d get together for a home-and-home in 1978 and 1979, the last of which WVU won 38-14. They haven’t met since. Overall, WVU holds a slim 5-4 lead in the series.
Last bowl game: West Virginia has a decent little streak going, starting with the 2002 Continental Tire Bowl, which they lost to UVA 48-22, and lost to FSU last year in the Gator Bowl, 33-21. NCSU last went bowling in 2008, when they lost 29-23 to Rutgers in the Bowl.

10:00: Missouri vs. Iowa (Insight Bowl @ Temple, AZ; ESPN): Iowa’s had a boatload of issues so far this offseason, while Mizzou hasn’t. Missouri also still boasts a pretty good offense and had decent, if not great year, while Iowa’s was mostly disappointing. Going with the Tigers here.
Previous meetings: These two met 7 times from 1902 to 1910 and haven’t played each other since. In what was surely an exciting game, Mizzou won the 1910 game 5-0 and holds a 4-3 lead in the series.
Last bowl game: This will be Mizzou’s 4th straight bowl game. They lost 35-13 to Navy in last year’s Texas Bowl. This would be Iowa 10th straight game, but they didn’t go to one in 2007. They beat Georgia Tech 24-14 in last year’s Orange Bowl.

Wednesday, December 29
2:30: Maryland vs. East Carolina (Military Bowl @ Washington, DC; ESPN): I’ve got Maryland here, mostly due to the non-strength that is ECU’s defense. With the 108th ranked defense nationally, even the Terps should be able to put up some points here.
Previous meetings: This is the first meeting between these two teams.
Last bowl game: Maryland was last seen in the 2008 Humanitarian Bowl, where they beat Nevada 42-35. This is ECU’s 5th straight bowl game, and last year they lost 20-17 to Arkansas in the Liberty Bowl.

6:00: Baylor vs. Illinois (Texas Bowl @ Houston, TX; ESPN): I normally say about these sorts of games “which Illinois team will show up here?” but I think that’s an ultimately futile effort. That said, Illinois’s wins include both directional Illinoises, Northwestern, Indiana, Purdue, and Penn State. Baylor faded down the stretch, but at least they didn’t lose to Minnesota. Taking the Bears here.
Previous meetings: These teams have met exactly once, in a 34-19 Baylor win at Illinois in 1976.
Last bowl game: Baylor, as you might’ve heard, has not been very good for most of the of the past two decades. Their last bowl appearance was actually with the SWC, when they lost 10-3 to Washington State in 1994 Alamo Bowl. This is Illinois’s first bowl since the Zooker’s magical run to the 2007 Rose Bowl, where they (unsurprisingly) got pounded by USC 49-17.

9:15: Arizona vs. Oklahoma State (Alamo Bowl @ San Antonio, TX; ESPN): Arizona actually has a decent offense and defense, but OSU has a serviceable defense and the nation’s leading offense. Most notably, the the Wildcat defense got torched by fellow offensive juggernauts Stanford and Oregon, so there’s not reason Oklahoma State shouldn’t be able to do the same.
Previous meetings: These two have met 6 times and are 3-3 all-time. All 6 meetings were between 1931 and 1942, the last of which Arizona won 20-6.
Last bowl game: This is Arizona’s third straight bowl game. They got blown out 33-0 in last year’s Holiday Bowl. This is OSU’s 5th straight game (their only miss of the past decade was in 2005). They lost 21-7 to Ole Miss in last year’s Cotton Bowl.

On TV This Weekend: Playoffs?!?

I meant to include this in my bowl post but I completely forgot! Probably because I won’t be able to watch these games, but alas I will do my duty and bring them to you here.

Right now, of course, there’s Eastern Washington and defending champs Villanvoa on ESPN2 in a semifinal match.

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

11:00: Delta State vs. Minnesota-Duluth (Division II Championship @ Florence, AL; ESPN2): All the marbls here once again in Florence. Both these teams are prior champions (Delta St. in 2000, Duluth in 2008) so they’ve got the credentials.

Noon: Georgia Southern @ Delaware (ESPNU): This is the other DI-AA semifinal. Supposedly due to the confluence of Christmas and New Year’s Day on consecutive Saturdays this year the title game won’t be held until January 7th. Whatever you say, NCAA. Anyway, this will be Southern’s 4th game to Delaware’s 3rd, a consequence of the 20 team bracket this year (in which Delaware was also the third seed).

3:30: Wisconsin-Whitewater vs. Mount Union (Division III Championship @ Salem, VA; ESPNU): Business as usual in the Division III final. These two have met every year since 2005, and both have been dominant in their runs to the title game once again.

I also wanted to comment on UMass saying they’re trying to join the MAC for 2013. That’s a long ways off, but the MAC goes to 14 teams that could resolve some of their infamous scheduling issues with 13 teams. To create balanced divisions, I suspect one of the Ohio teams would be asked to move to the west. But, still, the NCAA has to lift its moratorium for schools trying to make the jump to I-A (which is also an issue for the schools the WAC wants to invite).

Bowl Games 2010: Opening Slate

It’s that time of the year again, folks! I had an abysmal year last year (50% overall) so I’m hoping to improve on that this year. For now, we’ll start with this year’s pre-Christmas bowls.

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Saturday, December 18
2:00: Texas-El Paso vs. Brigham Young (New Mexico Bowl @ Albuquerque, NM; ESPN): UTEP had a fairly typical year for UTEP, beating up on patsies and getting an inexplicable win over a C-USA favorite (in this case, their win over SMU). BYU’s year appeared to be going off the rails until they rediscovered their offense. Perhaps not coincidentally, this is also when they started playing the bottom dwellers of the Mountain West, though they did put up a fight in their 1-point loss to bitter rivals Utah. That said, I’m buying stock in the BYU offensive renaissance and hoping to see it pay off against UTEP.
Previous meetings: These former WAC foes met every year from 1966 to 1998 (skipping 1995), and BYU holds a commanding 28-7-1 lead, including a 31-14 win in their last meeting in 1998.
Last bowl game: This is BYU’s 6th straight bowl game, a streak starting in 2005 with a trip to the Las Vegas Bowl. Every trip thereafter also was to the Las Vegas Bowl, so this marks the first time since 2001 they’ve gone somewhere else. Last year, they trounced Oregon State 44-20. Meanwhile, this is UTEP’s first trip to a bowl since the 2005 GMAC Bowl, which they lost to Toledo 44-13.

5:30: Fresno State vs. Northern Illinois (Humanitarian Bowl @ Boise, ID; ESPN): Northern Illinois was having the season this year. The kind of year where everything was coming together, including an undefeated run through the MAC and a rushing offense that just ran every which way against everyone. Well, except Miami (of Ohio) in the MAC title game, which they lost. Then they lost their coach to a team they beat this year. I think Fresno is probably more talented, but let’s face it, no matter what they say this is a major let down.
Previous meetings: Somewhat surprisingly, these schools have met 4 times, though not since 1991. The series is split at 2-2.
Last bowl game: Fresno sports a 3 game bowl streak coming into this one, starting with a (sigh) 40-28 win over Georgia Tech in the 2007 Humanitarian, and then two trips to the New Mexico Bowl, where they lost last year to Wyoming 35-28. NIU has a two year bowl streak, including last year’s 27-3 loss in the last ever International Bowl.

9:00: Ohio vs. Troy (New Orleans Bowl @ New Orleans, LA; ESPN): Troy didn’t win the Sun Belt this year, but they still get to go New Orleans. There’s worse things in the world. Ohio heads down from the MAC thanks to some last minute bowl swapping shenanigans. Troy had a relatively disappointing year (mostly because they’re favorites for the Sun Belt crown every year these days). Ohio lost their shot at the MAC East due to a shocking upset of them by Kent State, allowing Miami to sneak in and then upset NIU. Crazy. Anyway, Troy doesn’t play much defense seemingly but they do score a whole ton of points and I don’t think the Bobcats will be able to keep up. Both teams may score more than 30 though.
Previous meetings: This is the first meeting between these two teams.
Last bowl game: Ohio lost last year’s Little Ceasar’s Bowl 21-17 to ex-MAC team Marshall and Troy lost last year’s GMAC bowl 44-41, but extends their bowl streak to three. In fact, including this year is Troy’s 5th bowl game. Not bad for a program that started playing major college football in 2001.

Tuesday, December 21
8:00: Southern Mississippi vs. Louisville (St. Petersburg Bowl @ St. Petersburg, FL): Even if that league is the Big East, giving up less than 20 points per game is a pretty good defense. And that’s exactly what Louisville’s done. Southern Miss can score, but they’ve struggled a tad against better opponents. I expect a 17-14 like contest here.
Previous meetings: These two played every year from 1978 to 2002 first as independents, and then as members of the old pre-Big East poached Conference USA. Southern Miss leads the all time series 15-8-1. They last met, though, in 2009 where Louisville won 25-23.
Last bowl game :Louisville was last seen beating Wake Forest 24-13 in the 2006 Orange Bowl, where after they disappeared into the wilderness. Southern Miss is would be there in the consecutive bowl game lists, having been every year since 1997 except for 2001 (though since they were 6-5, they would’ve gone these days, but that’s another discussion). Anyway, the last two years they were in the New Orleans Bowl, where they lost to Dwight Dasher and MTSU last year 42-32.

Wednesday, December 22
8:00: Boise State vs. Utah (Las Vegas Bowl @ Las Vegas, NV): Boise recovered from their disastrous loss to Nevada by getting back to what they did several other times this year: pound their WAC opposition into the dust. Utah, meanwhile, has only two losses but I feel they’re very telling: a blowout losses to TCU and Notre Dame. Not encouraging. I like Boise in a rout here (and with the current line I even have Boise covering the 18).
Previous meetings: Their last meeting was in a 2006 game at Utah, which Boise won 36-3. The two also met in 1998 and 1999, with Boise winning both those encounters as well.
Last bowl game: Utah beat Cal in last year’s Poinsettia Bowl, and has been to a bowl every year since 2003. Boise beat TCU in last year’s Fiesta Bowl and sports its own streak dating back to 2002. (It’d be two games longer if they had to gone to a bowl in 2001, which they didn’t despite being 8-4.)

Thursday, December 23
8:00: Navy vs. San Diego State (Poinsettia Bowl @ San Diego, CA; ESPN): San Diego State is pretty decent this year, which is why you keep hearing Brady Hoke come up in coaching rumors. I ordinarily like Navy teams in bowl games, but I don’t think SDSU will be taking anything for granted against the home crowd, and should have a size advantage on the lines and the passing game that can expose Navy’s secondary. I don’t think SDSU will win going away, but I think they will win.
Previous meetings: They’ve met twice, in 1994 and 1997. SDSU won both games, the latter 45-31 and the former 56-14. Remember, Navy wasn’t very good back then.
Last bowl game: Navy defeated Missouri 35-13 in last year’s Texas Bowl, and has gone to a bowl every year since 2003. Meanwhile, this is SDSU’s first appearance since the 1998 Las Vegas Bowl, which they lost to UNC 20-13.

Friday, December 24
8:00: Hawaii vs. Tusla (Hawaii Bowl @ Honolulu, HI; ESPN): Both these teams can score. Hawaii, of course, likes to throw the ball and the Tulsa defense has been awfully obliging this year, yielding 305.7 yards/game (good for 119th nationally). Tulsa may keep it close early put Hawaii should be able to pull away.
Previous meetings: Hawaii is 5-2 all-time against Tulsa, with all but their first appearance in 1992 coming from Tulsa’s stint in the WAC. Their last meeting was in 2004, a 44-16 Hawaii win.
Last bowl game: Hawaii was last seen in a 49-21 loss to Notre Dame in the 2008 Hawaii Bowl. Their sub-.500 record in 2009 snapped a modest 3-game streak. Tulsa also lost their 4-game streak last year, with their last bowl appearance in the 2008 GMAC Bowl, in which they handily beat Ball State 45-13.

The bowl predictions page should be updated with all predictions soon!