Posted on 12 December 2012.
Bowl Season is upon us once again and it is time to break down each and every bowl game and predict who will be having a happy holiday season this year and who will not. There are many great teams that just couldn’t do enough this season to make it to one of these great games, but for those who did get ready to rumble.
Gildan New Mexico Bowl
Nevada vs. Arizona
Nevada has had a tough season and somehow made it to a bowl game with a 7-5 record. One reason they got this far is because of their running back Stefphon Jefferson who has rushed over 1,700 yards this season. Rich Rodriguez has led the Arizona Wildcats to a 7-5 record and their only losses coming from very talented teams including Arizona State and Oregon. The Wildcat offense averages 37 points a game, so Nevada better watch their backs.
Prediction: Arizona over Nevada
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Utah State vs. Toledo
Utah State won the WAC and ended their season with ten wins. Toledo was right behind them with nine recorded wins this season. Toledo has had a one-two punch this season in quarterback Terrance Owens and running back David Fluellen. This both missed the last game of the season, but should both be back to handle the Aggies of Utah State.
Prediction: Toledo over Utah State
San Diego State vs. BYU
The Aztecs finished the season on a seven game win streak along with being in a three-way tie for first in the Mountain West Conference. San Diego State has one of the best offenses in the country and home-field advantage in this game. BYU has a top 10 defense in points allowed with less than 15 a game. This is a classic top offense versus top defense fight to the finish.
Prediction: San Diego State over BYU
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl
Central Florida vs. Ball State
Central Florida lost in the conference title game against Tulsa in a game that some are still trying to figure out how they even got it in. They spent the second half of the season, after a great start, getting trampled by Ohio State and Missouri. Ball State has won six straight and have only losses against top ACC teams. Ball State’s defense will not show up, you can count on that, but if their offense does, watch out.
Prediction: Ball State over Central Florida
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
East Carolina vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
Both teams finished their seasons winning the final three games and are both excellent on offense. Defense could get very interesting. Louisiana-Lafayette started this season in full stride, but have fell off the map a bit. The Pirates have a slightly better team and are crossing their fingers their defense can come up with a few stops.
Prediction: East Carolina over Louisiana-Lafayette
Las Vegas Bowl
Boise State vs. Washington
This has been an off year for the Broncos, but with their new flashy uniforms this game could be just what they need to get back in the spotlight. The Huskies have pulled some upsets this year and have lost some close ones. I would look for Keith Price to have a big day against the Bronco secondary and end their season on a high note.
Prediction: Washington over Boise State
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl
SMU vs. Fresno State
SMU almost did not make this game until their last minute victory over Tulsa. SMU has had a tough year and is looking to pull a huge upset against the Bulldogs. Fresno State has Derek Carr who has lit some teams up this season with over 3,700 passing yards and 36 touchdowns. Fresno State scores quick and often and if the SMU defense is not ready they will be left in the dust early.
Prediction: Fresno State over SMU
Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl
Central Michigan vs. Western Kentucky
Central Michigan has let many teams score alot of points on them and that is why their defense is averaging 33 points. Western Kentucky is not too great of a squad either and is lucky to even be in a bowl game. Which ever team has the ball last will win this game and by a very slim margin. This game has the potential to have more turnovers than points.
Prediction: Central Michigan over Western Kentucky
San Jose State vs. Bowling Green
San Jose State is extremely talented and is not getting any credit. They have lost only two games this year including Stanford by a field goal and Utah State. The Falcons of Bowling Green have only allowed on average 16 points a game which makes their defense one of the top in the country. I think the Spartans may be a bit too much for that Falcon front seven.
Prediction: San Jose State over Bowling Green
Cincinnati vs. Duke
Cincinnati may have a little trouble in the beginning considering their recent coaching change. But in the end Duke may have their hands full. The Bearcats are averaging more than 30 points a game and their defense is allowing no more than 17 points a game. Which makes them one the most evenly distributed teams out there.
Prediction: Cincinnati over Duke
Baylor vs. UCLA
Well UCLA has a great all-around team. Baylor has a fantastic offense and a horrible defense. A defense that West Virgina put 70 points on. The Bruins were one win away from a Rose Bowl appearance and I believe they will be taking out their anger on the Bears. Johnathan Franklin is hot and I do not see him slowing down any time soon.
Prediction: UCLA over Baylor
Louisiana-Monroe vs. Ohio
Louisiana-Monroe is the team that exposed Arkansas in the season opener this season. Ohio was the team that took down Penn State in the season opener as well. Both teams are very evenly matched and both have had very similar seasons. Louisiana-Monroe has won two straight so I see them pulling this one out.
Prediction: Louisiana-Monroe over Ohio
Russell Athletic Bowl
Rutgers vs. Virgina Tech
Rutgers was one of the best team in the Big East this year and were a field goal away from winning the conference title. Their defense is quite solid, which has been the reason many teams have struggled against them this season. Virgina Tech is in a whole heap of trouble ending their season 6-6 with very disappointing losses. I do not see the Hokies even remotely pulling this one out.
Prediction: Rutgers over Virgina Tech
Meineke Car Care Bowl
Minnesota vs. Texas Tech
Both of these teams have struggled all season long. Minnesota has six wins against very poor Big Ten teams. Texas Tech could not come up with any solid wins against any top school this year and to top it all off their head coach is outty 5000 and headed to Cincy. Neither of these teams deserve a bowl game, but since they are here they might as well play.
Prediction: Texas Tech over Minnesota
Armed Forces Bowl
Air Force vs. Rice
If you love the run game in football you are going to love this game. Neither team has a good record and neither team has too many star players. But both teams can run the ball. Which should come into affect as soon as the coin is flipped, considering both quarterbacks are so-so. I’m going to give this high scoring affair to the men behind enemy lines.
Prediction: Air Force over Rice
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl
Navy vs. Arizona State
Navy is coming off of yet another win against rival Army. Arizona State is coming off of another win against their in-state rival Arizona. Both teams had pretty average seasons for their programs. Arizona State’s defense is something to take a second look at it as Will Sutton will lead the way. The Midshipmen are averaging over 250 rushing in each game this season. If the Sun Devils can stop the run, the Naval Academy may be in a little trouble.
Prediction: Arizona State over Navy
New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Syracuse vs. West Virgina
West Virgina plays horrible defense, but they play awesome offense. Former Heisman contender Geno Smith will light up Syracuse with his feet and with his arm. Last year Syracuse handed the Mountaineers their worst loss of the season and plan to do the same here. Whichever quarterback has a bigger day will come out on top.
Prediction: West Virgina vs. Syracuse
Valero Alamo Bowl
Oregon State vs. Texas
Both of these teams started off the season with high hopes and possible BCS chances. Texas suffered their worst loss ever against rival Oklahoma and Oregon State got their butts handed to them by rival Oregon. Cody Vaz will lead the Beavers against a down-right awful Longhorn defense who needs to go back to high school and learn to tackle. Texas’ offense is all over the place as well and they will have to pick between an OK quarterback and a so-so quarterback.
Prediction: Oregon State over Texas
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl
Michigan State vs. TCU
The Spartans had high hopes this season, but barely made it to a bowl game with a 6-6 record. TCU was a bit more up and down this season than years past, including a tough loss against Oklahoma a few weeks ago. This game will be about defense, considering both offenses are quite beat up. I see Gary Patterson figuring out a way to win.
Prediction: TCU over Michigan State
Music City Bowl
North Carolina State vs. Vanderbilt
Considering the SEC is full of excellent defensive teams there is only certain ones that get credit, because they are high in the BCS rankings. Vanderbilt won eight consecutive games this season and will be playing basically a home game. NC State has been all over the place, with some significant wins, but some even more significant losses. If quarterback Mike Glennon doesn’t find his edge this could be over early.
Prediction: Vanderbilt over North Carolina State
Georgia Tech vs. USC
Talk about the most disappointing team in the country. Once talked about dethroning Alabama in the title game and now representing the PAC-12 in the Sun Bowl. USC has had marquee games this season and they just could not perform at the top of their game. Including quarterback Matt Barkley being injured and missing his final game. The Yellowjackets do not deserve a bowl game as they sit at 6-7 and have an awful offense and an even worse defense. The Trojans could not show up and probably win this game.
Prediction: USC over Georgia Tech
AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Tulsa vs. Iowa State
The 6-6 Cyclones are taking on the WAC Champions in a bit of a lopsided game. Tulsa is usually a very weak team, but this year have proven by winning their last 10 of 12 regular season games. Iowa State struggled this season and did not get any of their well known upsets, and should have not been invited into a bowl game.
Prediction: Tulsa over Iowa State
Clemson vs. LSU
Now this is an awesome game to tune in to. LSU suffered slim losses this season against top teams in Alabama and Florida. Clemson is on top of the ACC and have a receiver by the name of Sammy Watkins who will light any corner up. This game will be all about LSU’s defense and Clemson’s Offense. Get ready for a high powered battle between to elite teams.
Prediction: LSU over Clemson
Heart of Dallas Bowl
Oklahoma State vs. Purdue
The Cowboys lost a heart-breaker against their rival Oklahoma and are looking to take out their anger on the Boilermakers. Oklahoma State’s defense is not that great, but their offense is averaging 45 points a game. Since Purdue’s defense is not rock solid look for a blowout here.
Prediction: Oklahoma State over Purdue
Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl
Mississippi State vs. Northwestern
The Wildcats will run the football during this game many times, because that is about all they can do. But it has worked considering they won nine games this season. Any time Mississippi State plays a tough team they get smashed. But don’t forget the bulldogs were ranked number seven in the country at one point this year. The only problem they lost five of their last six.
Prediction: Northwestern over Mississippi State
Capital One Bowl
Georgia vs. Nebraska
The loser of the SEC Championship and the loser of the BIG 10 Championship game meet. This is a blowout if I have ever seen one. The Bulldogs are excellent on defense and offense and have one of the bets pass rushers, that gave Alabama fits, in Jarvis Jones. Nebraska has done nothing but struggled this season, and now we all see how overrated Taylor Martinez really is, considering he is the best quarterback that was eligible to come out of a horrible conference.
Prediction: Georgia over Nebraska
Michigan vs. South Carolina
Another SEC and Big 10 match-up which will include a butt woopin’. Michigan has a pretty good offense led by Senior Quarterback Denard Robinson, but the Gamecocks defense is spectacular. Jadevon Clowney is going to give the Wolverines fits and going to send Denard out with a sack or two.
Prediction: South Carolina vs. Michigan
At&T Cotton Bowl
Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma
Oklahoma has had a decent season, but Landry Jones has very very inconsistent. He did demolish Texas and beat in-state rival OSU, but did lose some close games against Notre Dame and Kansas State. Texas A&M on the other hand have a player named Johnny Manziel, maybe you have heard of him, you know youngest Heisman Trophy winner ever. He single handedly took down Alabama in Tuscaloosa and other then two very close losses, he has led a so-so team to one of the best bowl games all year.
Texas A&M over Oklahoma
BBVA Compass Bowl
Ole Miss vs. Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh’s break out moment of the year clearly was against Notre Dame win the almost beat the Irish in triple over time just to lose by a field goal. Ole Miss has been playing high marquee match-ups all season in the SEC and have won some, but have had trouble against powerhouses. The Rebel defense is definitely something to watch. If they stop the Panthers run game they will do just fine.
Prediction: Ole Miss over Pittsburgh
Kent State vs. Arkansas State
Arkansas State was led by Gus Malzahn who just took the head coaching job at Auburn. Kent State lost in a close one and was a matter of seconds from getting to the Orange Bowl. Kent State has a group of receivers that are something to watch and definitely will be playing on Sundays. After watching the MAC Championship I don’t see Arkansas State winning this against that Kent State offense.
Prediction: Kent State over Arkansas State
Stanford vs. Wisconsin
Wisconsin was impressive against Nebraska and Montee Ball is definitely back. But Stanford’s defense will not let him pass in Pasadena. Freshman Quarterback Kevin Hogan took down the Ducks in Eugene and will do the exact same thing against the Badgers who are the best team eligible to come out of the worst conference.
Prediction: Stanford over Wisconsin
Northern Illinois vs. Florida State
Everyone things Northern Illinois will be the BCS buster this year, but im not buying it. The Seminoles have had a tough outing this year, but they are playing a home game and are quite sick of everyone saying they will be beaten by a team like Northern Illinois. EJ Manuel will light up everyone on the field and Florida State will come out on top without a doubt.
Prediction: Florida State over Northern Illinois
Allstate Sugar Bowl
Florida vs. Louisville
Charlie Strong has led Louisville to a excellent season and put them back where they ought to be. The only issue is going to be the Florida Gators and the powerful defense. I believe this game will be very close, in the first half. But if Louisville does not take care of Jeff Driskel early we could be looking at blowout.
Prediction: Florida over Louisville
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
Kansas State vs. Oregon
Probably the best bowl game of them all as the BIG 12 Champions take on the high powered Ducks. Oregon lost a close one to Stanford, but will be looking to make a statement and bring back their high-powered, fast pace offense back to the lime light. Collin Klein will look to cap off his Senior season against the Ducks, but better strike fast. If De’Anthony Thomas or Kenjon Barner get ahold of the ball this could get ugly.
Prediction: Oregon over Kansas State
BCS National Championship Game
Notre Dame vs. Alabama
The number one defense against the number one defensive player. Manti Te’o will lead the undefeated Irish against possibly one of the best head coaches of all time (Nick Saban) and his stout defense which doesn’t let teams score very often. Notre Dame allows on average 10.3 points a game and Alabama is allowing 10.7 points a game. This will not be a high scoring affair, but will be a battle won by the better defense. Get ready for the south to rise again.
Prediction: Alabama over Notre Dame