College Bowl Game Preview: Picks by A Real Expert, Part Two

Categories: Sports
bushpush1229.jpgThe college football bowl season is here, and it's become such a confusing mess of odd-sounding games played in smallish towns with mediocre teams that you need an expert to figure it out. And nothing says "expert" more than a teen-aged kid, whether the subject is football, driving, or how inutterably lame Dad's musical tastes are. So here are the first of three sets of bowl-game capsules by noted college football expert Patrick Connelly, who somehow doesn't think Charlie Weis needs to be fired RIGHT NOW. -- Richard Connelly

Humanitarian Bowl: Nevada vs. Maryland, December 30
Seeing as this is being played on the Smurf Turf, it's tempting to pick the team with the bluer uniforms. However, Maryland is so inconsistent, that's exactly what they'd want you to think. What? That's right. Huh? Crab cakes and football, that's what Maryland does. UM 34-10

Holiday Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Oregon, December 30

This is a great match-up with both teams having top-10 offenses, ranked in the top 20, having nine wins, and an abundant passing game. With teams that even, the one in the tougher conference has the edge. Also Mike Gundy is getting a $400,000 bonus for getting the Cowboys to a third bowl game. He's a man. He's forty. Forty ten thousand dollar bills richer that is. OSU 34-31



Texas Bowl: Western Michigan vs. Rice, December 30
This is probably the most meaningful bowl game to any teams in the postseason, because it has so much at stake. Yes, championships and BCS games are cool, but if Rice wins, it'll be their first bowl win in 54 years, and if Western Michigan wins, it'll be their first bowl win ever. No pressure, losers. Both teams have good passing games, especially with the prolific QB-receiver tandem of Rice's Chase Clement and Jarrett Dillard, but they also each have horrible pass defenses. I know the Rice fans will pour into Reliant Stadium and give the Owls the home field advantage they need to win this game. Right? Right? Rice 45-35

Armed Forces Bowl: Houston vs. Air Force, December 31
Now that Notre Dame finally won a bowl game (DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES!?!?) Houston inherits the longest current bowl losing streak. Yet it's hard to tell who releases more bombs, the actual Air Force, or Case Keenum, who's had 43 touchdown passes on the year. I say Houston wins this rematch; after all, they lost to Air Force during Hurricane Ike, which were literally the darkest days Houston had seen in a long time. UH 38-21

Sun Bowl: Oregon State vs. Pittsburgh, December 31
Oregon State was one win away (against their biggest rival) from going to the Rose Bowl, but now must settle for the prestigious Sun Bowl in El Paso. Both of these teams have great running backs, the Beavers' Jacquizz Rogers and Pitt's LeSean McCoy, but they also both don't have apparent passing games, led by Oregon State's ? and the Panthers Bill Something (Bob?). Rogers will be back for the game, and with him, OSU took down USC, which doesn't matter, because they blew their Pac-10 first-place lead anyway, but he'll be the difference maker. OSU 24-20

Music City Bowl: Boston College vs. Vanderbilt, December 31
Finally a defensive match-up which has the BC Eagles, who have a surplus of bowl wins, albeit embarrassingly named bowls, and the Vandy Commodores, who haven't won a bowl game since Eisenhower was President. Although it is essentially a home game for Vanderbilt, their late-season collapse reflected their poor offense, second-to-last in the country, and it won't get much easier against this Eagles defense, which has the most interceptions of any team. BC 21-3

Insight Bowl: Kansas vs. Minnesota, December 31

This would probably be a better basketball game, but it's still interesting...or not, who cares, it's still football. You won't get to see it unless you have NFL Network however. Even though it's impressive to turn a 1-11 season into a 7-5 one, Minnesota had some cushy wins, and while Kansas faltered a bit this season, their win against Missouri was the second-best Big 12 game of the year. Plus they have Todd Reesing. Yeah you heard me right, Todd Reesing.  KU 35-21

Chick-Fil-A Bowl: LSU vs. Georgia Tech, December 31

Oh how far those defending national champs have fallen. Although they started out ranked in the top 10, they finished the season 3-5 and almost lost to Troy (Troy?). Their quarterback Jarrett Lee did throw a fair number of touchdown passes, 20 to be in fact, but subtract those thrown to the other team's defense and you only get 13. Now their slightly porous defense has to face a very hot Yellow Jackets team with an incredible running game. GT 28-21

Outback Bowl: South Carolina vs. Iowa, January 1
Spurrier's Gamecocks tend to sort of collapse towards the end of the season (Cocky?), while Ferentz's Iowa teams tend to improve as the season rolls on (Hawkish?). South Carolina has a good-enough defense to stop the incredible Shonn Greene, but the Hawkeyes have been playing with quite the fire lately, and they seem more ready to play. Iowa 24-21

Capital One Bowl: Georgia vs. Michigan State, January 1

Georgia and Michigan State, what a juxtaposition of disappointment and gratitude for the same bowl bid. While Michigan State has Javon Ringer to run all over that horrid Georgia defense that couldn't stop anything against GA Tech, I have four words for you: S-E-C speed. UGA 34-23

Gator Bowl: Nebraska vs. Clemson, January 1

These two teams snuck into the fairly prestigious Gator Bowl by getting hot towards the end of the season. Both teams have first year head coaches, (Dabo Swinney may have been kept on just for his name) and both had disappointing starts to the season, with Clemson being ranked 9th and Nebraska starting 3-3. The Huskers have a more consistent quarterback in Joe Ganz, unlike Clemson's Cullen Harper, who has had quite the downturn from last season. NU 20-17

-- Patrick Connelly


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