Wednesday, December 25, 2013

College Football - Bowl Game Preview ... Sorta

Ok, I admit it ... I've been lazy. I haven't really touched my blog in awhile (several months actually) and I'm sure my millions thousands hundreds ones of fans out there are missing my wit, humor, and incredible sports insights. But, have no fear, I am here to treat you to my College Bowl Game Preview!

Kinda. I mean yeah, I'm going to preview the games that are left, but I'll also give you my prediction/analysis of the games that have already been completed (yes, I promise I will tell you who I honestly picked to win those games even though I couldn't get up off the couch to write my thoughts down on "paper").

Let's start with what I've already missed:

Gildan New Mexico Bowl
My Pick: Washington State over Colorado State

Alright, I was wrong in the first game of the bowl season. But, in my defense, the Cougars led by like 80 points in the second half before choking in the 2013 bowl opener. So my pick was almost correct.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
My Pick: San Diego State over Buffalo

Personally, I'd like to know which potato in Idaho is considered the famous one. From a state that exports millions of taters a year, they all look pretty similar to me. Or are they trying to say that Idaho is famous? Because it's not. Unless you really like French fries. Either way, I got the pick right.

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
My Pick: Tulane over ULaLa

Nothing like making a team from Louisiana play a bowl game against another team from Louisiana ... in the state of Louisiana. Really stretching our markets here, aren't we fellas? I picked Tulane for my friend Ariel because she went to Tulane and reminds me every week that so did Matt Forte. But she beat me in our Fantasy Football Championship Game, so I'm glad the Ragin Cajuns won (for the record, best nickname in all of collegiate athletics ... except maybe the Scottsdale Community College Fighting Artichokes ... no I'm not making that up).

Beef O Brady's Bowl
My Pick: East Carolina over Ohio

The name alone makes me want some wings. No, not steak. For anyone who didn't live in Central Florida like myself, this is actually a sports bar and not a competitor of Outback. Go figure. But congrats to the Pirates for capping off an impressive season. So far I'm 2-2.

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl
My Pick: USC over Fresno State

I think this was the first game of the bowl season where I actually knew something about one of the teams playing. After the turmoil at head coach this season, the Trojan players had something to prove and they definitely took it out on a team that almost busted the BCS this year. Oh, and I hear they were also pissed off because the buffet at the Mirage ran out of shrimp. What a shame. USC showed they'll be a contender again next year.

Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl
My Pick: Boise State over Oregon State

When I made my pick for this game, I forgot that Coach Peterson was leaving the program and wouldn't be leading the team onto the field in Honolulu. Plus, this game was played on a GREEN field and that probably confused the Broncos. Oh well, even with this swing-and-a-miss I'm batting .500 through the first few days of bowl season.

Ok, enough reminiscing about the past. Let's take a look at all the action yet to come this December and January:

Little Caesars Bowl
My Pick: Pittsburgh over Bowling Green

The Little Caesars Bowl, where the winning team receives a one year supply of crazy bread! I think Pittsburgh was better than their record indicated this year (6-6) and quite frankly I don't know a thing about Bowling Green. If I was a fan of irrelevant football games, I'd be really excited for this one.

S.D. County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
My Pick: Northern Illinois over Utah State

This is one of those rare occurrences where the name of the game is more interesting than the matchup itself. How in the world do you put the name of a bank and a flower in the same bowl title?! Either way, I'm not terribly familiar with these teams. I do remember last year when Utah State had an exciting early season game when they may or may not have beaten a national powerhouse. Unfortunately I couldn't tell you if they won the game or who the team was they were playing, so that tells me they've done nothing special since then.

Military Bowl
My Pick: Maryland over Marshall

My brother is a proud graduate of the University of Maryland, so that's pretty much the only reason I'm picking them. Well that and the fact that this season they were able to make it through their schedule with 5 fewer starting quarterbacks than last year. Sadly for them, they come into this game without their top 2 WR's and could be in a battle against a school that had a movie made about their football program's airplane crash 30 or so years ago. So that's something. Good luck to the Terps in their last game before bolting to the Big Ten ... traitors ...

Texas Bowl
My Pick: Syracuse over Minnesota

Syracuse is in the ACC. I went to a school in the ACC. That's all I got.

Fight Hunger Bowl
My Pick: Washington over BYU

I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but the athletes and staff members who attend bowl games get showered in gifts by the host committee of the bowl's sponsors. The NCAA allows participants to receive up to $600 in giveaways and most individuals walk away with luxury watches, electronics, sunglasses, bags, and other assorted goodies (a couple of games are even giving away leather recliners ... no really, Google it). Each team is allowed roughly 100 representatives, so all together that represents over $100,000 in stuff. Wouldn't it make more sense if they took that money and used it to actually FIGHT HUNGER?!?!

New Era Pinstripe Bowl
My Pick: Notre Dame over Rutgers

Naturally, the gimmick of turning Yankee Stadium into a cramped football facility must continue. I think this was the stadium where every time the possession arrow changed the teams switched sides of the field because one end zone was too small so everyone had to drive the same direction. Or I could be confusing this with the game played on the White House lawn because that makes as much sense as this. I expect the Irish to win easily against a disappointing Rutgers squad.

Belk Bowl
My Pick: North Carolina over Cincinnati

As a proud alumni of UNC, I am obligated to pick my Heels in this year's bowl game. Unfortunately, I don't have the highest confidence in our team pulling out the W. Our star QB is out for the season, our star TE is already counting the millions he'll be making in the NFL next year, and our defense isn't quite as solid as it has been the last couple of years. If we show up ready to play, we'll win by 3 touchdowns. If we don't, it could be another poor performance in Charlotte like season's past.

Russell Athletic Bowl
My Pick: Miami over Louisville

I would like to call this game the Irony Bowl. When Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater was considering schools, he committed to Miami before turning his back on "The U" and moving to Kentucky. Isn't it appropriate then that his last collegiate game will be against the team he ditched? Don't think this situation will be lost on the Hurricanes .... I expect Teddy to spend considerable time with his back on the ground in Orlando. I'll take the Canes by a bunch.

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl
My Pick: Michigan over Kansas State

This game earns HUGE bonus points if they find a way to interrupt the action the same way they do in the BW's commercials. Pulling off pranks like those could earn this game a place in bowl game immortality. On the off chance that doesn't actually happen, expect an athletic Michigan team to take out the Wildcats and their aging head coach.

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl
My Pick: Navy over Middle Tennessee

I'm pretty sure it's illegal for Navy to lose a game called the Armed Forces Bowl. If Middle Tennessee jumps out to an early lead, watch out for the game changers from the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl mentioned above.

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
My Pick: Ole Miss over Georgia Tech

Once again, a financial institution and something completely unrelated to money are marriaged in the title of a football contest. So, basically, the winner gets to mortgage a house and then apply that money to buying some songs on iTunes in the city? I don't get it. What I do get is that Ole Miss should be athletic enough to stop the Yellow Jackets' triple option offense. Tech has no passing threat and this single dimension approach shouldn't work against a middle-of-the-road SEC team.

Valero Alamo Bowl
My Pick: Oregon over Texas

I don't care where this game is being played. Mack Brown knew what was about to hit San Antonio and that's the real reason he quit his job when he did. At least this way it's understandable when he doesn't show his face again after meeting the Ducks. Now that Oregon has had a few weeks to heal some lingering injuries, this one is going to be ugly. Like, a pretty girl crying ugly. I'll take the "O" by at least 30.

National University Holiday Bowl
My Pick: Arizona State over Texas Tech

This could legitimately be a very entertaining game. Both of these teams feature high powered offenses and I would expect it'll take at least 40 points for one side to win this game. I'm taking the Sun Devils because I lived in Arizona for 7 years and I think Sparky is a super cool mascot.

AdvoCare V100 Bowl
My Pick: Boston College over Arizona

I wanted to pick the Wildcats, I really did. In fact, I almost typed their name in the winner's spot above. But I've watched a lot of Arizona football this season and one thing was clear: Arizona plays really well against good teams. Unfortunately for them, Boston College sucks (other than their Heisman candidate running back). For that reason, I think the Eagles soar over a lethargic Tucson squad,

Hyundai Sun Bowl
My Pick: Tie

Yes, I know a college football game can't end in a tie. But this is a really difficult game to choose a winner because it really could go either way. If forced to pick a side, I'll take the Hokies in Logan Thomas' last game, but I don't feel great about it.

AutoZone Liberty Bowl
My Pick: Mississippi State over Rice

I'm a noodles guys.

Chick-fil-a Bowl
My Pick: Texas A&M over Dook

 HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Ok, sorry, had to get that out of the way first. Genuinely speaking, if this game was played about a month ago I think it could have been close. At least for the first half. But after the spanking that Dook took by the (SPOILER ALERT) soon-to-be National Champions (SPOILER ALERT OVER) in the ACC Championship Game, I think the Blue Devils are coming back down to Earth. They have to come to an SEC city and face Johnny Football in what will likely be his last college game, and quite frankly they don't have a chance (unless Manziel shows up drunk from his New Years Eve party). The Aggies should bring home the biggest blowout of the bowl season and end 2013 in style. Gator Bowl
My Pick: Nebraska over Georgia

I live in Georgia. Many of my friends are Georgia fans and/or graduates. This game is being played only a few hours from UGA's campus. So naturally ... I'm taking Nebraska. Some of you may remember that Georgia was one of my two pre-season picks to play for the National Championship this year. Unfortunately, injuries have decimated the 'Dawgs and they never really stood a chance. They come into January without Aaron Murray and I'm just not sure they have enough decent healthy players to beat the Cornhuskers. I won't be surprised with a Georgia victory, but I'm certainly not putting money on it. Did I mention this is a rematch from the bowl season last year? Who can say rubber-match in 2014?!

Heart of Dallas Bowl
My Pick: North Texas over UNLV

Who cares? No really ... who cares? Anyone ... anyone ... anyone? Crickets? Ok then.

Outback Bowl
My Pick: LSU over Iowa

I like the Tigers here in the battle for the Bloomin' Onion. LSU wasn't as good as usual, but they should still have no problem handling a mediocre Big Ten team. Maryland should be taking notes ... Iowa might be the only team they stand a chance against next season.

Capital One Bowl
My Pick: South Carolina over Wisconsin

The lasting image from the 2012-2013 football season was Jadeveon Clowney knocking the teeth out of the Michigan QB in his first bowl appearance. Since then Clowney has been largely non-existent as many believe he's been playing it safe while waiting to hear his name called in April's NFL Draft in New York. I suspect that #7 will come out of hiding in Orlando on New Years Day just to put his name back at the top of the draft board. Expect a big performance from the 'Cocks defense in a relatively low scoring game.

Rose Bowl Game Presented by Vizio
My Pick: Stanford over Michigan State

I am going on record to say that this will be the most boring bowl game in the history of college football. When the matchup was finalized, I called my brother and told him I expect the final score of the game to be 3-0. He reminded me that such a score would require one team to get in scoring position, and that's not going to happen. So, we agreed that 4-2 would be a much more realistic outcome. Expect Stanford to win the game with a ground-rule double in the top of the seventh with men on second and third. Err ... a safety in the fourth quarter ... yeah ...

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
My Pick: Baylor over UCF

If anyone was wondering why I'm so excited that the BCS is going away, please see the fact that UCF is playing in the Fiesta Bowl. No disrespect to the team from my former hometown, but you have no business playing in a major January game. Ok, I suppose that WOULD be disrespect to them, but still. Baylor should roll in a high scoring performance against the Knights. I'm thinking 56-3 sounds about right. Oh wait, they'll have to play the second half too ...

Allstate Sugar Bowl
My Pick: Alabama over Oklahoma

The "experts" are going to tell you that this game will be a blowout in favor of the Crimson Tide. As Lee Corso might say ... "Not so fast!" This could play out as the best BCS matchup of the season. Bob Stoops is no pushover and he'll have the Sooners ready for a fight on the Bayou. 'Bama pulls away in the 4th quarter but I won't be surprised if it's a single digit margin of victory.

AT&T Cotton Bowl
My Pick: Oklahoma State over Missouri

Before the BCS came around this was one of the major bowl games in the country. And starting next year, the battle for Jerry's House will be on the national radar once again. I think the Tigers were a little over-hyped this season thanks to a relatively weak SEC East. Don't let the SEC Title game fool you ... they played a great game against another team who had no business being there and Missouri is not as good as you probably think they are. The high powered Cowboys offense will put up big points in the home of the ... wait for it ... Cowboys! Watch the big screen above the field if you don't believe me.

Discover Orange Bowl
My Pick: Ohio State over Clemson

Ohio State was never ranked #1 this season in the BCS standings, but they should have been. I would have been drooling for a matchup between the Buckeyes and Seminoles in the title game. But I do have to say that this game in Miami should be a close second. Clemson has been one of the most impressive teams in the country for a couple of years and that should create a very exciting Orange Bowl. This game should bring big plays, trick plays, and a very close 4th quarter finale. Look for the poisonous nuts to win it in the final minute. Because that's how Clemson rolls.

BBVA Compass Bowl
My Pick: Houston over Vanderbilt

I refuse to provide commentary on a January bowl game between two un-ranked teams that takes place AFTER all of the other BCS bowl games.

GoDaddy Bowl
My Pick: Ball State over Arkansas State

See: BBVA Compass Bowl

Vizio BCS National Championship Game
My Pick: Florida State over Auburn

If ever there was a team who wished the National Championship was played the week after the conference championships, it's the Auburn Tigers. Auburn may be the luckiest team ever to play for a national title and don't think they don't know it. If the miracle Hailmary against the Bulldogs wasn't enough, Auburn went on to produce the "Field Goal Return Heard Round the World" against the Tide. Now don't get me wrong, those may have been the two best moments of the entire 2013 season. But here's the funny thing about luck ... eventually it runs out. After a full month of not capturing the magic, this game is ultimately going to come down to actual skill and football abilities. Sadly for the SEC Champion, they just don't have enough to compete with Florida State. Jameis Winston is going to show that his rookie campaign was not a fluke and the Seminoles will easily win the final BCS National Championship. And, when the final whistle blows, we can all be glad that the BCS beast is finally dead! Bring on the playoffs!!!

There you have it, my entirely too-long analysis of this year's bowl program. I hope you enjoyed the thoughts, but more importantly, I hope we all enjoy the games!

- Fishy

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