It’s that glorious time of year again where just about anyone with a stadium & a sponsor can host their own college bowl game. It wasn’t always this way and once upon that time the bowl games actually meant something. Then cable television was born and so too were a countless number of craptastic games looking for any kind of an audience. This year there are actually 34 bowl games and it all kicks off on December 19th with the New Mexico Bowl and it all ends on January 7th when Alabama takes on Texas in the BCS National Championship game. Now I will admit that 34 games can be quite daunting for the non-football fan but that is why I am here to help. So without further ado, let’s get to the plethora of pigskin that awaits us.
12/19 – New Mexico Bowl – Wyoming vs Fresno St.
One of Wyoming’s wins the year was facilitated thanks to state snow plows & a police escort. That is how bad their opponent was and how much they needed to get to 6 wins to qualify for Bowl Season. Fresno St will win this game easily.
12/19 – St. Petersburg Bowl – Rutgers vs Central Florida
This basically a home game for UCF and Rutgers has done nothing but flop in big games this year. The Scarlet Knights start the season with a loss and end it with a loss too.
12/20 – New Orleans Bowl – Middle Tennessee vs Southern Miss
Middle Tennessee is probably the best 9 win team that no one has ever heard of and they will be the best 10 win team that no one has ever of after the game. And let’s face it, no one really loses when they get to go to New Orleans ?
12/22 – Maaco Las Vegas Bowl – Oregon St vs BYU
Nobody loses when they get to go to Las Vegas either and Las Vegas certainly loves the way the BYU fans travel. However, I just don’t see the Beavers taking a licking in this one.
12/23 – Poinsettia Bowl – Utah vs California
Utah certainly knows how to beat up & beat on BCS conference teams – just ask anyone in Alabama. Cal is more schizophrenic than a cougar I once dated back in the mid 80’s…..give me a moment please…..YIKES !
12/24 – Hawaii Bowl – Nevada vs SMU
Nevada runs the ball like they have a couple of Eric Dickerson’s & Craig James’ in their backfield. At least SMU gets a trip to Honolulu out of the deal.
12/26 – Little Caesars Bowl – Ohio University vs Marshall
Who cares who wins this game ? All that really matters is that once upon a time when I was a mascot for our local hockey team, I beat up the Little Caesars mascot. I hit him with a Domino’s box.
12/26 – Meineke Car Care Bowl – North Carolina vs Pitt
Pitt was just one kick & one catch away from playing in the Orange Bowl. This may be a relative home game for the Tar Heels but this ball isn’t round.
12/26 – Emerald Bowl – Boston College vs USC
A great matchup of two underachieving overhyped programs that looks great on paper. Not sure if they have ever even played each other before. You might think I am “nuts” but BC cracks open a win in this one.
12/27 – Music City Bowl – Kentucky vs Clemson
There is only two reasons to watch this game. The first is CJ Spiller of Clemson and the second is because it is the only game on that day. This game won’t even be close.
12/28 – Independence Bowl – Texas A&M vs Georgia
I lost interest in this game years ago when Poulan Weedeater dropped their sponsorship of the game. I lost even more interest when I saw the two teams playing this year. Just can’t ever pick the Aggies (unless they play Notre Dame) so the Bulldogs win this one.
12/29 – Eagle Bank Bowl – UCLA vs Temple
I think the last time Temple played in a bowl game they played in the now defunct Garden State Bowl and KC & the Sunshine ban were on the charts. This actually wouldn’t be a bad matchup if they were playing basketball. I just can’t see UCLA losing this one.
12/29 – Champs Sports Bowl – Miami vs Wisconsin
Wisco won’t be able to handle Miami’s speed and this game is going to be over early. Miami will be a team to be reckoned with 2010.
12/30 – Humanitarian Bowl – Idaho vs Bowling Green
The best thing about this game is that it is being played on the SMURF TURF ! Idaho started out winning 6 of the first 7 before they went 0 for November again. Despite the home field advantage, I am leaning towards Bowling Green.
12/30 – Holiday Bowl – Nebraska vs Arizona
I have no idea how to pronounce Ndamukong Suh’s first name but expect to hear it a lot as the Cornhuskers wear down the Wildcats out in San Diego.
12/31 – Armed Forces Bowl – Air Force vs Houston
I don’t think a platoon of F-16’s could help stop the bombing that Casey Keenum is going to lay down on Air Force. Houston is going to win this one in high scoring fashion.
12/31 – Sun Bowl – Stanford vs Oklahoma
How did such a crappy bowl game (El Paso – nuff said) get such a good game to watch. Should be fun to watch Heisman Almost Winner Toby Gerhart try to run on the Sooner D. Sorry Mom (she’s a Cal Grad) but I think the Cardinal win this one.
12/31 – Texas Bowl – Missouri vs Navy
Yawn – though it will be fun to see Navy try to avenge their loss to Mizzou from 1961. Look for Mizzou to throw, throw & throw and Navy to run, run & run.
12/31 – Insight Bowl – Minnesota vs Iowa State
I wonder how many people on the Insight Bowl Selection Committee killed themselves after they got stuck with this game ? The Big 12 is better than the Big 10 but I am picking Minnesota anyway because I got a speeding ticket in Iowa once.
12/31 – Chick Fil-A Bowl – Virginia Tech vs Tennessee
This game is a lot more interesting on paper than it will be on TV. I’ll take the Hokies because somebody has to win and I can’t see a former raiders coach doing that.
1/1 – Outback Bowl – Northwestern vs Auburn
A Big 10 surprise and a SEC disappointment for the first game of New year’s Day. Auburn shot it’s load in the Iron Bowl when they almost beat Bama. Northwestern should win this one.
1/1 – Capital One Bowl – Penn State vs LSU
2 teams that both had BCS Championship aspirations early on that just couldn’t close the deal when they needed to do it. I love LSU and have never picked against them.
1/1 – Gator Bowl – West Virginia vs Florida State
It kind of cracks me up that in Bobby Bowden’s farewell game as the Seminoles coach, he has to play in the “Gator” Bowl. West Virginia won’t roll over in awe of his career and the Mountaineers will kill them.
1/1 – Rose Bowl – Oregon vs Ohio State
Oregon was really one punch and one loss away from serious national title consideration. Ohio State is a team I have hated ever since I knew what football was. Go Ducks !
1/1 – Sugar Bowl – Cincinnati vs Florida
This could have been a much better game if Brian Kelly hadn’t run away to go coach Notre Dame. It does still have an interesting storyline in that you have Tim Tebow’s final game and you have a Cincinnati team that will either be out to prove that they don’t need their old turncoat coach or a you will have a Cincinnati team that rolls over from the controversy of it all. I think we will see the former since Mardy Gilyard is a real threat to score any & every time he touches the ball.
1/2 – International Bowl – South Florida vs Northern Illinois
This would be an interesting matchup in early September. It’s a reason to change the channel in January. I’m going with the underdogs from Northern Illinois.
1/2 – Papajohns.com Bowl – Connecticut vs South Carolina
I hate all Steve Spurrier coached teams and Connecticut has played well all season losing it’s 5 games by a combined total of 15 points. The Huskies have an intangible to play for that the Gamecocks don’t. I like Connecticut by a slice or two.
1/2 – Cotton Bowl – Oklahoma State vs Mississippi
The Cotton Bowl used to be one of the Big 4 Bowl Games but now it has been relegated to 2nd tier status but it always gets a fun game to watch. I like both teams in this game so I really don’t care who wins but I will be putting my bowl picks pool money on OK State.
1/2 – Liberty Bowl – East Carolina vs Arkansas
I really liked the way that East Carolina handled Houston in the Conference USA Championship Game to get here. I don’t see them having any problems whatsoever handling the Razorbacks too.
1/2 – Alamo Bowl – Texas Tech vs Michigan State
I like the San Antonio Riverwalk. I like Texas Tech. Not much else to say about this game other than it finishes off an extremely long day of football.
1/4 – Fiesta Bowl – TCU vs Boise State
In some ways this battle of Non-BCS Conference undefeated teams is a cop out because both of these teams would have beaten any BCS Conference team that they faced but in other ways it isn’t because this is a football fan’s dream matchup. Both teams can & do score at will. Both teams are exciting. Everyone remembers what Boise State did to Oklahoma and everyone should remember Billy Clyde Puckett & Shake Tiller – 2 of TCU’s most famous football graduates. This game could actually inspire Dan Jenkins to even write another football book – at least I hope so. I bleed orange & blue on both a college & pro level so my heart and my head both tell me to take Boise State.
1/5 – Orange Bowl – Georgia Tech vs Iowa
A nice placeholder/palate cleanser game between the main course (Fiesta) and the dessert (BCS Championship). Neither team truly excites me but both will show up ready to play but like I said earlier, I once got a speeding ticket in Iowa (Marengo – 1981 to be exact) so I will cheering for the Rambling Wreck from Georgia Tech.
1/6 – GMAC Bowl – Central Michigan vs Troy
Where is the outrage & outcry over the Central michigan’s coach taking the job in Cincinnati ? Exactly. Troy is a team on the rise but Central Michigan has a QB that has found the end zone more often than any other QB in FBS history. Look for him to find it a few more times in this game as CMU finishes the season off with their 12th win.
1/6 – BCS National Championship Game – Alabama vs Texas
Based on their conference championship games, this should be a blowout of snoozefest proportions with Heisman winner Mark Ingram rolling the Tide over Heisman also ran Colt McCoy & the Longhorns but I don’t like o use comparative scores when looking at a game like this. I think both conferences are overrated & over-hyped but these are indeed the best teams from both. The Longhorns are 5 point underdogs and I fully expect them to cover the spread. I also think that based on Bama’s performance against Auburn that Texas has more than a fighting chance of pulling off the upset. I’m liking the Longhorns pulling it out in their final drive as time expires.
So there you go. 34 games. 34 winners. Check back often to see why there is a reason that Las Vegas loves me as much as they do.
And that is the view for now from Behind The Shades and on the sidelines…..swampy abides….