December 12, 2011
College football’s bowl season will officially kick off this weekend. No matter what side of the aisle you’re on when it comes to the BCS, bowl games are one reason college football is such a great sport. The system matches two teams that may never play otherwise and with 35 games, chances are that your favorite team ended up in one.
Let’s take a quick look at all of the games one at a time – here are the first 9 contests:
Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Temple Vs. Wyoming): This is a matchup of two 8-4 teams. Temple has one of the stingiest defenses in the nation giving up less than 14 points per game and I like them in this one.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Ohio vs. Utah State): Both teams finished in second place in their conference. Utah State has one of the country’s best kept secrets in dynamic rusher Robert Turbin (1,416 yards) and also played Auburn and BYU tight on the road in close losses. They’re my pick here.
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl (San Diego State vs. Louisiana-Lafayette): San Diego State’s Ronnie Hillman has been one of the best rushers in college football over the past two seasons, totaling more than 3,100 yards. He had 19 touchdowns this year and I think he’ll lead the Aztecs to victory.
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl (Florida International vs. Marshall): FIU had somewhat of a breakthrough year winning eight games and going on the road early in the season and beating Louisville. Marshall played a tougher schedule, but was overmatched much of the season. With what should be home field advantage, I’m going with FIU in a tight one.
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl (TCU vs. Louisiana Tech): TCU had a great season that went largely unnoticed because of an opening-season two-point loss to Baylor (who, by the way, ended up being pretty good). They went on to beat Boise State and won their conference without losing a game. The Horned Frogs should have little problem in this one.
MAACO Bowl (Arizona State vs. Boise State): Arizona State’s been on a roll … of the wrong kind. They lost their final four games while Boise State was competing for a BCS bowl slot. The Sun Devils are also dealing with a coaching change and that’s certainly going to be a distraction. On paper, this looks like an utter mismatch, and that’s what I think it is. I’ll go with Boise in what I think is one of the easiest bowl games this season to predict.
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl (Nevada vs. Southern Miss): If you can’t get into the BCS, this has to be one of the best places to end up. Seriously, who would be disappointed to play a bowl game in Honolulu? Led by quarterback Austin Davis, Southern Miss won ten games and has one of the top offenses in the nation. They also stunned then No. 6 Houston in the C-USA Championship game and are my pick here.
AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl (Missouri vs. North Carolina): This is one of those tough games to pick. It’s the day after Christmas and you’ve got no idea how focused either team will be. The Tigers went 4-1 along with wins over Texas and Texas A&M to close out their season so I’ll take them in a close one.
For “Picking College Football’s Bowl Games: Part II”, click here.