College Football Bowls: New Year's Day Games
Well, this hasn't been the best year for my bowl picks. It's difficult to replicate the 2004 bowl season when I correctly picked all but one of the games and finished in the top 1% of the ESPN Bowl Challenge. Oh well, I guess I have to do some soul searching and try to rebuild for next year.
I started out okay but the Christmas to New Year's Eve games have killed me. It started with the Little Caesar's Bowl in which FIU scored at the last minute to upset Toledo. Then there was upset after upset. Army over SMU, Washington over Nebraska, etc.
As I hang my head a little, let's take a look at the New Year's Day games and hopefully I can finish the year on a high note:
TicketCity Bowl 12 pm
Northwestern vs. Texas Tech
It has been an interesting first year for Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville. He was a defensive guy that landed at an offensive school. TTU had a couple of nice wins but a few bad losses too. Northwestern was poised for a dream season after starting 5-0 but only won 2 of the last 7 games. I think the Red Raider offense will have just enough fire power to pull ahead of the Wildcats late in the game.
Winner: Texas Tech
Outback Bowl 1:00 pm
Florida vs Penn State
This bowl game sounds a whole lot better on paper than it really is. Both Powerhouse teams are 7-5 and suffered less than stellar seasons. This is the last game in which Urban Meyer will lead the mighty Gators and there was some speculation that this may be the last game for Joe Pa. Coach Paterno put those rumors to rest by saying he wants to return next year. You know Urban wants to close this dismal season with a win. The fact that the game is in Tampa may provide a home crowd edge over the Lions.
Capital One Bowl 1:00 pm
Michigan State vs. Alabama
This is probably the best non-BCS bowl game of the year. Nick Saban, Alabama's coach, used to stroll the sidelines as Michigan State head coach. Both teams are incredibly talented. Michigan State only suffered one loss and captured a share of the Big Ten Title. Alabama didn't have the season it hoped for as it tried to defend the national title but there are still super stars on the team. Defense will be key in this game and I believe that Bama has the better defense of the two teams. Look for the Tide to roll late in the game and pull away.
Gator Bowl 1:30 pm
Mississippi State vs Michigan
Many people believe that Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez needs a win to save his job. Michigan was once a proud program that has suffered a few setbacks since the 2007 season. Glory looked to be restored early this year when Michigan was 5-0 and Denard Robinson was the Heisman front runner. The Wolverines would stumble late in the year to finish 7-5. Mississippi State, on the other hand, quietly had a great season going 8-4. Dan Mullen was rumored to be connected to the Florida head coaching vacancy but will be at MSU for the long haul. The Bulldogs are well coached and will beat Michigan in SEC country.
Winner: Mississippi State
Rose Bowl 4:30 pm
Wisconsin vs. TCU
This is the second straight BCS bowl game for TCU after a great undefeated season. Andy Dalton is a great QB and the Horned Frogs are talented on both sides of the ball. Wisconsin can pound it up the middle on anyone and even scored 84 points in a game this season. This is a tough game to predict because both teams are so good. The key is the running game. I think the Badgers will be able to move the ball but will have difficulty stopping TCU's offense. I have to go with my gut and say that Wisconsin will do enough to survive a late fourth quarter scare.
Fiesta Bowl 8:00 pm
Oklahoma vs. UCONN
Many people believe this will be an Oklahoma blowout and UCONN doesn't deserve to be in the game at all. I guess these people forget about the Boise State upset of OU in this game a few years ago. I think it will be closer than the experts think but the Sooners will still take care of business. UCONN will put up a good fight but Oklahoma is just too strong in the end.