Friday, December 29, 2006

Big day of Bowling: 5 games on tap

In light of the new & improved leaf I am turning over, starting today I am going to a new format for the rest of the bowl season.

No more long-winded soliloquies for marginal teams playing in meaningless bowls; it's going to be quick hits using my first instincts and don't think too much about the consequences. Kind of like speed dating for degenerates.

McConaughey eat your heart out.

Ready, begin:

Bowl #13
Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl
Clemson (8-4) vs. Kentucky (7-5)
: Clemson -10

Need to Know:
Clemson was one of the best teams in the country until 3 losses in the last 4 games brought the Tigers crashing back to earth. Still it possesses one of the best offenses in the country: 9th in scoring (34 PPG) and 15th in yards (418/game.)

Kentucky had a bounceback year after going 9-25 the past three seasons, but it is still a far cry from an excellent football team. The Wildcats were one of the worst defenses in the country, ranking 118th out of 119 D1 schools. Gulp.

Star Power:
The Tigers boast one of the best running back tandems in the nation: dazzling freshman CJ Spiller (914 yards, 10 TDs) and powerful sophomore James Davis (1,134 yards, 17 TDs.) QB Will Proctor is serviceable, and he has a nice target to look for downfield, WR Chansi Stuckey.
Kentucky's offense begins and ends with QB Andre Woodson (3216 yards, 28 TDs) one of the better quarterbacks nobody's heard of. His favorite target is junior WR Keenan Burton (1,006 yds, 12 TDs)

What should happen:
Plenty of scoring but more from the Tigers. I can't forget the game against Georgia Tech when Spiller (116 yards) and Davis (216 yards) ran roughshod over the helpless Jackets en route to a 31-7 beatdown. With Kentucky's porous defense there should be more of the same. UK will score some points as well, but Clemson will prevail.
MY PICK: Clemson 38, Kentucky 24

Bowl #14
Brut Sun Bowl
Oregon State (9-4) vs. Missouri (8-4)
: OSU -3 1/2

Need to Know:
Mizzou started strong this year, jumping out to a 7-1 start. But a late swoon (dropped 3 of 4) crashed the Tiger bandwagon and sent them to old El Paso.

OSU meanwhile had the opposite season. The Beavers won 7 of its last 8 including victories over USC, arch rival Oregon and at Hawaii.

Star Power:
The Beavers are kind of like Cal-like. Quarterback Matt Moore can run the offense capably (2666 yards, 14 TDs6 INTs), RB Yvenson Bernard has an odd name but a great game (1210 yards, 12 TDs) and WR Sammie Stroughter is like DeSean Jackson-lite, a dangerous receiver (1206 yards, 4TDs) and kick returner (3 TDs); ask the Trojans about his 70 yard punt return TD in the Beavers 33-312 win in late October.

Mizzou is led by sophomore QB Chase Daniel. His 3,197 yards and 26 TDs were both good for 10th in the nation. His favorite receiver is Will Franklin (829 yards, 6TDs) but Daniel spreads it around in the Tigers' spread offense.

What should happen:
OSU ended the season on a high note with an upset of Hawaii when it denied QB Colt Brennan the all-time single-season touchdown record. The wins over USC and Oregon also proved that this team is a force to be reckoned with.
My instincts tell me that Mizzou will put up a good fight but it will not be able to contain all of the Beavers' potent weapons (please, no dirty jokes here.)
MY PICK: Oregon State 31, Mizzou 27

Bowl #15
AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Houston (10-3) vs. South Carolina (7-5)
: So Carolina -5 1/2

Need to Know:
Spurrier's Gamecocks had a decent season but they still can't win the big game, as losses to Tennessee, Florida, Arkansas, Auburn and Georgia attest to. Sure they almost beat the Gators, but last time I checked they weren't playing horseshoes, so almost doesn't count.

Meanwhile the Cougars had a terrific season; the won Conference USA and have a great quarterback leading a high-scoring offense.

Star Power:
Houston QB Kevin Kolb brought back memories of a couple of former Cougar signal callers, David Klingler & Andre Ware. The senior threw for 3,423 yards and 27 touchdowns with only 3 INTs helping the Houston offense score 33 PPG, 11th in the NCAA.

His favorite targets are Donnie Avery ( 780 yds, 5 TDs) and Vincent Marshall (778 yds, 6 TDs.)

The Cocks are led by QB Blake Mitchell, who had a great target in receiver Sidney Rice (951 yards, 9 TDs.) South Carolina also likes to run the ball with RB Cory Boyd (729 yards, 6TDs.)

What should happen:
Houston has a great passing offense, So Car has a great pass defense (10 TD passes allowed), so once again, something's gotta give. I just don't think the Gamecocks are that strong, something about them makes them fold under pressure. Maybe it's the fact that they have a gigantic asshole coaching them.
Look for a lot of scoring, but I like the Cougars to defeat the Cocks.
MY PICK: Houston 34, So. Carolina 31

Bowl #16
Insight Bowl
Texas Tech (7-5) vs. Minnesota (6-6)
: Tech -7

Need to know:
Tech has the 3rd ranked passing offense in the nation, Minny has the nation's 115th pass defense. Uh-oh.

Star Power:
The latest in a long line of great Red Raider passers is Graham Harrell. He only threw for 4, 110 yards and 36 TDs. His two favorite receivers, Joel Filani and Robert Johnson, combined for 1,912 yards and 22 TDs.

Minny likes to run and the featured back in their attack is Amir Pinnix (great name) Pinnix had 1,093 yards and 9 TDs, and his backup Alex Daniels also chipped in with 5 TDs.

What should happen:
Minny will run, Tech will throw. Which will be more effective? I always like the aerial attack team, so I'm going with the high-flying Red Raiders in this one.
MY PICK: Texas Tech 37, Minny 28

Bowl #17
Champs Sports Bowl
Purdue (8-5) vs. Maryland (8-4)
: Purdue -1

Need to Know:
This is one of the more unattractive bowl games out there. No star power, no great coaches, no one cares.

Star Power:
The QBs are the keys to both offenses. Purdue is led by soph Curtis Painter, who had 3,721 yards and 21 TDs but also 18 INTs.

Maryland has erratic senior Scott Hollenbach at the helm. He was good for 2,148 yards, but his 11TD, 10 INT ratio is not something to write home about.

What should happen:
If everyone can stay awake for this one there should be some points scored, although I truthfully have no opinion or idea about who will win. I'm going to go with Tubby Friedgen's Terps, only because I've seen them more and really know nothing about the Boilermakers (I know, McConaughey's character would NEVER admit to such blasphemy.)
MY PICK: Maryland 27, Purdue 24

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