Saturday, December 23, 2006

Bowl picks: Free to be 0-for-3

R & L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Troy 41, Rice 17
LINE: Rice - 5 1/2
MY PICK: Rice 34-17
My Rec: 0-3

Okay I've already won a trophy at Chicago Bob's 1st Annual Memorial Golf Tournament for being The Worst Golfer this year.

Give me one reason I shouldn't be trying to add a statue for World's Worst Gambler to my mantle?

I am now oh-for-the-love-of-Pete-for-3 and my teams have gotten absolutely waxed by a combined score...are you ready for it...



To be fair I had predicted a way that the Owls could lose last night, and that prediction did come true. Let me refresh: "Troy QB Omar Haugabook...will have to be spectacular in order for the Trojans to have a chance."

Does 309 total yards and 5 combined TDs qualify as spectacular? I thought so. The elusive junior, who was the Sunbelt Conference Player of the Year, completely befuddled the clueless Rice defense, either passing over (14-28, 217 yds, 4 TDs) or running around & through (14 rushes, 92 yds, TD) the helpless unit. The Trojans were extra strong last night, and I hope they were ribbed for pleasure because the Owls certainly blog, never mind.

Troy came in averaging 21 points per game and had been allowing 345 yards of offense against it, but the rejuvenated Trojan defense held Rice down until it was garbage time and kept the nation's leading receiver in touchdowns, Jarrett Dillard, to just 9 catches for 91 yards and 1 (late) TD.

Talk about your Christmas miracle.

So my prediction went down in a ball of Haugabook, but sometimes you can't account for 1 player stepping up and carrying his team on his back while another team shits the bed worse than a patient at Shady Acres nursing home.

But I've got a chance to redeem myself today as there are three games on the schedule. Time to even my record right before the post-holiday bowl onslaught begins.

Bowl #4: 1PM ESPN 2 Bowl in Birmingham, Al.
South Florida (8-4) vs. East Carolina (7-5)
LINE: USF -5 1/2

Need to Know:
Conference newcomer USF knocked off perennial Big East power #7 West Virginia in Morgantown in the final game of the season, 24-19. Although the Bulls were in the middle of the pack offensively in the conference (23 PPG), it allowed the third lowest points against in the league (213.)

East Carolina is led by Skip Son of Lou Holtz and had a bounceback season after going 12-34 the past 4 years, including a 1-11 debacle in 2003. Not since the glory days of bombin' Jeff Blake have the Pirates enjoyed so much success.

Players to watch:
USF is led by the Big East offensive Freshman of the Year, quarterback Matt Grothe. The athletic kid from Lakeland came into the season as a backup behind incumbent Pat Julmiste but quickly took the reigns of the offense and compiled some impressive stats (3,102 total yards, 23 total TDs.) His favorite targets are speedy freshman receiver Ean Randolph (479 yds, 4TDs) and Taurus Johnson (489 yds, 5 total TDs.)

ECU's offense is fueled by the trio of QB senior QB James Pinkney (2,658 yds, 11TDs), RB Brandon Fractious (675yds, 4TDs) and WR Aundrae Allison (684 yards, 4TDs.)

Ironically both teams average exactly 22.8 PPG, 69th in the NCAA.

This is USF's second bowl appearance in its history. The Bulls lost 14-0 to NC State in last year's Meineike Car Care Bowl. ECU also lost its last bowl game- a 64-60 double OT thriller against Marshall in the 2001 GMAC Bowl.

I'm not going with my heart here just because USF is the local team down here in the Tampa Bay area. No, I'd go with the Bulls because it played the tougher schedule, has a better QB, and has been in enough big games now, including a bowl game, to know what it takes to win one like this.

But who knows, I've been wrong before.
USF 24, ECU 14

Bowl # 5 4:30P ESPN
New Mexico Bowl
New Mexico (6-6) vs. San Jose St. (8-4)
LINE: New Mexico -3

Need to Know:
The Spartans may have the better record but the Lobos have the advantage of playing in its home stadium.

Players to watch:
Lobo RB Rodney Ferguson led the Mountain West in rushing with 1132 yards and 7 TDs. The receiving tandem of Marcus Smith and Travis Brown combined for 1,571 yards and 12 TDs.

San Jose QB Adam Tafralis threw for 2975 yards and 18 TDs. His favorite target were James Jones and John Brussard, who combined for 1,525 yards and 15 TDs.

Did I mention that New Mexico was playing in its home stadium?

MY PICK: New Mexico 24, San Jose 21

Bowl # 6: 8PM ESPN
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl
Utah (7-5) vs. Tulsa (8-4)
LINE: Utah -1 1/2

Need to Know:
Tulsa led C-USA in defense. It also has one of the best nicknames in the NCAA, the Golden Hurricanes. That's all I got on this one.

Players to watch:
Tulsa all-purpose man Idris Moss was a multi-faceted threat who averaged 116 YPG as a receiver but also returned kicks and ran the ball on occasion. The solid defense is anchored by FS Bobby Blackshire (3 INTs) and DE Robert Latu.

The Utes (excuse me, did you say utes?) were led by senior QB Brent Ratliff (2256 yards, 22 TDs.) Receivers Derrek Richards & Brent Casteel combined for 1190 yards and 15 TDs.

The Utes used to be coached by Gator head honcho Urban Meyer.

MY PICK: Tulsa 30, Utah 17

No comments: