Tuesday, January 8, 2008

December 29th & 30th - 4 bowls

Now we get into the meat of the bowl season with 16 games in the next four days. Let's recap the bowls thus far...

Of the 11 games that have been played, 7 have been decided by a touchdown or less, and 5 of those seven were by a field goal or less. Even though the matchups haven't seemed glamourous on paper, the games themselves are proving to be pretty damn entertaining.

The Mountain West is 4-0, already beginning to run away with the title of most successful bowl season, and the conference runner-up Air Force hasn't even played yet.

As far as my predictions go, I'm a blistering 10 of 11 straight up and an average 6 of 11 against the spread. Let's try to keep that up, shall we?

the Meineke Car Care Bowl
Saturday, December 29th, 1:00pm
Charlotte, North Carolina
(9-3)_____Big East____232.43
Wake Forest
WeekOpponentoPtsRes, ScoreWeekOpponentoPtsRes, Score
9South Florida316.42W, 22-157Florida State200.76W, 24-21
10Rutgers146.23W, 38-194Maryland134.68W, 31-24
8Louisville106.21W, 21-178@ Navy111.26W, 44-24
4@ Pittsburgh76.94W, 34-1413@ Vanderbilt81.36W, 31-17
5Akron-140.28W, 44-1012North Carolina State34.24W, 38-18
3Temple-154.46W, 22-179North Carolina7.58W, 37-10
12Syracuse-156.53W, 30-73Army-176.10W, 21-10
1@ Duke-205.27W, 45-146@ Duke-205.27W, 41-36
2Maine-W, 38-01@ Boston College313.79L, 28-38
13@ West Virginia364.93L, 21-6611@ Clemson293.25L, 10-44
11@ Cincinnati298.97L, 3-2710@ Virginia254.75L, 16-17
7@ Virginia254.75L, 16-172Nebraska29.14L, 17-20

The Huskies & Demon Deacons are pretty evenly matched with their schedules. Wake might have a slight edge in having beaten tougher competition, but Connecticut's 3 losses were to teams at the top of the rankings.

Wake struggled at the beginning of the season, Connecticut at the end. Advantage Wake.

Intangibles: The game is in Charlotte, less than 2 hours from Wake Forest.

The Line: Connecticut +2

The Story: This has been a great season for the Huskies, and though it's not as good as last season's BCS appearance for Wake, 8-4 is nothing to frown at. Who will get the boost heading into next season?

The Call: Wake Forest by 6

The Result: Wake Forest 24-10 = Nice adjustment in the second half by the Demon Deacons - solid game overall.

the Liberty Bowl
Saturday, December 29th, 4:30pm
Memphis, Tennessee
Mississippi State
(10-3)_____Conf USA____266.42
WeekOpponentoPtsRes, ScoreWeekOpponentoPtsRes, Score
3@ Auburn294.68W, 19-148Tulsa164.04W, 44-23
9@ Kentucky208.61W, 31-1414Tulsa164.04W, 44-25
11Alabama183.77W, 17-129@ Southern Mississippi53.31W, 34-17
13Mississippi-39.22W, 17-141@ North Carolina State34.24W, 25-23
2@ Tulane-144.98W, 38-174Memphis21.53W, 56-20
6Alabama-Birmingham-232.53W, 30-1313Texas-El Paso-110.58W, 36-20
4Gardner-Webb-W, 31-1510Marshall-158.83W, 47-13
1Louisiana State460.13L, 0-455Louisiana-Lafayette-210.36W, 37-19
8@ West Virginia364.93L, 13-3811@ Alabama-Birmingham-232.53W, 45-31
7Tennessee349.37L, 21-3312@ Southern Methodist-292.91W, 49-20
12Arkansas294.50L, 31-457@ South Florida316.42L, 12-64
5@ South Carolina163.22L, 21-383Texas275.96L, 32-35
6@ East Carolina89.72L, 38-52

It's been a solid year for the Bulldogs, and even more so for the Golden Knights. Neither team has a real bad loss (UCF's to East Carolina might have looked bad in the middle of the season, but those Pirates just beat up on 10-2 Boise State). Mississippi State has the edge in wins, beating Auburn & Kentucky.

UCF is on a streak, not having lost since week 7.

The Line: Mississippi State +3

The Story: Can Kevin Smith break the season rushing record? If he does, the Knights should have the game easily in hand. If the Bulldogs can slow him down, their experience should help them keep it close.

The Call: UCF by 7

The Result: Mississippi State 10-3 = You can't help but feel good for Sylvester Croom & the Bulldogs. Not the most exciting game, as most of theirs have been this season, but they got the job done.

the Alamo Bowl
Saturday, December 29th, 8:00pm
San Antonia, Texas
Penn State
(8-4)______Big 10_____238.54
Texas A&M
(7-5)______Big 12_____130.38
WeekOpponentoPtsRes, ScoreWeekOpponentoPtsRes, Score
7Wisconsin234.68W, 38-713Texas275.96W, 38-30
8@ Indiana133.65W, 36-312Fresno State151.92W, 47-45
10Purdue126.73W, 26-196Oklahoma State112.55W, 24-23
6Iowa72.08W, 27-78@ Nebraska29.14W, 36-14
3Buffalo-89.68W, 45-243Louisiana-Monroe-29.37W, 54-14
2Notre Dame-135.92W, 31-105Baylor-139.20W, 34-10
11@ Temple-154.46W, 31-01Montana State-W, 38-7
1Florida International-322.15W, 59-010@ Oklahoma409.00L, 14-42
9Ohio State403.68L, 17-3711@ Missouri331.01L, 26-40
5@ Illinois331.14L, 20-279Kansas322.17L, 11-19
4@ Michigan235.72L, 9-147@ Texas Tech195.22L, 7-35
12@ Michigan State196.40L, 31-354@ Miami (Florida)46.59L, 17-34

Pretty similar records. The Aggies loss to Miami is the only blemish.

Both teams have had an up and down year, but the Nittany Lions are finishing on top.

Intangibles: Texas A&M is interim'd, but losing Fran might not be a bad thing. Has a weight been lifted? Which A&M team will show up?

The Line: Texas A&M +5.5

The Story: JoPa's 500th game. That's quite a few.

The Call: Penn State by 10

The Result: Penn State 24-17 = The Big 10 is holding their own so far this bowl season.

the Independence Bowl
Sunday, December 30th, 8:00pm
Shreveport, Louisiana
(6-6)______Big 12_____93.37
WeekOpponentoPtsRes, ScoreWeekOpponentoPtsRes, Score
5Oklahoma409.00W, 27-248Tennessee349.37W, 41-17
9@ Texas Tech195.22W, 31-263Arkansas294.50W, 41-38
13Nebraska29.14W, 65-516Houston111.86W, 30-24
4Miami (Ohio)-62.84W, 42-02@ Vanderbilt81.36W, 24-10
1Colorado State-109.69W, 31-287@ Mississippi-39.22W, 27-24
6@ Baylor-139.20W, 43-231Western Carolina-W, 52-6
10Missouri331.01L, 10-5510Louisiana State460.13L, 34-41
8Kansas322.17L, 14-194Georgia412.72L, 23-26
2Arizona State241.74L, 14-3313@ Auburn294.68L, 10-17
3Florida State200.76L, 6-165Florida State200.76L, 14-21
7@ Kansas State43.11L, 20-4711@ Mississippi State191.93L, 12-17
11@ Iowa State-155.31L, 28-3112Louisiana-Monroe-29.37L, 14-21

This matchup looks good in name recognition, but it's been a real down year for both these teams. Well, Colorado improved on their 2-10 season from last year. I guess that's something. Losses to Iowa State and Louisiana-Monroe, respectively, are pathetic.

Don't let that even red line in the last few weeks of the season fool you - the Crimson Tide dropped their last 4 games of the season. (The reason they didn't drop more is because the teams they played earlier in the season kept winning and the SEC as a whole won games.)

Intangibles: Saban. Back in Louisiana. This should be good.

The Line: Colorado +3.5

The Story: Can the Buffs pull together the magic that helped them beat Oklahoma? Or will Bama set up a solid start to next season?

The Call: Alabama by 7

The Result: Alabama 30-24 = Right on the money.

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