Yes, the BCS is a piece of shit. But, since we live with it we might as well get some great games out of it right? So whether your team got snubbed or you’re rooting for the underdog or you just love good football, sit back, read my predictions, and enjoy this bowl season.
THE ROSE BOWL PRESENTED BY CITI – Thursday, January 1st – 4:30pm
no. 8 Pennsylvania State University vs. no. 5 University of Southern California
Two storied football programs showdown in arguably the most historic bowl game. For USC, this will be their fourth straight Rose Bowl. For Penn State, this will be their first Rose Bowl since 1995. USC is talented as always, but their defense might be the scariest we have seen in a long time, while their offense doesn’t feature that big name offensive player like the years past. Anchored by All-American linebacker Rey Maualuga and All-American safety Taylor Mays, USC’s defense ranks 1st in the country in yards allowed with 206.1 and 1st in the country in points allowed with 7.8 a game. This is impressive as hell but, other than Ohio State (who Penn State also beat), they haven’t played a good offense yet. As for Penn State, they are playing tough Big-10 football with a strong running attack and stingy defense. Penn State senior QB Daryll Clark is a smart football player who won’t lose this game for them, but won’t win it either. USC’s defense is good, but the stats are misleading. That being said, USC is just a little better then Penn State at each position. Better defense, better quarterback play, more dynamic running attack. And in the coaching department, I give the edge to Pete Carroll (sorry, Joe Pa.) People are expecting a blow out for this game, but I think it will be closer than most think. USC still wins and remains Rose Bowl champs for the third year in a row.
USC: 31 Penn State: 21
FEDEX ORANGE BOWL – Thursday, January 1 – 8:00pm
no. 12 University of Cincinnati vs no. 19 Virginia Polytechnic
A somewhat disappointing match-up to me because I think more deserving teams should be in this game, but whatever. Cincinnati were crowned champs of the Big East in a down year. And Virginia Tech won the ACC as they have the past couple years. The Hokies of Virginia Tech have a great defense unit that allows 277.2 yards a game. But, their offense is embarrassing, ranking 107th in the country in total offense. NOT BCS MATERIAL, folks. Tech quarterbacks Tyrod Taylor and Sean Glennon could really screw up this game if the Hokies aren’t careful. Expect a lot of hand-offs to running back Darren Evans. The Cincinnati Bearcats are only slightly better on offense. They don’t have much of a run game (ranked 94th in the country in rushing yards per game) and try to beat you through the air. More particularly, beat you with wide receiver Marshwan Gilyard. Gilyard, who has 1118 yards receiving, accounts for more than half of quarterback Tony Pike’s passing yards this season. This game is going to be won in the trenches. Cincy’s run defense vs. the Hokies rushing attack. Expect a low(ish) scoring game. If Cincy can slow the Darren Evans and force their committee of quarterbacks to make a decision, expect the Bearcats to edge out the Hokies. However, the Hokies can run the ball effectively and their defense holds up against the Pike-to-Gilyard combination, expect the Hokies to squeak out a win. My money is on Cincy to win this game. They are a little more balanced and have much better leadership than the Hokies. While their defense is not as good as Va Tech’s it will hold up against this poor excuse for an offense. Despite some disappointing teams, this could be the closest BCS game not named National Championship.
CINCINNATI: 20 VIRGINA TECH: 13
ALLSTATE SUGAR BOWL – Friday, January 2 – 8:00pm
no. 6 University of Utah vs no. 4 University of Alabama
Most people have sold the Utah Utes short this season, I am one of those people. And until the last weekend of the season, Bama looked like it was going to the National Championship game. Utah remains undefeated after beating teams like Michigan, Oregon State, BYU, and TCU during the regular season, but they haven’t played an opponent like Bama. Nick Saban has built an Alabama football team that would make the Bear proud. The team centers around quarterback and captain John Parker Wilson. The real playmakers of the offense are wide receiver Julio Jones and running back tandem Glen Coffee and Mark Ingram, three players that are dangerous with the ball in their hands (25 combined TDs.) Bama’s defense is nasty, allowing only 13 points a game and 78.8 rush yards a game. Don’t expect an easy score on these guys. The Utes, simply put, don’t have the strength, speed, or experience to beat the Crimson Tide. If Utah were to even compete in this game it would have to be through the air like Florida did. And Utah quarterback Brian Johnson is no Tim Tebow. I expect Alabama to win, and win big. If Utah wins this game, it will be reminiscent of the 2007 Fiesta bowl when Boise State topped Oklahoma.
ALABAMA: 49 UTAH: 17
TOSTITOS FIESTA BOWL – Monday, January 5 – 8:00pm
no. 10 Ohio State University vs no. 3 University of Texas
Another showdown of two powerhouses, this one won’t be as close as one might think. Ohio State’s ego, and season, was crushed in a 35-3 domination by USC in southern California. Ever since then, the Buckeyes haven’t been the same. However, they managed to finish the season with a 10-2 record and have talent all around. Freshman hype machine Terrelle Pryor hasn’t disappointed this year and running back Beanie Wells and linebacker James Laurinaitis will surely be top tier draft picks next year. The Ohio State defense has played outstanding this year, giving up more than 21 points only once and holding Penn State to 13 points in a losing effort. Texas has been surrounded by controversy since they got snubbed to play in the Big 12 championship game. Many believe they should be playing in the Championship game. Quarterback Colt McCoy has been fantastic this year, he was runner-up in this year’s Heisman voting. However, the Texas defense is much like all Big 12 defenses: great rush D, terrible pass D. Texas is 2nd in the nation in rush defense and 102nd in pass defense. That anemic pass defense is Ohio State’s key to competing in this game. The Buckeyes have improved greatly since the Collision in the Coliseum embarrassment, but Texas is a great team and may be even better than USC. Ohio State’s offense will test the Texas defense early. And the Ohio State defense will stand up the explosive Texas offense during the first half. But, expect Texas to simply outlast Ohio State. I see a tale of two halves. First half score: Texas: 14 Ohio State: 7. Second half? doesn’t look good for Ohio State.
Texas: 35 Ohio State: 10
This article’s statistics found at:
espn.com, cstv.com, and chicagotribune.com