December 31, 2005

Frinklin Bowl Forecaster Vol. 3

Hey, has anyone noticed how lousy I've been at picking these games?

Meineke Car Care Bowl
South Florida (6-5) vs. North Carolina State (6-5)
What the hell is the Meineke Car Care Bowl? Apparently this is in Charlotte, which would explain why a lousy NC State team was chosen over a pretty good Boston College team. USF is here because it couldn’t close the deal and wrap up the most inexplicable BCS berth in history. NC State, despite Chuck Amato’s rep as a great recruiter, hasn’t won anything since Phillip Rivers left. USF, under fine coach Jim Leavitt, is a school on the rise. Both teams are erratic.
The Pick: South Florida 14, NC State 10
Watch it? If you can say, “I need to watch the Meineke Bowl!” out loud and not feel ashamed of yourself, go for it.

Houston Bowl
Iowa State (7-4) vs. TCU (10-1)
Can we puh-leeze just call this the Bluebonnet Bowl? How can you not like the Bluebonnet Bowl? Houston Bowl is so damned plain, while Bluebonnet Bowl makes you cock one eyebrow and ask, “What the fuck is a Bluebonnet Bowl?” The current name just makes you say, “Feh… another bowl.”
As for the game? An up-and-down team Iowa State team versus this year’s best non-BCS league team. The Horned Frogs are good (just ask Oklahoma), but the Cyclones can run the ball with Stevie Hicks and Bret Myer is coming around. TCU always brings it for Big 12 foes. If ISU does too, this should be good.
The Pick: TCU 24, Iowa State 21
Watch it? Only if you promise to think “Bluebonnet Bowl” while you watch.

Liberty Bowl
Tulsa (8-4) vs. Fresno State (8-4)
Fresno State stumbled pretty badly after the loss to USC, but they are still good enough –and entertaining enough- to make this worthwhile. Behind QB Paul Pinegar, the Bulldogs put up 38 points a game. Tulsa isn’t far behind at 33 points. The Golden Hurricane are a great story. Coach Steve Kragthorpe, who will get some offers from bigger schools soon, has resurrected the program.
The Pick : Fresno State 38, Tulsa 34
Watch it? If you’re on the West coast and feel like getting up to watch a game at 10 AM on New Years Eve, sure. It should be fun.

Cotton Bowl
Texas Tech (9-2) vs. Alabama (9-2)
The poor mutilated Cotton Bowl. If there were any justice in college football, this game would be returned to former heights and made a BCS bowl. Even in its weakened form, this bowl gets some gems with SEC and Big 12 tie-ins, and this is one of the best. The offense-crazy Red Raiders face the best defense they’ll have seen in Alabama. The question is what the opposite units will do. Alabama’s offense, even without stud wideout Tyrone Prothro, is better then Tech’s defense. In the junior version of this bowl (Kansas vs. Houston in the Fort Worth Bowl), defense waxed offense 42-13. The result will be the same here, but the score much closer.
The Pick: Alabama 24, Texas Tech 20
Watch it? It’s New Year’s Day –well, sorta- what else are you gonna be doing? This should be one of the best games of the day.

Outback Bowl
Iowa (7-4) vs. Florida (8-3)
This could be called the “Expectations Bowl”. Both the Hawkeyes and Gators figured to be in the Rose Bowl hunt this season, but it didn’t work out for either. However, a win here could help catapult either team into the 2006 hunt. A win here validates Urban Meyer’s first year in Gainesville. For Iowa, this could help Drew Tate enter the 2006 Heisman race early.
The Pick: Florida 27, Iowa 17
Watch it? A possible 2007 Fiesta Bowl preview? Absolutely.

Gator Bowl
Virginia Tech (10-2) vs. Louisville (9-2)
Before Brian Brohm’s injury this would be have been my favorite non-Rose Bowl matchup. Without Brohm the Gator is still a pretty sweet matchup of very good teams. Hokie QB Marcus Vick has struggled since the Miami game, and it will be interesting to see him up against Cardinal DE Elvis Dumervil, quite simply the best pass rusher in college football. The Cardinals will struggle to score against Tech’s defense; it will be up to tailback Michael Bush to keep pressure off Brohm replacement Hunter Cantwell. Bush might even line up at his high school position now and then.
The Pick: Virginia Tech 27, Louisville 14
Watch it? Yeah, but it won’t be the same without Brohm. Another game between teams readying for 2006.

Capitol One Bowl
Auburn (9-2) vs. Wisconsin (9-2)
Speaking of teams thinking about next year’s national championship…. One has to include the Auburn Tigers, who have shown stretches of dominance comparable to last year’s undefeated squad. Wisconsin would like to send Coach/AD Barry Alvarez out with a bang, but it will be difficult against a very good Tiger team.
The Pick: Auburn 34, Wisconsin 21
Watch it? This might be the weakest of the days games, so feel free to skip it.

Fiesta Bowl
Notre Dame (9-2) vs. Ohio State (9-2)
Hey, we’ve struck BCS! This might not be the Rose Bowl, but it will be impossible to pass up these two legendary programs going up against each other. It’s a hell of a match up, and as much as I wanted Oregon to snatch a second bid for the Pac-10, they aren’t as good as either team. Notre Dame, with Brady Quinn throwing to a huge wideout tandem of Jeff Samardzija and Maurice Stovall, will have to tangle with Lombardi Award winner AJ Hawk and a rock-solid Buckeye defense. The question is: Can the Irish defense stop Ted Ginn and Santonio Holmes? Can the OSU coaching staff get Ginn the ball? Should be fun…
The Pick: Ohio State 28, Notre Dame 21
Watch it? Only the Rose Bowl is more of a game than this one.

Sugar Bowl
Georgia (10-2) vs. West Virginia (10-1)
This is a special Atlanta edition of the Sugar Bowl, featuring two teams that, going into the season, really didn’t figure to be here. Georgia replaced a ton of talent including NFL first rounders David Pollack and Thomas Davis, while WVU had to replace record setting quarterback Rasheed Marshall. Both have done very well. Senior DJ Shockley who has shown why Coach Mark Richt was so high on him for so long leads the Bulldogs. The Mountaineers broke in a freshman QB (Pat White) and a pair of freshman RB (Jason Gwaltney and Steve Slaton), and all three look like future stars.
The Pick:Georgia 17, West Virginia 14
Watch it? If not completely burned out after a day of football, this match-up should be fun to watch.

Orange Bowl
Penn State (10-1) vs. Florida State (8-4)
I hate any college bowl game after New Year’s Day, but especially this one. What is the point of this game? Would it really kill anyone other than the TV network to put two BCS games on simultaneously? I always loved having to make the choice between the Sugar and Orange after the Rose Bowl finished. This game is… well, the Orange is a nice match up of the two winningest coaches alive, but on the field... I dunno. Penn State is one last-second blown coverage away from unbeaten, while FSU has been up and down all year.
The Pick: Penn State 24, Florida State 17
Watch it It is a better match-up than I’d like to admit, but I skip this game on principle.

Rose Bowl
USC (12-0) vs. Texas (12-0)
Is this the Game of the Century? Maybe, but it stuns me to think that Pete Carroll and Mack Brown could be coaching in GotC. Don’t mistake me, both teams are really, really good. This game will hinge on one thing: Can either team come up with someone to hurt the opposition when they concentrate on stopping the obvious. The Trojans will throw everything against Vince Young. The Longhorns will do the same against Reggie Bush. Whichever team has someone else step up big will win this game. I say its USC, because Leinart, White, Jarrett and company are better than anybody not named Young for Texas.
The Pick: USC 31, Texas 28
Watch it? The biggest game in college football in decades? Yeah… why not?

Posted by Frinklin at December 31, 2005 12:00 AM | TrackBack
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