Thursday, December 24, 2009

Hawaii Bowl

I love June Jones. I was always really impressed with his Run and Shoot style offense at Hawaii. The offense wasn't predicated on the players, but rather the style of play. He was able to take just regular QB's and turn them into passing monsters and most teams had a very difficult time stopping them. Unfortunately for him, Hawaii left him kind of high and dry and so he went to SMU. This will be a big, emotional return for him. The Mustangs had a rather remarkable season. Ever since receving NCAA sanctions back in the 80's, they've struggled to say the least. Now with Jones comes new hope.

Of course getting by Nevada is going to be difficult. The Wolfpack boast a fantastic rushing game in their Pistol offense. This season they had three 1,000 yard rushers, but that's all meaningless now. The only rusher they can count on is QB Colin Kaepernick because their other two are out, one due to academic ineligibility and the other due to a toe injury. Of course I would say Kaepernick is the most dangerous one, plus he's the QB so the most vital to have. This should be a fun game to watch because of the explosive offenses. Both teams also struggle with defence so they should really run up the score. I'm predicting a 10 point victory for Nevada. I don't think the lack of their rushers will be enough to slow them down against a mediocre SMU team.

I predict the Wolfpack to win 44-34.

ESPN has this as a rather lopsided contest, but I'm not sure their computer simulations were run without the Nevada RB's.

Day 4: 1-0 Overall: 3-2

So I didn't see the game last night, but I know the Utes were down 14-0 pretty early so I'm reasonably surprised to see they came back. Definitely not happy about that, but there's always a silver lining to everything. The best part was the fact that somebody hired an airplane to fly over the stadium and taunt the Utes with a banner that read "We won. You lost. You are classless." Pretty awesome. I'm probably going to watch the game sometime today and see what I missed, sounds like it was probably a pretty decent game to watch. And as I said leading up to the game, Coach Whit really knows how to get his guys going for the bowl games. Still a pretty tame schedule for the bowl games today, only one. Then we get a day off for Christmas and I get the Christmas gift I want, 3 bowl games the next day. I love being able to watch bowl games all the time.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Poinsettia Bowl

Before the Las Vegas Bowl, I felt like I had this game pegged as well. We had seen pretty strong play from the Pac-10 this season for the most part, so it seemed only logical that they would have a good bowl season. As was mentioned about 50 times during the Las Vegas Bowl, the Pac-10 went undefeated in bowl play last season. They're off to a rough 0-1 start this season and may be in position for an 0-2. Jahvid Best is not playing for Cal and Utah proved a formidable opponent for the Pac-10 Champion Oregon Ducks.

Maybe Best being gone isn't that serious. His replacement, Shane Vereen, has been rather respectable himself. Of course the Cal season was a rather serious disappointment. Also, they were run over by the same Oregon Ducks that barely beat Utah the week before. The Golden Bears ended their season with a disappointing loss to the University of Washington. Cal coach, Jeff Tedford, has always impressed me and I've enjoyed what he's done up there for the Golden Bears. The question is, will it be enough?

Seeing BYU's drubbing of Oregon State last night gave me some serious pause about how good the Pac-10 really is. The Beavers barely lost the Civil War, yet were completely run over by the Cougars. Now maybe there are some pretty reasonable explanations to this. The wind obviously just did not work out at all for the Beavers, versus the Cougars learned to work around it. But that is part of the game and at the end of the day, the Cougars adapted better so they got the W. As I've stated, Utah really gave the Ducks a run for their money. Utah coach, Kyle Whittingham, does a really good job of getting his guys fired up for big games. There always seems to be a better intensity out of the Utes than I see out of the Cougars and I hate Whit for it. (Random side note: that's a pretty lousy picture of Coach Whit on his Wikipedia entry, but of course it's still not quite as embarrassing as this) Also, Whittingham seems to develop great game plans for situations like this and takes exactly the right risks to make everything work out for his team in these kinds of situations. Undeniably Utah has some pretty gifted athletes on offense and they still play a very intense brand of defence even after losing so many starters from last year.

Yet again, before yesterday I was all set. I was determined to pick Cal. But after reconsidering this game a bit more heavily from talking to some friends and seeing just how unimpressive the Pac-10 can be, I have to go with Utah. I think the Utes will win by a touchdown, but I hope their game looks more like the BYU game and they play the part of OSU.

I predict Utah to win 24-17.

ESPN expects this to be a close one as well, but gives a slight edge to Cal.

Day 3: 0-1 Overall: 2-2

Well I think saying I was way off on my BYU pick would be an understatement. Of course through all the "I told you so" comments I've been getting, I still didn't get anybody assuring me of a BYU victory before the game. So I'm willing to eat my humble pie and admit to mistake on that game. I can't imagine I'm liable to get one as wrong as I did on that again, so it is even more embarrassing that it was my own team that I picked against in such a fashion. Also, that was the first game I actually got to watch so that was nice. I'm going to miss out on the Poinsettia Bowl this evening, but I have it recording at home so I'll be able to watch it tomorrow. I'm going to watch the Wyoming game at some point as well because that was recorded. Bowl season is really going to start rolling shortly, I'm excited. Also, we'll see how well my prognostication goes from here. Our first multi-bowl day comes the day after Christmas. I'm excited.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Las Vegas Bowl

I'll say it right now, I think BYU is going to lose. I'm going to catch all sorts of flak for that comment from so many of my fellow Cougars about how I'm not a true fan and such, but I really don't care. This isn't about who I like as a team, this is about being objective and trying my best to make accurate picks of the bowl season. I don't think too many people care too much about what I have to say and if people actually read what I wrote for each of these games, they would probably disagree with a lot of what I have to say. So I guess I need to explain my reasoning.

First and foremost lets give Oregon State their due. The Beavers are a very strong football team that gave Pac-10 Champion, Oregon, a good run for their money. OSU has a very explosive offensive with plenty of talent in the backfield, including excellent QB play from Sean Canfield. There are definitely a lot of offensive weapons. Defence may seem a bit spottier, especially after seeing the score of the Civil War shootout.

Now on the other hand lets look at the Cougars. Obviously they have a very high power offense and an equally powerful defence when they choose to show up and play. Which defence we see tonight will have a dramatic impact on the outcome of the game. I certainly expect big games out of most of their skill players. I think one of the most telling signs is BYU's ineptitude against ranked teams, especially in the Max Hall era. Certainly the win against Oklahoma was a marquee win for any program given where they were coming from and where BYU was, however, the Cougars' performance against other ranked teams has been lackluster at best and downright abysmal against opponents such as the Utes last season. Also, OSU has a higher Sagarin Rating than any team BYU has beaten in the Bronco Mendenhall era.

Both of these teams have something to prove, but when it comes down to getting emotional and fired up for games, BYU seldom seems to find it. I think the emotion and skill crew of OSU sees the Beavers through this shootout. Expect a lot of scoring from both high powered offenses, but the OSU defence will make sure everything goes as they hope. I'm picking the Beavers by 10.

I predict a 37-27 victory for the Beavers. Please prove me wrong Cougs.

ESPN gives BYU the slight edge in this game.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Day 2: 0-1 Overall: 2-1

So I missed a pick pretty early. I can't say I'm too surprised because they were such largely inconsequential teams. My score pick was pretty close, I just had the wrong winner. Hopefully there aren't too many more of the smaller bowl games that get me like that. I'm pretty satisfied with a 2-1 and overall though and I'm excited for the bowl games to get more into the swing of things.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

New Orleans Bowl

We've come to our first bowl with an official sponsor in the name and I'm going to do my best to disregard any company that has paid enough money to have their name listed in the bowl (we're all hosed as far as the Emerald Bowl is concerned though). This is a showing of two schools that most people would rather not acknowledge even exist. Southern Miss is a team that people at least know the name somewhat, but couldn't say much of anything more. I'll bet a lot of people didn't even realize there was a Middle Tennessee State, much less name their mascot.

This is a game that I'm not expecting a whole lot of defence on, so whoever steps up to make an occasional big defence play is likely to get the win. Both power reasonably explosive offenses, but come from rather wimpy conferences. The Blue Raiders have a tendency to turn some heads it seems with every viewing I ever get of them. Of course, they're still part of the Sun Belt conference which makes them pretty lousy. I give Conference USA an edge as far as that standard. Also, this is virtually a home game for the Golden Eagles since the trip over to New Orleans is not terribly far and I think the Golden Eagles' fan base cares a lot more. The Blue Raiders certainly have something to prove, I just don't expect to see it tonight. I give the game to the Golden Eagles by less than 10.

I predict a 42-34 victory for the Golden Eagles.

ESPN thinks this will be a reasonably close one as well.

Day 1: 2-0

The picks looked like they went pretty well and no overly big surprises. I did pick Wyoming-Fresno State to be a close one and I would say double overtime qualifies for that. Rutgers beat up on UCF even more than I expected, but it was pretty lopsided as I anticipated. Unfortunately I didn't get to catch either of the games, so I really don't know a whole lot about how they played out. I'm hoping to catch at least some of the game this evening, but I've got some plans that I know will cause a conflict at least some of the time. Only one game today though, rather slow day. Should see my pick on the game up shortly.

Friday, December 18, 2009

St. Petersberg Bowl

Ready for one of the more boring bowl games? This is definitely it. You get a battle between two sets of Knights, Rutgers Scarlet Knights (they like to pretend they're fancy or something) and the University of Central Florida Knights.

I haven't seen either team play much this season and couldn't even pretend to name a player from either side off the top of my head. That being said, I still expect Rutgers to take it to UCF. Rutgers has a 4 year bowl game win streak going on that I really don't expect to see stopping this year. Coach Greg Schiano knows what he's doing up there and can get it done. It's been surprising to see him fall off as much as they have, but it's hard to argue with the bowl game record.

I predict the Scarlet Knights by 14+, 38-21 Rutgers.

ESPN's Accuscore gave this game a surprisingly close rating.

New Mexico Bowl

The first bowl game of the season is the New Mexico Bowl. Neither team is from New Mexico (of course I'm pretty sure there's only 2 in the state) and neither one is particularly good. Wyoming looked terrible for most of their season this year. And frankly, other than giving BSU a slight scare, I'm not sure Fresno State has looked all that good either.

Obviously you have to be on the lookout for Bulldog runningback Ryan Mathews. He poses a respectable threat for any team, especially for a team as lousy as Wyoming. Of course the Wyoming quarterback, Austyn Carta-Samuels, turned some heads in a lackluster MWC this season by winning freshman of the year honors.

I think Fresno State isn't all that strong this season, versus they're playing a Wyoming team that is on a serious rise. For those reasons, I give the game to the Cowboys by 3. Wyoming is going to have their work cut out for them, but I just don't see the overall play of Fresno being that good. This should have a reasonably high score because Fresno doesn't play great defence, but Wyoming is still going to have a hard time stopping Mathews. I predict a 31-28 victory for Wyoming.

For further breakdown, check out how crazy ESPN thinks I am.

Bowl Kickoff

Well today is officially the first day of the bowl games so I'm going to start up my breakdown of the bowl games again. I don't feel quite as up on college football this season even though it doesn't necessarily seem like I saw any less. We'll see how it goes. The goal is to have a breakdown of every single bowl game and my running total on my picks.