Sunday, December 09, 2007

Going Bowling

The "this season is crazy" theme has been done to death. Let me say this instead: this was the second most awesome regular season I have ever witnessed. The best, of course, was 2004, where we had six undefeated teams going into the bowls and two one-loss teams who fell only to the undefeateds. Either way, the BCS gets screwed up whenever one of the following scenarios occurs: when there is a glut of excellence (like in 2004) or when all the teams are seriously flawed (like this year).

Anyway, on to the schedule...

Poinsettia: Utah (8-4) vs. Navy (8-4). Utah was using the spread offense before most of the country. Navy is still using a goofy 50's-style option offense. That makes this game a somewhat intriguing matchup even if you're not a Utes fan (like me). Pick: Utah

New Orleans: Memphis (7-5) vs. Florida Atlantic (7-5, Sun Belt champs). Fans of ESPN's Bottom 10 will appreciate that both a F_U school and a Directional Michigan school (MAC champions Central Michigan) made the postseason. Pick: FAU

Papa John's: Southern Miss (7-5) vs. Cincinnati (9-3). I love a season where it seems perfectly reasonable to put Conference USA's 6th team against the Big East's 3rd. Pick: Cincy

New Mexico: Nevada (6-6) vs. New Mexico (8-4). You gotta love those bowls that exist for the sole purpose of getting the hometown team into a bowl, sorta like what the Boise-based Humanitarian Bowl was before both it and BSU moved on to greener pastures. Pick: New Mexico

Las Vegas: UCLA (6-6) vs. #17 Brigham Young (10-2, MWC champs). Blowout alert. Incidentally, when did the Las Vegas bowl begin resembling a major bowl? Pick: BYU

Hawaii: #24 Boise State (10-2) vs. East Carolina (7-5). Bobby Henderson (Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster founder) famously blamed global warming on a decline of pirates. I'd say that this matchup is exactly the kind of cruelty to Pirates that Henderson warned about. Pick: BSU

Motor City: Purdue (7-5) vs. Central Michigan (8-5, MAC champs). I know nothing about either of these teams. Screw it, I'm flipping a coin. Pick: Purdue

Holiday: #11 Arizona State (10-2) vs. #17 Texas (9-3). I would have loved to see Texas get matched up with Hawaii - that way we could have two quarterbacks named "Colt" play each other. Pick: ASU

Champs Sports: #14 Boston College (10-3) vs. Michigan State (7-5). BC was a win away from playing in the BCS, and now they're in the Champs Sports Bowl? College football is a cruel, cruel world. Pick: BC

Texas: Texas Christian (7-5) vs. Houston (8-4). Wow, this bowl is appropriately named. TCU is one of the two teams I have seen play live, and I was unimpressed. Of course, that could be because they were playing current #17 BYU in Provo. Pick: TCU

Emerald: Maryland (6-6) vs. Oregon State (8-4). Terrapins and Beavers - it's the Least Intimidating Mascot Bowl! Winner gets to face either the Oregon Ducks or the UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs! Anyway, I think the Emerald Bowl organizers picked the wrong 6-6 team - they should have gone with South Carolina. Pick: Oregon State

Meineke: #25 Connecticut (9-3) vs. Wake Forest (8-4). I wonder how many people call up the Bank of America Stadium's ticket office and say "I'm NOT gonna pay a lot for this ticket!" Anyway, UConn coach Jim Calhoun is gonna have to come up with a way of stopping Wake forward James Johnson if they want to... wait, this is a football game? Pick: UConn

Liberty: Central Florida (10-3, C-USA champs) vs. Mississippi State (7-5). Notre Dame fans, answer me this: who would you rather have coaching now, resume stretcher and UCF program savior George O'Leary? Or Charlie "3-9" Weis? Pick: UCF

Alamo: Penn State (8-4) vs. Texas A&M (7-5). I think I trust a coach who's been with his program since the Cretaceous Era over some guy hired a month before the game. Pick: Penn State

Independence: Alabama (6-6) vs. Colorado (6-6). Remember when this bowl used to have Poulan Weed Eater as its title sponsor? PetroSun just doesn't have the same ring. Pick: Colorado

Armed Forces: California (6-6) vs. Air Force (9-3). Wow, Cal just fell off a cliff after beating Oregon, didn't they? I kind of feel sorry for DeSean Jackson - I wonder what kind of numbers he'd be putting up if he didn't have Nate Longshore as his QB... Pick: Air Force

Humanitarian: Georgia Tech (7-5) vs. Fresno State (8-4). The only relevant question for this game: who knows how to play football on a ridiculous blue field? Pick: Fresno State

Sun: Oregon (8-4) vs. #21 South Florida (9-3). I don't know what's more amazing - the extent to which both of these teams yakked away their title hopes or the fact that the words "South Florida" and "title hopes" could be mentioned in the same sentence with a straight face. Anyway, Oregon is the quintessential one-man team, and that one man is injured. Pick: USF

Music City: Kentucky (7-5) vs. Florida State (7-5). FSU is one of five Florida teams to make the postseason. Miami (5-7) is not among them. What the hell is going on? Anyway, I looked at this matchup and said, "Oh, this won't be close, Kentucky will kill 'em." It's a bizarre season, folks. Pick: Kentucky

Copper/Insight: Indiana (7-5) vs. Oklahoma State (6-6). In this crazy, crazy season, we only know two things for sure: Mike Gundy is a man. He's 40. So go after him. Pick: Indiana

Peach/Chick-fil-A: #15 Clemson (9-3) vs. #23 Auburn (8-4). I think these two teams are the same - wildly inconsistent teams nicknamed "Tigers." I can't pick this. Anyway, the winner of this game will be determined not by the team with more points after 60 minutes but by which team can eat mor chikin. Pick: Auburn

Hall of Fame/Outback: #16 Tennessee (9-4) vs. #18 Wisconsin (9-3). You can't spell "Outback" without UT either. Pick: Wisconsin

Cotton: #6 Missouri (11-2) vs. Arkansas (8-4). Missouri risks the "we got hosed" letdown that kills pretty much every team that feels like they got the shaft from the BCS committee (see Michigan last year, Cal the year before that). But they're facing a headless horseman in Arkansas. Pick: Missouri

Gator: Texas Tech (8-4) vs. #20 Virginia (9-3). Can a team that lost to Wyoming stop the Mike Leach Express? I don't see Virginia putting up 50 points, which you almost have to do if you play the Red Raiders. Pick: Texas Tech

Citrus/Capital One: Michigan (8-4) vs. #12 Florida (9-3). A coachless team that lost to Appalachian State faces a talented team with a Heisman winner playing a two hour drive from home? Stranger things have happened, but I just don't see it. Pick: Florida

International: Rutgers (7-5) vs. Ball State (7-5). Heh heh... I said "ball." Pick: Rutgers

GMAC: Bowling Green (8-4) vs. Tulsa (9-4). Do you trust the team that can't beat Ohio? Or the team that can't beat UTEP? Pick: Tulsa

Rose: #7 Southern California (10-2, Pac-10 champs) vs. #13 Illinois (9-3). Illinois beat Ohio State and lost to Iowa. USC beat Arizona State and lost to Stanford. Welcome to the 2007 college football season, folks. Pick: USC

Sugar: #5 Georgia (10-2) vs. #10 Hawaii (12-0, WAC champs). The unstoppable force (Hawaii's run-and-shoot offense) meets the immovable object (Georgia's defense). I think Knowshon Moreno can eat enough clock to keep Colt Brennan off the field and keep Hawaii's scoring down. Pick: Georgia

Orange: #3 Virginia Tech (11-2, ACC champs) vs. #8 Kansas (11-1). Dude, Orange Bowl committee - you picked the wrong Big 12 team. VT-Mizzou would actually be interesting. I just don't see Kansas handling VT. They sure can beat up on Nebraska though. Also worth noting: the computers picked Virginia Tech as their #1 over an LSU team that destroyed them early in the year. This amuses me. Pick: VT

Fiesta: #4 Oklahoma (11-2, Big 12 champs) vs. #9 West Virginia (10-2, Big East champs). A lot of these season-ending choke jobs have been brought on by star quarterbacks getting injured - Oregon and both of these teams can reasonably blame a poorly-timed injury for their collapses. But Oklahoma gagged against a good team on the road. West Virginia? No such excuse. Pick: Oklahoma

National Championship: #1 Ohio State (11-1, Big Ten champs) vs. #2 LSU (11-2, SEC champs). For some reason, I always get LSU DT Glenn Dorsey and '40s Big Band leader Tommy Dorsey mixed up. Also former Miami QB Ken Dorsey. And I live on Dorsey Lane. Anyway, LSU's defense hasn't been the same since Dorsey's tailbone injury. Ohio State isn't that good, but they're good enough to be the champs... this year. Now we can start the next argument - is the winner of this game the worst college football champion ever? Pick: Ohio State


Mike said...

The answer: probably. But I think LSU is good enough to become the second SEC team in a row to dash the overrated Buckeyes' title hopes. That's really my only notable disagreement with you, other than you never pick against a service academy (go Navy!).

And, wow. Sometimes it takes a list to make you realize just how many ridiculous frickin' bowl games there are.

Matthew B. Novak said...