Monday, December 10, 2012

College Football 2012 - Ranking the Bowls

35.  Little Caesars Pizza Bowl - Western Kentucky Hilltoppers  vs Central Michigan Chippewas - A mediocre Sun Belt team against a mediocre MAC team.  Tune in to see Antonio Andrews and Zurlon Tipton and their combined 3,000 yards rushing.

34.  Armed Forces Bowl - Rice Owls vs Air Force Falcons - One of two bowls pitting 6-6 teams against each other, expect the forward pass to be absent for most of this game.  If you want a player to watch, Rice QB Taylor McHargue is a developing dual-threat that has Owl fans excited.

33. Liberty Bowl - Iowa State Cyclones vs Tulsa Golden Hurricane - A re-match of the season opener won 38-23 by Iowa State. Tulsa is probably in a better place now, so the result could be much different. But not a lot of people cared the first time, so why play it again?

32. New Orleans Bowl - East Carolina Pirates vs Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns - Two teams that are probably better than their name recognition.  The Pirates tied UCF for the C-USA East lead but lost out on the tie-breaker.  LA-Lafayette closed by winning 4 out of 5, with the only loss being the heart-breaker to Florida on the blocked punt.

31.  BBVA Compass Bowl - Pittsburgh Panthers vs Ole Miss Rebels - The other bowl matching 6-6 squads but both are playing well at season's end.  Ole Miss should have beat LSU and features an exciting but unknown quarterback in Bo Wallace.

30.  Hawaii Bowl - SMU Mustangs vs Fresno State Bulldogs - Fresno State is a really good football team and co-champs of the Mountain West.  A match-up against a 6-6 team from Conference-USA seems like a mis-match and I wish Fresno would have drawn a better opponent.  On the bright side, Hawaii is a darn good destination and one that might provide enough distractions to make this a close game.

29.  Texas Bowl - Texas Tech Red Raiders vs Minnesota Golden Gophers - The Red Raiders annual November slide makes this game even less intriguing.  The fact that the Gophers made a bowl is a great achievement for them in 2012 based on expectations.  I am just likely to pass on this one.

28. Sun Bowl - USC Trojans vs Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets - Nobody wants to watch a 6-7 team in a bowl, regardless of the circumstances. And frankly, USC has been almost unwatchable as of late. At least if Matt Barkley plays there is some intrigue for his amateur finale.

27.  Heart of Dallas Bowl - Oklahoma State Cowboys vs Purdue Boilermakers - Yes, Purdue did win 3 straight to become bowl-eligible and the Cowboys are just 7-5 after close losses to Oklahoma and Baylor.  I still think Oklahoma State is a huge favorite and this is one of the top candidates for Bowl Blowout.

26.  Belk Bowl - Cincinnati Bearcats vs Duke Blue Devils - It is good to see Duke in a bowl, even at 6-6.  Cincinnati has had the coaching-carousel hit them, a distraction that takes the luster off a very successful season.  I wonder what Nick Van Exel and Bobby Hurley think of this one?

25.  Beef O'Brady's Bowl - Ball State Cardinals vs UCF Golden Knights - The Cardinals closed with 6 straight wins and are definitely fun to watch.  UCF lost the C-USA Championship Game in overtime.  I think this one is going to be entertaining.

24.  Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl - Arizona State Sun Devils vs Navy Midshipmen - Military academies are never fun to play with their complex running games an multitude of players they throw at you.  With time to prepare, it shouldn't be too much for the Sun Devils, but Navy is the best of the academies this year.  Todd Graham tries to cap off a successful first season at Arizona State and might even stay for another year.

23.  New Mexico Bowl - Arizona Wildcats vs Nevada Wolfpack - One of my top candidates amongst these games to blow up the scoreboard.  The Matt Scott-Ka'deem Carey vs Cody Fajardo-Stefphon Jefferson combination will be a fun one to watch. 

22.  Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl - TCU Horned Frogs vs Michigan State Spartans - On the other end of the spectrum, this game is one of my top candidate to put the scoreboard operator to sleep.  The Spartans defense has kept them in games all year while the offense struggled, making most of their games ugly.  TCU doesn't mind playing a little ugly itself.

21.  IndependenceBowl - Louisiana-Monroe Redhawks vs Ohio Bobcats - At one point this season, a little more was expected from both of these teams.  In the end, neither had the defensive make-up to contend in their respective conferences, but a Tyler Tettleton vs Kolton Browning match-up should still be fun.

20.  Poinsettia Bowl - San Diego State Aztecs vs BYU Cougars - Essentially a home game for the Aztecs, the Mountain West co-champs will try and extend BYU's 2012 misery in games against good opponents.  The Cougar defense has been it's calling card, while San Diego State won with balance on both sides.

19.  Las Vegas Bowl - Boise State Broncos vs Washington Huskies - For a third straight year Boise State will try to thump a PAC-12 foe after missing out on the BCS.  Washington had recovered from a tough early schedule, but a mysterious loss to rival Washington State doesn't exude much confidence going up against the Broncos.  This may not be quite the same Boise State model from recent seasons, but they are still darn good.

18. Bowl - Kent State Golden Flash vs Arkansas State Red Wolves - This game would have ranked a little higher if not for the exodus of both coaches.  Even so, there is a lot of talent on these teams and this should be a fun one to watch.  Ryan Aplin is a good dual-threat quarterback for Arkansas State and Kent State gives us one of College Football's most exciting players in the diminutive Dri Archer.

17.  Russell Athletic Bowl - Rutgers Scarlett Knights vs Virginia Tech Hokies - Rutgers was a quarter away from the BCS and has to be reeling from dropping their final two games to miss out.  Virginia Tech is one of the seasons biggest disappointments and Logan Thomas is an enigma.  That being said, I think this one looks like a close game on paper an the Hokies can try and avoid an 0-3 black-eye vs the Big East this year.

16.  Music City Bowl - Vanderbilt Commodores vs NC State Wolfpack - It is too bad this Vandy team couldn't escape the "Hometown" Bowl, as at season's end they were playing really, really good football.  The perk of being in the SEC I guess.  The Wolfpack are so up-and-down you never know what is going to happen, but they did beat Florida State this year so anything is possible.

15.  Military Bowl - San Jose State Spartans vs Bowling Green Falcons - This is my 2nd favorite match-up of non-BCS teams after both coaches flew the coup in Kent State vs Arkansas State. The Spartans beat BYU and Louisiana Tech to close their season and Bowling Green features a stout defense with a nice pass rush. The Falcons were a step below the MAC elite, but this should be one of two good WAC-MAC match-ups.
14.  Famous Idaho Potato Bowl - Utah State Aggies vs Toledo Rockets - The best of the non-BCS match-ups is also a WAC-MAC tilt on the blue turf.  Utah State lost two games by 5 points total to BYU and Wisconsin or they would be in the Orange Bowl.  Toledo can put up points fast, but can also give them up fast as well.  Look for Chuckie Keaton and Kerwynn Williams to be salivating.
13.  Gator Bowl - Northwestern Wildcats vs Mississippi State Bulldogs - The Wildcats shrunk in a few big games, otherwise this team competed with the top of the Big 10 all season and comes in on a much better note than fading Mississippi State.  Still, its the SEC vs the Big 10 and Northwestern has yet to prove it has any post-season moxie.

12.  Pinstripe Bowl - Syracuse Orange vs West Virginia Mountaineers - Call this the Irony Bowl, as in their first year outside the Big East, West Virginia gets to face an old conference foe in the post-season.  Ryan Nassib and Geno Smith should provide plenty to watch here.  Also, when the ball gets in Tavon Austin's hands for the Mountaineers, stop and pay attention.

11.  Alamo Bowl - Texas Longhorns vs Oregon State Beavers - The Alamo Bowl is jumping for joy at having Texas, but the truth is that this Longhorn team isn't that great.  The quarterback position is now getting messy and they haven't run the ball well lately either.  The Beavers over-achieved this year and could take advantage and ambush the Alamo.

10.  Holiday Bowl - Baylor Bears vs UCLA Bruins - I always feel the Holiday Bowl could be re-named the Offensive-Explosion Bowl (although recent scores have been rather tame) and adding Baylor to the mix this year should get us to that result.  Plus we get to settle once-and-for-all which is tougher, a Bear or its cousin, the Bruin.

 9.  Sugar Bowl - Florida Gators vs Louisville Cardinals - Teddy Bridgewater is an exciting young quarterback, but this match-up doesn't excite me.  The Gators faced the toughest schedule in the country and their one bad game cost them a sweeter prize.  They might be the best team in the SEC this year and getting to face the Big East champion doesn't seem all that fair.

 8.  Outback Bowl - Michigan Wolverines vs South Carolina Gamecocks - The Wolverines have shrunk in almost every big game this year and South Carolina will be ready under the Old Ball Coach to take it to them.  Denard Robinson is finishing his career as a dangerous running back, giving Michigan an added weapon to the arsenal.  The SEC has dominated the Big 10 head-to-head recently and if you haven't seen Jadeveon Clowney, you might want to have a look.

 7.  Capitol One Bowl - Georgia Bulldogs vs Nebraska Cornhuskers - A little luster was taken off this match-up with the mysterious meltdown the Cornhuskers displayed in the Big 10 Championship.  Georgia has the speed to expose the edges like Wisconsin did, so Nebraska better fix things fast.  The Bulldogs have to clear the mental hurdle of being so close to the BCS Championship Game and falling short.

 6.  Chick Fil-A Bowl - Clemson Tigers vs LSU Tigers - It is a battle of Tigers, but it is also one last chance for the ACC to prove it can play with the SEC.  An embarrassing 0-4 head-to-head record in the final week of the regular season included losses by the top 2 ACC teams against their rivals from the SEC.  LSU might be a little disappointed to be in this bowl, so Clemson should have a punchers chance if Tajh Boyd brings his gloves to the ring. 

 5.  Rose Bowl - Stanford Cardinal vs Wisconsin Badgers - Nobody really wanted to see an 8-5 team in the Rose Bowl, but the game has added intrigue with Badger legend Barry Alvarez assuming the coaching duties for the game.  Stanford has played like a top 5 team as of late, but now must deal with a re-energized team and their 3-0 Rose Bowl Coach.  You want physical football?  Tune in New Year's Day for this slobberknocker.

 4.  Orange Bowl - Northern Illinois Huskies vs Florida State Seminoles - There was a lot of discussion about the worthiness of the Huskies for a BCS Bowl.  I like that they get their chance and who better to prove it against than the chronically underachieving Seminoles.  So Oklahoma got left out of the BCS, so did Florida, Texas A&M, Georgia and LSU because of the stupid rules that were put in place years ago.  Just enjoy Jordan Lynch (David) vs Florida State (Goliath).

 3.  Cotton Bowl - Oklahoma Sooners vs Texas A&M Aggies - Not as delicious as Texas/Texas A&M would have been, but these are still former Big 12 rivals.  The added bonus will be a freshman Heisman Trophy winner that has taken the College Football world by storm (and quickly caught the eye of Jabesblog already by Weeks 3&4).  I expect the scoreboard to light up in this one.

 2.  Fiesta Bowl - Oregon Ducks vs Kansas State Wildcats - If not for a fateful Saturday Night in November, these two teams would be meeting for the BCS Championship.  The Ducks have only been slowed down that one time all season and this game will give us one final look at the magic of Collin Klein.  Points should be no problem in this one either.

 1.  BCS National Championship - Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs Alabama Crimson Tide - Two polarizing teams with heaps of tradition meet in the penultimate BCS National Championship Game.  Defense will be the name of the game and how ironic would it be if the SEC's streak was broken by a team without a conference?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Let me know your feedback...