Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Bowl Primer: Early Edition

The 5 Match-Ups I'm most excited about: I have a (not-so) secret crush on the PAC-10 this year, and it shows on my list of games I want to see. I do not think they'll clean up in the post-season, I just want to watch the fireworks!

  • 1. The Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. Oregon - I love this Oregon team. They're quick, strong, lightening fast and VERY different from that week one clod we all saw play Boise State. The Bucks aren't too bad themselves, but suffer from poor perception. They're tough and defensive which translates to most unschooled fans as "boring." But, to folks in the know, they create a very interesting match-up. Can the Buckeyes' buttoned-down style set the pace of the game, or will Pryor be playing from behind? My biggest fear, though, is that the Ducks' speed closely mirrors that of an SEC team and that could (and has) spell trouble for OSU. It'll come down to what the Bucks can do against Oregon's defense.

  • 2. Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Tennessee vs. Virginia Tech - Finally, the Bristol Bowl. The Hokies are the ACC team that most closely resembles an SEC team, and they'll need to play like one to contain a resurgent Vols squad in the GA Dome. Tech lost by 10 to 'Bama, but that doesn't mean much now considering that same team just blasted Florida by 3 TD's. The Hokies will be able to contain much of what UT throws at them, so the key to this game will be what Tech accomplishes against Monte Kiffin's defense. Look back to the Nebraska-VA Tech game for a blueprint of what this game could be like.

  • 3. Holiday Bowl: Arizona vs. Nebraska - This should be called the Schizophrenia Bowl, because it depends on which personality shows up for each team and what particular advice the voices in their heads give them. Seriously, this could range from a 13-10 slug fest to a New Year's shootout. And, that's the exciting part: seeing what unfolds. A key match-up to watch will be Suh against the Wildcat O-line and how Foles handles the pressure. He's a tough kid that could live through the beating and make just enough plays to turn the game...

  • 4. Meineke Bowl: Pitt vs. UNC - I know this looks like a boring game to most of you, but there's something about it that intrigues me. Never look past a Butch Davis defense with a month to prepare...especially one stacked against the questionable coaching of the 'Stache. Hopefully we'll see Dion Lewis early and often, helping the Panthers control the clock and set the pace. How the Heels' top-10 defense responds could be the turn in the game.

  • 5. Sun Bowl: Stanford vs. Oklahoma - GERHART! The Cardinal will be without their freshman QB Luck for the Bowl, but I think we all know who the centerpiece of the Stanford offense is. Defensively, the Sooners have been rock solid, finishing the regular season in the top-10. They should match-up well in containing the schemes that Gerhart runs out of. What we need to keep an eye on is what TG does when it breaks down. Will he be shut down, or attack with the abandon that drove him against Notre Dame? If he does not respond well, the Sooners could pull away in the second half, as Stanford's D is a bit lacking.

What I'm not excited about: Some match-ups, even ones featuring big programs, just don't appeal to me. I'm not saying I won't watch; I LOVE bowl season, of course I'm watching. It's just that these match-ups are all lacking...i don't know...something. And, while I'm an avid SEC fan, teams form that league show up in force on this list, so maybe I'm just tired of seeing them.

  • 1. Sugar Bowl: Florida vs. Cincinnati - Sets up a lot like last year's Sugar Bowl. On paper, it should be a blowout. Emotionally, it could be a blowout the other way. Either way, there's no key match-up to watch, except maybe the Gators' DB's on Gilyard. But, in reality, if the DL's doing its job, Pike won't have time to throw. Toss in the fact that Kelly could be gone to South Bend by then and this has STINKER written all over it.

  • 2. Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Ole Miss - The disappointment bowl. SOmetimes the Cotton Bowl is classic and sometimes it's a dud. Hello, dud. What were dark horse title candidates are relegated to a match-up to see who was more over-hyped coming into '09. The Pokes improved D could be stiff resistance to McCluster and vice versa for the Rebels against Robinson and Co.

  • 3. Papajohns.com Bowl: SoCar vs. UConn - Why is this on Jan. 2nd? At least they had decency to play at 2pm and not prime time. Ugh. Who knows what will happen here?

  • 4. St. Pete Bowl: UCF vs. Rutgers - Something about the Knights is always boring to me. The most interesting part of this match-up won't even be seen on the field - imagine what a loss in FL to a FL team would do to Schiano's recruiting. Oh yeah, and it's at 8 O'fucking-clock...nice.

  • 5. Little Caesar's (Toilet) Bowl: Marshal vs. Ohio - Look at the Bobcats, those little over-achieving bastards. And, I guess that's it...Merry Christmas, mofos! This game is the socks and underwear your grandmother gave you when you were ten.

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