Tuesday, December 22, 2009

This Week's Bowl Picks

Well tonight's our first ranked match-up in an '09 bowl game and I figured it was the best time to start picking these football festivities. I'll pick through the week, so up to and including the Music City Bowl on Sunday. Then, Monday, I'll throw out my next set o' Holiday Picks. So, without further ado, bowl picks, part one:

  • The Las Vegas Bowl: Oregon State vs. BYU - This should be a fun game to watch, depending on how into their grooves these two teams can get. If the Beavs get Rodgers' run game going and the Cougs get Hall comfortable, there could be a lot of fireworks in Sin City. The Beavers' team speed will be the fastest BYU's seen all season, but Vegas is pretty much a home game for the Cougars. Look to see what adjustments the teams can make in playing opposite their strengths, i.e. OSU passing or BYU running. In the end, I'm calling Oregon State 35, BYU 29.
  • The Poinsettia Bowl: Utah vs. California - The Golden Bears were able to beat Stanford without Best, but then fell short against upstart U-Dub. Utah was hoping to build on last season's undefeated momentum, but hit their low in a blowout loss to TCU and an overtime loss to BYU. Vereen has been a solid band-aid for the missing Jahvid Best and I'm not sure the Utes will have enough in the tank to pull off the win. Take the Bears, Cal 31, Utah 24.
  • The Hawaii Bowl: Nevada vs. SMU - This could be an exciting one! SMU will be slingin' it June Jones style while Nevada has the nation's best run game. The Mustangs are in their first game since their death penalty in 85, but will find it hard to contain the Pack's Kaepernick-led Pistol-Spread attack. Look for yards and points in bundles, with WolfPack pulling it away in the 4th, Nevada 44, SMU 31.
  • Little Ceasar's Bowl: Ohio vs. Marshall - It's a sectional match-up and relatively close to home for each team. The winner could make in-roads to low caliber recruits in coal country and continue their improvement with a win-to-build-on for '10. Now, I'm not going to pretend to know much about these teams, but the major story lines (at least for me) are that Marshall's breaking in a new head coach and Ohio has been a surprise, edging Temple for the MAC East. The Herd have a power back in Darius Marshall (fitting name, huh?), but I'll take the Bobcat's pass game. Ohio 30, Marshall 27.

  • 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. Pitt 24, UNC 21.

  • Emerald Bowl: USC vs. Boston College - I'm leaning towards the Trojans, BIG TIME. But, the Eagles always play tough in a Bowl Game, so calling right away for a blowout seems foolish. Plus, I might still be looking at USC with my pre-'09 goggles and just not seeing hoe truly mediocre this team is. BC's defense is their strength, so it will come down to what the Trojans can do against it. Playing in CA helps Carroll's squad, and the Trojans have a stingy D of their own. Call it a hunch: USC 28, BC 10.
  • Music City Bowl: Clemson vs. Kentucky - One name: CJ Spiller. He's a human highlight reel that should shred the 'Cats' second-to-last (in conf.) rated defense for 200 yards and at least 3 TD's. Plus, he'll do it in the return game and maybe even throw one or two in his final shot to build up his stock before the draft. Kentucky won't go without a fight, most of the fight coming form Cobb and Locke on the ground. It should be fun to watch, at least in the first half, but I see the Spiller and the Tigers pulling away. Clemson 31, Kentucky 20.
Hope you enjoyed the picks for Bowl Week One, check back Sunday for round 2. And, if you don't hear from me before then, Happy Holidays from FTS!

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