Ten College Football Bowl Games You Can NOT Miss

Below I’ve compiled a list of ten college football bowl games that you should not miss.  I provided a little explanation to accompany each game.  If you think I’m missing out on any games, feel free to leave a comment explaining how much of an idiot I am…

10. #13 Nevada vs. Boston College – Kraft Bowl (January 9th, 9pm ESPN)

This game makes the list simply because Boston College has the best college football program in the region (yes, perennially better than UCONN…plus I hate UCONN).  I make it a point to follow BC every season because they are one of the few college football teams that I can call my own (i.e. New Englanders refer to the Patriots as “their team”).  It has been a disappointing season for the Eagles in terms of wins and losses (7-5 on the season, 4-4 in the ACC), but coach Spaziani will be looking to end the season on a positive not.  On the other side, the Nevada Wolf Pack are currently ranked #13 in the AP top 25 poll (15 in the BCS) mainly because of their offense.  Nevada ranks third in all of 1-A football in terms of yards per game, compiling on average over 535 yards per contest.  Boston College will face a stiff test come January 9th in the Kraft Bowl.

PICK – Nevada

9.  Notre Dame vs. Miami – Sun Bowl (December 31st, 2pm CBS)

I wouldn’t say that Brian Kelly’s first season in South Bend went exactly as planned.  The Fighting Irish finished the season at a disappointing 7-5, after preseason expectations were very high.  Numerous incidents occurred under Kelly’s tenure, including several situations involving players getting in trouble with the law, topped off by a Notre Dame student dying after falling off of a tower while attempting to film practice.  Kelly is already looking to next season, and trying to get their first bowl win since 1994 would be a good way to spring into the off-season.  Similarly to Notre Dame, expectations for the Miami Hurricanes before the start of the season were very high, some even considered the Hurricanes as national title contenders.  Since, Jacory Harris hasn’t progressed as much as expected and Randy Shannon lost his job.  This game is going to turn into a battle of who wants it most, and both teams are pretty hungry after disappointing seasons.

PICK – Miami

8.  #16 Oklahoma St. vs. Arizona – Alamo Bowl (December 29th, 9:15pm ESPN)

Oklahoma St. leads the nation in yards per game, averaging over 537 yards per contest (and nearly 45 points per game).  Arizona is not far behind as they rank 23rd in the country, putting up over 445 yards per game (and nearly 30 points).  This game looks like it will turn into a shootout, and that makes for exciting football.  Oklahoma St. is lead by sophomore receiver Justin Blackmon who has compiled 1,665 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns on the season.  Arizona is led by junior quarterback Nick Foles, who at 6’5” and nearly 250 lbs can sling the pigskin with the best of them.  If you like offense, you should be sitting in front of your flat screen at about 9:15pm on December 29th.

PICK – Oklahoma St.

7.  #4 Wisconsin vs. #3 TCU – Rose Bowl (January 1st, 5pm ESPN)

The TCU’s and Boise St.’s of the world are constantly fighting for national recognition and respect, and usually their lone opportunity to prove to the world that they can compete is during bowl season (unless the BCS screws them and matches them up against another non-BCS school).  The Rose Bowl presents TCU an opportunity to match-up against a big-name school from a bog-time conference and see what they are all about.  Andy Dalton has a ton of experience and the TCU defense is legit.  As for Wisconsin, they are 12th in the country, averaging just over 247 yards on the ground per game.  James White, John Clay, and Montee Ball are three dangerous rushers out of the Wisconsin backfield that will present a tough task for TCU to try and contain.

PICK – TCU

6.  #6 Ohio St. vs. #8 Arkansas – Sugar Bowl (January 4th, 8:30pm ESPN)

Ohio St. was my preseason pick to make it to the national title game.  They are loaded with talent both defensively and offensively.  Terrelle Pryor has developed into a much more precise passer to compliment his running ability.  At 6’6” 235 lbs, Pryor is not only a load to bring down, but he has a big-time arm and can outrun the majority of defenders that are on the field.  Defensively, Ohio State is big and physical.  To compliment their talented defensive line, the Buckeyes are 10th in the nation with 18 interceptions, three of which have been returned for touchdowns, not to mention 3rd in the country in points against, allowing opponents an average of 13.3 points per game.  On the other side of the field, Ryan Mallett will be looking to cement his status as a first round pick in this year’s NFL draft with a big performance against one of the nation’s best defenses.  Arkansas boasts one of the best offenses in the nation, averaging just over 489 yards per game, and putting up over 37 points per game.  Mallett will be tested against Ohio State, but the real key will lie with the Arkansas defense.  If Ohio State is held under 21 points, Arkansas will win, but that is a tough task…

PICK – Ohio State

5. #15 Alabama vs. #7 Michigan St. – Capital One Bowl (January 1st, 1pm ESPN)

Alabama was most expert’s preseason favorite to win the national championship.  They were returning many key players from their national championship team, headlined by 2009 Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram.  Ingram dealt with injury issues for the majority of the season, allowing him to compile only 816 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season.  Much of the offensive brunt was placed on the shoulders of Trent Richardson, Greg McElroy and Julio Jones.  Defensively, the Tide rank 5th in the country in points against, allowing opponents to average just over 14 points per game.  Michigan St. is the feel good story of the 2010 season.  They weren’t picked to finish anywhere near where they are now (#9 in the country), their coach suffered a heart attack mid-season and returned to coach his boys up to an 11-1 record.  Michigan St. doesn’t do anything great, they just do everything well.

PICK – Alabama

4. Florida vs. Penn St. – Outback Bowl (January 1st, 1pm ABC)

2010 was a disappointing year for both the Florida Gators and the Penn State Nittany Lions.  Both teams finished the 2010 campaign with a 7-5 record, and 4-4 in their respective conferences.  No matter what the product is on the field, this game is more about the coaching than anything else.  Urban Meyer is stepping down as head coach of the Florida Gators due to what many believe is health problems.  Meyer’s Florida Gators may very well have been the most successful team in the country during his 6 years, winning two national championships, two SEC championships, and three SEC Eastern Division titles.  Meyer will more than likely return to football at some point, and when he does he will be one of the most sought after coaches in the country.  For the Nittany Lions, Joe Pa is still kicking.  By the day of the Outback Bowl, Paterno will be 84 years old.  Let’s bring this into context for a minute.  At 46, Urban Meyer is forced to step down due to health issues, and at 84 Joe Paterno is planning on coming back to coach Penn State again next season.  Paterno is a model of consistency, but his ability to recruit big-time athletes to Penn State has begun to diminish, which can be seen as Penn State is falling further behind Ohio State in terms on Big Ten and national prominence.

PICK – Florida

3. #5 Stanford vs. #12 Virginia Tech – Orange Bowl (January 3rd, 8:30pm ESPN)

Andrew Luck is almost a sure bet to be the first quarterback taken in the 2011 NFL draft, and that most likely will mean he will be the number one overall pick.  Luck had a very good 2010, throwing for 3,051 yards, 28 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions.  As a team, Stanford averages just over 40 points per game, which is good enough for 8th in the country.  Defensively Stanford isn’t too terrible either, allowing opponents to score just under 18 points per game.  The major storyline in this game is Andrew Luck against the ball-hawking Virginia Tech defense, which currently ranks second in the nation in interceptions with 22, and tied for 13th in the country with 34 sacks.  Offensively, Tyrod Taylor has developed into a much better passer than I had anticipated, but Virginia Tech’s offense is driven by the rushing attack.  The Hokies have four players that have received over 100 carries this season (Darren Evans, Tyrod Taylor, David Wilson, Ryan Williams).  I expect Stanford to see a heavy dose of the Hokies’ run game in this battle.

PICK – Virginia Tech

2. #2 Oregon vs. #1 Auburn – Citi BCS National Championship Game (January 10th, 8:30pm ESPN)

Most of you would probably have expected this to be the obvious pick for the #1 game that you can’t miss.  Well, as most that follow the blog regularly know, I’m not the guy that goes with the grain.  I enjoy ruffling a few feathers and then seeing how people react or what they have to say about it.  Anyways, Oregon and Auburn both will bring high powered offenses to the field come January 10th.  Oregon, led by Heisman Trophy candidate LaMichael James (1,682 rushing yards, 21 touchdowns), boasts the highest scoring offense in the country averaging 49.3 points per game.  The offense relies heavily on the run game.  Oregon ranks 4th in the nation in rushing, averaging over 303 yards per game on the ground.  Their defense isn’t too bad either, ranking 14th in the country in points allowed at 18.4 points per game.  Auburn, led by Heisman trophy winner Cam Newton (2,589 passing yards, 28 touchdowns, 6 interceptions; 1,409 rushing yards, 20 touchdowns), boast the 6th best scoring offense in the country averaging 43.2 yards per game.  Auburn will go as far as Cam Newton takes them.  Defensively, Auburn is good but not great.  The Tigers surrender and average of 24.5 points per game, which puts them at 54th in the nation.  This game inevitably will come down to the wire because neither team is willing to give up and both have the offensive firepower to make a comeback.

PICK – Oregon

1. #20 Utah vs. #10 Boise St. – Las Vegas Bowl (December 22nd, 8pm ESPN)

Yup, the Boise St. – Utah showdown is the one game that you can NOT miss this bowl season.  I truly believe that the Boise St. Broncos are the best team in the country.  Their offense is unstoppable.  Their defense ranks among the top in the nation.  This game is not number one on this list because I truly believe it will be a great game (although it has potential), it is because I want all of America (or at least the 7 of you that will read this) to see how good this Boise St. team is.  The Broncos continuously got knocked for not playing a tough non-conference schedule.  If I was one of the better schools in the country, there is no shot I would agree to play Boise St.  That is almost a guaranteed loss for your team, which could ruin your shot at a national title.  Even if you are lucky enough to win, your team will be licking their wounds for weeks following the matchup.  Boise St. took on ranked Virginia Tech and Oregon St. and beat them both.  Unluckily for the Broncos, both teams fell out of favor after their losses (coincidence or shattered confidence?).  All I’m saying is Boise St. does all it can to showcase how good its football team is, but no one recognizes it…except me.  Just as an F-U to the Broncos, whomever makes these bowl matchups puts the Broncos in a game against another non-BCS conference team in Utah.  The Utes are not a bunch of slouches (#20 in the country), but even if Boise St. puts the beat down on them, what does it prove?  That they can beat non-BCS schools?  Great, we already know that you idiots.  Here’s some stats for you: Boise St. ranks second in the nation in scoring (46.7 points per game), fourth in the nation in scoring defense (13.6 points per game), sixth in the nation in passing (319.4 yards per game), and a dismal twenty-fourth in the nation in rushing (200.1 yards per game).  On Wednesday December 22nd, everyone should be sitting in front of their television watching the best team in the country once again prove that they belong with the big boys.

PICK – Boise St.

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One Response

  1. But the Broncos can’t beat Nevada. Go to a damn BCS playoff system with the top 8 teams and let ’em play already. There will be more money to be made and the nation can see who actually is deserving of a national championship. Teams shouldn’t be as heavily punished for having one loss during the regular season. Although it does make it the most important regular season in all of sports.

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