Chaos Rankings

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Bowling for Dignity

Well friends, it looks like bowl season is upon us at last. The first games kicks off tonight and then it's a veritable cornucopia of college football for the next 3 weeks. Sure, some of the games may be hard to get excited about, but it's still college football. You'll notice that my various post-season picks didn't all come true. Well, I'm sorry I'm not perfect. Yes some of them were long shots, but no one ever gets credit for making the easy picks. You only get noticed for making insane picks and then being right about them. Oh well, maybe next year. I got 5 BCS teams right at least, and all the rest certainly had their fair shots and couldn't pull it together. Here's my run down on the next couple weeks along with picks for each game. You'll have to excuse me if I don't bend to the will of the various sponsors and simply call each bowl by whatever I feel like (either a shortened name, nickname, or old name). You should at least be able to figure out what I'm talking about based on the teams playing.

Poinsetta Bowl - Interesting matchup of a NIU team that started off hot and faltered down the stretch after leaning too heavily on Garrett Wolfe vs a perenial mid-major power in TCU that's on a hot streak to end the season. TCU by 10.
Las Vegas Bowl - Another team that started hot and fell apart in Oregon going up against a BYU team that everyone wrote off after the opening loss to Arizona. But BYU is on a huge win streak since the loss in week 3 to Boston College and has one of the rising QB starts leading the way. Instinct says BYU in a landslide, but Oregon has nothing to lose, so they will be very aggressive early which could either really hurt them, or keep the game close until the 4th. BYU by 16.
New Orleans Bowl - Seriously, who thought both Troy and Rice would make a bowl game this year? The Owls barely lead Troy in my rankings, but Troy won their conference (which apparently is important) so Troy by 2.
Pizza Bowl - Two under-rated but overachieving teams duking it out. USF's takedown of WVU outclasses ECU's toppling of NC State and Southern Miss. Still, this is a closer game than most peopel think. USF by 6.
New Mexico Bowl - Not so much a fan of teams who play in bowl games created expressly for them (exception for Hawaii since travelling that much has to suck). San Jose State put together an impressive resume this year from a WAC bottom-feeder, and I expect the momentum to carry them through the meeting with the Lobos. San Jose State by 12.
Whirlybird Bowl - Two quality midmajors square off not too far from home. Should be a good matchup as both have had promising seasons. Tulsa outranks the Utes, so we're going with Golden Hurricane by 3.
Aloha Bowl - Sun Devils try to avenge the firing of coach Dirk Koetter, though I'm not sure why. In any case, reformed so-cal pretty boy Colt Brennan's videogame-like passing antics overwhelm Arizona State as the Fighting Rainbows roll to an easy victory. Hawaii by 23.
Motor City Bowl - Detroit, really? Why? Just call it the Craphole bowl and be done with it. MTSU and CMU would typically be prime candidates for a such a game, but both have had surprisingly good seasons this year and really deserve a higher caliber game. Even still, the Blue Raiders are outmatched in every way by the Chippewas, despite having their coach hired away by Cincinatti. CMU by 12.
Emerald Bowl - I'm trying not to laugh out loud over Bobby Bowden heading to SanFran to take on UCLA. Despite their epic collapse, the Seminoles are still a very dangerous team and a coach like Mr. Bownden is going to use every opportunity to prepare for next year. UCLA is coming off a huge emotional win over cross-town rival USC and it will interesting to see how they handle the afterglow of success. FSU fights dirty and finds a way to beat the least-scary Div I-A bears. FSU by 5.
Independence Bowl - Two teams trying to salvage mediocre seasons. I still can't believe 'Bama fired Mike Shula, what a bunch of morons. I hope the cowboys win just because of that. Unfortunately, their only quality win all year was over the Huskers. Then again, the Tide's only win worth mentioning was over Hawaii on opening weekend. Tough call here as both lost the majority of their back-loaded schedules and are on nice losing streaks. Other than OSU over Baylor, neither team has won a game since October. I'll take the team that didn't fire their coach for the win here. OSU by 1.
Holiday Bowl - Two teams with chances for greatness who just couldn't get over that hump. Despite winning a big game here and there, both teams managed to choke away what could have been even bigger seasons. Still, this should be one of the better matchups of the bowl season. Even though the game's in San Diego, I'll take the Aggies over the Golden Bears here since they closed out their season by beating rival Texas to keep the 'Horns out of the Big XII Title Game. Texas A&M by 3.
Texas Bowl - This might just be the worst-conceived bowl ever. Why would any bowl or conference agree to let the NFL Network broadcast a college game? *sigh* I'm so sorry Scarlet Knights. You deserve so much more than this travesty of bowl game that isn't even going to be viewable by most of the country. Kansas State had a nice upset of Texas, but it didn't help them get past Nebraska or win the Big XII North. Rutgers is still going to be worn out after the triple overtime loss to WVU, but with Schiano at the helm and Ray Rice at tailback, they'll bounce back just fine to ravage K-State, perhaps even pitching a shutout. Rutgers by 17.
Music City Bowl - Who dreamed up this lunacy? Clemson vs Kentucky? I know the Tigers struggled down the stretch, and Kentucky has had a better than expected season, but still. I don't even think these teams play the same sport. Clemson should win this one in a landslide. If not, Tommy Bowden's going to be right back on his familiar hotseat again during the entire offseason. Clemson by 20.
Sun Bowl - A couple of over-reaching teams who couldn't quite get the job done. Yes the Beavers beat USC, but more by being in the right place at the right time than anything else. Missouri had a promising start before they started handing games to their opponents. Regardless, these two teams are very evenly matched and it should be a down-to-the-wire affair, if you can wait that long. Both teams tend to be sloppy, so at least turnovers should keep a low-scoring game exciting. Oregon State by 3.
Liberty Bowl - This doesn't even come close to the 2004 game, but Houston vs South Carolina could be a good game. Hell, anything involving college and Spurrier should be a good game. Gamecocks were within 7 points of beating Florida, Tennesee, and Auburn (3 games in a row I might add). Houston may boast a better record this season and a much higher ranking, but the Gamecocks are probably the better team in this matchup. Houston not only hasn't beaten anyone, but they haven't even played anyone. USC is battle-tested in the SEC and will upset the Cougars, especially in Memphis. South Carolina by 9.
Insight Bowl - One of the most prolific passing programs over the past few years takes on a program that's been on life support since Laurence Maroney turned pro. This game is really hard to get excited about unless you're from Lubbock or Minneapolis-St. Paul. At least this is another NFL Network broadcast, so you probably won't even get to watch it anyway. Rankings say go with Red Raiders over the Gophers. Texas Tech by 6.
Tangerine Bowl - Why did you have to ruin a good thing by renaming it? This should really apply to every bowl, but whatever. Maryland put together a surprising season that included a couple very close losses and a couple very close wins and some come from behind efforts. Purdue struggled this year, but salvaged their season with a decent bowl. Even though Purdue outranks the Terps in this one, I have to give offensive mastermind Fridge the benefit of the doubt. Sam Hollenbach has come a long way under Ralph's tutelege and I'd be surprised to see the senior unable to rally his team to an overtime win in Orlando. Maryland by 1 in 2OT.
Charlotte Bowl - This is probably the most underrated bowl game around based solely on the fact that it's in Charlotte. Navy brings its powerful option attack against what's likely to be a very lost Boston College team that was abandoned by Tom O'Brien for, wait, NC State, that must be a typo... It's correct? Huh. Usually coaches move up the ladder, not down it... Anyway, the Eagles may have the talent to win this game, they may even have the superior stats, but I'd favor Navy cause when it's bowl time, the Middies come out of the woodwork. Winning their bowl game is probably right behind beating Army on their list of yearly priorities. Navy by 7.
Alamo Bowl - What happened to the defending National Champs? On right, they lost their all-everything quarterback. Still, Colt McCoy was a more than worthy replacement. Longhorns will be in revenge mode after back to back losses to K-State and Texas A&M ruined not only their repeat National Title hopes but also their Big XII Title hopes. Iowa is just happy to be in a bowl game after their biggest win on the season against Syracuse in an 8-play goal line stand kept alive by an interference call. Yes, Syracuse really does suck that much. Naturally, I'll be rooting for the underdog Haweyes and Kirk Ferentz will do his best, but I'm not sure they really stand much of a chance, even against a young (and Young-less) Texas. Texas by 26.
Peach Bowl - Talk about parity for UGA. They blanked Spurrier's Gamecocks, then almost lost to an abyssmal Colorado team, lost to both Vandy and Kentucky, then rebounded to take out Auburn and Georgia Tech. Virginia Tech had a similarly confounding season including their back-to-back losses to BC and GT. There should be no question that the Hokies are the superior team heading into this match, but with virtual homefield advantage, Georgia won't make a win easy for them. VT by 6.
Humanitarian Bowl - Also know as Bluefield Bowl or Smurf Bowl, the punishment for a mediocre ACC season this year falls on Miami. I'm sorry Brian Pata died, but let's all stop feeling sorry for the hooligans in Coral Gables already. The way Miami's been playing, you could almost hear the Wolfpack licking their chops the day the bowl matchup was announced. It feels impossible to pick Nevada over the Hurricanes, but #32 vs #62 is hard to argue with. Nevada by 10.
Outback Bowl - Vols didn't have the season they were hoping for after the season-opening dismissal of Cal. Penn State knew they weren't going going to have the same kind of season they had last year, but both played well enough to get into a nice bowl game in sunny Tampa. Both teams could use a signature win to cap off their seasons since Tennessee's best wins came against a fraudulent Cal team and a highly-ranked Georgia squad that lost to Vandy the week before. Penn State's best game is either a 47 point blanking of Temple or a 7 point loss to Michigan. If the flu and a broken leg can't keep JoePa from the sidelines, nothing can. PSU defense unit makes Erik Ainge their bitch in a low-scoring smashmouth battle and win a big one for the oldest, blindest, most awesome man alive. Penn State by 3.
Cotton Bowl - The SEC's second-whiniest coach (Urban Meyer is now #1) can cry himself to sleep wondering how things might have gone differently if he's spent more time coaching and less time grandstanding. On the other hand, maybe all his early campaigning helped the Gators over the top; I'm sure that makes Tubby feel better. Meanwhile, the Huskers try to regroup from an embarassing loss to Oklahoma in the Big XII title game. Huskers have improved the past couple seasons, but still aren't what they used to be. Auburn isn't what it used to be either after going undefeated by getting left out of the big game. On the plus side, Jason Campbell seems to be helping out the Redskins these days and Cadillac Williams scored me a bunch of points the one week he was on my fantasy roster. Auburn is the more talented team in this matchup, but Nebraska might want it more. Then again, maybe not. Auburn by 6.
Gator Bowl - Largely depends on whether GT shows up for the game. If Reggie Ball can keep the offense moving, Tenuta's defense should be able to hold fast against a scary WVU rushing attack. But, based on the way games have gone since offing the Hurricanes, it's hard to back a team that's been unable to score points against anyone besides Duke and who's so woefully inconsistent. Here's hoping my Jackets at least hold the Mountaineers to less than 30 points. WVU by 13.
Capital One Bowl - This might be the most exciting and anticipated game on the schedule. A very good, but overlooked, Wisconsin team that should be playing in a BCS game (but can't due to retarded rules) is trying to prove they're as good as no one thinks. Arkansas is still stinging from their SEC championship loss to Florida. True, the Badgers haven't played in what seems like forever, but Arkansas pulled out all the stops in Atlanta and may not have many tricks left up their sleeves for a bowl game. Badgers will come to play, big time, while Razorbacks are likely to be on cruise control. Big Te(leve)n begins to assert it's dominance over the SEC right here as Wisconsin drops Arkansas. Plus there's the fun sidebar of who can rack up the more impressive rushing stats - PJ Hill or Darren McFadden? Wisconsin by 10.
Rose Bowl - Will a shunned Michigan team be able to prove it deserved a rematch against Ohio State? Will USC break it's recent Rose Bowl curse? Can the Trojans rebound from the UCLA loss? How rusty will the Wolverines be after having not played since Nov 18th? Tune in to see all of these questions answered. If I thought the Big Blue was good enough to play in the National Title game, this should be a no-brainer pick, but USC has a nasty habit of being really good when Pete Carroll is coaching them. I expect nothing less than a hard fought battle in Pasadena, but the cream always rises to the top, and this will be no exception as Michigan pulls away in the second half. Michigan by 13.
Fiesta Bowl - The long-time-coming Broncos finally get their reward for several seasons of great play under (traitorous) Dan Hawkins. Oklahoma backdoored their way into the Big XII title game, but once there, the South division has been a virtual lock to move on the past few years. After all the problems the Sooners faced this year (criminally inept officiating, scandal, losing top starters), the fact that they're still in a BCS game is impressive. And with Adrian Peterson returning for one more game, the Sooners are coming to come out swinging. But the Broncos didn't get where they are by accident and with their own stud tailback in Ian Johnson and an experienced Jared Zabransky calling the shots on the field, Boise State is going to score early and often. Just like undefeated Utah taking down an outmatched Pitt team here a few years ago, Boise State is going to look to make a huge statement in Tempe about their program and all mid-major teams. Does anyone know if Ian has learned to crochet sombreros? Boise State by 17.
Orange Bowl - You can't say you wouldn't rather see Rutgers vs Wake Forest in what might as well be called the "Feel Good Story" Bowl. Alas, we have Louisville squaring off against the Demon Deacons instead. Wake Forest certainly appears to be legitamate, but I still can't see them as a quality program of this magnitude. This win would be huge for both programs, but I think at this point, Wake just has too much working against it. That being said, never underestimate the experience factor of a large group of redshirted upperclassmen who start for Wake. Louisville has the more potent offense, but Wake has put together astounding defensive numbers this year. With both head coaches on everyone's top 5 list for filling their vacancies, how will the focus of the teams be affected? Should be a fun game, but the Cardinals have too many offensive weapons and eventually outgun the Deacons. Louisville by 7.
Sugar Bowl - Are you kidding me? Sorry to go all Dicky V on you there. *shudder* But LSU is practically in their home stadium here. Everyone has said this season that LSU might be the most talented team in the SEC, despite their two losses. Well, it's time for the Tigers to prove it against a Notre Dame team that just will not go away. The most loved and hated team in America is no stranger to entering hostile environments and with a handful of big-time playmaking seniors on the roster, the Irish aren't going to just hand this one over. Unfortunately for Brady Quinn, he's going to have to get used to meeting the ground, hard. LSU's frontline is crazy fast, maybe even moreso than the USC defense that gave Charlie Weis his 18th heart attack. Don't get me wrong, Irish will make some amazing plays and put together some good drives, but this is LSU's backyard and they'll defend it with lethal force. The "offensive mastermind" will again be totally stymied by a lightning-quick defensive unit as the Tigers pick up a feel-good victory. LSU by 11.
Canada Bowl - With no Div I-A team even in Canada, one can't help but laugh at the futility of this game. I mean, I'm sure the Broncos and Bearcats are happy to be in a bowl game, but this is kind of like buying a $5 lottery ticket and winning $4. Toronto in January? This is just a bad idea. At least it's not Detroit... Cincinnati has the better win so far in handing Rutgers their first loss, but Western Michigan is ranked higher. Tough call on this one, as Cincinnati boasts a strong defense. WMU and CMU may have left Directional Michigan counterpart EMU in the dust, but the Broncos are still a directional state team, and that's hard to overlook. Still, with the coaching commotion the Bearcats are dealing with, even though they stole away CMU's head coach, coaching instability = losing games. Western Michigan by 2.
GMAC Bowl - What's the point? This game should be a warmup for the big game the next day, but it really just makes me want to take a nap. Frank Solich may have coached Ohio to a great season and the MAC championship game, but they got smashed by CMU. Southern Miss also played their way into a C-USA championship loss to Houston. With both teams coming off similar seasons and with very similar stats, it's hard to pick a winner in Mobile in what might be the least anticipated game of the bowl season. But it's Sunday night, and it's college football, so what else are you going to watch? Ohio by 3.
Bowl Controversy Series Championship - Like it or not, Ohio State is meeting up with Florida. The game is set and no amount of whining or grandstanding will change it (anymore). Regardless of who you feel was more deserving to play in this game, Florida is a good team and won a very tough conference. The Gators boast a dual quarterback system that actually works and a lot of talented athletes who can hurt you multiple ways. They had a solution or immediate response for every trick play Arkansas ran in the SEC championship, and you get the feeling that there's a lot more in store for the Buckeyes. However, they did start the second half very sloppily and made a lot of dumb mistakes that easily could have cost them the game. Rest assured, the Buckeyes will make them pay for each and every one of them. Ohio State has some amazing athletes of their own (I think one of them won some prestigious award named after a former coach at Georgia Tech). When Troy Smith is throwing the ball, he has any number of targets he can hit and his throw is laserbeam accurate. Both teams allow less than 14 points per game, but Ohio State averages 10 more points a game than the Gators. And Florida has been penalized almost twice as often at the Buckeyes. On the surface, this game looks like it could be a close one, and even though Florida has been in game-mode more recently, Jim Tressel will make damn sure his team isn't rusty when Jan 8 rolls around. Defense supposedly wins championships, and both teams boast outstanding units, but this one is going to be decided by the offense, and Ohio State is going to be too much for the Gators. Sorry Matt - Ohio State by 13.

Biggest bowl game loser - Rutgers, hands down. Michigan's consolation prize for not getting to play in the BCS championship is still getting to play in the Rose Bowl. Rutgers consolation for not beating WVU in triple overtime and earning a berth in the Orange Bowl (and at least consideration for the BCS Title game) is a trip to a game that almost no one will be able to watch. Sorry Sarlet Knights, you deserve far better for your best season ever.

Worst non-BCS mismatch - #19 Texas vs #66 Iowa

Best non-BCS matchup - tie, #54 Oklahoma State vs #53 Alabama and #41 Southern Miss vs #42 Ohio

Most exciting non-BCS game - 2004 Liberty Bowl shootout between Boise State and Louisville. Oh, you meant this year? Huh... Um, Capital One Bowl?

2 Comments:

  • Is is sad that I'm more excited for our game now that Reggie is ineligible? We'll miss Kenny Scott dearly, but I think the change at QB will help us tremendously.

    By Anonymous Emily, at 12/21/2006 9:46 AM  

  • While I feel bad for seniors who are ending their college career this way, I have no sympathy for athletes who can't pass their classes. Yes, Tech is hard, deal with it. As an athlete, you can a 1000 times more support than any other student, and it's not like Reggie or Kenny are taking ChemE classes. I refuse to feel quilty because I was excited to read that Reggie can't play against WVU. I decided a while back that it's not his fault he sucks (it's poor coaching) and that him being out might actually give us a chance. That said, I was appalled to read that Chan hasn't been practicing with Taylor Bennett at all. What the hell? How irresponsible... Like I said in my predictions, I just hope we hold them to 30 points so we don't look like we're in totally over our heads.

    By Blogger Adam, at 12/21/2006 11:23 AM  

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