Chaos Rankings

Friday, December 18, 2009

Annual Bowl Prediction Extravaganza

As is now well-established Chaos Rankings tradition, here is your rundown of bowl matchups with my personal predictions. Unless otherwise stated, these predictions have no mathematical or scientific basis and barely even qualify as educated guesses. As my prediction record for the last couple years indicates, I really have no clue what I'm doing when it comes to choosing bowl game winners. Also, as usual, I will refer to bowls by their historic names and/or whatever name I see fit instead of the names assigned by their corporate overlords. All team rank indicators are from Chaos Rankings. All times listed are Eastern Standard Time.

New Mexico Bowl
#50 Fresno State vs. #74 Wyoming
Albuquerque - Dec. 19 - 4:30 p.m.
Ryan Matthews runs all over the Cowboys. 31-22.

St. Petersburg presented by Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl
#46 UCF vs. #28 Rutgers
St. Petersburg - Dec. 19 - 8 p.m.
I've only eaten at Beef 'O' Brady's once. It was okay, but I was unaware they had good enough food to have enough profits to sponsor a bowl game. Even though it's close-to-home for the Golden Knights, the Scarlet Knights prevail. 24-22.

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bourbon Bowl
#49 Southern Miss vs. #21 Middle Tennessee State
New Orleans - Dec. 20 - 8:30 p.m.
Yes, I did just make a Waterboy reference, and it coincides with your first upset special. Despite their ranking, the Blue Raiders actually have a worse SOS than Southern Miss, and the Golden Eagles are ranked a pathetic 112th in that department. Expect a close one with a lot of turnovers. 28-27.

MAACO Las Vegas Sin City Bowl
#30 Oregon State vs. #12 BYU
Las Vegas - Dec. 22 - 8 p.m.
One win away from the Rose Bowl comes back to haunt the Beavers. Despite the 'Quizz having an outstanding game (as usual), BYU's defense wins the day. That and the Cougars will be in bed at 8pm the night before cause, really, what else is there for a Mormon to do in Vegas? 29-27.

San Diegeo County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
#24 Utah vs. #43 California
San Diego - Dec. 23 - 8 p.m.
Last year's matchup was so great, they moved it to the Fiesta Bowl. How will Cal fare without Jahvid on the field? Not to well. Utes come away victorious. 27-24.

Sheraton Hawaii Aloha Bowl
#25 Nevada vs. #59 SMU
Honolulu - Dec. 24 - 8 p.m.
June Jones returns to Hawaii. SMU posts a winning season and returns to a bowl game for the first time since I was 3. Unfortunately, Colin Kaepernick and the Wolfpack do what they do best, run the ball and monopolize the clock. Congrats to SMU are certainly due, but Nevada cruises. 35-28.

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl I
#71 Marshall vs. #36 Ohio
Detroit - Dec. 26 - 1 p.m.
We really need two bowl sponsored by pizza, neither of which is played in New York or Chicago, or even in Louisville's Papa John's stadium? Apparently, yes, yes we do. The only team worse than Wyoming to make a bowl game is Marshall, which means the Bobcats escape Detroit with a win. 25-22.

Meineke Car Care Car-related Charlotte Bowl
#16 Pittsburgh vs. #38 North Carolina
Charlotte - Dec. 26 - 4:30 p.m.
This game is annually one of the best matchups of the bowl season. On paper, Pitt should easily handle a Carolina team that didn't live up to their own expectations this year. But the home-field advantage will make this a close one and a fun game to watch. Pitt wins, but only after changing tactics when Dion Lewis gets totally shut down by UNC's rushing defense. 25-22.

Emerald Bowl
#48 Boston College vs. #40 USC
San Francisco - Dec. 26 - 8 p.m.
How the mighty have fallen! Given the close ranking of these two teams, it's not really fair to call this an upset, but BC taking down the "mighty" Trojans will be viewed that way, and a hard-fought and well-deserved victory awaits the Eagles in San Francisco. 24-23.

Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl
#56 Kentucky vs. #42 Clemson
Nashville - Dec. 27 - 8:30 p.m.
Last time these two teams met in this bowl, it was all Kentucky. This time, it's all CJ Spiller and Jacoby Ford as Clemson has their way with the Wildcats. 27-24.

AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl
#62 Texas A&M vs. #60 Georgia
Shreveport - Dec. 28 - 5 p.m.
Ah ha ha ha. Georgia has to play in a lame-o game. Of course, they still whalloped the Jackets in their Thanksgiving rivalry, and A&M probably should have beaten the Longhorns in theirs. Two underachieving teams with higher aspirations meet in a yawnfest. It pains me to say it, but I think U(sic)GA wins. 31-30.

EagleBank Beltway Bowl
#61 UCLA vs. #26 Temple
Washington, D.C. - Dec. 29 - 4:30 p.m.
No, this isn't basketball, though that would be a pretty exciting game too. Owls have to feel good about their season, despite the loss to Ohio that kept them out of the MAC championship game. Seems crazy. More crazy? UCLA playing in DC in December. Good luck dealing with the wind, ice, and snow Bruins. By the way RFK Stadium sucks, but it should remind Temple enough of Lincoln Financial (as opposed to the Rose Bowl) to allow them to carry the day. 26-22.

Champs Sports Tangerine Bowl
#18 Miami vs. #17 Wisconsin
Orlando - Dec. 29 - 8 p.m.
Vastly overrated Miami finally came crashing back to earth mid-season, but still turned in a respectable performance. Despite getting screwed out of the Gator Bowl, they still get a in-state matchup against an under-the-radar Wisconsin team. Badgers love playing in sunny Florida during bowl season, but expect a close call from the 'Canes. 28-27.

Roady's Humanitarian Smurf-turf Bowl
#54 Bowling Green vs. #63 Idaho
Boise - Dec. 30 - 4:30 p.m.
How stoked is Idaho to be the home team on arch-rival Boise's field? Or even just to be in a bowl game? Bowling Green has a dangerous receiver in Freddy Barnes and will likely torch the Vandals secondary the same way the Broncos did. BGSU walks away a blue-field winner. 31-29.

Pacific Life Holiday Bowl
#35 Arizona vs. #23 Nebraska
San Diego - Dec. 30 - 8 p.m.
Two teams who almost won their conferences face off, and, surprisingly, the Big XII North looks like it's no longer a pushover. Nebraska. 24-20.

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl
#13 Houston vs. #37 Air Force
Fort Worth - Dec. 31 - 12 p.m.
Case Keenum and Houston can light up a scoreboard. Air Force's option attack can do the same. But will their defenses be able slow each other down? Houston has the advantage here, but noy by as much as you might think. 30-29.

Brut Sun Bowl
#33 Oklahoma vs. #34 Stanford
El Paso - Dec. 31 - 2 p.m.
Stanford's had a nice turn around with Jim Harbaugh, but Oklahoma is too much for them up front. The Sooners big uglies will contain Toby Gerhart and give backup-turned-starter Landry Jones the time he needs in the pocket to emerge victorious. 29-25.

Texas Bowl
#32 Navy vs. #39 Missouri
Houston - Dec. 31 - 3:30 p.m.
Fresh off their demolition of Army, Navy looks to shut down a depleted Missouri team and should have little problem doing so. You know Houston will be swarming with Middies. Kids sporting yellow and black Tiger tees? Probably not so much. Navy. 26-25.

Insight Bowl
#70 Minnesota vs. #67 Iowa State
Tempe - Dec. 31 - 6 p.m.
Yawn. Meh. Great for Iowa State to make a bowl game, though I'm sure K-State is less than thrilled, considering they beat the Cyclones and had a better conference record and matching overall records. But apparently, Tempe really wanted Gophers v. Cyclones. Go figure. The good news is that this isn't Caddy Shack, and the gophers don't win. Iowa State in a close one. 23-22.

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
#14 Virginia Tech vs. #47 Tennessee
Atlanta - Dec. 31 - 7:30 p.m.
I think the Hokies are considering buying property in the ATL they visit so often, though frequently with poor results. Lane Kiffin provides all the locker room bulletin board fodder VT needs to roll over the improving, but still mediocre Vols. 26-23.

Outback Bowl
#45 Northwestern vs. #51 Auburn
Tampa - Jan. 1 - 11 a.m.
Another mild upset is brewing in the pirate ship stadium as another Wildcats/Tigers matchup takes place. Auburn is improving, and Northwestern put together a successful year themselves. Auburn's early offensive fireworks vanished in SEC play, but should outclass the Big 10 defense of Northwestern here. 28-26.

Capital One Citrus Bowl
#8 Penn State vs. #20 LSU
Orlando - Jan. 1 - 1 p.m.
If you like defense, this is the game for you. Penn State isn't Linebacker U for nothing, and LSU always has tons of speed. Tune in to see if teen-tiny Trindon Holliday takes one to the house. Even if he does, PSU still provides matchup problems for the Tigers and wins a low-scoring contest. 23-19.

Konica Minolta Gator Bowl
#22 West Virginia vs. #66 Florida State
Jacksonville - Jan. 1 - 1 p.m.
This is a mockery of meritocracy. Does Bowden deserve an appropriate farewell party? Absolutely, but not at the expense of Clemson, Miami, and Boston College. It's not their faults that F$U's powers that be have their heads up their asses and didn't handle Bowden's dismissal properly. He will go down as one of the greatest head coaches of all time, and it's a tragedy that he didn't get to go out on his own terms, or with more fan fare in his last game at Doak Campbell. I despise the program, but respect the man. Which is why I find it hard to root against him, but the truth is that his team doesn't deserve to be in Jacksonville, and WVU is going to prove it. 29-26.

Rose Bowl Game presented by Citi
#7 Ohio State vs. #9 Oregon
Pasadena - Jan. 1 - 4:30 p.m.
Finally, we're getting into the real meat of the bowl games! I know I know, Ohio State, since 2001, has been an embarrassment in BCS games. You don't think Coach Sweatervest is eager to change that perception? This is the rebirth of the Buckeyes as they stifle the Oregon attack. 26-25.

Allstate Sugar Bowl
#5 Florida vs. #6 Cincinnati
New Orleans - Jan. 1 - 8:30 p.m.
Cincy has to be disappointed here. They just lost their coach. They never really had a shot at a national title. And as Big East conference champion, they're one of two schools in a BCS game not playing another conference champion. Florida meanwhile seems beside themselves with their Sugar Bowl consolation prize. Is Tebow a player for the ages? Definitely. Am I sad he didn't win another Heisman, another SEC title, or another national title? Not in the least. Cincy has simply found ways to win this year, and if they shutout all the distractions, they have a shot, but ultimately, the Gators seem the more likely victors. 28-25.

International Canada Bowl
#57 South Florida vs. #53 Northern Illinois
Toronto - Jan. 2 - 12 p.m.
There's not a single DI-A school in Canada, but for some reason we need a bowl game there. Made good sense the year Buffalo was in it, but a team from Tampa and a team from outside Chicago? At least those midwesterners know how to deal with the cold and lake effect weather. Throw everything else out the window (or retractable stadium roof). Huskies win. 26-24. Pizza Bowl II
#55 South Carolina vs. #52 UConn
Birmingham - Jan. 2 - 2 p.m.
Welcome to our second pizza-sponsored game. Did someone tell Pizza Hut they're missing the boat here? Why not have 3 or 7 pizza games? Hell, if Beef 'O' Brady's get's a bowl, surely chains like 5 Star, Pizza Movers, All Star, CPK, Cici's, Ledo, Vocelli, etc can get in on the action too, right? Sigh... Now I want pizza. Ahem, anyway, UConn wins this one for the feel-good factor and Spurrier starts thinking about joining his old rival Bowden in the retirement community. 26-24.

AT&T Cotton Bowl
#19 Oklahoma State vs. #41 Mississippi
Arlington - Jan. 2 - 2 p.m.
Which Ole Miss team shows up? The over-hyped Jevan Snead for Heisman team? Or the "we kinda suck, but we lost to some good teams, right?" team. My guess is the latter, but Okie State has their own share of underachievment problems. And if the rest of the Big 12 is any indication, the SEC is a superior conference and the Rebels will be ready for anything the Cowpokes throw them. 26-24.

AutoZone Liberty Bowl
#44 Arkansas vs. #27 East Carolina
Memphis - Jan. 2 - 5:30 p.m.
Like Auburn, Arkansas spent a lot of time lighting up scoreboards, only failing to score 30 or more against Florida, Bama, and Ole Miss. East Carolina meanwhile came from the shadows to knock off Houston and claim the CUSA crown. They've got to be ecstatic with their accomplishments this year, but Arkansas is a dangerous team and will play above themselves in taking down the Pirates. 30-27.

Valero Alamo Bowl
#64 Michigan State vs. #29 Texas Tech
San Antonio - Jan. 2 - 9 p.m.
Mike Leach continues to produce Passing Gone Wild in Lubbock year after year. If lowly Notre Dame and Jimmy Clausen could beat Michigan State through the air, expect Texas Tech to do the same. 31-26.

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
#2 Boise State vs. #4 TCU
Glendale - Jan. 4 - 8 p.m.
This is as disappointing a pairing as possible for two undefeated teams from outside the six power conferences. Both teams would desperately love some validation by beating a team from a automatic qualifier conference. Instead, they have to battle each other for pride. Boise should be happy they didn't get shut out again, but both teams are incredibly good and I think the reality is that the novelty of an outsider hanging with a blue-blood has worn off. Utah beating a bad Pitt team opened the door for Boise's amazing Fiesta against Oklahoma and Utah's depantsing of the Crimson Tide last year. Still, I'd love to see Boise/Florida in the matchup that never was after Florida's title game against Ohio State and the Bronco's Fiesta party. Tell me you wouldn't be all over a blue/orange fight to the death. Then, as Tech alum, I'd honestly love to see GT/TCU. And Iowa/Cincy would be a great blue-collar matchup. Why aren't I in charge of this kind of thing? Anyway, both teams feature quick strike offenses and stellar defenses. But I think TCU will find a way to shut down everything in Boise's playbook. 29-28.

FedEx Orange Bowl
#15 Iowa vs. #11 Georgia Tech
Miami - Jan. 5 - 8 p.m.
Beating Georgia Tech is all about two things: forcing third and long, or Tech not showing up. Iowa can probably take care of the first with their stingy run defense. But after winning a hard-fought ACC title game against Clemson, the Jackets will definitely be jacked up for their first major bowl game since the 60s. Iowa's defense might do it's job all day, but the problem is their anemic offense. Ricky Stanzi might be back, but won't have played in 2 months when he takes the field in Miami. All it takes is one big play for the Jackets to blow the game open, so as it has all year, Tech's offense carries the day. 25-24.

GMAC Perennially Pointless Bowl
#10 Central Michigan vs. #31 Troy
Mobile - Jan. 6 - 7 p.m.
Sandwiched between the Orange the title game, and following 32 other bowls, this bowl is kind of just a placeholder to keep you watching football for one more day between BCS games. I'm not sure it really serves any other purpose. Well, maybe to showcase Dan LeFevour. Why he wasn't a stronger Heisman candidate is beyond me. All he does is win and he's got better numbers than Colt McCoy. Troy continues their Sun Belt dominance, but it's still the Sun Belt. Even with their head coach conveyor belt to Cincy, the Chippewas are way too potent for the Trojans. 31-25.

Citi BCS National Championship Game Controversial Crystal Football Bowl
#3 Texas vs. #1 Alabama
Pasadena - Jan. 7 - 8 p.m.
There aren't any story lines here that you don't already know about. All the numbers I've looked at favor Texas. Plus, Heisman winners rarely go on to win titles. But Alabama just seems like they've had a better year, played tougher games, but the truth is that their SOS is really pretty similar. I know Texas had a couple of scares with A&M and Nebraska. But Colt McCoy is a proven winner and could vault up draft boards with a strong performance. My gut says Role Tide, but my numbers say Hook 'Em Horns, and I've stuck to my numbers everywhere else, so I'm not going to back down now. 26-23.


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