Bowl Picks, Part Three

Having come this far, we might as well polish off the remaining games on the college bowl schedule, the ones being played in January, 2010.  You probably have your own opinions about these games, since most of the participants are schools that got a lot of attention throughout the season.  You don’t need me to tell you about Tim Tebow or Colt McCoy; you’ve seen them play, or at least read about their exploits elsewhere.  In a few instances, though, I can’t resist the impulse to rationalize my picks.  Here they are:

Outback Bowl     Northwestern (8-4) vs. Auburn (7-5)

 Winner:  Auburn

Gator Bowl     West Virginia (9-3) vs. Florida State (6-6)

Winner:  Florida State

The fact that it’s Bobby Bowden’s final game may provide an emotional lift, and the Seminole players are also auditioning for next year’s coach, Jimbo Fisher.

Capital One Bowl     Penn State (10-2) vs. LSU (9-3)

Winner:  Penn State

Rose Bowl     Oregon (10-2) vs. Ohio State (10-2)

Winner:  Oregon

Their common regular-season opponent was USC, which beat Ohio State… and got thrashed by Oregon.

Sugar Bowl     Florida (12-1) vs. Cincinnati (12-0)

Winner:  Florida

Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly left abruptly to take a similar job at a Catholic school in Indiana.  Then, a couple of weeks later, interim coach Jeff Quinn took the vacant position at Buffalo.  Quinn will stick around long enough to coach this game, and then it’s “see ya”.   The players justifiably feel their leaders have quit on them, so don’t expect maximum effort from the Bearcats.

International Bowl     South Florida (7-5) vs. Northern Illinois (7-5)

Winner:  Northern Illinois

South Florida is favored, but the Bulls lost 3 of their last 4 games, and there are reports of dissension in the ranks.

Cotton Bowl     Oklahoma State (9-3) vs. Mississippi (8-4)

Winner:  Oklahoma State

PapaJohns.com Bowl     Connecticut (7-5) vs. South Carolina (7-5)

Winner:  South Carolina

Liberty Bowl     East Carolina (9-4) vs. Arkansas (7-5)

Winner:  Arkansas

East Carolina excels at committing penalties — 831 yards were marched off against the Pirates during the 2009 season.

Alamo Bowl     Michigan State (6-6) vs. Texas Tech (8-4)

Winner:  Texas Tech

Fiesta Bowl     Boise State (13-0) vs. Texas Christian (12-0)

Winner:  TCU

This could be the best of this season’s bowl games.  It matches the team that led the nation in scoring (Boise St.) against the team that led the nation in total defense (TCU).  Boise State’s QB Kellen Moore threw for 39 TDs with only 3 interceptions.  TCU’s QB Andy Dalton had 22 TDs with 5 interceptions.  Both teams averaged over 40 points per game.  I give the edge to TCU on the strength of its defense.

Orange Bowl     Georgia Tech (11-2) vs. Iowa (10-2)

Winner:  Georgia Tech

Having a month to practice against the triple option may help Iowa somewhat, but the Hawkeyes’ lucky streak has to end sometime.

GMAC Bowl     Central Michigan (11-2) vs. Troy (9-3)

Winner:  Central Michigan

It’s tempting to pick Troy because Central Michigan has abandonment issues — coach Butch Jones was hired to replace Brian Kelly at Cincinnati.  The Chippewas still have QB Dan LeFevour, though; watch him pick apart the Troy secondary, which ranked 117th (out of 120) in pass defense.

BCS Championship     Alabama (13-0) vs. Texas (13-0)

Winner:  Alabama

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