By Casey Keefe
» More Columns
Wednesday 12/28 – Holiday Bowl: #24 Texas (7-5) vs. California (7-5) – 8pm
This is an intriguing matchup between two big programs who have had mediocre years. The bad blood between Texas’ Mack Brown and Cal’s Jeff Tedford dating back to the Rose Bowl controversy of 2004 still exists. We’re sure to be in store for a spirited contest both on and off the field.
Despite being ranked for some bizarre reason, Texas is not a good team and finished the regular season in pathetic fashion, losing 3 of their last 4 games. Neither one of the Longhorn quarterbacks (Case McCoy & David Ash) pose any threat whatsoever. Texas’ offense as a whole is pretty much non-existent. Cal on the other hand will move the ball and score plenty of points with running back Isi Sofele (1,270 yards, 9 TD’s) and the deadly quarterback-receiver combination of Zach Maynard (2,802 yards, 17 TD’s, 11 INT’s) and Keenan Allen (1,261 yards, 6 TD’s)… Prediction: California
Thursday 12/29 – Champs Sports Bowl: Notre Dame (8-4) vs. Florida State (8-4) – 5:30pm
This matchup between two of the most prestigious programs in all of college football is sure to attract a little attention. As is always the case, offensive line play will play a huge factor in this game. Notre Dame has one of the best units in the country whereas Florida State has one of the worst. Keep an eye on the trenches.
Florida State has one of the best front seven’s in the nation, led by their stellar defensive tackles Timmy Jernigan and Everett Dawkins. They have the #2 ranked rush defense, allowing just 82 yards per game. Notre Dame’s offensive line will have their hands full, but if they can keep quarterback Tommy Rees (2,708 yards, 19 TD’s, 12 INT’s) upright I think he’ll team with receiver Michael Floyd (1,106 yards, 8 TD’s) to expose the Seminoles’ suspect secondary… Prediction: Notre Dame
Thursday 12/29 – Alamo Bowl: #12 Baylor (9-3) vs. Washington (7-5) – 9pm
This is sure to be one of the highest scoring games of the bowl season. Both these teams can score points in a hurry. Baylor averages 44 points per game and 571 yards per game. Washington isn’t shabby either putting up 32 points and 392 yards on average. To make things more interesting, neither one of these defenses can be considered anything close to respectable (Baylor: 36 ppga, Washington: 33 ppga).
I like Huskies quarterback Keith Price (2,625 yards, 29 TD’s, 11 INT’s). I think he’ll shine in this game, but not as much as Heisman winner Robert Griffin III (3,998 pass yards, 45 Total TD’s, 6 INT’s, 72%) who has been playing out of this world all year long. The Bears’ offense has been nearly unstoppable this season. They run up-tempo and maximize their possessions. Asking Price and the Huskies to keep pace with RG3 and company is a simply unreasonable… Prediction: Baylor
Friday 12/30 – Pinstripe Bowl: Rutgers (8-4) vs. Iowa State (6-6) – 3:20pm
Rutgers had a legitimate shot at the Big East’s BCS bid, but in a shocking sign of “Rutgers being Rutgers” they blew it. At least we can all say that we weren’t surprised. Now they find themselves in the unique position of playing a virtual home game at Yankee Stadium against a very average Iowa State team.
The Cyclones claim to fame is ruining Oklahoma State’s perfect season, in turn costing them a shot at the BCS title. But if you read through that fateful Friday night you’ll notice that Iowa State ain’t that good of a team. As much as we all criticize Greg Schiano, I think with a month to prepare he’s going to have his Scarlet Knights ready to go. Iowa State’s defense is brutal (30 ppga)—they’ll have no answer for Rutgers’ dynamic weapon Mohamed Sanu (109 rec, 1,144 yards, 7 TD’s)… Prediction: Rutgers
Friday 12/30 – Insight Bowl: #14 Oklahoma (9-3) vs. Iowa (7-5) – 10pm
Remember back in early September when Oklahoma was the favorite amongst many experts to win the national championship? Wow, how the mighty have fallen… The loss of star receiver Ryan Broyles (1,157 yards, 10 TD’s) played a huge factor in the Sooners’ demise. But let’s not act like they’re buried. We’re still in store for a good one on Friday. Bob Stoops vs. Kirk Ferentz is one of the best coaching matchups you’ll find.
With a month to rest and prepare, I expect to see a vintage performance from Sooners quarterback Landry Jones (4,302 yards, 28 TD’s, 14 INT’s). He’s struggled without Broyles, but I’m sure all this extra practice time has given Jones an opportunity to get on the same page with his other receivers. Keep an eye on Sooners linebacker Travis Lewis. He’ll be a star in the pros and I expect him to disrupt James Vandenberg (2,806 yards, 23 TD’s, 6 INT’s) and the Hawkeyes’ offense… Prediction: Oklahoma
Saturday 12/31 – Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Virginia (8-4) vs. #25 Auburn (7-5) – 7:30pm
What better way to spend your New Year’s Eve than by watching Virginia-Auburn? This is sure to be a close one that’ll go right down to the final few minutes. Virginia has struggled with consistently issues and we know this year’s Tigers are a far cry from the national champs of a season ago. Overall these are two very even teams.
Virginia’s offense is brutal, but they do have a solid defensive unit. If they can get the ground game going with Perry Jones (883 yards, 8 Total TD’s) and avoid turning the ball over with quarterback Michael Rocco (2,359 yards, 11 TD’s, 11 INT’s) the Cavaliers will have a shot to win this game. Realistically, I just think Auburn is too well rounded to not come out on top. As good as Virginia’s front seven has been, I don’t think they’ll hold up against the Tigers’ offense even with the loss of Michael Dyer (1,242 yards, 10 TD’s) to suspension. Expect Onterio McCalebb (532 yards, 4 TD’s) to have a big game on the ground… Prediction: Auburn
Friday 12/30 – Armed Forces Bowl: BYU (9-3) vs. Tulsa (8-4) – 12pm – The Cougars finished the season strong and I think they’ll carry that momentum into this game and get after Tulsa quarterback G.J. Kinne (2,876 yards, 25 TD’s, 12 INT’s)… Prediction: BYU
Friday 12/30 – Music City Bowl: Mississippi State (6-6) vs. Wake Forest (6-6) – 6:40pm – Wake Forest is soft on both sides of the ball. The Bulldogs’ defense above anything else will win this game… Prediction: Mississippi State
Saturday 12/31 – Car Care Bowl: Texas A&M (6-6) vs. Northwestern (6-6) – 12pm – Both are more talented than your typical 6-6 team. Ryan Tannehill (3,415 yards, 28 TD’s, 14 INT’s) will win it for the Aggies… Prediction: Texas A&M
Saturday 12/31 – Sun Bowl: Georgia Tech (8-4) vs. Utah (7-5) – 2pm – No way Paul Johnson lets the Yellow Jackets lose this game—not with a month to rest and prepare his players… Prediction: Georgia Tech
Saturday 12/31 – Liberty Bowl: Cincinnati (9-3) vs. Vanderbilt (6-6) – 3:30pm – This is a mismatch. No matter how healthy Cincy quarterback Zach Collaros is, I don’t see any way Vanderbilt can consistently move the ball against the Bearcats defense… Prediction: Cincinnati
Saturday 12/31 – Hunger Bowl: Illinois (6-6) vs. UCLA (6-7) – 3:30pm – Both these teams finished the season terribly. To be honest, this game is close to unwatchable. I’ll take Illinois only because UCLA’s defense is so pathetic… Prediction: Illinois
Follow Casey Keefe on Twitter: @CaseyKeefeWFAN
Give us your Bowl predictions in the comments below…