By Josh Kramer
The first few college bowl games surprisingly went out with a bang. I will be the first to admit that the first week of bowl games were not half bad. They were actually very good. Granted the majority of America did not really care about the outcomes, but guys like Tyler Tettleton (OU QB) and Brett Baer (Louisiana-Lafeyette kicker) are now heroes in Athens (Ohio) and Ragin’ Caginville. I think it is safe to say that Brett Baer might be more beloved than the “Waterboy,” Bobby Boucher (regardless of what mama says). in Lafayette. Two of the three games on Saturday came down to the wire. The Monday evening game provided a very surprising outcome, as the Thundering Herd “scampered” their way past a decent Florida International team. Now the fun really begins (sort of) with seven games between today and next Wednesday night.
Arizona State vs Boise State (MAACO BOWL LAS VEGAS)
-Broncos by 14
Headline: Kellen Moore vents his frustrations of missing the National Championship yet again on a struggling Arizona State team.
-The Sun Devils are not the same team that the majority of the country saw absolutely rock USC back in September. Their struggling defensive unit has given up 30+ points each of their last three games and the offense has been far from “Drew Brees-like.” Boise State has had a very typical season for Boise though. A huge win in the first game, followed by blowout upon blowout. The Broncos have outscored their opponents by an average of 25 points a game. Sadly though, in typical Boise fashion, the kicking game let them down at the end of the year. On this day, Kyle Brotzman (graduated last year) nor Dan Goodale (current kicker) will make a difference. Kellen Moore will cap his college career off with his 50th collegiate victory (most all time) against an Arizona State team that has really fallen apart late in the year.
Nevada vs Southern Mississippi (SHERATON HAWAII BOWL)
-Golden Eagles by 7
Headline: After knocking off Case Keenum and the seemingly unbeatable Houston Cougars, Southern Mississippi takes advantage of a much easier task in paradise.
-Nevada is a decent team this year. They have a very balanced offensive attack and have really lit up the scoreboard at times. Unfortunately for the Wolf Pack, Southern Mississippi is coming off a game in which they shut down (or at least weathered the storm) Case Keenum and the electric Houston offense. In addition, led by senior quarterback Austin Davis, the Golden Eagles feature a better offensive unit than Nevada. At least the Wolf Pack get to go to Hawaii right?
Missouri vs North Carolina (AdvoCare V100 INDEPENDENCE BOWL)
-Tigers by 7
Headline: Missouri makes the most of their visit to SEC country and comes away with a victory.
-The Missouri Tigers are on their way to the best football conference in America, the SEC. This will be their 7th straight bowl appearance. North Carolina has dealt with adversity this season on and off the field. Their faithful leader Butch Davis was fired right before the season. And despite the sudden firing, the Tar Heels were still able to save face and win seven games. I wouldn’t count on number eight for UNC though. Look for Missouri to ride their two-headed rushing machine featuring Henry Josey and James Franklin to their eighth victory of the year.
Western Michigan vs Purdue (LITTLE CAESARS BOWL)
-Broncos by 1
Headline: The Boilermakers fall just short of their first winning season since 2007 in a very exciting shootout at Ford Field.
-I can promise you one thing regarding this game that embodies “Mediocrity.” Ndamukong Suh will not be at Ford Field on Tuesday night. Or at least he won’t be suited up. Purdue is playing in their first bowl game since they took on Central Michigan on this very field in 2007 (Purdue won 51 to 48). Western Michigan would love for this game to turn into a track meet. The best player on the field will be a Broncos wide receiver. Grab your popcorn and watch what Jordan White (9 TDs in last 4 games), a senior wide receiver for Western Michigan, has in store. This kid is one of America’s best kept secrets and will be one of the stories of the night.
Louisville vs North Carolina State (BELK BOWL)
-Cardinals by 10
Headline: Louisville is no longer just a basketball school. Charlie Strong’s squad gives the country a precursor of things to come in Cardinals country.
-Louisville was a Co-Big East Champion this year. NC State on the other hand was a middle of the pack ACC team. Though the Wolfpack destroyed a very tough Clemson team, this team has been a mar of inconsistency all year-long. Louisville on the other hand, outside of a very poor showing against Pittsburgh, really played great football for the last two months of the season. Charlie Strong is an outstanding coach who has something special brewing in Louisville. Keep an eye on Teddy Bridgewater. This guy will be one of the nation’s elite quarterbacks in the not so distant future. In addition, these teams have one common opponent on the year, Cincinnati. Louisville lost a heartbreaker, while NC State took a 30 point drubbing at the hands of the Bearcats. You do the math on that one.
Toledo vs Air Force (MILITARY BOWL - PRESENTED BY NORTHROP GRUMMAN)
-Rockets by 10
Headline: The Rockets fly high behind their electric offensive attack in the nation’s capital.
-Toledo has scored over 40 points each of their past four games. Air Force has gone over 40 four times this year. Now I am more than aware that Air Force’s triple-option offensive attack is a very tall order for any defense to deal with. Especially teams who are unfamiliar with it (most teams are). So you better believe that this game will not be lacking in points. Expect a shootout. These teams only have one common opponent (Boise State). Toledo lost by 25 while Air Force only lost by 11. Despite this fact, I think if Toledo can get ahead early, Air Force will not have the firepower to keep up with Eric Page (Toledo star WR) and Co.
California vs Texas (BRIDGEPOINT EDUCATION HOLIDAY BOWL)
-Longhorns by 3
Headline: Despite a pro California crowd, the Longhorns find a way to win against a very unpredictable Golden Bears team.
-Texas has played a quarterback by committee style for a good portion of the season thanks in large part to the struggles of guys such as Colt McCoy and David Ash. Luckily for the Longhorns, California does not exactly have a Big 12 high-powered offense. The Golden Bears have a respectable offensive unit, but nothing near the level of going against RGIII, Brandon Weeden, or Landry Jones. In addition, an achilles heel for the Golden Bears at times has been their defense. Bowl games are about which team really feels as if they are playing for something. After 12 straight bowl appearances, Texas had their streak snapped last year. You better believe Mack Brown will be able to get his Longhorn team motivated to win this game after not having the privilege to participate in postseason football last year.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.