By Josh Kramer
Bowl season is finally upon us. Sadly, there is no way to sugarcoat it though. The first week of bowl games are anything but flattering. This is probably the worst week we have had all year in terms of matchups. 35 bowl games are far too many. As a result, we end up with weeks like this.
Temple vs Wyoming (Gildan New Mexico Bowl)
–Owls by 3
Headline: Owls old-school smash mouth style proves too much for the Cowboys.
-Each team has already won eight games this year. Sadly, none of those wins have come against ranked foes. The Cowboys have gone 0 for two in games against ranked opponents this season, taking a whipping each time. Temple on the other hand comes in having won three straight games and has played only one game against ranked foe. That game was a loss at the hands of Joe Paterno’s former team, in an absolute heartbreaker.
-This matchup is truly anything but flattering. Neither team possesses much offensive firepower. The differentiating factor lies in Temple’s outstanding defense. The Owls have been successful this year due to their smash mouth style. Their defense is one of the best in the nation, and Bernard Pierce is one of the best running back in all of the land that you have never heard of. Expect Pierce to help the Owls control the clock and win an ugly game in New Mexico.
Ohio vs Utah State (Famous Idaho Potato Bowl)
–Aggies by 3
Headline: The Aggies continue their hot streak with a shootout victory in Idaho.
-The Ohio Bobcats were winners of five straight until a very surprising loss a couple of weeks ago against Northern Iowa. Utah State on the other hand, after a midseason headache, have now won five straight games. Luckily for the Aggies, there has been just a two-week gap between games. The hot streak will not have cooled.
-OU features an electric offense, led by their dual-threat quarterback, Tyler Tettleton. Remember though, Utah State is the same team that had the defending champion Auburn Tigers on the ropes in Week 1. This team is no pushover. And though OU has demonstrated a fairly balanced attack this year, Utah State is very hot right now. In addition, the Aggies stomped a solid Wyoming team and handled a fairly solid Nevada squad earlier this year. Expect a shootout in which the Aggies come out victorious.
San Diego State vs Louisiana Lafayette (R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl)
–Aztecs by 10
Headline: The Aztecs make a statement as they continue to prepare for life in the Big East.
-These are two teams heading in very different directions. San Diego State is winners of two straight games and preparing for a move to the Big East. Louisiana Lafayette are losers of two consecutive games, and are in the midst of a downward spiral. As I have mentioned before, the break has only been two weeks for these teams. Hot squads are not going to be cooled off by when these matchups are played.
-The Aztecs have only lost one time since Halloween. And that loss came at the hands of a very good Boise State team. The Ragin’ Cagins on the other hand, despite playing two very high caliber opponents the past two games in Arkansas State and Arizona, appear to have lost a lot of confidence. Luckily for them, this game will in essence be somewhat of a home game which should play in the favor of the Ragin’ Cagins. The makeshift home field will help, but it will not be enough to contain the electric Aztecs duo of Ryan Lindley and Ronnie Hillman.
Florida International vs Marshall (Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg)
–Golden Panthers by 14
Headline: T.Y. Hilton goes out with a bang in his final collegiate game.
-If it wasn’t for a dramatic late touchdown, Marshall would not have even gotten the opportunity to go “bowling” this year. This is definitely not a Marshall team reminiscent to the Chad Pennington and Randy Moss days. This is a very mediocre Thundering Herd squad. Florida International on the other hand is in the midst of a record-breaking season. They have already won a school record eight games this season, and are appearing in back to back bowl games for the first time in school history (football program started in 2002).
-With all of that being said, this is Florida Internationals game to lose. We already saw what the Golden Panthers are capable of when they shocked a very good Louisville team on national television. T.Y. Hilton is a gem of a talent, and I am assuming wants to go out on a high note. Expect the combination of Hilton’s electric playmaker ability and the Golden Panthers very solid defense to prove too much for a very mediocre Marshall team.
TCU vs Louisiana Tech (San Diego Country Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl)
–Horned Frogs by 14
Headline: TCU continues their recent bowl success with a slaughtering of a very overmatched Louisiana Tech team.
-TCU once again ran the table in conference play. Their only losses (2) this year came in thrilling games. One of those losses came in the opener at the hands of the Heisman Trophy winner RGIII, and a very good Baylor team. Louisiana Tech on the other hand comes into this game winners of seven straight, and seemed to really be clicking on all cylinders in their most recent game against New Mexico State. Big deal I say.
-TCU has become a perennial powerhouse. I mean this is the school that produced the one and only Andy Dalton. Remember, these guys won the Rose Bowl last year. So sure Louisiana Tech is a hot team, but really, who have they beaten that is anywhere near the caliber of TCU? Wins over Utah State, Ole Mississippi, and Nevada were all solid victories, but do any of those teams even deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as TCU? The Horned Frogs flat-out put up points, led by their very impressive sophomore quarterback Casey Pachall. Expect Pachall to have a field day on Wednesday.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.