This week the choice is easy, since there are only 3 games this weekend. Sure, all 3 games are not exactly what I would classify as marquee matchups. But on Saturday, they are the big game in town. Lets take a closer look.
New Mexico Bowl
–BYU vs UTEP
At duel between a pair of 500 teams. What other sport can you go 500 and participate in the postseason? I am still waiting to hear of one. Either way, these two teams are battling in Albuquerque come Saturday. BYU struggled early this year. But recovered in a big way down the stretch, and now are in a bowl game for the 6th straight year. UTEP on the other hand has not been as successful in recent memory. They have not won a bowl game since 1967! Neither of these teams really do anything especially well in any facet of the game. UTEP struggled down the stretch though losing 5 of 6. Plus, the Mountain West is a stronger conference then the fledgling Conference USA. My nod goes to BYU, just based on raw bowl game experience. Cougars by 7.
uDrove Humanitarian Bowl
–Northern Illinois vs Fresno State
This is actually a decent matchup. It has to be the “Game of the Day.” These are two pretty solid teams that have some players that are very fun to watch. Northern Illinois had won 9 straight before being shocked by Miami (OH) in the MAC Championship game. Fresno State on the other hand has been very up and down all year. But they have won 2 straight coming into this game, including a win over Illinois, a Big Ten squad. The best player on the blue turf will be the Huskie’s senior RB, Chad Spann. Chad is a senior tailback out of Indianapolis who has had a phenomenal career. This is his last chance to showcase his abilities and show that he is worthy of a shot at playing at the next level. Northern Illinois lives on a very strong rushing attack and a tough defense. Fresno has played a tough non conference schedule and looks to end the year on a high note. Sadly, I expect the Bulldogs to once again struggle on the blue turf, as Northern Illinois captures a school record 11th victory. Huskies by 9 in this one.
R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
–Ohio vs Troy
This is not exactly a game that will steal the limelight either. To cap off a pretty weak day of games, we get at team out of the MAC taking on a team out of the Sun Belt Conference. Not exactly a dream come true right? Well at least the kids from OU who decide to make the trek will get to check out Bourbon Street. This will make the journey worthwhile for the Bobcat faithful. Anyways, OU was riding high after winning 7 in a row until a horrible performance against Kent State in the regular season finale. This game cost OU a shot to play in the MAC Championship game. Troy on the other hand has never had the big win streak this year. Their longest stretch was a streak of 3 games back in October. Heading into this matchup though, Troy has won 2 straight games and look to have fully recovered from the smackdown South Carolina laid on them just before Thanksgiving. These teams play two very contrasting styles. OU lives on a solid rushing attack and a decent defensive unit. Troy likes to play a shootout style in which they rely on an outstanding aerial attack. Freshman QB, Corey Robinson, has been outstanding for Troy all year and looks to have an extremely bright future. On this day though, Robinson will experience a low as OU comes out ready to play. The Bobcats will utilize their superior defensive unit and take this one. OU by 3 in a very close matchup that not many people will watch.
So there you have it. 3 games on Saturday. Two pretty weak matchups and one decent one. If you get to choose, watch the Northern Illinois vs Fresno State game. Chad Spann is one of the best running backs in the country that you have never heard of.
Enjoy the first 3 of the 35 Bowl Games.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.