Brown on the Bowls

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Brown on the Bowls

Bowl Season is here again!!! Thanks to Michigan State there is no controversy this year, right? The bowl season is a great time of year for football fans. There are so many games and storylines. There are interesting matchups everywhere this year. Here is a preview of this bowl season.

Dec. 21 2:00 PM: GILDAN New Mexico Bowl: Washington St. vs. Colorado State

Preview: Mike Leach has Washington State back to a bowl game. Wazzu will throw the ball and throw it often in this game. That Colorado State defense has struggled all season and will struggle again against Washington State. WSU is ranked fourth in passing yards a game and CSU’s defense ranks 79th in defense. Washington State simply has better wins (Arizona, USC) than CSU who lost to lowly Colorado.

The Pick: Washington State

Dec. 21 3:30 PM: ROYAL PURPLE Las Vegas Bowl: 20 Fresno State vs. 23 USC

Preview: Derek Carr will play his last game for Fresno. His next stop will be playing on Sundays as he is seen as a potential first round pick. Carr leads an extremely good Fresno State offense. Fresno’s wins or win-margin is not that impressive. But, USC interim coach Ed Orgeron has resigned and teams without coaches do not do well in bowl games.

The Pick: Fresno State

Dec. 21 5:30 PM: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Buffalo vs. San Diego State

Preview: It is the “We-both-lost-to-Ohio State-Bowl!”.  Buffalo easily has the best player in the game in Khalil Mack. Mack will be a first round pick come April. Buffalo played a hard schedule this year after playing Baylor and Ohio State. Plus, when they have won they have dominated. Meanwhile San Diego State has struggled when winning but did take Fresno State to overtime.

The Pick: Buffalo

Dec. 21 9:00 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Tulane vs. LA-Lafayette

Preview: Neither of these teams have looked that impressive this year. They both have gotten blown out in their games against power six conference opponents. Tulane does have a pretty good defense. Plus, conference USA is a little better than the Sun-Belt. I’d go Tulane

The Pick: Tulane 

Dec. 23 2:00 PM: Beef O’Brady’s Bowl: East Carolina vs. Ohio

Preview: East Carolina has some nice wins over North Carolina and NC State. They also played Virginia Tech close. They have a high powered offense that scores close to 41 points per game. A loss to Marshall hurts their resume. Ohio on the other hand always does well in bowl games. But, I just cannot trust a team that got routed by Louisville and Buffalo.

The Pick: East Carolina

Dec. 24 8:00 PM: SHERATON Hawaii Bowl: Oregon State vs. Boise State

Preview: Boise State will suffer the biggest loss of any team going into next season. Their coach Chis Peterson shocked the college football world and took the Washington job after withdrawing his name from consideration for the USC job. Once again teams do not play well when they lose their coach, especially one of the best in the country. Oregon State is better than their record (6-6) and has one of the best QB’s in the country in Sean Mannion.

The Pick: Oregon State

Dec. 26 6:00 PM: Little Caesar’s Bowl: Pittsburgh vs. Bowling Green

Preview: Bowling Green is yet another coaching casualty. Their coach bolted and took the Wake Forest job. That really takes away from what is an extremely good Bowling Green team. They have the fifth ranked defense in the country and just up-ended previously undefeated Northern Illinois. Their lone troubling loss this season was the 42-10 thumping at the hands of Indiana. They have since crushed quality opponents in Ohio, Buffalo, and Northern Illinois. Pittsburgh also has looked extremely average at points this season. Although, they did beat Notre Dame and Duke, the Panthers just do not have the it-factor.

The Pick: Bowling Green (despite not having a coach)

DEC. 26 9:30 PM: SD County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl: Utah State vs. 21 Northern Illinois

Preview: Bowling Green saved us all from watching an Alabama beat down of Northern Illinois in a BCS game, but the Huskies can still end the Jordan Lynch era with a win. Lynch will be in New York for the Heisman ceremonies this week, so that could certainly hurt preparation for his team. Utah State is not going to be an easy win. Utah State played Utah, USC, and Fresno State tough this year. They also have a good defense. Utah State defends the run extremely well and this game has all the makings for an upset. I think UTSU will make Lynch pass the ball. We shall see if Lynch can.

The Pick: Utah State

Dec. 27 2:30 PM: Military Bowl: Marshall vs. Maryland

Preview: Maryland has trouble scoring. After starting the season 4-0 they are 3-5 since. That includes losses to Wake Forest, Syracuse, and Boston College. Stephon Diggs is one of the best players in America and this could be the game where the nation starts noticing.  Marshall will be up for the challenge, though. They have a high powered offense that scores 43 points a game. Maybe Maryland comes to play, but something tells me that Marshall gets it done.

The Pick: Marshall

Dec. 27 6:00 PM: Texas Bowl: Syracuse vs. Minnesota

Preview: Minnesota has been one of the best stories all season. Jerry Kill has taken the Golden Gophers to the next level. After playing Wisconsin and Michigan State close, Syracuse will seem like an easy test for the Gophers and Phillip Nelson.

The Pick: Minnesota

Dec. 27 9:30 PM: Fight Hunger Bowl: BYU vs. Washington

Preview: Washington has had a pretty good season. Bishop Sankey is one of the best running backs in the country and Keith Price is also pretty good. But, their head coach, Steve Sarkishian, took the USC job. That is not good for the Huskies. The good news is that Chris Petersen will be the next head coach. Lost in all this is the fact that BYU is a really good team. BYU is ranked 10th in rushing yards and I expect BYU to get the job done.

The Pick: BYU

Dec.28 12:00 PM:  New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Rutgers vs. Notre Dame

Preview: Notre Dame has had a disappointing season but it would get much worse if they lost to Rutgers in their bowl game. Rutgers has not impressed me at all this year. They got beat down by the University of Cincinnati Bearcats and lost to 3-9 Uconn. Notre Dame should win this game easily, even if Tommy Reese is the QB. But, hey, Irish fans Everrette Golston got re-admitted!!!!!

The Pick: Notre Dame

Dec.28 6:45 PM: Russell Athletic Bowl: Miami (FL) vs. Louisville

Preview: This should be Teddy Bridgewater’s last career collegiate game before the Jaguars or Texans take him in the draft. Louisville’s lone stumble this season was to UCF by a field goal. The Cardinals were in the BCS mix earlier in the season but disappointing results made them drop in the standings. The Hurricanes on the other hand have fallen completely off the map. They were ranked in the top-10 when they got beat down in Tallahassee. Since then, it’s been rough. They have lost to Duke and Virginia Tech. They really do not have a key win all season. Not to mention Duke Johnson is out for the rest of the season. This will be a fun match-up, though.

The Pick: Louisville

Dec.28 10:15 PM: Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: That Team Up North vs. Kansas State

Preview: Have the Wolverines finally turned the corner? The offense looked unstoppable against Ohio State. The defense? Not so much. Anyhow, they should handle a Kansas State team that is in rebuild mode post Collin Kline. Devin Gardner should pick a part this defense in the nice Arizona weather.

The Pick: That Team Up North

Dec.30 11:45 Am: Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl: Middle Tennessee vs. Navy

Preview: Navy is one of the toughest teams to prepare for in the entire country. The triple option is so dangerous and is averaging over 320 yards per game. Plus, they are playing in the armed forces bowl. They have to win, right?

The Pick: Navy

Dec.30 3:15 PM: Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl:  Ole Miss vs. Georgia Tech

Preview: Ole Miss has taken a big step in the right direction. The future is definitely bright in Oxford. The Freshman class has looked very good. Laquon Treadwell is a future first round pick at wide out. Bo Wallace has been inconsistent this year, but Virginia beat Georgia Tech. This really should be an Ole Miss win. But, its bowl season! Anything can happen.

The Pick: Ole Miss

Dec. 30 6:45 PM: Valero Alamo Bowl: 10 Oregon vs. Texas

Preview: The route is on. Texas will get blown out against the Ducks. The only question is if Oregon will be focused enough after being all in for the national championship. I mean they didn’t even want to play in the Rose Bowl. But, Texas just can stop the Ducks. I assume Mack Brown will resign before this game and Texas will be ready to offer Nick Saban a boat load of money. The future could be bright in Texas but the Ducks will be beat them badly in this game.

The Pick: Oregon

Dec.30 10:15 PM: National University Holiday Bowl: 14 Arizona State vs. Texas Tech

Preview: Texas Tech has just run out of gas. After appearing in the top 10 earlier this year, they have completely fallen on their face. They have lost five games in a row and got destroyed by Texas in their last game. Meanwhile, Arizona State is one of the best teams in the country. ASU is very well coached and is playing some of their best football in years. T.Kelly should have a big game against a bad Texas Tech defense. If only they could beat Stanford, they would only have one-loss.

The Pick: Arizona State

Dec.31 12:30 PM: AdvoCare V100 Bowl: Arizona vs. Boston College

Preview: Arizona is hot right now. They crushed Oregon and played UCLA tough. This will be a great running back match-up. It will be Andre Williams of BC versus Ka’Deem Carey of Arizona. I think Carey has the better supporting cast and he certainly has the better wins.

The Pick: Arizona

Dec.31 2:00 PM: Hyundai Sun Bowl: Virginia Tech vs.17 UCLA

Preview: UCLA is just happy that their coach did not bolt for Washington. Now it is time to score the ball on one of the best defenses in the entire country. Bud Foster runs a great defense in Virginia Tech and Frank Beamer is still one of the best. This would be an upset, but UCLA has Brett Hundley at QB and one of the best freshman in the country at running back and linebacker in Myles Jack. Jack had 10+ tackles on defense and 100 + yards rushing in one game. That is truly unbelievable. I think Va. Tech needs this one for the ACC because it is not looking good at this point. UCLA just has too good of an offense and Virginia Tech has no offense.

The Pick: UCLA

Dec.31 4:00 PM: AutoZone Liberty Bowl:  Rice vs. Mississippi State

Preview: Upset special!! Rice has had a great season at 10-3. Last time we saw Rice, Johnny Football was making money signs in the face of Rice defenders. Rice played Texas A&M tough that game and unfortunately for Mississippi State they do not have Johnny Football to bail them out. The Rice rushing attack will stun the Bulldogs of Mississippi State.

The Pick: Rice

Dec.31 8:00 PM: Chick-Fil-A Bowl: 24 Duke vs. 21 Texas A&M

Preview: Johnny Football’s last game as an Aggie. We will truly miss you, Johnny. I am sure Johnny Football will be playing on Sundays this time next year. But, first he has to crush the clearly overmatched Duke Blue Devils first. A&M’s horrible defense will keep Duke in the game, but Johnny Football to Mike Evans connection will be too much.

The Pick: Texas A&M

Jan.1 12:00 PM: Bowl: Nebraska vs. 22 Georgia

Preview: Aaron Murray, Keith Marshall, Malcolm Mitchell, Justin Scott-Wesley are just a few of their key injuries this season. The Bulldogs were expecting to reach the SEC championship, but the injuries caught up to them. Todd Gurley is the best back in America, but he will certainly have a tough time against the Nebraska front seven. Ameer Abdullah will have a big game for the Cornhuskers and Bo Pelini will win back the fans. SEC goes down again!!!! Wait, what?

The Pick: Nebraska

Jan.1 12:00 PM: Heart of Dallas Bowl: UNLV vs. North Texas

Preview: Neither of these teams have looked impressive enough to feel good about the pick. UNLV crushed Air Force and San Diego State in their two games leading up to the bowl game, so they have been a little hot of late. For North Texas, the game is in Texas so that should be an advantage as far as the crowd goes. North Texas also has had a solid season defensively only giving up 18 points a contest. I’ll go with the crowd here.

The Pick: North Texas

Jan.1 1:00 PM: Outback Bowl: Iowa vs. 16 LSU

Preview: LSU took a huge hit to its chances when their QB Zach Mettenberger went down with a torn ACL. The question will be if Iowa can stop LSU running back Jeremy Hill. If they can stop Hill they will win the game if they cannot then they will lose. It is an interesting matchup, though. LSU’s defense has had a down year. But, Iowa’s offense is just awful. That could end up being the difference as well.

The Pick: LSU

Jan.1 1:00 PM: Capital One Bowl: 19 Wisconsin vs. 9 South Carolina

Preview: South Carolina is not the ninth best team in the country. After they lost to Tennessee, they lost all credibility to me. South Carolina just cannot score the ball when it counts. Wisconsin’s rushing attack is among the best in the country. James White and Melvin Gordon are both elite ball carriers. Jadeveon Clowney will double teamed the entire game. It is just a matter of who you trust more: Joel Stave (Wisconsin) or Connor Shaw (South Carolina). I think Wisconsin’s ability to run the ball gives Stave a big edge.

The Pick: Wisconsin

Jan.1 5:00 PM: The Rose Bowl Game Presented by VIZIO: 5 Stanford vs. 4 Michigan State

Preview: This is going to be smash mouth football game. It will feature two great defenses and two great rushing attacks going at it. This is an old school Rose Bowl. Both of these teams looked impressive in their respective championship games. I know Auburn beat two “Top 5” opponents, but MSU should have at least gotten a look at the National Championship game.If only they hadn’t lost to Notre Dame in South Bend. Darqueze Dennard leads the best defense in the country. Both of these teams are exceptionally well coached. The matchup to watch will be Michigan State LB Max Bullough versus Stanford running back Tyler Gaffney. Whoever wins this matchup will win the game.

The Pick: Michigan State

Jan.1 8:30 PM: Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: 15 UCF vs. 6 Baylor

Preview: This game is the least appealing among all of the BCS games. UCF probably should not be there. UCF only has one impressive win. That is over a one loss Louisville team. They did play South Carolina tough, but if South Carolina could score on them then Baylor certainly can as well. Plus, UCF has been playing poorly lately. They barely beat SMU, South Florida, and temple. Those teams are not good. Baylor QB Bryce Petty will return for his senior season and It remains to be seen about Lache Seastrunk. Seastrunk will have a big game and Baylor will roll in this game. Baylor does extremely well when playing teams that do not have the same talent. I predict a route. Even with a 15.5 point spread I think Baylor covers.

The Pick: Baylor

Jan.2 8:30 PM: AllState Sugar Bowl: 3 Alabama vs. 11 Oklahoma

Preview: Oklahoma probably does not have any business being in a BCS game, but they do have a punchers chance in this game. Blake Bell has proven he can points on the board, but he has not seen a defense like Alabama’s. Oklahoma’s loss ( a route) to Texas hurts the Sooners. If Texas beat them down at a neutral site what is Alabama going to do to them? The biggest question for the Crimson Tide is if Nick Saban will stay or not. I think that is a legit question. Texas will offer a lot of money and that might be the best job in America. On the football side of things, Alabama is clearly the better team. I think Alabama is better than Auburn. Anybody who watched the Iron Bowl would recognize that ‘Bama is clearly better. Nick Saban blew that game by not kicking a 30 yard field goal to go up by 10 with 6 minutes left. Plus, the last time Alabama wasn’t in the title game they crushed Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl. I think the Tide is mad. That is not good for the Sooners.

The Pick: Alabama

Jan.3 7:30 PM: AT&T Cotton Bowl: 13 Oklahoma State vs. 8 Missouri

Preview: Both of these teams saw their BCS hopes derailed in the final week of the season. Missouri’s defense was exposed as a fraud after they got thrashed by Auburn. The matchup to watch in this game will be Oklahoma State’s rushing attack versus Missouri’s front seven. Both of these units have been strong much of the season (until last week). Another match-up to watch will Oklahoma State safety Justin Gilbert versus Mizzou WR Dorial Green-Beckham. DGB looks like the second coming of Calvin Johnson. Look for him to make some plays in what I expect to be a shootout in the Cotton Bowl. Plus, I trust Missouri QB James Franklin more than Oklahoma State QB Clint Chelf. This should be a fun game to watch.

The Pick: Missouri   

Jan.3 8:30 PM: Discover Orange Bowl: 7 Ohio State vs. 12 Clemson

Preview: This could be the most entertaining game out of all the bowls. Both of these teams have high powered offenses that got shut-down against Michigan State and South Carolina respectively. There are some exciting players in this game. From Braxton Miller and Tajh Boyd to Sammy Watkins and Carlos Hyde the NFL scouts will be watching. Both of these teams are very similar. Play great offense and play shaky-at-best defense. The key stat in this game is that Urban Meyer is 7-1 in Bowl Games. Everybody else can take Dabo Swinney, I’ll take Urban Meyer. Carlos Hyde and Braxton Miller will run for 100 yards and the most successful team of the BCS era will take home Oranges.

The Pick: Ohio State

Jan.4 1:00 PM: BBVA Compass Bowl: Vanderbilt vs. Houston

Preview: Head Coach James Franklin has the commodores playing great football. After starting 1-4 in the SEC they came back to finish 4-4. And, 4-4 in the SEC is a huge step for Vanderbilt. Especially, with fellow in-state program Tennessee struggling Vandy has definitely put the nation on watch. The only question is whether or not James Franklin will stay. He didn’t get the USC job, but the Florida job will come open next year. As for the game, Houston is simply overmatched. Jordan Matthews, Vandy WR, is among the best in the country. Expect a big game from him as Vandy rolls. Anchor down!!

The Pick: Vanderbilt

Jan.5 9:00 PM: GODADDY Bowl: Arkansas State vs. Ball State

Preview: Arkansas State just lost their coach to Boise State. That is a big loss for Arkansas State. Ball State has not looked that good this season, losing their biggest game to Northern Illinois. The unfortunate thing is that Arkansas State was not that good before losing their coach. Ball State should be big favorites to win this thing. If schools got credit for past coaches Arkansas State would get a lot of it. Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze, Auburn Coach Gus Mahlzan, and now Boise State coach Bryan Harsin have all been one and done at the school in the last three years.

The Pick: Ball State

Jan.6 8:30 PM: VIZIO BCS National Championship: Auburn vs. Florida State

Preview: This one is for all the marbles. I think a lot of people are overlooking the fact that Florida State could be completing the most dominant seasons in college football history. Their combination of a dominant defense and an electric offense is unlike I have ever seen. Auburn is the hottest team in college football right now, but they are not the best or the second best team. Tre Mason has had one hell of a second half of the season, but I think FSU stuffs him in the title game. Jameis Winston will win the Heisman and the Noles will complete their dominant season on January 6th. Yes, Auburn only has one loss, but four of their wins have been less than seven points or they won in the last minute and a half of the game. Is Auburn a team of destiny? We’ll find out in a couple weeks, but for not I would get used to that famous FSU war chant. Oh, oh,oh, oh ohhhhhh, o  ohhhh

The Pick: Florida State

I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everybody. I hope everybody enjoys watching these Bowl Games with family and friends as much as I will.