Now we start getting into some really good games. If you're not planning on watching this set, you're really not a college football fan. You're either pretending, or you're dating or married to someone that is, and you've come to this page to read about my predictions because they'll make you sound smarter than you really are.
If you're pretending, you should probably seek help. Best thing you can do is pick a sport full of extremely fickle fans, like the NBA. No one cares about anything in the NBA. They just pretend. You probably belong there.
If you're seeking wisdom, it's okay. No one likes going into bowl season unprepared, and you will find things here that you won't find anywhere else. Other predictions typically start blathering on with statistics about what team did what against BCS versus non-BCS teams and how someone did on Thursday night under a full-moon when the temperature was below 40 and four of the opposing team's players' names ended with 'ski'. You won't find that (much) here.
I've never believed in analysis to predict bowl games, but that you're better off using chicken bones. As evidence I offer tonight's Las Vegas bowl between BYU and Oregon. Obviously Oregon spent more time worrying about the design on their shiny new helmets than they did playing football. Bottom line - there's nothing in stats, rankings, or looking at opponents records that will tell you whether or not your team is going to show up to play. (Insert your 'layed an egg' joke here.)
On with bowl predictions, part two, none based on analysis.
Petrosun Independence Bowl, Dec. 28th, 3:30 pm CST, ESPN
Alabama vs. Oklahoma State
On the side of evil is Alabama - a completely lost, screwed up team. Oklahoma State has an incredible offense, and while their defense isn't that good, who knows if Alabama will bother showing up in the game. Alabama is lost, lost, lost, lost, lost, shouldn't have fired Mike Shula, and will get turned down by Nick Saban unless they're going to pay him $5M per year with a bazillion dollar buyout because he knows they're stupid, arrogant, and desperate enough to do so. They're already considering the idea that they don't need a head coach, and their board of trustees is going to ultimately screw them into the ground.
How much more lost can you get?
On the side of good is Oklahoma State. They have Boone Pickens, a benefactor that donated $165,000,000 to the school, the biggest donation in the history of the NCAA. Have you seen any nasty articles about Pickens or OSU? No. Why? Because they're good, you twit! Good people don't do the kind of crap that's going on at Alabama and the sooner that 'Bama fans realize that and rid themselves of their gutter-dwellers, the better off they'll be. Unfortunately, it won't be in time for the bowl game.
Oklahoma State wins by 10 or more because good should win this game over evil because very bad things are brewing on the horizon for Alabama.
Texas Bowl, Dec. 28th, 7:00 pm CST, NFL Network
Rutgers vs. Kansas State
I'm sure that most people are picking Rutgers in this game due to their middle-class to upper-class season, their defense, their choppin' wood motto, and their coach. Unfortunately, the Scarlet Knights are going up against KSU's quarterback Josh Freeman who is destined to be a star. He is an explosive, game-breaking kid who now has a full season of experience. He'll start to get more exposure after this game. Add to that the fact that KSU has a decent defense, and a first year coach who's more fire and brimstone than Pat Robertson, and you have an ol' fashioned Wildcat revival!
The NFL Network is available on Dish Network. For those of you who still have cable, I'd have to ask, why?
Kansas State wins a close game.
Pacific Life Holiday Bowl, Dec. 28th, 7:00 pm CST, ESPN
California vs. Texas A&M
Every year the Holiday Bowl puts on a great bowl game and this one is no different. Most people will overlook the Aggies due to their record without realizing how many close games they lost that they just as easily could have won. They beat rival Texas at the end of the regular season, and the karma they gained from losing close games will pay off in the bowl.
California's DeSean Jackson won the inaugural Randy Moss Return Man award. What an honor for him. He still has a few days to turn into a dope-smoking "I'll play when I want to" policewoman-runner-overer who'll drop a bunch of balls in the game because he's unhappy. How much do you have to hate the NCAA and the spirit of college football to name an award after a guy who got thrown out of Notre Dame, then Florida State, then left early for the NFL after playing at Marshall? Bad karma for you Mr. Jackson, and for California as well!
Texas A&M wins by two.
Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl, Dec. 29th, noon CST, ESPN
Clemson vs. Kentucky
I thought Minnesota owned the right to play in this game on a perennial basis. I guess not. I picked Clemson to win this game for the simple reason that I was shocked that Kentucky has a football team, and even more shocked that they could make a bowl. Hmmm... given that, maybe I should have picked Kentucky. Naaaa, it's basketball season, they won't care anyway.
Clemson by a three-pointer at the buzzer.
Brut Sun Bowl, Dec. 29th, 1:00 pm CST, CBS
Oregon State vs. Mizzou
I really want to pick Mizzou to win this game, but I can't. They have a good all-around football team, but they just can't get over the hump, almost as if they're afraid of greatness. It's almost like they can't climax - maybe they're afraid of flying? This will be a good game - Oregon State has a decent offense, not great, but just good enough to win.
I went with Oregon State in a close game decided by a field goal or less. Maybe it's Gary Pinkel, but I can't pick Mizzou.
Autozone Liberty Bowl, Dec. 29th, 3:30 pm CST, ESPN
Houston vs. South Carolina.
Can't pick against 'the old ball coach', can you? Best comment I ever heard regarding Houston going to a bowl game was about 20 years ago when some Dallas official got in trouble for a comment he made about Houston's fans coming to the Cotton Bowl.... "Half of them will be eating at 7/11, and the other half will be robbing the place". He apologized later, but it was damned funny.
South Carolina by seven or eleven.
Insight Bowl, Dec. 29th, 6:30 pm CST, NFL Network
Minnesota vs. Texas Tech
Minnesota plays atrocious pass defense. Texas Tech will score tons of points. Thing is, Minnesota had a better season than I thought they would, even though they were something like 2-5 in the Big 10. Minnesota's has some good receivers beyond injured tight end Matt Spaeth - if the Gophers can run, they can open up the play-action. Unfortunately, 20 seconds after the Gophers score, Texas Tech will score again.
Texas Tech wins by at least ten, outscoring the Gophers.
Champs Sports Bowl, Dec. 30th, noon CST, ESPN
Maryland vs. Purdue.
Maryland's coach is bigger than Purdue's, therefore Maryland will squash Purdue. You have a better reason?
Maryland by five.
Meineke Car Care Bowl, Dec. 30th, noon CST, ESPN
Navy vs. Boston College
Boston College should win this game, but they'll have to do it with a new coach so I picked Navy. I have to get one wrong, otherwise people will think I'm psychic, and then all sorts of things happen to change your life in ways you don't want it changed. I don't want to be on Oprah, or have to move to California, or try to talk to your dead friends or relatives, or have to learn a Jamaican accent. I'm perfectly fine sounding like Larry the Cable guy when I want to. (BTW, you don't really want me talking to your dead friends or relatives, either, do you?)
Navy wins by
International Bowl, Jan 7th, 2007, 11:00 am CST, ESPN2
Cincinnati vs Western Michigan
Toronto in January can be quite beautiful. Really. Probably better than Cincy in January, but have you ever been to Cincinnati and had that there Cincinnati Chili? I loved that stuff. Can't find it anywhere else but there. Three-way, five-way, oooeee, a truly distinctive food.
So, I pick Cincinnati by five in honor of five-way Cincinnati Chili.
GMAC Bowl, Jan 7th, 2007, 7:00 pm CST, ESPN
Ohio vs. Southern Miss.
Frank Solich had a good season at Ohio, congratulations to Frank, but he won't win his bowl game. The Bobcats will be too happy (and too drunk) that they made the MAC championship and this bowl game to care much about winning it. Expectations will be higher next year for the Bobcats, but not now.
Southern Miss is ranked 12th in passing against MAC defenses when the game is played on an even-numbered day and the other team was wearing red with a dark-purple border.
Southern Miss by 10.