New Year's Eve Bowl Game Preview And Open Thread: The End Cometh!

It's a full day of bowl games, along with Husker basketball versus Michigan State at 2:00 pm. Doc Sadler really needs a good showing today, but I don't have much faith that he's going to get it.

We'll use this as an open thread for the early games, then have a Husker basketball and open thread for the rest of the games up at 2:00 pm.

Car Care Bowl: Northwestern vs. Texas A&M

11:00 a.m.

ESPN

Sun Bowl: Georgia Tech vs. Utah

1:00 p.m.

CBS

Fight Hunger Bowl: Illinois vs. UCLA

2:30 p.m.

ESPN

Liberty Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Vanderbilt

2:30 p.m.

ABC (HD)

Peach Bowl: Auburn vs. Virginia

6:30 p.m.

ESPN

Bowl game previews and some linkies after the jump!

Northwestern vs Texas A&M

Texas A&M gets a 30-point lead to watch it evaporate with 13 minutes left in the fourth quarter because that's what they do best. Between Cyrus Gray (if he plays) and Ryan Tannehill, the Aggies have more athletic talent than the Wildcats, but interim coach but interim coach and defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter is leaving to take over at Fresno State, so it's not like there's a lot of incentive here.

Northwestern, on the other hand, would really really really like to win. 63 years is a long time to not having won a bowl game, and while the Wildcats are heavy underdogs, they've been heavy underdogs in bowls before and played their guts out just to lose at the end.

Georgia Tech vs Utah

Paul Johnson! Triple option! Look, they use a fullback! Nebraska fans will watch this and if Tech wins, be convinced that the triple option will bring the Huskers back to their glory days, which is why I'm rooting for Utah to beat the living snot out of them. Utah's rush defense is pretty good, ranked eighth nationally, although they've never seen anything like the incredibly complex, dangerous triple option!

The Yellow Jackets are on a losing streak and they've suffered six consecutive bowl losses. Compare that to Utah, which started the season lousy, went on a win streak and then lost their last game to Colorado (EYEBROW RAISING EVENT, NO?).

Whatever you do, don't be convinced that El Paso, Texas is a place to want to visit someday.

Illinois vs UCLA

The only thing sadder than the two teams in this game is the concept that Illinois assistant coaches threatened a boycott because of a contract dispute. You're being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to coach a game and you turn into a whiny shit about it right before you play a game about fighting hunger.

Who wins? Who the hell cares. I wouldn't watch this if you're the type with a tendency towards holiday depression, and only then if you keep a suicide prevention hotline number close by.

A fitting end for this game would be a 5-3 win by Illinois as UCLA gets confused on the last play of the game and laterals the ball all the way down the field the wrong way for a safety.

Cincinnati vs Vanderbilt

It'll be portrayed as SEC vs Big East, and the line is nearly even (+1 Cincy). At first glance, you might have a tendency to look away, but Bill Connelly says this might be the most watchable game of the day because of OFFENSE, OFFENSE, OFFENSE!

Vandy quarterback Jordan Rodgers is Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers younger brother. Cincy quarterback Zach Collaros compiled a 41-1 record as a three-year starter in high school.

If you want to know something sad - Vanderbilt finished with way more sacks than Nebraska - 24-17.

Auburn vs Virginia

HA HA HA Auburn how much have you fallen! One year after winning a national title, Auburn looks like a place everyone wants to leave, with offensive coordinator Guz Malzahn taking the head job at Arkansas State and rumors about running back Michael Dyer (suspended for this game) possibly transferring to follow him.

Virginia, though, has to be one of the surprises of the year. Last year the Cavaliers were 2-8 vs FBS teams and this year they've got one more win than Auburn.

Nothing (given the options I have tonight) would make me more pleased with the ending of 2011's football season than to watch Auburn get destroyed.

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