2006 Bowl Predictions, Part One
We still have a fair amount of time for players to do something stupid while they're getting ready for their bowl games, which would seriously skew people's picks. So would some more coaching changes. Those who wait the longest have the advantage, but at some point you have to pick 'em and get on with life, right?
I was inspired to come up with my predictions because I've joined in with the "In the Bleachers" blog in their bowl contest. I joined them for a few podcasts this season, which I thoroughly enjoyed doing, plus, it was ego-gratifying to be considered an expert about the Big 12 by someone - even my kids don't give me that.
I based some of my picks on Massey ratings - specifically if I didn't follow the team very closely (who followed New Mexico this season?). For others, I have my reasons and they are clearly stated. An enormous factor that gets overloked in these games is emotion - which team really wants to be in a bowl game and win it?
It should be exciting that a County Credit Union can sponsor a bowl. It leaves more room for other small entities to sponsor bowls next year, meaning there will be more bowl games! Hey, maybe SBNation could get it going, sponsor our own bowl game and invite all of us to a nice warm place that has good margaritas!
So... here's my first set of 2006 bowl predictions:
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia - Dec. 19th, 7 pm CST, ESPN2
TCU vs. Northern Illinois.
An interesting first bowl game because we'll get to see UNI's running back Garrett Wolfe against TCU's defense.
TCU wins by five.
Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl - Dec. 22nd, 7 pm CST, ESPN
BYU vs. Oregon.
You've seen the articles about the new Oregon helmets? Do not adjust your set. If nothing else, it keeps gets Nike free press, doesn't it? Sad, though, that this gets more press than the game itself.
Oregon wins this easily, by 10 or more.
Papajohns.com Bowl, Dec. 23rd, noon CST, ESPN2
South Florida vs. East Carolina.
South Florida beat West Virginia and nearly made a BCS bowl. They played Rutgers very close (losing 22-20) in September, and they have a decent defense.
South Florida by 8.
New Mexico Bowl, Dec. 23rd, 3:30 pm CST,ESPN
New Mexico vs. San Jose State.
I'll admit that I know next to nothing about either of these teams. I'm not going to resort to looking up stats either. No doubt the game will feature a segment asking SJSU players to spell Albuquerque.
Picking New Mexico at home. Who wants to lose when they're playing in front of their mothers?
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, Dec. 23rd, 7:00 pm CST, ESPN
Tulsa vs Utah.
This game is in Fort Worth, Texas, which isn't too far from Tulsa. I like helicopters. Wish I had one. One of them there Apaches. I have a neighbor who bought a Deuce and a half off eBay who claims he's going to build his own helicopter. Can't wait for that. I love having him as a neighbor because he makes me look completely normal.
Picking Tulsa because I once read "Rise And Walk" about Dennis Byrd who played for Tulsa and later broke his neck while playing for the New York Jets. It's a great book, btw, you can buy it for a penny from Amazon through the link above.
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, Dec. 24th, 7:00 pm CST, ESPN
Hawaii vs. Arizona State.
I always like watching this bowl, because it's the only one on Christmas Eve and there is usually a ton of offense (oh, where are you Timmy Chang!??!?!?!). This year we have Hawaii's high-scoring offense against an Arizona State team that features a Tai Chi defensive alignment, fired their coach, and the players will be happy that they got a free trip to Hawaii. They won't care if they get destroyed, which they will. Everyone will score.
How could anyone pick Arizona State in this game?
Motor City Bowl, Dec. 26th, 7:00 pm CST, ESPN
Middle Tennessee State vs.Central Michigan.
Even though Central Michigan's coach left after being hired at Cincinnati (is that a step up?), they'll beat MTSU because they have a better offense.
Central Michigan will win by four.
Emerald Bowl, Dec. 27th, 7:00 pm CST, ESPN
Big names - Florida State vs UCLA.
I am looking forward to this game, as I stated earlier, if this game was in September, we'd all be glued to our sets listening to Bobby drawl about that 'dadgum sun in awr eyes". Both of these teams had disappointing seasons, so the winner of this game will be the team that really wants to be in a bowl game. Florida State has no offense, but a great defense, and UCLA is coming off a big upset win over USC. I'm guessing that Bruinsnation can come up with a kerfuffle around this game.
I'll take UCLA - not because they're a better team, but because they're closer to home and I think they're more excited about the game.