2012 New Mexico Bowl and Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Previews

December 14, 2012

We’re just a day away from the beginning of the most wonderful time of the year.

The college bowl season starts tomorrow, and I couldn’t be more excited (despite the fact that my school isn’t going to a bowl and will be sitting at home after having finished up a perfect season on Thanksgiving weekend). As usual, I’ll be giving my analysis and predictions for all 35 bowl games this season, so be sure to bookmark www.aroundthecorn.com if you haven’t already.

For those of you that have been following along this season, you know that I’ve had the pleasure of inviting some of my friends and family on as guests to give their thoughts on games as well. Some of those guests (and perhaps new ones) will be back during the holidays to give their opinion on select bowl games. Also keep an eye out for updates on the standings from Around The Corn’s unofficial Bowl Mania group.

If you’d like to join, there is still time to do so. The password is “gigitty”.

The first two bowl games will be played tomorrow afternoon. Here are the previews for the New Mexico Bowl and Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Saturday, 1 PM ET)

Nevada vs. Arizona

The first bowl game of the season has the potential to also be one of the most exciting. For those who like offense, you should be in for a treat. Both teams average around 37 points per game and haven’t really been stopping opposing teams on defense to boot.

In addition to pure offensive numbers, both the Wolf Pack and Wildcats have exciting athletes at the running back position. For Nevada, it’s Stefphon Jefferson, who ranks 4th in the nation in rushing yards. Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey can top that, however, as the sophomore is second in the nation in rushing. Both are likely to have a good day as run defense is neither team’s strength.

While Jefferson and quarterback Cody Fajardo will have a good afternoon for the Wolf Pack, the run defense is going to be the undoing of Chris Ault’s squad. Ka’Deem Carey will set the tone for the Wildcats, and assuming quarterback Matt Scott doesn’t commit costly turnovers, Rich Rodriguez will get his first bowl win as head coach of Arizona. I have Arizona for 29 points in Bowl Mania, so I’m pretty confident in my man Ka’Deem.

If you’d like to learn about some other players in the New Mexico Bowl who could have an impact offensively, check out my article from earlier this week.

My Pick: 41-33 Arizona

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Saturday, 4:30 PM ET)

Toledo vs. #22 Utah State

The Aggies will be making a return to the blue turf for the second consecutive year for bowl season, as they look to avenge a crushing 24-23 defeat to Ohio last season. Utah State is the WAC Champion and carrying momentum into this game, winning six straight to finish the regular season. Toledo has also experienced considerable success this year, but stumbled near the end dropping two of its final three games.

Despite what people may tell you, Utah State is as good offensively as it is defensively. The Aggies are led by quarterback Chuckie Keeton, who has blossomed into a star in his sophomore year. Throwing for over 3,100 yards and 27 touchdowns, Keeton has responded well to critics who, perhaps accurately, argued he didn’t play well in big games. That sentiment changed on November 17th when Keeton led the Aggies to a huge win over then 20th ranked Louisiana Tech.

Toledo also has a pretty good offense, averaging nearly 33 points per contest. The three-headed monster on offense consisting of quarterback Terrance Owens, running back David Fluellen and wide receiver Bernard Reedy will face a stiff test on Saturday, however. Utah State boasts a solid defense that gives up just 15.4 points per game, and has surrendered more than 20 points just twice this season.

Utah State is the more balanced team, but Toledo can surprise the Aggies by getting out to a fast start offensively. I have Utah State for 22 points, so I think that the Aggies’ defense will stop the Rockets just enough for Keeton and running back Kerwynn Williams to get the bowl win that eluded them one year ago.

If you’d like to read further about Utah State’s bowl chances, you can check out my article from earlier this week.

My Pick: 30-24 Utah State

If you’d like to share your opinion on Around The Corn for any of the upcoming bowls, shoot me an email with your thoughts and prediction to kbecks@aroundthecorn.com. Or you can like Around The Corn’s Facebook page or send me a tweet @KBecks_ATC. As long as you send your thoughts at least two games before the game is to be played, I can assure you that your thoughts will show up in an article.

– K. Becks

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