BBVA Compass Bowl Preview

January 8, 2011

Last night’s Cotton Bowl says more about the Big 12 conference as a whole than it does about the SEC. After LSU’s beatdown of Texas A&M in Dallas, the Big 12 sits at 3-5 in bowl games this season. What other conference sits at 3-5? The answer to that question would be the Big 10 conference. Unlike the Big 10, which played four games against the SEC this bowl season, the Big 12 played just one against the arguable “best conference in college football”. Also, the Big 10 is 2-1 this year in bowl games against the Big 12. With that, I close my case on why the Big 10 should not be the punch line for the rest of the college football world.

Quite honestly, I’m just angry that, with Texas A&M’s loss, I am now mathematically unable to win my College Bowl Mania group. Even worse, I currently sit in 11th place. That is unacceptable, ladies and gentlemen.

Here is my pick for the January 8th bowl game.

BBVA Compass Bowl

Pittsburgh vs. Kentucky

Pittsburgh players have insisted that they want to win this game for their former coach, Dave Wannstedt. Even without the added motivation, I think that the Panthers would be able to win this game.

Kentucky has an explosive offense. They average 33 points per game and over 437 yards of offense for the season. However, this is largely due to the passing game and quarterback Mike Hartline. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, Hartline is suspended for this game. Instead of their gunslinger, Kentucky will rely on sophomore Morgan Newton to lead the offense. Newton is not as inexperienced as you may expect; he lead the Wildcats to a bowl game last year after Hartline went down with an injury. This year, however, he has only thrown seven passes. If Newton has trouble getting the ball to star receiver Randall Cobb, Kentucky may have trouble moving down the field.

Pittsburgh will look to grind out yards on the ground and keep the ball away from Kentucky’s offense in order to win today. Running back Dion Lewis will look to gash a Kentucky defense that has had trouble against the run this season. Kentucky has given up an SEC worst 28 touchdowns on the ground, which is great for Pitt, which has 22 rushing touchdowns this season.

I think that Pitt will be able to run the ball effectively against a questionable Kentucky defense, and the loss of Hartline for Kentucky will make it hard for the Wildcats move the ball. I have Pitt for 10 points in the College Bowl Mania game.

Final Score: 35-24 Pittsburgh

– K. Becks

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