Champs Sports Bowl and Alamo Bowl Previews

December 28, 2011

It isn’t quite January 2nd, but we are finally getting to some of the bigger minor bowls (if that makes sense).

The bowl games on Thursday feature some big names, both on the front of the jersey and the back.

Here is the preview for the bowl games taking place on December 29th.

Champs Sports Bowl

Florida State vs. Notre Dame

Both teams had high expectations coming into the 2011 season, and although those expectations were not entirely met, we get a treat as two of college football’s most storied programs face off against each other.

Florida State had dreams of a spot in the national title game when the season began. Instead, a tough stretch in September and early October in which they lost three straight derailed not only those dreams, but a shot at an ACC title as well. The Seminoles were hoping that quarterback E.J. Manuel would emerge as one of the best quarterbacks in the nation. Thanks to an injury-riddled season as well as some poor performances, Manuel’s season has not gone as well as fans in Tallahassee would have hoped. In order to beat the Fighting Irish, Florida State is going to need a strong performance from Manuel. The Seminoles have a good defense but have struggled offensively, especially running the ball. If Manuel has a good game, the Seminoles are good enough defensively to stifle Notre Dame’s offense and can come away with a win.

Fans in South Bend might have thought that their team was capable of snagging a BCS bowl, but the rest of the nation knew better. The Fighting Irish have a good offense, but were unable to stop the best teams on their schedule this year. Don’t be fooled, though; this isn’t a 1990s Florida State team that Notre Dame is playing. The Fighting Irish are capable of winning this game, but they will need to find a way to score on Florida State’s solid defense. The Seminoles are second in the nation in yards given up on the ground, so quarterback Tommy Rees will be called upon to lead the Fighting Irish to victory. Without a big game from Rees, Notre Dame could be bottled up offensively.

This game would be huge if played a decade ago, but there is still a buzz surrounding this game. Florida State may not really want to be playing this early in the bowl season, but I think their pride won’t let them come out flat against a team like Notre Dame. I have the Seminoles for 16 points in the College Bowl Mania game.

Final Score: 28-24 Florida State

Valero Alamo Bowl

Washington vs. Baylor

Might this be the final game that we see Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III suit up in a Baylor uniform?

The Bears are scary good on offense. Griffin is a great player, but he probably wouldn’t have looked as good as he has all season without the help of Terrance Ganaway and Kendall Wright. Ganaway opens up the passing lanes for Griffin, and Wright is a do-everything talent that makes defenses game plan specifically for him, which opens up opportunities for other receivers. Baylor will be going up against a Washington defense that has not been very strong, to put it nicely. The Bears were able to rip apart a Texas defense that is actually pretty solid in the season finale, so chances are they will be able to have a lot of success against the Huskies as well.

If Washington wants to upset Baylor, they are going to need to score, score and score some more. The Huskies offense will not get much help from the defense, which gives up an average of 426 yards per game. Quarterback Keith Price is a capable quarterback, but has played much of the season injured. Baylor’s defense is actually worse than Washington’s, so the Huskies have a chance to keep up with the Bears, but they will probably need to play a flawless game in order to do so.

Washington shocked Nebraska when the two met a second time in a bowl game last season, so I am not putting it past the Huskies to pull off the upset. However, after watching Baylor’s offense torch Texas, I think that the Bears’ confidence on offense is as high as it possibly could be. I have Baylor for 31 points in the College Bowl Mania game. One thing is for sure; a lot of points will be scored in this game, which is always fun to watch.

Final Score: 38-28 Baylor

– K. Becks

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