TicketCity Bowl, Outback Bowl, Capital One Bowl, Gator Bowl, Rose Bowl, and Fiesta Bowl Previews

December 31, 2010

I’m going to keep the previews for each bowl game short for the New Year’s Day lineup. My guess is that most of you probably aren’t reading my entire analysis anyway, so I think it’s a win-win situation.

Here are my picks for the January 1st bowl games.

TicketCity Bowl

Northwestern vs. Texas Tech

It was one thing for Iowa to not have their starting running back for the Insight Bowl. The loss of quarterback Dan Persa for Northwestern is much more serious. The passing game was a big part of the Wildcat offense (242.6 YPG), but backup quarterback Evan Watkins isn’t the same player as Persa.

Northwestern gives up a lot of yards defensively, and Texas Tech will take advantage of that. Without Persa, I think it will be extremely difficult for the Wildcats to match Texas Tech’s scoring output the entire game. I have Texas Tech for 28 points in the College Bowl Mania game.

Final Score: 34-20 Texas Tech

Outback Bowl

Florida vs. Penn State

This one could come down to which team is more excited to be playing in this game.

Florida’s players will be looking to send Urban Meyer out on a high note. Penn State’s players, quite frankly, couldn’t tell you how long they think Joe Pa will be around. The motivation factor, therefore, favors the Gators.

The Florida offense has been shaky at times this season, with John Brantley throwing as many interceptions as he did touchdowns, but they are going up against a defense that ranks 10th in the Big Ten in interceptions. On defense, the Gators are one of the better defenses against the run, and have the personnel to contain Evan Royster.

I think that Florida will come out firing on all cylinders, and take care of business for their coach. I have the Gators for 27 points.

Final Score: 30-21 Florida

Capital One Bowl

Alabama vs. Michigan State

Both teams probably feel like they should be playing somewhere else. For Alabama, the preseason expectations of making it back to the national title game were not met. For Michigan State, the system got the best of them, as Ohio State was chosen over the Spartans to play in a BCS game.

Michigan State has had a special season. They have had several close calls this season, most notably against Notre Dame, where the Spartans opted to fake a field goal on fourth down to score the winning touchdown in overtime. Thanks to the leadership of senior quarterback Kirk Cousins, the Spartans passing attack has been stellar. Cousins has played well in every game except for the loss to Iowa, and will need to step up if the Spartans want to take down Alabama.

The Crimson Tide, while suffering three losses this season, are still extremely talented. Although their defense was not as unbeatable as once thought, they are still very difficult to stop on the offensive end. The question for the Tide will be whether or not they can close out the game if they have the lead.

This should be a very interesting game, but I have a hard time picking against the Tide, even after seeing their weaknesses exposed. I think Alabama will win in Orlando, and I have 24 points on them.

Final Score: 33-24 Alabama

Progressive Gator Bowl

Mississippi State vs. Michigan

This one could get difficult to watch. Michigan’s run defense has been a problem for the Wolverines all year, and the running game is where Mississippi State excels. Bulldogs quarterback Chris Relf is a talented duel threat quarterback who could cause problems for the Wolverines all day. 

If Michigan wants to win, they’re just going to have to outscore the Bulldogs. That may be easier said than done, though. The Buldogs give up just over 20 points per game, which is good for 3rd best in the SEC.

This may be the final game for Rich Rodriguez as Michigan’s head coach. A loss in the Capital One Bowl may just be a convienant excuse to let him go. I have Mississippi State for 32 points.

Final Score: 38-27 Mississippi State

Rose Bowl

Wisconsin vs. TCU

This has been one of the most talked about bowl games of the entire season. Will Wisconsin’s bigger, more physical offensive line allow the Badger running backs to move the ball down the field, or will TCU’s smaller, quicker defense give the powerful Wisconsin offense fits?

After watching the Illinois vs. Baylor game, I think it will be hard for TCU to win this game. Illinois was the bigger, more physical team in the Texas Bowl, and made the smaller, quicker Baylor defense look incompetant. It remains to be seen if TCU has an offense that will fare better against Wisconsin than Baylor’s did against Illinois, but my guess is that it will be a similar outcome.

I think this will be an interesting game, but the Big 10 has looked good so far, and I believe that Wisconsin may be the best team in the country. I have the Badgers for 2 points.

Final Score: 34-30 Wisconsin

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl

Connecticut vs. Oklahoma

The Big East has actually looked okay this bowl season, and the Big 12 has looked awful. Therefore, UConn has a chance.

It is arguable that UConn isn’t even the best team in the Big East. However, that doesn’t matter. The bottom line is, the Huskies have gotten the job done when the needed to. They aren’t overwhelming on either side of the ball, but score the ball when they get into the redzone. In fact, they are 4th in the nation in red zone scoring percentage, coming away with points 93 percent of the time they enter the red zone.

Oklahoma is streaky. They’ve played well this season at times, but have also played down to their opponent’s level in other games (against Utah State, Cincinnati, and Texas). I think that Oklahoma will win this one, but I no longer think it will be a blowout like I had originally.

I have Oklahoma for 34 points.

Final Score: 34-21 Oklahoma

This is my last article in 2010. Thank you to everyone who has read even one of my articles; you all are the reason that I have continued to write. Here’s to a great 2010, and hopefully an even better 2011. Happy New Year!

– K. Becks

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