Will We Finally Get Some Close Games?

December 26, 2009

Let’s just say that I didn’t get any early Christmas gifts. After SMU’s drubbing of Nevada in the Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve, I was left at 2-4 in the College Bowl Mania game and had just lost 34 points on my most sure bet for a win.

Today, all I’m asking for is that the games are close. Since the kickoff of the bowl season, there haven’t really been any competitive games. However, I think that our luck could change, as today’s matchups look very interesting. Here are my picks for the December 27th bowl games.

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl
Marshall vs. Ohio

If I had predicted this game a few days earlier, I likely would have said that Ohio was the clear favorite and that this may not be much of a game. I’m glad I didn’t say that. I believe that Ohio still has a slight advantage due to the fact that Marshall will be coached by interim coach Rick Minter, who is normally the defensive coordinator. However, Ohio has never won a bowl game before (they’ve only been to four). The key in this game will be whether Marshall’s defense can contain Ohio QB Theo Scott. I’ve got Ohio for 22 points in the College Bowl Mania game, but I’m not as confident as my pick would indicate.

Final Score: 34-28 Ohio

Meineke Car Care Bowl
Pittsburgh vs. North Carolina

This may be the most interesting matchup so far this bowl season. This is another game featuring a high octane offense (Pittsburgh) versus a lock-down defense (North Carolina). Both teams can also be one of the best in the nation when they bring their A-game; however, both are also streaky. Two things to note in this game: North Carolina is essentially playing a home game (it’s in Charlotte), and Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt apparently said that getting over a loss like the one Pitt suffered against Cincinnati in the season finale will take some time. I have Pittsburgh for 16 points in the College Bowl Mania game, but I actually think North Carolina will pull out a squeaker.

Final Score: 27-24 North Carolina

Emerald Bowl
Boston College vs. Southern California

The biggest question in this game is “Will USC get up to play in a seemingly meaningless game?”. This is the first time that USC will be playing in a non-BCS game since 2001. I think the answer is not entirely, but the superior athletes on the Trojans will still be able to pull out a win. The key for BC is to get after USC QB Matt Barkley. Every team that has beaten USC thus far this year has had to do that. If BC sits back, then Barkley will look like a seasoned upperclassmen and the game may get out of hand.

If I were USC coach Pete Carroll, I would remind my team of Jake Olsen. Those of you who watch College Gameday (or Sportscenter, as this story was on this morning) know about Jake, a 12 year old boy who lost his eyesight whom the Trojans have adopted as their number one fan. In my opinion, the Trojans are in dire need of a reason to play hard, and Jake could be their reason.

I have USC for 27 points in the College Bowl Mania game, but if Boston College wants it enough, they have the ability to win this game.

Final Score: 33-24 USC

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