Looking at the first bowl games

Published 5:13 pm Friday, December 19, 2008

Once again, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. If you’re a football fan, that means bowl season.

If you’re not a football fan… well, you’ve still got Christmas.

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be picking the bowl games and commenting on the interesting matchups.

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Obviously, I’m going to start with Troy and Southern Mississippi in the New Orleans Bowl.

This is an interesting game for a couple of reasons.

First of all, there’s a lot at stake for both teams — Troy would like to make a statement that the LSU game was a fluke and this is a very good Trojan team.

USM comes in at 6-6 and would like to avoid their first losing season in 15 years.

Secondly, there are quite a few similarities between the two schools and their history.

Both teams are “Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime” kind of schools, never backing down from the “big boys.”

Both teams are in a state that is dominated by two SEC schools.

Both are perpetual underdogs that sometimes pull off the unexpected.

This would be a great step in Troy’s rise to take down USM because the Trojans have no doubt looked at the Eagles to see how progress should be made.

Both teams also have some exciting offensive players.

Troy has unexpectedly gotten a big boost from transfer Levi Brown at quarterback, while USM has had pretty good production from freshman Austin Davis.

The Trojans’ running game has been improved this year with DuJuan Harris, and the Eagles have a stud running back in Damion Fletcher.

Troy’s big-play wideout is Jerrel Jernigan, and USM landed one of the top recruits in the country last year in DeAndre Brown, who has double the production of their second-best wide receiver.

Needless to say, it’s shaping up to be a very interesting game, but I give Troy the edge based on their defense.

Troy 38, Southern Miss 21

EagleBank Bowl

Wake Forest 24, Navy 13

New Mexico Bowl

Fresno State 27, Colorado State 17

Magicjack St. Petersburg Bowl

South Florida 34, Memphis 20

Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl

BYU 42, Arizona 24

Poinsettia Bowl

Boise St. 45, TCU 38

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl

Notre Dame 28, Hawaii 24

Motor City Bowl

Central Michigan 35, Florida Atlantic 14