Got your bowl picks ready?
The holiday season is nothing, if it’s not consistent in what it offers. Examples? Christmas cantatas. The Christmas tree. Santa Claus. Fruitcakes. A Christmas Story getting more play then Roadhouse for at least one day out of the year, (well, considering how often Roadhouse is on television…maybe not).
And bowl games. You know – Those football games that involve teams other than (A) Alabama. Or (B) Auburn. And hey, this year is kind of cool because both Auburn and Alabama will be playing in bowl games. The Tigers, after a year’s hiatus from the postseason, in the Outback Bowl in Tampa on New Year’s Day; the Tide for all the marbles in the BCS National Championship Game in Pasadena on Jan. 7. God bless us everyone!
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to offer my own take on who’s going to win what bowl. Not saying that I’m going to be right. More than likely I’ll be wrong. But what’s the bowl season without a Pick ‘Em?
First item up for bid:
New Mexico Bowl
Fresno State (8-4) vs. Wyoming (6-6) Saturday, Dec. 19 at 1:30 p.m. (ESPN)
The Fighting Fresno’s had a miraculous end-of-the-season highlight, beating Illinois 53-52 on a two-point conversion throw that somehow ended up in the hands of an offensive lineman. Under head coach “handlebar-mustache” Pat Hill the Bulldogs have consistently put scares into – and beaten – traditionally better teams, talent-wise.
Not so much, (although they did beat Tennessee last year). Pick: Fresno.
St. Petersburg Bowl
Rutgers (8-4) vs. Central Florida (8-4) Saturday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Rutgers is a team everyone is sort of waiting to fall back into the mediocrity of yesteryear. It hasn’t happened. Head coach Greg Schiano has had winning seasons each of the last five years.
Lying on his resume might have been the best thing George O’Leary ever did (remember when he was hired, then subsequently fired by Notre Dame? How flashy does the Notre Dame job look now?). Leary and the Knights have bounced back from last year’s 4-8 campaign to go 8-4 this season. Pick: UCF
New Orleans Bowl
Middle Tennessee (9-3) vs. Southern Mississippi (7-5) Sunday, Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Troy will play Southern Miss in a rematch of last year’s…oh, wait. Sorry. Troy has had enough of New Orleans and chose to head to the GMAC Bowl on Jan. 6, instead. Instead, Middle Tennessee (and Tony Franklin, who’s running their offense now…where did he coach again last year?), will try and beat the Golden Eagles. Pick: Middle Tennessee
Las Vegas Bowl
Brigham Young (10-2) vs. Oregon State (8-4) Tuesday, Dec. 22 at 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Oh how Brigham Young was the talk of the college football town in the first week of the season when it knocked off Oklahoma. Little did anyone know how bad Oklahoma was going to be (sans Heisman QB Sam Bradford of course).
Oregon State, meanwhile, was in the thick of the Pac-10 title race right up to the end, losing to Oregon. Pick: Oregon State.
Utah (9-3) vs. California (8-4) Wednesday, Dec. 23 at 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Don’t know whose idea it was to name a bowl game after a Poinsetta, but whatever.
The Bears are without star running back Jahvid Best, whose high-flying leap towards the goaline against Oregon State and the impact that followed was nightmarish.
Best looked to have seriously injured his neck, but it was diagnosed as a severe concussion instead.
Good for him.
The Utes – which makes me think of My Cousin Vinnie for some reason – have dropped three games after going 12-0 last year. Pick: Utah.
Southern Methodist (7-5) vs. Nevada (8-4) Thursday, Dec. 24 at 7 p.m. (ESPN)
June Jones spent years in Hawaii as head coach of the Hawaii Warriors so he’s familiar with the turf.
Now he’s coaching SMU, where he’s helped lead the Mustangs to its first bowl berth in 25 years. Pick: SMU