Wednesday, 19 December 2012

College Bowl Season Week 2

Thursday, December 20th




BYU vs San Diego State
San Diego County Credit Poinsettia Bowl @ 01:00 on ESPN

Two former WAC rivals will face each other in what should be a hard fought and physical matchup. BYU's are better than their 7-5 record belies, their losses came against three ranked teams in Boise State, Oregon State and Notre Dame and two more quality teams in Utah and San Jose State, non of which were blowouts. The Azetecs also took a loss against San Jose State but came out at 9-3 in what was a slightly weaker schedule, but one that did include a 21-19 victory over the previously mentioned Boise State. As all the analysts have been saying this week, the key area to watch is SDSU's run game against BYU's run defence, but I would also keep and eye on how Cougar WR Cody Hoffman performs against a very average pass defence.

Players to Watch
BYU: Ezekiel Ansah, LB/DE #47. If you haven't heard about him yet, you will do quite a bit in the run up to the NFL draft so this is a good chance to watch him perform in college before he goes pro. At 6'6" and 250 lbs he is one of those height/weight/speed guys who's not only steadily improving his pass rush skills, but is also good at stuffing the run, which will be important come Thursday night. And just before you get all the spiel from the analysts on Thursday, he's from Ghana and wanted to play basketball and ran the 100m in 10.91 blah blah blah....

Sand Diego State: Adam Muema, RB # 4. You know you need to keep an eye on a player when he has 211 carries and averages 6.4 yards per touch. With his backup now being out for the season, Muema will need to have a even bigger game than usual.

My Pick: BYU
Confidence: 6

Friday, December 21st



Central Florida vs Ball State
Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl St. Petersburg @ 00:30 on ESPN

Despite the fact that neither team really reached a national audience during the regular season, it's hard to fault their bodies of work. Ball State may have the slightly more prolific offence, but that should match up nicely against a Knights team that has been very effective in the turnover department with 26 takeaways during the season.

Players to Watch
UCF: Blake Bortles, QB #5. A very efficient passer who is very safe with the ball and has shown a knack for finding the endzone with his feet when it counts as he has 7 rushing scores on the year.

Ball State: Jahwan Edwards, RB #32. After an up and down start to the year, Edwards came on strong in the last six games, only narrowly missing have 100 yards in each by 'only' having 98 against Miami of Ohio.

My Pick: Ball State
Confidence: 2

Saturday, December 22nd



East Carolina vs Louisiana - Lafayette 
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl @ 17:00 on ESPN

If you ask me, this is the type of game that makes bowl season so much fun to watch, it may look like two average 8-4 teams squaring off in one of the fringe bowls, but if you delve a little deeper, it has a couple of intriguing sub-plots (thanks ESPN). The Pirates haven't won a bowl game in their past three attempts whilst the Ragin' Cajuns, who ran the Gators so close this year, are only in their second ever bowl game after defeating San Diego State in their first one last year. Okay, those sub-plots are not THAT compelling, but usually these smaller bowls turn out to be the most exciting ones to watch.

Players to Watch
ECU: Justin Hardy, WR #2. Shane Carden's favourite target and Biletnikoff watch list member Hardy is easily ECU's biggest threat out wide, accounting for 43% of Carden's completions this year.

Louisiana - Lafayette: Terrance Broadway, QB #8. The Baton Rouge native is a dual-threat QB that has accounted for 26 scores for his team and does a good job at sharing the ball around the offence. ECU are ranked 105th against the pass, so look for Broadway to have some big numbers through the air.

My Pick: Louisiana - Lafayette
Confidence: 5




Washington vs #19 Boise State
MAACO Bowl Las Vegas @ 20:30 on ESPN

The highest profile matchup of the week takes place in Vegas and will give us a look at two teams that have had 'down' years by their standards, but are still very good and will be looking to carry some momentum into 2013. The Huskies have had a very up and down year, having knocked off two ranked teams in Oregon State and Stanford before suffering a season finale defeat to lowly Washington State in OT. Boise State haven't lost three games in a season since 2007 and will want to retain their top 25 position going into next season with a win over the Huskies.

Players to Watch
Washington: Bishop Sankey, RB #25. Against a team that ranks fourth in the nation against the pass, Sankey's job on offence is going to be to have a big enough impact to bring the Boise defenders into the box so as to help QB Keith Price out in the passing game.

Boise State: Demarcus Lawrence, DL #8. This sophomore has been very disruptive up front for the Broncos, having 8.5 sacks, 13.5 tackles for loss, 4 forced fumbles and even a touchdown on a fumble return. If Boise are needing a big play on defence, look for this man to deliver.

My Pick: Boise State
Confidence: 18


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