Thursday, 27 December 2012

Bowl Season: 27th of December Games

Knowing that you’ve been missing some Double Coverage content over Christmas and Boxing Day, I’m back to preview a few more of the upcoming bowl games. There are a lot to watch in this run up to New Year, so stay on top of your Bowl Mania entry and hope that you have the magic touch when it comes to picking the winner (unlike me). A review of all of week three’s games will be posted next Monday.

Wednesday 27th December

#24 San Jose State vs Bowling Green
Military Bowl – Presented by Northrop Grumman – 20:00 on ESPN

Here we have another bowl game where the head coach of one of the teams, San Jose State, has already moved onto another job, Colorado, and the players will be looking to complete the season without the man that got them there, Mike MacIntyre. Bowling Green are a very solid MAC team and rank 8th in the nation in points against and so will be a test for San Jose State’s 11th ranked passing attack. The Falcons offence will be looking to feed off of a strong defensive performance which has largely been their key to success this year.

Players to Watch
San Jose State: Travis Johnson, DE #43. The WAC player of the year on defense had 12 sacks this year to go along with his 19 tackles for a loss, and is a key piece of the Spartans winning puzzle as they will look for him to go to work and pressure the Falcons backfield if they are trailing and need to pass.

Bowling Green: Chris Jones, DT #19. Another conference defensive player of the year, Jones has 12.5 sacks coming from the interior of the D-line, Bowling Green will also be looking for him to regularly get into the backfield to pressure David Fales.

Pick: San Jose State
Confidence: 12

Cincinnati vs Duke
Belk Bowl – 23:30 on ESPN

After a flying start to the season going 5-1, the Blue Devils limped into bowl play by finishing the year with a palendromic  1-5, whilst the Bearcats finished at 9-3 including a three point victory over Virginia Tech. The key to this one could be Cincinnati’s defence which ranked 12th in the nation and is backed up on offence by a strong rushing attack lead by senior running back George Winn. The Blue Devils on the other hand are very pass heavy lead by Sean Renfree who earned the Tatum Award for being the ACC’s top senior student-athlete. Despite this being another game that looks fairly easy to call, I think Duke might be putting up more of a fight than many expect.

Players to Watch
Cincinnati: Greg Blair, LB #51. The senior has been the lynchpin of the Bearcat defense and averages 10.25 tackles a game with 8.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and 2 picks. Duke will be looking to keep the ball away from him, but may not have the choice.

Duke: Jamison Crowder, WR #3. This sophomore had a big season in blue and accumulate over 1000 yards on 70 receptions, which included one of those mythical 99 yards TD receptions.

Pick: Cincinnati
Confidence: 10

Baylor vs #17 UCLA
Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl – 02:45 on ESPN

This one is late for all of us UK fans but I bet it’ll be a good one to watch if you stay up for it as there should be plenty of offense on show between the Bruins and the Bears. UCLA will be looking to top off their comeback season in the Pac-12 with a bowl victory whilst, Baylor will probably just be looking to chuck the ball through the air for as many yards as possible. The Bears rank 5th overall in points scored and 3rd overall in passing yards and are unlikely to play any defense as they have demonstrated throughout the season by allowing at least 45 points in 5 of their games. The key here could be the turnover battle, the Bruins have picked off a total of 15 passes and have a turnover margin of +4, whilst Baylor have a margin of +5 having 18 interceptions themselves. For me, the team that gets ahead early on could see themselves winning, UCLA have the ability to grind out a results on the ground, having said that, I wouldn’t count Baylor out even if they were down by a few scores.

Players to Watch
Baylor: Nick Florence, QB #11. The man who replaced RGIII has done a fine job in leading the offence with over 4000 yards and 31 touchdowns, I think the word gunslinger applies here and he’ll certainly be looking to slice up the Bruins defense.

UCLA: Johnathan Franklin, RB #23. After being a early Heisman contender, Franklin experienced a slow down in his production mid-season before having more 150+ yard games and finally ending the season with 194 yards against the Stanford front seven. Look for the explosive Franklin to get lots of touches tonight.

Pick: UCLA
Confidence: 17

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