Monday, 31 December 2012

Bowl Season: 31st December

North Carolina State vs Vanderbilt
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl – 17:00 on ESPN

The Wolfpack were hoping to have had a better season so far, but a win against an SEC opponent would be a perfect way end to the year for them as well as for the beleaguered ACC. Mike Glennon will be looking for a big game against a good Commodore defence whilst Vandy will want to cap off a very good season in the SEC with a bowl win to have them finish 9-4.

Players to Watch
North Carolina State: Mike Glennon, QB #8. He should be a fairly high pick in the NFL draft, but will want to show some consistency in a high pressure bowl game.

Vanderbilt: Jordan Matthews, WR #87. The junior has been the most consistent receiving threat on offence and will look to have a big game against a State secondary that’s been gashed a few times this season.

Pick: Vanderbilt
Confidence: 21

USC vs Georgia Tech
Hyundai Sun Bowl – 19:00 on CBS

Now that Matt Barkly is out, this matchup looks a little more of a even affair. The Yellow Jackets have been fairly poor this year but still rank fourth in the nation in rushing yardage. The key here will be for USC to try and get on top early and force Georgia Tech to try and pass it more.

Players to Watch
USC: Marquise Lee, WR #9. You have to have heard of this kid, very dangerous with the ball in hand and a great route runner. Wittek will be looking for him all day whilst Georgia Tech will push their coverage to his side so it should be a fun chess match.

Georgia Tech: Tevin Washington, QB #13. In the triple option it’s all about the decision making of the QB and Washington has shown he can be one of the best in the past despite struggling a little this year.

Pick: USC
Confidence: 13

Iowa State vs Tulsa
AutoZone Liberty Bowl – 20:30 on ESPN

The question here is, do you go with the Big 12 team that opened up by beating the Golden Hurricanes before having a patchy record, or do you go with the C-USA side that picked itself up again and went a very good 10-3. For me it comes down to the turnovers again, if the Golden Hurricanes play a clean game then I reckon they will take it but Iowa State will hope that their cyclone has more force than a golden hurricane and will once again force a few turnovers.

Players to Watch
Iowa State: A.J Klein, LB #47. The linebacker can go over 100 tackles on the season with two more tonight, he also had a 87 yard pick six early in the year showing he has some good athletic ability.

Tulsa: I would like to highlight one player but with Tulsa it’s all about the running backs; Trey Watts, Ja’Terian Douglas and Alex Singleton, they’re all capable of having a big day it just depends on which one is the hot hand.

Pick: Tulsa
Confidence: 7

#8 LSU vs #14 Clemson
Chich-fil-A Bowl – 00:30 on ESPN

Probably the biggest game of the bowl season so far, it’s strength against strength as the Tigers defence look to solve the Clemson spread. I am really torn on who to take here, but I think the smarts of Les Miles and the steady improvement of the LSU offence will be enough in conjunction with one of the games best defences to pull out the W.

Players to Watch
LSU: Sam Montgomery, DE #99. One of the most disruptive forces in the SEC, complemented perfectly by Barkevious Mingo #49, one of them is bound to have a big game.

Clemson: Tajh Boyd, QB #10. The Clemson offence has so many weapons, but the trigger man is Boyd, he’s going to have to keep the turnovers down and be near perfect to have a chance against the vaunted LSU defence.

Pick: LSU
Confidence: 1

College Bowl Season Week 3 Review: Part 1

In a week when there was plenty of bowl upsets, my Bowl Mania Pick’em seemed to go particularly bad, but despite that there was some very exciting games to watch, let’s get to reviewing them.

SHERATON HAWAII BOWL: Southern Methodist 43 - Fresno State 10
In what turned out to be a very one sided game, the Mustangs of SMU completely shut down the Fresno State run game and managed enough offence to put the game to bed by the end of the half.

Player of the Game: Margus Hunt, in what was a truly dominant performance from the Estonian, he had a safety and two forced fumbles and looked ready for Sundays.

Players to Watch: Despite having over 350 yards passing, Carr somewhat reminded me of his brother’s play behind an O-line that was overmatched. Line on the other hand was outshone by his QB on the ground, but still managed a touchdown and some solid yardage.

Pick: Wrong – 24 points lost on a game that seemed stacked in favour of Fresno State but ended up being a blow out the other way.

LITTLE CAESARS BOWL: Central Michigan 24 - Western Kentucky 21
This was a close one that really came down to the decision of the Hilltoppers interim head coach Lance Guidry trying to win the game on a fourth and 2 instead of tying the game.

Player of the Game: Ryan Radcliff finished his Chippewa career by being almost perfect and throwing three touchdowns, a really assured performance by the senior.

Players to Watch: Andrews had a solid game in for his team recording 119 yards on the ground and despite not finding the endzone his performance really drove his offence forwards. Cherocci didn’t seem to impact the game in the way I expect and only had 8 tackles.

Pick: Wrong - 20 points lost. This was always a touch one to call, and it nearly went my way.

MILITARY BOWL - PRESENTED BY NORTHROP GRUMMAN: No. 24 San Jose State 29 - Bowling Green 20

The Spartans totally eschewed the run game and played just enough defence at the right time to take this game over a Falcons team that did themselves proud.

Player of the Game: David Fales. A very efficient performance from the young QB who only threw ten incompletions and averaged 9.2 yards a completion to go along with his two touchdowns.

Players to Watch: Travis Johnson had the key turnover in the fourth quarter that led to the Spartans game ending score whilst Jones had a very disappointing game and very little impact.

Pick: Correct – 12 points won. A decent total for another game that could have gone either way in the end.

BELK BOWL: Cincinnati 48 - Duke 34

After a very quick start, the Blue Devils succumbed to a late Cincinnati surge to allow the Big East its first win of the bowl season. Both teams really opened up the playbook and very little defence was played, just what the college postseason ordered!

Player of the Game: Brendon Kay. When the Bearcats were under pressure he was the man that came up with the big plays when it mattered. Having four touchdowns was impressive but it was his ability to scramble whilst under pressure that allowed the Bearcats to mount the comeback.

Players to Watch: Blair turned in a very nice performance with 15 tackles, 1 TFL and a forced fumble to really help out the Bearcat defence whilst Crowder was outshone by Conner Vernon who is a interesting guy to watch coming upto the NFL draft.

Pick: Correct – 10 points won. If you’d have asked me how confident I was after the Bearcats got run over in the first quarter then I would have said not very, but Cincy showed some real heart to battle back and earn me 10 vital points.


Like I predicted, plenty of offence was played and after Baylor got up early, there was no catching them. UCLA just couldn’t keep pace after going down 21-0 early on, and the Bears kept them at arms length the rest of the way but playing some semi-decent defence.

Player of the Game: Glasco Martin. Two yards shy of the ton and had 3 TDs including a 26 yarder to keep the Baylor offence rolling.

Players to Watch: Neither player I chose had the impact I expected. Florence threw the ball a total of 13 times and managed 2 TDs and no turnovers, but Franklin had only 34 yards off of 14 carries as the UCLA offence turned to their passing game to try and keep them in touch.

Pick: Wrong – 17 points lost. I was always skeptical about picking UCLA, but I thought Jim Mora Jr’s NFL experience would have the Bruins game planned better. In the end the Baylor offence just had too many tricks up their sleeve.

AdvoCare V100 INDEPENDENCE BOWL: Ohio 45 - Louisiana-Monroe 14

Once again, the madness of bowl play showed up most of the Bowl Mania Pick’em League when the Warhawks didn’t play up to expectations and were dominated by the Ohio Bobcats. Offensively the Warhawaks were a shadow of their in-season selves whilst the Bobcats exploded for 556 yards and 6 TDs.

Player of the Game: Beau Blankenship. The case can be made for Tettleton to be here, but Blankenship put up over 100 yards on the ground and put the ball in the endzone 4 times with his power running.

Players to Watch: Blankenship had a great game but Browning was dominated by the Ohio defence and had 3 interceptions.

Pick: Wrong – 8 points lost. The Warhawks didn’t play anywhere near their potential and gave in after a while as Ohio ran out deserved winners.

RUSSELL ATHLETIC BOWL: Virginia Tech 13 - Rutgers 10 (OT)

Not a good advert for college football as both offences played atrociously in the poor weather conditions and were thoroughly dominated by the opposing defences. Rutgers QB Gary Nova had a fourth quarter to forget which allowed the Hokies back into the game when they hadn’t threatened the Scarlet Knights all night.

Player of the Game: If I’m honest I don’t think there was anyone that deserved this award. But I’ll go with the ESPN pick and say it was VT’s punter A.J. Hughes who put 5 punts within the 20 and had three that went of 50 yards.

Players to Watch: Greene didn’t let me down at all; he had 11 tackles with 4 for a loss and Rutgers’ only touchdown of the night. Thomas played to his season form on the night to fit my description perfectly, he stunk the place out for the majority of the night before find some rhythm in the fourth and pulling of an absolutely perfect throw for the Hokies touchdown.

Pick: Correct – 19 points won. Most people picked against VT and looked justified in doing so, but the Hokie defence, as so often in the past, came up big to propel Tech past Rutgers in OT.

MEINEKE CAR CARE BOWL OF TEXAS: Texas Tech 34 - Minnesota 31

This one ended up a lot closer than everyone expected. The Golden Gophers came out and gave the Tubberville-less Raiders everything the could handle.

Player of the Game: Darrin Moore. Since I didn’t get to see this game I once again bow to the pick of ESPN. Eleven catches for 84 yards, well done sir.

Players to Watch: Kirkwood rattled off 77 yards and a touchdown whlst Doege had a fairly poor night having 2 picks and only one touchdown.

Pick: Correct – 33 points won. I expected an easy win for Tech, but I got the points in the end, that’s all that matters.

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