Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Bowl Season: 1st January

Mississippi State vs #20 Northwestern
Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl – 17:00 on ESPN

The Bulldogs were one of the trending teams in the SEC early on before getting beaten down by the conferences big boys whilst the Wildcats have been a nice surprise in the BIG 10 and have finished a respectable 9-3. Can the Wildcats 15th ranked rushing attack break the SEC front?

Players to Watch
Mississippi: Johnthan Banks, CB #13. As most corners do he talks the talk, but this guy has the elite talent to back up his big talk. He is excellent in run support so look for him to be flying to the ball tonight.

Northwestern: Venric Mark, RB #5. Dangerous in both the running and return game as he has taken two punts back from punts, he will need to have his A game against an SEC defence.

Pick: Northwestern
Confidence: 9

Purdue vs Oklahom State
Heart of Dallas Bowl – 17:00 on ESPN

One of the nations leading offences in Oklahoma State will take on a Boilermaker team that at one point lost five in a row. The BIG 10 team will have plenty to prove but is likely outmatched by an explosive Cowboys team, but I have been very wrong about these things before.

Players to Watch
Purdue: Robert Marve, QB #9. If Purdue are to have a chance, Marve needs a big game. The senior has been wobbly at times but has never been the reason for a loss, but will likely be playing from behind a lot so could face a lot of pressure.

Oklahoma State: Joseph Randle, RB #1. A big threat with the ball in hand whether it be from a handoff or a pass, his best game came against Texas with 199 yards on the ground.

Pick: Oklahoma State
Confidence: 32

#7 Georgia vs #16 Nebraska
Capital One Bowl – 18:00 on  ABC

After a very disappointing loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship game the Bulldogs will look to take down a Cornhusker team that got embarrassed at the hands of Wisconsin in the BIG 10 Championship game. The Nebraska coaches will be glad they don’t have to gameplan around suspended Georgia DT John Jenkins but are still unlikely to have had much sleep thinking about the ferocious Bulldawg defence.

Players to Watch
Georgia: Aaron Murray, QB #11. Murray is the man that makes it all happen for Georgia, over 3000 yards and 30 TDs on the year, Murray will desperately want a big bowl win after how the ‘Bama game ended.

Nebraska: Eric Martin, LB #46. The man that will need to get to Murray has 8.5 sacks on the year and 2 forced fumbles.

Pick: Georgia
Confidence: 35

#10 South Carolina vs  #18 Michigan
Outback Bowl – 18:00 on ESPN

These two teams have a lot to prove in what is for them, a bowl game that may seem a little below where they wanted to end up this season. The best matchup of the day is going to be between Jadeveon Clowney and the Gamecocks D-Line against the QB/WR/RB tandem of Denard Robinson and Devin Gardner. In my opinion Clowney is unblockable, even by big time NFL talent Taylor Lewan, whilst Shoelace is the most elusive QB in the college game, but Gardner has brought a new dimension to the Wolverine offence so it should be interesting to watch how both QBs are rotated.

Players to Watch
South Carolina: With Clowney already highlighted and Lattimore not playing, two key figures to watch are the RB combo of Mike Davis and Kenny Miles who need to pick up some serious slack in the Gamecock running game.

Michigan: Devin Gardner, QB #12. Since replacing Robinson as the teams primary QB, Gardner has impressed, but having never played an SEC defence and struggling against Ohio State, his performance tonight is pivotal.

Pick: South Carolina
Confidence: 28

Wisconsin vs #6 Stanford
Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio – 22:00 on ESPN

Wisconsin are the first every 5 loss team to appear in the Rose Bowl and do so facing off against a near mirror image of themselves on offence. Both teams are known for their power running game and the running back matchup of Montee Ball against Stepfan Taylor is going to be a great one. Given what I just said, we know that both defences will be keying on the run game so this one is most likely to be decided by which QB makes the big play at the right time.

Players to Watch
Stanford: Kevin Hogan, QB #8. Big, strong athletic freshman who hasn’t yet lost a game as a starter, the offence seems to really click when he’s in there and I’ve seen him have the ability to make the big play.

Wisconsin: Curt Philips, QB #10. Hasn’t played in a lot of games during his career and did practically nothing in the BIG 10 Championship game, so it will be interesting to see how he reacts if he does start under center.

Pick: Stanford
Confidence: 31

#15 Northern Illinois vs  #12 Florida State
Discover Orange Bowl – 01:30 on ESPN

Probably the most controversial team selection in a BCS bowl game for quite some time, as the upstart Huskies take on the proverbial Goliath in a Florida State team that might come in a little overconfident. If the Seminoles bring their A-game then I don’t think this is much of a contest I’m afraid, but the beauty of the BCS is that you never know what you might get when a non-AQ conference battles a perennial powerhouse.

Players to Watch
Northern Illinois: Jordan Lynch, QB #6. The man that got the Huskies where they are today. If you’ve watched him you know that he is very Tebow-like (talking college days here) in his play and has the ability to make the play when it matters most.

Florida State: Bjoern Werner, DE #95. The man from Berlin has been so dominant a pass rusher this year, that the ‘Noles have barely noticed the absence of Brandon Jenkins. Look for him to be harassing Lynch all day.

Pick: Florida State
Confidence: 34

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