Wednesday, 2 January 2013

College Bowl Season: Sugar and Fiesta Bowl Preview

Wednesday 2nd January

#21 Louisville vs #3 Florida
Allstate Sugar Bowl - 01:30 on ESPN

Hands up if you think Louisville have a chance... anyone? In my opinion this is a worse matchup than the Northern Illinois game. Florida are the big, bad SEC team and will be looking to crush a Louisville team who lost to UConn and Syracuse and quite simply haven't seen any player, let alone defence with the talent of the Gators. If any Louisville fans are looking for a ray of hope it would come in the form of the performance the Gators had against LA-Lafayette where they only squeaked out a 7 point win and who's offence has been less than impressive throughout most of the year.

Players to Watch
Louisville: Teddy Bridgewater, QB #5. The Florida native has had a stellar campaign in the Big East but has yet to have faced a secondary with the speed and ball hawking abilities of the Gator defence. He has the talent, but can he deliver under the big game pressure?

Florida: Matt Elam, DB #22. He's ranked second on the team in tackles and tackles for a loss from the safety spot and also has 4 INTs on the year. He is a big difference maker for his defence and has delivered some bone crunching hits so far this year, don't be surprised if he makes a momentum shifting play.

Pick: Florida
Confidence: 30

Thursday 3rd January

#4 Oregon vs #5 Kansas State
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl - 01:30 on ESPN

What could have been a potential National Championship game turns out to be a Fiesta Bowl tussle between Oregon's explosive offence and a Wildcat team that features a very good defence and the will of Collin Klein at quarterback. The Wildcats will be looking to replicate the success that the Stanford defence had against the Ducks earlier on in the season, but the problem I foresee is that they do not have the same kind of athleticism that the Cardinal brought to the table, especially in their run defence. When the Wildcats are on offence there's not too much to figure out, they let Collin Klein play his game and keep the mistakes to a minimum whilst feeding off of the momentum their defence creates from turnovers. Kansas State rank ninth in the nation in points per game and I don't think that the Ducks will be able to shut them down on defence, but if Oregon start to put up points in a hurry, I'm not too sure that Klein and co will be able to keep pace.

Players to Watch
Oregon: Marcus Mariota, QB #8. What makes Mariota so dangerous, aside from his athletic talent, is the fact that he has both De'Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner playing alongside him meaning that no defence can spread themselves evenly enough to account for Mariota all the time. The maturity he shows as a freshman is quite remarkable and he will have produced a couple of 'WOW' plays by the end of the night.

Kansas State: Collin Klein, QB #7. The fact that he is nicknamed Optimus-Klein says it all. If he has an off day then I don't think the Wildcats have a chance, but he can be mercurial in his ability to find a way to win.

Pick: Oregon
Confidence: 25

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