Friday, December 21, 2007

Bowl Picks and Last Night's Hoops

First things first, I hope Bobby Bowden's wins don't get taken away. That would be the beginning of the end of one of the best coaching careers in sports. As it stands, Coach Bowden is two games ahead of Joe Paterno. Many people are calling for Coach Bowden to step down but let the man decide when he wants to leave. The Program may be in a rut of mediocrity and having academic troubles, but all things in sports are cyclical. Bobby bought FSU to where it is and spoiled the very people that want him out but let him leave on his own terms.

Now that that is off my chest:

I got the first game right in picking Utah to defeat Navy in the Poinsietta Bowl (excuse that) its the San Diego County Poinsietta Bowl. My girlfriend reminded me that companies pay a lot of money to sponsor these things so I should use the names. To be honest I got nervous in the third quarter after Navy fullback Eric Kattani had a 38 yard touchdown run but the Utes bounced right back with two scores of their own. Ute quarterback Brian Johnson ran the spread efficiently finishing the game with 226 yards passing and a score to go with 69 yards rushing and another touchdown. I wouldn't feel bad for Navy and first time coach Ken Muiatalo who took over after Paul Johnson left for Georgia Tech, he seems to have picked up right were Johnson left off and all that spells is more Commander-in-Chief Trophies.

If anyone missed the Duke-Pitt game last night from Madison Square Garden I hope you have ESPN Classic. Pitt defeated the Blue Devils 65-64 in overtime when Levance Fields, a junior from Brooklyn, hit a three with 4.7 seconds left. Duke guard Jon Schyer missed a three at the other end and a putback attempt to end the game. Fields finished with 21 points. It looked like the Blue Devils were going to run the Panthers off the floor in the first half taking a 16-point lead. Duke was still up double digits in the second half before a scoring drought allowed Pitt to close the gap and take the lead. Freshman DeJuan Blair was a force all night and exploited Duke's inside weakness to the tune of 15 points and 20 rebounds. I forgot to mention him in the freshmen to watch and there will be more to come. The night wasn't all roses for Pitt, forward Mike Cook hurt his knee and may have taken the Panthers chances of winning the Big East down a notch.

I've been looking forward all season to the Duke vs North Carolina matchups but if Duke gets killed on the boards like they did last night, Hasnborough and Co. are going to manhandle them inside. Why is it that Duke can find guards and shooters all over the place but can't find a stud big man?

Oklahoma pulled out a "neutral" court win in Oklahoma City against number 18 Gonzaga last night as well. Not as exciting as the Pitt-Duke game but it came down to three Sooners players hitting one of two free throws at the end of the game to put away. Jeff Capel has things going in the right direction and once he gets out from under the Kelvin Sampson sacntions the Sooners will be back in the talk of conference championships.

Don't forget all of the games tomorrow. It starts at noon and continues all day.

On with the rest of the bowl picks:

Motor City Bowl

Purdue vs Central Michigan

Another rematch game from eariler in the season. I thought the bowls were going to give us interesting matchups we don't normally get to see. Purdue won the first game in September 45-22 and I don't think Central Michigan is going to be 23 points better the day after Christmas but they do have a little homefield advantage. One good thing is we get to see Chippewa quarterback Dan LeFevour who had 3,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing this season like Tim Tebow.

Pacific Life Holiday Bowl

Texas vs Arizona St.

I don't know how they do it but the Holiday Bowl always ends up with what looks a good matchup on paper. I say looks like becausue of Cal's thrashing of Texas A&M last year. This year game should be a lot better with Arizona State playing Texas. Both looked poised to make the BCS until some late seaons losses. ASU has been the comeback kids of the season after coming from behind in many of their wins. However, I wouldn't want to fall behind the Longhorns and have to stop Jamal Charles in the second half. Texas wins going away.

Champs Sports Bowl

Boston College vs Michigan State

In Orlando's first bowl game Matt Ryan leads Boston College against Michigan State. I don't understand how a 10-win team plays a team that barely made a bowl to begin with. Boston College wins big.

Texas Bowl

Houston vs TCU

If you're gonna name a bowl after the state you might as well as have two teams from the state. The question of the game is can TCU's defense stop Houston's offense? I'll go with defense on this one and then pose another question, when coaching jobs come up whey does Gary Patterson of TCU never get mention when he churns out good defenses every year?

Emerald Bowl

Maryland vs Oregon State

Maryland takes on Oregon State in a bowl dear to my heart, the last time we had to watch Jeff Bowden run our offense. Oregon State wins on the legs of running back Yvenson Bernard before he leaves to be a poor man's Stephen Jackson in the NFL.

Meineke Car Care Bowl

UConn vs Wake Forest

UConn looked like a legit contender for the Big East Title after beating USF and Louisville until West Virginia ran them off the field. The UConn defense gives up a lot of yards but holds their opponents to 19 points a game. This is a virtual home game for Wake Forest as the game takes place in Charlotte. Wake doesn't put up great numbers but there has to be a reason Jim Grobe stayed around. Wake will make enough plays with their gimmick offense to get the win.

Liberty Bowl

UCF vs Mississippi St.

UCF offers up running back Kevin Smith and his quest to rush for 2600 yards. MSU goes to their first bowl game in some time behind Sylvester Croom and with their 30th ranked defense may have enough to stop Smith from breaking Barry Sanders' rushing record. MSU may do that but they won't win the game. UCF still wins.

Alamo Bowl

Texas A&M vs Penn St.

Dennis Franchione is long gone out of Aggieland and a lot richer for it. Mike Sherman hasn't totally taken over and the Aggies are in a sort of limbo. I think the Nittany Lions are relishing the opportunity to put JoePa closer to Bobby in the wins column for next season. At this point, they all count and the Lions beat an Aggie team with nothing to play for.

Independence Bowl

Colorado vs Alabama

They might as well call this We Ran Out of Teams to Invite and Your Fan Bases Travel Bowl. Both teams finished 6-6 and both teams lost to Florida State. Nick Saban hasn't exaclty been the savior that Tide fans expected but if they win he already improved the team by a game. Dan Hawkins is getting all kinds of praise in Boulder for bringing the back. The project continues and his son Cody leads the Buffs to a win.

December 31 games next time.

1 comment:

Joshua said...

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