Bones’s Bowl Preview: Cotton and Scraps

With the majority of the bowls behind us, most eyes in the college football world will turn to Tempe, Arizona, where Oregon and Auburn are set to play in the National Title game. A few eyes will turn to Dallas, where LSU and Texas A&M will play in the second-to-last battle of ranked teams. But that’s silly! That would ignore such giant games as the Bowl and the BBVA Compass Bowl. OK, so most of the games between here and the end of the season feature a mix of non-AQ teams and middling teams from other conferences, but that doesn’t mean we should just ignore them. After all, come January 10 we’ll have to wait 8 months for college football to start again, and we’ll even be longing for matchups like…

January 6, 2011 Bowl

Middle Tennessee State vs. Miami (OH)

How they got here: MTSU finished in second in the Sun Belt, which is actually sort of embarrassing. I guess it’s not that bad, as they’re one of only three teams from the conference to finish .500 or better. Still, the Blue Raiders are really not that remarkable, with the exception of their nickname, which is quite unique. (For the 2 of you who care, don’t try cramming Dwight Dasher down my throat. He missed the first 4 games of the season because he took a $1,500 loan, and in the truncated year he’s managed to throw as many picks and get sacked as many times as he did last season. Color me unimpressed.)

Miami got here by pulling an upset of Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship (Attendance: 12,031. Ford Field seats 65,000. Why does the MAC need a championship game?). Miami is a good story, completing a turnaround from 1-11 to 8-4 with a conference championship. The MAC Champions get to go to one of, like, 3 games, since they have no strong ties with any one bowl. Almost no one cares, but I thought I’d point that out.

Should I watch this game: Probably not. Thursday nights aren’t necessarily strong TV nights, but if watching the winner of the MAC play the 3rd place Sun Belt team is your idea of a good application of your time, then you’re probably the type of person who reads my blog posts. Wait…

Blogger’s pick: Miami. The RedHawks have the 18th best rushing defense in the nation. MTSU’s only salient feature is their running game with Dasher, and Miami should shut it down. MTSU’s pass defense isn’t a slouch unit (and Miami is a passing team), but I believe Miami has a slight edge on the Blue Raiders. Should be a good game, though…

January 7, 2011

AT&T Cotton Bowl

#11 LSU vs. #17 Texas A&M

How they got here: Trying to tell you how LSU wound up going 10-2 this season would be an exercise in futility. I could type and type and type (I frequently do) but unless you’ve followed college football this season, then you really wouldn’t understand how LSU went 10-2. Heck, I did follow college football this season, and I’m still not entirely sure. So, to revive an old, unfunny gag and to give you something to look at, here’s a picture of a kitten.

Texas A&M, meanwhile, had a good season in the Big 12. They missed going to the conference championship game, but they did defeat both of the teams that went to said championship game. In fact, the Aggies went on a 3 game losing streak mid-season, and some idiot said they were done. Since then, they’ve won 6 straight, and they look like one of the best teams in the Big 12.

Should I watch this game: Yes! Oh, goodness yes! This is the second-to-last ranked matchup of the season, meaning that we’ll be stuck with inexplicably mediocre post-New Year’s Day bowl games until the 10th. And after that, the season ends. So enjoy this while you can. I have also discovered, through research, a phenomenon that I am calling Miles’s Law. Miles’s Law is, in effect, if something weird can happen, it will.

Oh, and this game will again feature the “conflicting styles” narrative: Texas A&M is a passing team, and LSU is a rushing team. LSU, Kentucky, and Auburn also have to “prove” that the SEC is still the best conference in the country. A loss here and we might start to see the national media question the SEC’s dominance. (BWAHAHAHA, I almost typed that with a straight face.)

Special Note: Be sure to keep the remote handy, as this is the same night as the 1-AA (FCS, if you’re a tool of the system) championship. Tune into that game as well, if only for keeping college football’s sanctity intact. Plus, to keep people from believing that college is just a meat farm for the NFL, since very few of the players for Eastern Washington or Delaware are going to go to the pros.

Blogger’s pick: LSU. The Big 12 has honestly looked just as bad as the Big 10 this bowl season, with two Big 12 teams losing to unranked foes and 2 of the 3 Big 12 wins coming with ranked teams beating unranked teams. Not a great sign for the Big 12 team in this one. Mind you, thanks to Miles’s Law, this game will likely be a game decided by a blocked extra point or something similarly bizarre.

January 8, 2011

BBVA Compass Bowl

Pitt vs. Kentucky

How they got here: Pittsburgh started the year as the favorite to win the Big East. They finished as just another mid-level Big East team, to go along with West Virginia, UConn, Syracuse, South Florida, and Louisville. A good example of how Pitt’s year went can be found in their game with Miami, a mid-level ACC team. Pitt lost that game 31-3–at home!

Kentucky’s claim to fame this season is their 2-game series with Auburn and South Carolina, where they stuck within 3 of Auburn and beat the South Carolina team which had just knocked off #1 Alabama. The rest of their season was sort of blah, and the final game was a 10 point loss to Tennessee–Kentucky’s 26th consecutive loss to the Volunteers.

Should I watch this game: Only because this is the last Saturday game of the year. This is a matchup of a .500 team and a slightly above .500 team. We might be in for a good one, possibly because of the fact that neither team is remarkably good or bad in any given statistical category. Meaning we might have a good one here. Or a bad one, it doesn’t matter. Oh, and this is another one to watch for the sponsor. Is it sponsored by a compass-maker? We’ll have to watch to find out.

Blogger’s pick: Kentucky. When given a choice between an SEC team and a Big East team, always go SEC. Yes, even if it’s Vandy. Plus, with Pitt’s coach drama…things could get rough, really quickly.

January 9, 2011

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl

#15 Nevada vs. Boston College

How they got here: Nevada won a piece of the WAC title and got to go to this one by virtue of being the “champion” thanks to having a better overall record than Hawaii and the head-to-head tiebreaker with Boise State. BC got all their losses in a 5-game streak in September and October, and they finished 4-4 in the fairly awful ACC.

Should I watch this game: Only by virtue of this being the second-to-last game in the season. That’s really it. Well, that and to see some heart-wrenching and/or feel-good ads about helping to fight hunger in America.

Blogger’s pick: Nevada in a close one. The Wolf Pack run well, but BC has the best rushing defense in the country. The difference will be on the other side of the ball, where Nevada’s decent defense will play against Boston College’s awful offense. BC stands at 109th in terms of scoring offense. Not a good sign.

That’s all for the meaningless bowl games. Next time, I’ll be writing one for the National Championship game. I’m at 21-9 as of this preview. Hooray?