Merry Christmas (or time thereabouts), dear readers. It is time to run down the second set of bowl games, inconsequential though they are. Because the bowls were forced to split up between December 30 and 31st and January 2nd (Thanks, NFL. I’d hate for college football to have a tradition that lasts. You guys enjoy your prima donnas and their mic hogging antics), those days will get their own entries. This post will tackle the last round of utterly meaningless bowls, providing a convenient segue to December 29, when we get to watch the mostly meaningless bowls!
December 26, 2011
AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl
Missouri vs. North Carolina
Breakdown: Ugh. Missouri and UNC got here by being only slightly better than mediocre. Two 7-5 teams from AQ conferences battling it out in a bowl that will feature some future NFL players. Mind you that whole “We have more draft picks than you” line is the sort of thing that Miami fans say while condoling themselves that their players are “better” because they will play in the NFL. That’s great, they still haven’t beaten Virginia Tech since 2008. What was this post about? Oh, right, this bowl that no one’s going to watch.
Should I watch this game? If you’re a Carolina fan and you want me to stop making fun of you, sure. I actually would like to see what the numbers are on how many people watch this game and how many people watch the Tar Heel basketball team pummel Elon on the 29th. I’d be willing to bet the numbers are similar. Also, Mizzou fans should watch this because there’s nothing else to do the day after Christmas but fight the return lines. If you don’t fall into those categories, then just go out and fight the return lines…
Blogger’s Pick: Mizzou, based solely on their competition. The teams’ scoring defenses have identical numbers, but Carolina plays in the ACC, while Mizzouri plays in the offense-laden Big 12. I’ll give the Tigers the nod for now.
December 27, 2011
Little Caesars Bowl
Western Michigan vs. Purdue
Breakdown: 7-5 MAC team against a 6-6 Big 10 team? Wow. People were knocking the FIU/Marshall game as the worst of the season, but I think this one gives it a run for its money.
Should I watch this game? No. It’s 4:30, and it’s a Tuesday game. Most of you will be returning to work, is it really worth getting fired or fussed at to watch this game?
Blogger’s Pick: Yeesh, do I have to? Fine, I pick Purdue. They beat some stronger (I guess) teams. Purdue beat 2 bowl bound teams, which is 2 more than Western Michigan.
Louisville vs. NC State
Breakdown: Basically the same as the above summary of the Mizzou/UNC game, minus the “future NFL prospects” line and the weird rant about Miami. Short version is that we have another matchup of 7-5 teams that wouldn’t be happening if we had a decent number of bowls and/or a playoff.
Should I watch this game? Eh…it’s entertainment after what could be a long day of work. Sure, go ahead, just don’t expect world beating football.
Blogger’s Pick: Louisville is a team on the up and up. 2 years ago they were 4-8. Last year they were 7-6, and this year they could go 8-5. Charlie Strong’s building a very good team in Louisville, and the Cardinals could easily be a threat next season not just in the Big East, but on the national level as well.
December 28, 2011
Military Bowl–Presented by Northrop Grumman
Toledo vs. Air Force
Breakdown: Two non-AQ teams meet in an intriguing matchup. Air Force runs the ball in an option that’s second only to Army’s in rush yards. Toledo’s offense is pretty well balanced, and they can score points in bundles, but their defenses are both sort of “eh.” There should be points, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Should I watch this game? Regular readers know that I love watching the option, so I’d recommend it for that reason alone. If you want a more in-depth reason, the pairing of Air Force’s #2 rush offense against Toledo’s #28 rush defense has potential to be intriguing. Again, though, mid-day game during the week, so you may want to just TiVo this one.
Blogger’s Pick: Should be close, very much has the potential to be a tossup. Let’s go with Air Force in this one, I think their rushing attack can get it done in the end.
Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl
California vs. #24 Texas
Breakdown: Almost every preview of this game I’ve read has said something about how both these teams had “disappointing seasons.” Now, that certainly holds true for the Gator Bowl’s Ohio State/Florida matchup, but I’m not sure if it applies to both of these schools. Really, how many times have we thought of Cal as a legitimate threat in the Pac-10/12? They live perpetually under the shadow of USC, and now they have to compete with Oregon and Stanford. Heck, they usually have to compete with mid-level teams like Washington and UCLA to even make a bowl game. Taking that into consideration, this wasn’t disappointing for the Golden Bears. Texas…yeah, they’ve gotten used to good seasons, but they came back from a 5-7 year last year, so it isn’t all bad. At least the record’s improving.
Should I watch this game? Sure. Nothing too egregious or boring here. Not great teams, not terrible either. Solidly in the middle. That, and this Holiday Bowl isn’t a Washington/Nebraska match, meaning it’s at least something different.
Blogger’s Pick: I’m not sure I’ve gotten a Texas game right all year. They very well may have cost me the win in our picks competition, and I’m not 100% positive on who to pick on this one. I’ll go with some logic: the top few teams of the Pac-12 was quite good. The bottom half was utterly awful. The Big 12 looked better all season top-to-bottom, so I’ll go with the Big 12 team: Texas wins because their running game slows stuff down. No confidence behind that pick.
December 29, 2011
Champs Sports Bowl
Notre Dame vs. Florida State
Breakdown: Notre Dame makes the second stop on their “once relevant schools from Florida” tour, which pitted the Irish against Miami (Still not in a bowl this season. Can’t emphasize that enough.) last year and takes them against the Seminoles this season. At least Florida State doesn’t still entertain delusions of grandeur. Both schools had seasons that bear little to no mention, except to say that they both failed to live up to the “We’re back!” expectations of their fan bases. Sorry to waste your time.
Should I watch this? Oh, why not? Both teams seem to be improving, and they might actually be back next season. You heard it hear first: a noncommittal statement by a man who is frequently wrong.
Blogger’s Pick: As mediocre as they’ve been in recent years, the Florida State Seminoles still play dang fine defense. This year they have the #4 scoring defense in the country, and I can’t bet against that.
Valero Alamo Bowl
Washington vs. #12 Baylor
Breakdown: Washington finds itself again matched up against a ranked Big 12 foe. Hey, it worked well for them last time. Neither team has a really jaw-dropping record, but Baylor’s incredible quarterback Robert Griffin III took home the Heisman this year, thereby proving that the committee can, on occasion, get things right and not just hand the thing to whichever quarterback ESPN christens as the Heisman winner in September. Good on you, Downtown Athletic Club.
Should I watch this game? If you have any doubt on why Robert Griffin was chosen, then yes. The man is an awesome football player. If you like high scoring football, you might want to tune in, too. Baylor’s offense is a high-powered attack, and Washington’s defense is pretty bad. Washington’s offense isn’t superpowered, but Baylor’s defense is even worse than Washington’s. Points aplenty in all likelihood.
Blogger’s Pick: Ignoring the “Heisman curse” and other such nonsense, I’m going to go against my usual grain and pick the stronger offense: Baylor wins in a game with more than 100 combined points.
That’s all for this round. I’ll be back with the big days soon! Until then, enjoy your time off! Current bowl picks standing: 4-3.