Monday, December 31, 2012

Bowl Season Predictions, Part 9

We’re just a little more than midway through the Silly Season of bowl games and if there’s one thing I’ve proved it’s that I am no better a prognosticator than the weatherman. With nineteen games having been played, I and 9-10 as is my Sister. (My niece is at 8-11.)

New Year’s Eve Day has four games on the schedule starting at noon.

First is the Music City Bowl out of Nashville with Vanderbilt (8-4) playing N.C. State (7-5).

The N.C. State Wolfpack will coached by interim coach/offensive coordinator, Dana Bible. On November 24, they fired head coach Tom O'Brien after six seasons at the helm. Dave Doeren, who coached Orange Bowl-bound Northern Illinois this past season, will take over upon conclusion of the game. The Wolfpack had high hopes for an ACC championship at the start of the year but struggled just to finish with a conference record of 4-4. One bright spot on offense has been QB Mike Glennon. Glennon has thrown for 3648 yards and 30 touchdowns but he’s also tossed 14 INTs. WR Bryan Underwood has caught 10 of those TD tosses. Overall, the Wolfpack are ranked 20th in the nation in passing offense.  (In all other categories they are “meh!” and in rushing, they are more “yuck!”)

The Commodores’ strength is defense…especially pass defense. They are ranked 9th in the nation against the pass yielding just 175.8 yards per game. RB Zac Stacy has run for 1034 yards and 9 TDs while WR Jordan Matthews has 87 catches for 1262 yards (a 14.5 yards per catch average) and 7 TDs.

Vandy is a 7 ½ point favorite in this one and will win.


At 2 PM CBS will air the Sun Bowl out of El Paso with the Southern California Trojans (7-5) teeing it up against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (6-7).

It’s been a disappointing season for the Trojans who dreamt of a National Championship back in August. Matt Barkley opted to return for that and passed on entering the pro draft. He’s had, for him, a  lackluster season (63.9 % completion rate, 3273 yards, 36 TD passes, but 15 INTs. He’s also been injured and will not be playing in this game after injuring his shoulder against UCLA.  USC still has plenty of weapons, however. Silas Redd transferred over from Penn State has scored 9 TDs on the ground and WR Marqise Lee has 112 catches for 1680 yards and 14 TDs. WR Robert Woods had 73 catches and 11 TDs. Redshirt freshman Max Wittek will make his second start in place of Barkley. He started the final game of the regular season in a 22-13 loss to Notre Dame. He’s had the benefit of extra practices since then and should be ready.

In contrast to USC’s air attack, Georgia Tech was one of two FBS schools to rush for more than 4,000 yards. They average 3312.5 yards per game and rank 4th in the nation rushing. Using the triple-option, six players ran for more than 400 yards and three for more than 600, highlighted by QB Tevin Washington's 19 touchdowns. Passing offense is a different story. They are 114th in the nation gaining just 134.1 ypg.

USC has had difficulty stopping the run. They gave up 1300 yards to Arizona and Oregon in back-to-back losses. Still, the Trojans are 7 ½ point favorites. My pick: USC.


At 3:30 PM Iowa State Cyclones (6-6) will face the Tulsa Golden Hurricane (10-3) in the Liberty Bowl to be played in Memphis, Tennessee.

These teams met in the first game of the regular season (September 1st) with the Cyclones beating the Golden Hurricane 38-23. In that contest, Tulsa jumped out to a 16-7 lead in the first quarter only to see Iowa State score 24 consecutive points.

The Golden Hurricanes have one of the best run offenses in the nation. (They are ranked 11th) Alex Singleton, Trey Watts and Ja'Terian Douglas each have topped 760 yards this season for one of the nation's top ground attacks (240.2 yards per game). Watts has a team-best 959 yards and Douglas has 857, while Singleton has scored 22 touchdowns this year. (Singleton has scored 41 in his career.) Junior QB Cody Green, has nine of his 20 total TDs in the last four games. He’s thrown for 17 TDs and 10 INTs. Two of those INTs came in the first game against the Cyclones.  

Tulsa is also ranked 19th in the nation against the run. They yield just 121.2 ypg on the ground.

Iowa State is what you would expect for a 6-6 team.  They are ranked 75th in pass offense, 65th in rushing offense, 107th in pass defense and 67th in rush offense.  And despite all that, Iowa State is a 1 point favorite. No way do they win this game. My pick: Tulsa.


The final game of the night is the Chick-fil-A Bowl out of Atlanta with LSU (10-2) playing Clemson (10-2). 

Clemson scores points (they’ve  tallied 37 or more 10 times this year), LSU doesn’t allow many points (they’ve given up 22 just once).

Clemson has the nation’s 13th ranked passing offense. Tajh Boyd has thrown for 3550 yards and 34 TDs. He has, however, also tossed 13 INTs. WR DeAndre Hopkins has 16 of those TD catches.

 LSU has the nation’s 20th ranked pass defense. LSU has the nation’s 10th ranked rushing defense. Clemson has the nation’s 33rd ranked rushing offense. Andre Ellington has 1031 yards on 201 carries and has scored eight TDs.

LSU is led by QB Zach Mettenberger who has tossed just 11 TDs and 6 INTs. RB Jeremy Hill has 130 carries for 631 yards and 10 TDs.

LSU is a 6 point favorite. They don’t score much, but they usually don’t have to. They will have to in this game. My pick: Clemson

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