INDEPENDENCE BOWL Texas A&M 6-5 Georgia 7-5
This is the battle of the bad defenses. TAM’s D gave up 33 points per game. Georgia has already fired all of their D coaches and is giving up 26 points per game. The key to a win will be which O takes maximum advantage of the faltering D.
The Dogs have finished up wining 3 of their last 4 but have had a bad year overall. Their O depends on the ability to run the ball. The Georgia RBs Early and King keyed the upset of Georgia Tech gaining over 300 yards rushing between them. QB Cox has been up and down throwing 22 TDs but also 14 picks. He had only 76 yards passing against GT.
TAM QB Johnson is outstanding. He has thrown for over 3000 yards with 28 TDs and only 6 picks. WR Nwachukwu is the deep threat averaging 18 yards per catch and 6 TDs. The question is can the O line protect Johnson long enough to let Nwachukwu go long.
Georgia has had a slightly better season and should win in a shootout.
EagleBank BOWL UCLA 6-6 Temple 9-3
Temple coach Al Golden has the team in its first bowl game in 30 years. He is now a very hot coaching prospect for “real” football schools. The Owls ripped off 9 straight wins before losing to Ohio U in their last game. They depend on the ground game to move the chains. Freshman RB Pierce is the star. Despite missing a chunk of the year from a shoulder injury he gained 1308 yards and scored 15 TDs.
The Pac10 has struggled in the Bowls so far. UCLA is not a great representative but should win this one. They have been a very inconsistent team this year in part due to injuries. They have talent but too often make critical errors leading to defeats. They went 3-0 to open the year only to drop their next 5.
Their D is led by 3 All Americans S Moore, CB Verner and DT Price. The talent on D should be too much for the Owls and UCLA wins in a close one.
MPS SPORTS BOWL 15 Miami 9-3 25 Wisconsin 9-3
This is one of the more interesting matchups. It will match the Badger running game with RB star John Clay against an improving Hurricane D. The Badgers will have to put pressure on Miami QB Harris who has come a long way since the beginning of the season. He has become a threat but in the last couple of games has been bitten by the turnover bug. Miami is favored but I think Wisconsin grinds out a win by keeping Harris and company off the field.
HUMANITARIAN BOWL Bowling Green 7-5 Idaho 7-5
Idaho has to stop the passing game of Sheehan to Barnes. WR Barnes has been outstanding with 1551 yards in receiving with 16 TDs. Sheenhan has become a potential draft choice in his final year with the help of Barnes.
Idaho has lost 3 of the last 4. The Vandals depend on their O to offset an inconsistent D. QB Enderly has been solid with 2666 yards, 18 TDs and 9 picks. RB Woolridge has scored 16 TDs with an 5.8 yard average.
Look for BG to win the game.
HOLIDAY BOWL 20 Arizona 8-4 22 Nebraska 9-4
The Huskers were a questionable call by a zebra from the biggest upset in the storied history of the school against Texas. The Nebraska D held the Texas O in check most of the game. They won the Big 12 North for the first time since 06. They are second in scoring D allowing just 11.8 points per game.
The Huskers sputter on O depending on the Black Shirt D to keep the score low. The team is 84th in the country in scoring. All American DT Suh should be a top 3 pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.
Arizona was in the Rose Bowl picture until a last minute loss to Oregon on 11/21. Then the win over Arizona State and USC was a positive end to their regular season. Arizona’s O is 40th in yards and is scoring nearly 30 a game. Both the passing of QB Foley and running of Antolin will be contained by the Husker D. Nebraska wins by more than the 1 point line.
SUN BOWL Oklahoma 7-5 21 Stanford 8-4
The Sooners have had a disastrous season after losing QB Bradford. Jones has filled in but has been erratic throwing 23 TDs and 13 picks. RBs Brown (4.1) and Murry (4.5) have not been able to replace the passing of Bradford. The Sooners are scoring 30 points per game. The Sooner D will have to try to slow down one of the best running games in the country in Stanford.
The Cardinal is 11th in rushing. RB Gerhart is averaging 5.6 per attempt and has scored 26 TDs. QB Luck is a better runner (5.8) than passer but takes maximum advantage of the opponent’s focus against the run. He has thrown for 2575 yards and 13 TDs with just 4 picks. The O needs to score a lot because the D gives up points like the Congress passes out money.
Oklahoma should be better in bowl games but have lost 5 of their last 6. But they are 10 point favorites. Look for them to shut down the running game and make Luck throw. The Sooners will win but it could be closer than 10.
INSIGHT BOWL Minnesota 6-6 Iowa State 6-6
This game could be the least interesting of the bowl season. Neither of these teams lived up to what the experts thought they would do this year. The Gophers are 3 point favorites but don’t look for a lot of top level offense. ISU is 102nd in scoring and the Gophers are 79th. Take the under at 49. Both QBs throw about as many TDs as picks and neither running game is solid.
Chick-fil-A BOWL 11 Virginia Tech 9-3 Tennessee 7-5
The best part of this game might be the Chick-fil-A commercials. The Vols have won 5 of 6 games since giving Alabama all they wanted in their game losing 12-10. The Vol D is coached by long time NFL DC Monte Kiffin. He has gotten a lot more out of the D than anyone expected. The D is led by S Berry, the Thrope winner. The O depends on the passing of QB Crompton who has thrown for 2565 yards and 26 TDs but has 12 picks.
VTk has played well and depends mostly on their rushing attack. They are 15th in the nation rushing and 32nd in scoring. RB Williams has averaged 5.7 per attempt and has scored 19 TDs.
VTk is a 6 point favorite but this game will be closer than that. The Kiffin D should hold the score down but Virginia Tech wins.
That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .