Where Smart Picks Go to Die
Below you will find most of my notes I took while researching for the Bowl Preview show. You can still go check that out by clicking the link. Bowl Preview Link.
The only game I did not recap was the National Championship game. You will have to wait for that one.
We did not cover the BCS Bowl games during our show, but I’m giving you an exclusive sneak peak with this article.
So please enjoy and leave comments if you agree, disagree, or even if you don’t care.
(Note: All defensive rankings are based on yards allowed per game)
Nevada vs. Arizona
– Nevada has a lot of close losses (by 1 to USF, by 1 to San Diego State, by 6 to Boise State) and some bad ones (by 17 to Air
Force, by 36 to Fresno State). Best player is Stephon Jefferson (1700 yard rusher with 22 TDs). 87th ranked defense
-Arizona is bipolar. Huge wins against Oklahoma State (59-38), Washington (52-17), and USC (39-36) but some terrible losses to
UCLA (66-10) and Arizona State (41-34) not to mention the losses in OT to Stanford and in regulation to Oregon and Oregon
State (OST was within 3). Explosive offense with M. Scott (3238 passing 24 TDs) and K. Carey (1757 rushing 20 TDs). PAC-12
Defense that ranks 116th out of 120 D1 teams. Giving up an average of 485 yards per game.
Toledo vs. Utah State
-Toledo is 21 points away from being undefeated. An early 7 point loss to Arizona in the first week of the season (in OT), a Ball
State loss by 7 and a Northern Illinois 7 point loss are all that keeps them from a perfect season. Beat Cincinnati, Bowling Green,
Central Michigan. Rank 106 in defense with a balanced offense (T.Owens 2677 yards 14 TDs, RB Fluellen 1460 13 TDs)
-Utah State is a surprise team, but the biggest shocker has been their defense which ranks 15th in the country above Vandy,
Stanford, and Georgia. Utah State only allowed an average of 322 yards a game and only allowed 20 offensive TDs all year. A 2
point loss to the Rose Bowl participating Badgers of Wisconsin and a 3 point loss to the tricky mormons are the only blemishes on
this years record. Wins against LA Tech in OT, Utah in OT, Colorado State, and San Jose State were big. On offense they like to
air it out with C. Keeton (3144 yards 27 TDs) but can run with K. Williams (1277 12 TDs).
BYU vs. San Diego State
-BYU, another stunner. Guess who has the third ranked defense in the country. Only allowing 266 yards per game and having
only given up 22 TDs all year, the mormon defense has been stout all year long. At the same time, BYU has suffered some losses
due to a lack of any offensive production (QB R. Nelson 2011yd 13 TDs, RB J.Williams 744yd 11 TDs). Lost by 3 to Utah, by
only 1 to Boise State (7-6), by 18 to Oregon State, by only 3 to Notre Dame (17-14) and by 6 to San Jose State. Big wins against
Washington State, Utah State (6-3), Georgia Tech (41-17).
-San Diego State has been getting it done on the other side of the ball. Between the two QBs Katz and Dingwell they have 2143
yds 21 TDs and between their RBs Muema and Kazee they have 2177 yds and 24 TDs. With a defense that still ranks at #43, San
Diego State has a very balanced team. A loss in the first week to Washington (21-12) a very close loss to rival San Jose State (38-
34) and a bad loss to Fresno State (52-40) all came early in the year. SDSU is on a 7 game winning streak beating teams like
Nevada (39-38 OT), Boise State (21-19), and Air Force (28-9).
Ball State vs. UCF
-Ball State might be getting it done with their 9-3 record, but they are not getting it done of defense. Ranked 103rd, they are
allowing 459 yards per game on average. But Ball State has a very dynamic offense with Junior QB K. Wenning at the helm
(2878yds 22 TDs) and RB J.Edwards (1321 14 TDs). A nasty loss to Clemson was BSU’s only bad loss (52-27). A 2 point loss
to Kent State (45-43) and a 12 point loss to NIU (35-23) kept them out of their conference championship. But wins over Indiana,
South Florida, Central Michigan and Toledo got them to a bowl game.
-UCF is a bit of a mystery. With blowout wins over Akron, FIU, ECU, Memphis, Marshall, SMU, and UAB, UCF looked like a
team ready to take the next step. But with confusing games like a Loss to Missouri (21-16), an OT win against a winless Souther
Miss team (38-31 OT), a 7 point victory over UTEP (31-24) and a 2 point loss to Tulsa (23-21) and in OT in the championship
(33-27 OT) when they had the game won make you wonder which team will show up. UCF still ranks 45th in total defense.
They are led on offense by QB B. Bortles (2787 22TDs). A traditional run-first school, UCF has struggles with L. Murray
(1035yds and 14TDs).
ECU vs Louisiana-Lafayette
-ECU is a bad team in a bad conference. Giving up 417 yards per game on defense (ranked 77th) forces them into a lot of
shootouts. Relying very heavily on its passing game has given QB S.Carden his bigger numbers (2838yds 21 TDs) while RB
V.Cooper only has 1030 yds and 7 TDs). ECU is a team that won the games it was supposed to (App St, Southern Miss, UTEP,
Memphis, UAB, Houston, Tulane, and DOUBLE OT against MARSHALL!!!), but had embarrassing games when they faced
actual competition (48-10L to South Carolina, 27-6L North Carolina, 40-20L UCF, 56-28L NAVY!!!). Bad team, bad bowl.
-Louisiana -Lafayette is somehow worse on defense giving up 427 yards per game (86th). They are, however, more balanced on
offense (QB T. Broadway 2526yds 16TDs, RBs A.Harris and QB T.Broadway combining for 1422yds and 16TDs) with a pass-
run option QB. A bad loss to Ok State early (65-24), North Texas (30-23) and Arkansas State (50-27) would have you assume
this is the same of La-Laf team. But late wins over Western Kentucky, UL Monroe, and a last second loss to Florida at Florida
(27-20) make me wonder if La-Laf doesn’t have something going toward the end of the year.
Washington vs. Boise State
-Washington seems like a team that just can’t quite figure itself out. After a crushing loss to LSU (41-3) it came back with an
impressive looking with against Stanford (17-13). Then they got demolished by Oregon (52-21), lost to USC (24-14) and got
destroyed by Arizona (52-17). Season over, right? Wrong. Washington came back with wins over Oregon State (20-17), Cal,
Utah, and Colorado. Back on the right track? Think again. Last game of the season 31-28 loss in OT to WASH STATE! WHAT?
Washington’s defense ranks 30th in the country giving up 353 yards per game. They are led on offense by QB K.Price (2486yds
and 18 TDs) and RB B.Sankey (1234yds 15TDs). Who wil show up? Can’t tell ya.
-Boise State’s big focus this year was on the loss of players like Kellen Moore and Titus Young. BUt what a lot of people
overlooked during Boise’s run has been their defense. The Bronco’s defense comes in to this bowl game ranked 9th and giving up
only 304 yards per game and only surrendering 24 TDs all year. They also didn’t lack much in the QB department with
J.Southwick coming in and throwing for 2466yds and 17TDs. The running game is not very explosive with D.Harper and J.Ajayi
combining for 1600 yds and 19TDs, but the Broncos have had a decent season. A 4 point loss to Michigan State now looks pretty
bad, but Boise came back and rattled off a 7 game win streak with wins against BYU, Fresno St, and UNLV. Then the lost by 2 to
San Diego State before closing out their season beating some powder puffs and Nevada (27-21). Boise is a decent team this year,
Fresno State vs. SMU
-Fresno State has finally got a defense. Ranking 19th and only surrendering 335 yards per game, the defense has been crucial in
Fresno’s 9-3 year. Losses to Oregon (42-25) and Boise State (20-10) were expected. A tough 1 point loss to Tulsa (27-26) kept
Fresno out of a championship game. But big wins against Colorado (69-14), San Diego State (52-40), and Nevada (52-36) show
how explosive this offense can be. Driven by QB D.Carr (Brother of David Carr) with 3742yds and 36 TDs, the running game is
secondary with R.Rouse (1468yds 12TDs). Fresno can score with the best of them.
-Most years we would be talking about June Jone’s and his explosive offense at SMU. This year is different. QB G.Gilbert had
nice numbers (2720yds and 14TDs), but never quite matured into the QB everyone was expecting coming into this year. Z.Line
had a nice year for an SMU running back (1207yds and 12 TDs), but SMU has been mostly dissapointing this year. A defense
that is giving up 400 yards a game and 42 TDs all year is partly to blame (64th). Dissapointing losses to Baylor (59-24), Texas
A&M (48-3), TCU (24-16), Tulane (27-26), UCF (42-17), and RICE (36-14) were barely softened with wins against cupcakes (SF
Austin, UTEP, Houston, Memphis, Southern Miss) and 1 surprising win vs Tulsa (35-27). SMU is pretty weak.
Western Kentucky vs. Central Michigan
-When you look at the Hill Toppers, it’s been a tale of two halves of the season. WKU came out with a win against Austin Peay, a
“tougher than the score indicated” loss to Alabama (35-0), a win against rival Kentucky (32-31 OT [first ever win aginast UK]) and
wins against Southern Miss, a good Arkansas State team, and Troy. Then the wheels began to come off. An OT loss to UL-
Monroe (43-42 OT) followed by a narrow victory over FIU (14-6) was followed by 3 straight losses to inferior teams (Mid Tenn,
FAU, La-Lafayette). WKU ended its season with a 1 point victory of North Texas. Maybe the rest before the bowl will help
WKU. QB K.Jakes finished with 2289yds and 21 TDs, while RB A.Andres had a very nice year (1609yds and 11TDs). WKU’s
defense finished 23rd and will need to show up against the Chippewas.
-Central Michigan won’t win with defense (94th ranked and given up 51 TDs this season). WB R.Radcliff leads the way with
2905yds and 20TDs. Z.Tipton has contributed in the running game with 1391yds and 19TDs. Central Mich barely skated into
the bowl season at 6-6 with wins against SE Missouri St, a 1 point win against a bad Iowa team (32-31), Akron, E Michigan,
Miami (OH), and Massachusetts. Don’t expect big things from this team that has losses to Mich St (41-7), N Ill (55-24), Toledo
(50-35), Navy (31-13), Ball State (41-30), and W. Michigan (42-31).
San Jose State vs. Bowling Green
-If you want to see a team air it out, watch San Jose State. Their QB D.Fales has 3798yds and 31 TDs. Their running game is
understandable less exciting with RB D.Eskridge only carring the ball 194 times all year (992yds 10 TDs). SJSU also boasts the
28th ranked defense with 351 yards allowed per game. They have had an admirable season, only losing to Stanford by 3 losing to
Utah State (49-27), and beating teams like San Diego State (38-34), Navy (12-0), BYU (20-14) and LaTech (52-43).
-If I asked you to think about Bowling Green, chances are the first thing you thought of wouldn’t be top 10 defense in the country.
But that’s exactly what they are. Bowling Green is only giving up 289 yards on average per game and have only surrendered 22
TDs all year. Even with those defensive, Bowling Green has struggled to close games this year. They lost by only 13 to a much
better Florida team (27-14), lost to Toledo by 12 (27-15), got stomped by Va Tech (37-0), and lost by a TD to Kent State. There
aren’t a whole lot of good wins on Bowling Green’s schedule with Idaho, Ohio, and Buffalo being the top 3. Big defensive numbers,
haven’t play anyone. The offense is decent with a combined 1469yds rushing and 15 TDs between A.Samuel and J.Pettigrew.
M.Schilz thre for 2426yds and 14 TDs.
Cincinnati vs. Duke
-Cincinnati had a good enough season that someone wanted their coach (Vols). Their offensive production came from 2 QBs
(M.Legaux and B.Kay). They combined for 2682 yds and 19 TDs with a running game that saw G.Winn rush for 1204 yds and 12
TDs. Cincinnati has a defense that ranked 41st giving up 373 yards per game on average. Cinci only lost to Toledo (29-23), in OT
to Louisville (34-31 OT), and by 7 to Rutgers. 16 points separates Cinci from an undefeated season. Notable wins over Virginia
Tech (27-24), Syracuse (35-24), South Florida (27-10), and Connecticut (34-17).
-Duke ranks 104th defensively having given up an average of 462 yards per game and 54 TDs this season. The Blue Devils make
up for it with a passing attack that combined for over 3000 yards and 23 TDs (QBs S.Renfree and A.Boone). RBs. J.Duncan and
J.Snead have split carries but only managed to rush for 907 yards and 6 TDs combined. Duke slides into the Belk Bowl on a 4
game skid and have lost 5 out of the last 6. Duke has been beaten by 18 or more 5 times this year. This game could get ugly.
Baylor vs. UCLA (SHOOTOUT!)
-Baylor had the nation’s attention after upending the then #1 Kasas State Wildcats at home. Baylor is a team that knows it’s
identity and doesn’t try to be anything else. Baylor will not try to win with defense. The bears rank 119 out of 120 teams in
defense giving up an average of 514 yards per game and allowing 62 TDs against them this year. With that said, QB N.Florence
has put up gaudy numbers to the tune of 4121yds and 31 TDs. Baylor is also no slouch in the running game. Between RBs
L.Seastrunk and G.Martin the Bears have rushed for 1665yds and 18 TDs. The bears most notable wins are against K State (52-
24), Texas Tech (52-45 OT), and Oklahoma State (41-34). They lost very publicly to West Virginia in an epic shootout (70-63)
then to TCU (49-21), Texas (56-50), Iowa State (35-21), and Oklahoma (42-34). Baylor’s offense will always keep them in it, but
can their defense do enough to stop UCLA?
-UCLA plays more defense than Baylor, but not by a ton. Ranking 73rd the Bruins give up 409 yards per game on average. But
the new option style offense Mora has installed has made UCLA a potent offensive threat itself. Freshman B.Hundley has thrown
for 3411yds and 26 TDs and J.Franklin has rushed for an even 1700yds and 13 TDs (B.Hundley has rushed for 9 TDs). UCLA
started the season right with a win against Nebraska (36-30), but then turned around and lost to Oregon State (27-20) and then a
bad Cal team (43-17). This seemed to wake them up as they went on a 5 game winning streak beating Utah, Arizona State,
Arizona (66-10), WAZU, and USC before losing to Stanford in the last game of the regular season and then again in the
Ohio vs. Louisiana-Monroe
-Ohio is another team that is entering the bowl season on a terrible slide after losing 4 of the last 5 games. Ohio’s season started out
like a fairy tale. They beat Penn State and then went on a 6 game winning streak making them 7-0. But a surprise loss to Miami
(OH) (23-20) drained their confidence before heading into the meat of their schedule. Ohio then lost to Bowling Green (26-14),
Ball State (52-27), and Kent State (28-6). Ohio’s defense is average, ranking as the 61st defense. Their offense is pretty balanced
with QB T.Tettleton throwing for 2513yds and 16 TDs while their RB B.Blankenship rushed for 1500yds and 11 TDs.
-ULM was the early season darling going on a stretch that saw them beat Arkansas in OT (34-31 OT), barely lose to Auburn (31-
28 OT), and barely lose to Baylor (47-42). They then went on to win their next 5 straight games. But then their QB went down
and everything came apart. ULM lost to LA-Lafayette (40-24) and Arkansas State (45-23) before the ship was righted and they
beat North Texas (42-16) and FIU (23-17 OT). ULM has no running game. 2 rushers combinges for barely 800 yards rushing. QB
C.Wells was not very good as a backup to K.Browning. K.Browning is the offense. While in he threw for 2830yds and 27 TDs.
With him in, the Warhawks have a chance. Even with a middle of the road defense (71st)
Rutgers vs. Virginia Tech
-Rutgers is a pretty solid team top to bottom that tends to get in its own head. Rutger’s defense ranks 14th only allowing 312
yards per game on average and having only given up 19 TDs all year. The offense can be dynamic when it’s on. When it’s not, it
can get ugly. QB G.Nova has played every snap for Rutgers this year and has thrown for 2566yds and 22 TDs. J. Jamison has
1054 rushing yards and only 4 TDs. Rutgers went on a 7 game win sreak to start the year beating Arkansas, UConn, Syracuse, and
Temple. Then it lost to Kent State (35-23), beat Army and Cincinnati (10-3), and lost to Pitt (27-6) and Louisville (20-17) which
kept them from the championship game and a chance to go to a BCS game. The offense will have to be firing for them to win this
-Virginia Tech. Their season has been the definition of bipolar. A 3 point OT win against Georgia Tech (20-17 OT) followed by a
loss to Pittsburg (35-17) who had recently lost to Youngstown State. Then a shutout of a good Bowling Green team (37-0),
followed by losses to Cincinnati (27-24) and North Carolina (48-34). Everything looked back on track with a convincing win
against Duke (41-20), and then they lose three straight to Clemson, Miami, and Florida State (28-22)[gave them a run]. An OT
win against Boston College (30-23) and a 3 point victory over Virginia (17-14) helped them scoot into this bowl game. QB
L.Thomas was supposed to be the leader of this team, but he has been inconsistent at best. His completion % is 52 and he has 17
TDs to 14 INTs. The running game has been split between RB J.Coleman and QB L.Thomas. They’ve combined for 1014yds and
11 TDs. The 24th ranked defense will need to show up for the Hokies to have a chance in this one. Who knows which team will
Minnesota vs. Texas Tech
-Minnesota has one of the most unimpressive list of victories of anyone in a bowl game. Wins include a 3OT thriller against
UNLV (30-27 3OT), New Hampshire, Western Michigan, Syracuse, Purdue, and Illinois. They lost to a bad Iowa team (31-13),
Northwestern, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Michigan State. Minnesota’s offense is split between QBs M.Shortell (853yds and 6
TDs), QB P.Nelson (735yds 6 TDs), and running backs D.Kirkwood and M.Gray (1180yds and 10 TDs). Minnesota will need to
win with defense (ranked 29th), but honestly I don’t think this Big 10 d can keep up with the offense at Texas Tech.
-Texas Tech is now Tubervilless? No matter, this is the same type of Texas Tech offense we’re used to seeing. S.Doege threw for
3934yds and 38 TDs while RBs K.Williams and S.Foster combined for 1209yds and 8 TDs. What has changed is the Tech defense
which ranks 39th in the country. Even so, Texas Tech has suffered a few lopsided losses like Oklahoma State (59-21), Kansas
State (55-24), and Oklahoma (41-20). Minnesota’s defense is more like West Virginia (49-14), TCU (59-53 3OT), or Kansas (41-
34 OT). Look for the same high octane offense with or without Tubs.
Rice vs. Air Force (terrible…nuf said)
-First, I’m not going to waste my time much on this game. Rice is terrible. They beat Kansas, UTSA, Southern Miss, Tulane (49
-47), SMU, and UTEP. They lost to Tulsa, Memphis, Houston, Marshall, La Tech, and UCLA. Their defense is bad (95th) and
they aren’t great on offense.
-Air Force has a better defense (65th) and 2 real rushing threats in RB C.Getz (1213yds 9 TDs) and QB C.Dietz (658yds rushing 5
TDs/ 1127yds passing 8 TDs). Their wins are just as bad except for the win against Nevada (48-31). Air Force has lost to
Michigan, UNLV, Navy, ARMY, San Diego State, and Fresno State (48-15).
West Virginia vs. Syracuse
-A lot can change in two months. There is no better example of this than West Virginia. 2 months ago they were a shoe-in for the
National Championship and Geno Smith was all but declared the Heisman winner. 2 months and 5 BAD losses later and West
Virginia is a bad team. Marquee wins would be Maryland (31-21), Baylor (70-63), Texas (48-45), and Iowa State (31-24). The
losses were terrible. Texas Tech (49-14), Kansas State (55-14), TCU (39-38 2OT), Oklahoma State (55-34), and Oklahoma (50-
49). Geno Smith picked it back up as the year went on throwing for 4004yds and 40 TDs. But the defense is terrible (108th).
Which team will we see from West Virginia, first half or second half of the season?
-Syracuse is an offensive minded team as well. Their defense is better (50th), but their offensive numbers could stand up for
themselves if they needed to. R.Nassib threw for 3619yds and 24 TDs while RBs J.Smith and P.Gulley combines for 1636yds
and 10 TDs. Big wins for Syracuse include knocking off previously unbeaten Louisville (45-26), beating Missouri, Pittsburg (14-
13), UConn (40-10), and South Florida (37-36). Syracuse lost to Minnesota, Cincinnati, Rutgers, USC, and Northwestern.
Another up and down team, which one will play December 29th?
Navy vs. Arizona State
-Navy will be one of the teams most hampered by the long break before the bowl game. This gives Arizona State time it wouldn’t
typically have to prepare for their option. Their season did not start well with a blow-out loss to Notre Dame in dublin (50-10).
After losing to Penn State (34-7) and San Jose State (12-0), Navy began to right the ship (I know right…funny). It began with an
OT win against Air Force (28-21 OT), then they beat Central Michigan, Indiana, ECU, FAU, Texas State, and Army (with a loss
to Troy in there too). Navy is who they are. They are going to run the option. They have swapped between 2 QBs this year.
K.Reynolds and T.Miller have combined for 1260yds and 9 TDs through the air. G.Greene and N.Copeland make up the bulk of
the rushing attach combining for 1456yds and 8 TDs. Navy’s defense is ranked 55th in the country and will need a good game
against the Sun Devils.
-This is not the Sun Devil team we’re used to seeing. No 4,000 yard passer and the defense is ranked 26th only giving up 350
yards per game. QB T.Kelly leads the offense and has thrown for 2772yds and 25 TDs. RBs C.Marshall and M.Grice combined
for 1024yds and 16 TDs. Arizona State’s losses include Missouri (24-20), Oregon (43-21), UCLA (45-43), Oregon State (36-26),
and USC (38-17). Their only big win was against Arizona in the last game of the year (41-34). Atizona State is a team that has
been close, but just can’t win the big game.
Texas vs. Oregon State
-Texas hasn’t been right for the last several years. It’s defense this year ranked 75th (1 spot above North Texas) and gave up an
average of 413yds per game while allowing 43 TDs this year. QB D.Ash has been decent throwing for 2458yds and 17 TDs. The
once formidable rushing attack was split between J.Gray and J.Bergeron and was able to tally 1248yds and 18 TDs. Texas has had
a few good wins like Ole Miss (66-31), Oklahoma State (41-36), Baylor (56-50), and Texas Tech (31-22). But they’ve also had
some puzzling losses like West Virginia (48-45), Oklahoma (63-21), TCU (20-13), and Kansas State (42-24). Texas is vanilla on
offense and pretty weak on defense. They will need to turn it around to have a chance.
-Oregon State is a team no one was talking about pre-season. But the “What-a-Burger” challenge has seemed to really resonate
with this team. Oregon State started out on fire beating Wisconsin (10-7), UCLA (27-20), Arizona (38-35), WAZU (19-6), BYU
(42-24), and Utah (21-7) before losing its first game to Washington (20-17). Oregons State then lost to Stanford (27-23) and
Oregon (48-24) and beat Arizona State and Cal. Even with the injury to star QB S.Mannion (2446yds 15 TDs in only 8 games)
the Beavers persevered with C.Vaz at the helm (1286yds 11 TDs in 6 games). Oregon State’s defense ranks 33rd and is fairly stout
against the run.
TCU vs. Michigan State (Defensive struggle)
-The Horned Frogs have had a very up and down year. They went 4-0 to start the year, but lost to Iowa State at home (37-23),
then turned around and beat Baylor on the road (49-21). Losses to Texas Tech (56-53 3OT), Oklahoma State (36-14), Kansas
State (23-10), and Oklahoma (24-17) were countered with wins against West Virginia (39-38 2OT) and Texas (20-13). Between
QBs T.Boykin and C.Pachall TCU threw for 2801yds and 25 TDs. The rushing game has not been as potent this year with 2 RBs
combining for less than 100 yards. Defense has carried TCU to most of their victories as they rank 18th and only allow 322 yards
per game on average.
-Michigan State’s team this year is the story of 2 sides of the ball. Their defense ranks 4th giving up only 273yds per game and
only 19 TDs all year. Their offense is comical. Michigan State has only scored more than 21 points 4 times (1 of those was a
loss). Bigger wins against Boise State (17-13), Wisconsin (16-14 OT), and Minnesota (26-10). Losses include ND (20-3), Ohio
State (17-16), IOWA (19-16 2OT), Michigan (12-10), Nebraska (28-24), and Northwestern (23-20). The Spartans are not a very
good team and will probably lose.
NC State vs. Vanderbilt
-NC State has had a rocky season. They have losses to Tennessee (35-21), Miami FL (44-37), North Carolina (43-35), Virginia
(33-6), and Clemson (62-48). Their wins aren’t very impressive either (UConn, South Alabama, Citadel, Maryland-by 2-, Wake
Forest, and Boston College) except for one. The win against Florida State (17-16) forces you to reconsider everything about NC
State. QB M.Glennon has thrown for 3648yds and 30 TDs while their RB tandem has combined for just over 1000yds and 7
TDs. On defense, NC State is giving up about 419 yards per game. So which team will show up? The team that beat Florida State
or the team that played everyone else?
-I have no shame at all in repeating that I picked Vandy to do great things at the beginning of this year. I picked them to go 9-3, but
8-4 is pretty darn close. Vandy hasn’t done it with the explosive offense most people expected. J.Rodgers has thrown for
2431yds and just 13 TDs while Z.Stacy has rushed for 1034yds and 9 TDs. What has been impressive is the Commodores 17th
ranked defense that only gives up 326 yards per game and has only allowed 24 TDs all year. All of Vandy’s losses are respectable
(except maybe Northwestern). A 4 point loss to South Carolina (17-13), a 10 point loss to Northwestern (23-13), a drubbing
against the SEC runner-up Georgia (48-3), and the team with the second SEC BCS berth Florida (31-17). Vandy beat Missouri,
Auburn, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Tennessee, and Wake Forest. Better defense, more reliable, I pick Vandy.
USC vs Georgia Tech (Overmatched)
-USC is not used to this situation. With top 5 recruiting classes every year, USC is expected to finish better than 7-5, they are
expected to be better than the 63rd ranked defense, and they are expected to go to a better bowl than the Hyundai Sun Bowl. But
this is the situation in which USC finds itself. QB M.Barkley salvaged an amazing year throwing for 3273yds and 36 TDs. RB
S.Redd went from the stud at Penn State to splitting time with C.McNeal. Combined they rushed for 1513yds and 11 TDs.
USC’s big wins were against Syracuse (42-29), Washington (24-14), and Arizona State (38-17). The losses came from Stanford
(21-14), Arizona (39-36), Oregon (62-51), UCLA (38-28) and Notre Dame (22-13). Not much to play for.
-Georgia Tech is about as unimpressive as they come. The defense ranks 53rd. The rushing attack is lef by QB T.Washington and
RB O.Smith who combined for 1311yds and 24 TDs. T.Washington was asked to throw more than a GT offense is used to and
threw for 1173yds and 7 TDs. Those were the only bright spots. Georgia Tech only beat Virginia, Boston College, Maryland,
North Carolina, and Duke. They lose to Miami FL, Mid Tennessee, Clemson, BYU, Georgia, and Florida State. This is the
weakest ACC championship contender I think I’ve ever seen. Don’t expect much.
Iowa State vs. Tulsa
-Iowa State’s tough defense from last year was nowhere to be found this year. Ranked 98th, the Cyclones gave up an average of
444 yards per game. Their two QBs (S.Jantz and J.Barnett) combined for 2186yrds and 19 TDs, while their RB core (S.Johnson
and J.White) combined for 1003yrds and 4 TDs. Iowa State barely got to a bowl and is lucky to be playing in a rematch of a game
they won earlier this year (38-23). Iowa State’s only notable wins are against TCU (37-23) and Baylor (35-21). The losses include
Texas Tech, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia. Inconsistent
-Tulsa’s defense is much better statistically ranking 34th and have improved since their first matchup in September. Tulsa’s only
other losses are to Arkansas (19-15) and SMU (35-27). After being down for much of the game, Tulsa came back and beat UCF in
OT to win their conference championship game. With a strong running game shared by RBs T.Watts and J.Douglas (combined for
1816yds 10 TDs) complemented by a good passing game (C.Green 2499yds and 17 TDs) Tulsa has a very balanced offense.
LSU vs Clemson
-LSU is just like they’ve always been. In every game they play and try to screw it up for themselves. LSU’s 2 losses are to
Florida (14-6) and Alabama (21-17). In the Alabama game, LSU had Alabama right where it wanted and let them slip away with
poor clock management (sound familiar?). Impressive wins over South Carolina (23-21), Texas A&M (24-19), Mississippi State
(37-17), and Ole Miss (41-35) have LSU looking like a favorite. Z.Mettenberger really grew into the offense as the season
progressed finishing with 2489yrds and 11 TDs. J.Hill led the army of 4 running backs the Tigers had with 631yds and 10 TDs.
LSU’s defense finished ranked 8th allowing just shy of 300 yards per game.
-Clemson is tough to figure out. They play in a weak ACC and have the 74th ranked defense. But they can always put up points.
QB T.Boyd impressed enough voters to get First Team All-American honors after throwing for 3550yds and 34 TDs. A.Ellington
finished the year with 1031yds and 8 TDs rushing the ball. Clemson has scored more than 40 points 8 times. Their wins include
Auburn, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Duke, and NC State. Their losses came to Florida State (49-37) and South Carolina (27-17).
Clemson hasn’t really played any competition and will have their hands full with LSU’s defense.
Mississippi State vs. Northwestern
-Mississippi State had an undefeated season going until week 8 when it met Alabama, but once they hit the meat of their schedule,
the Bulldogs crumbled. Losses to Alabama (38-7), Texas A&M (38-13), LSU (37-17), and Ole Miss (41-24) took them off of the
national radar. No marquee wins are obvious with wins over Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas. QB T.Russell has had a good
season throwing for 2791yds and 22 TDs. L.Perkins never developed into the solid back Ms State was looking for and rushed for
only 940yds and 8 TDs. While the Bulldog defense was adept at creating turnovers early in the season, they were nowhere to be
found against the talented teams of the SEC and finished ranked 58th and allowing an average of 389 yards per game. The defense
will have to play much stronger to beat Northwestern.
-Northwestern’s defense is very similar in numbers to Mississippi State’s They allow 385 yards per game, but have a more potent
offense. QBs T.Siemian and K.Colter combined to throw for 1988yrds and 14 TDs. RB V.Mark rushed for 1310yrds and 11 TDs
and QB K.Colter rushed for 820yrds and 12 TDs. Northwestern’s only losses came at the hands of Penn State (39-28), Nebraska
(29-28) and Michigan (38-31 OT). The wins include Syracuse, Vandy, Michigan State, and Illinois.
Purdue vs. Oklahoma State
-Purdue has no right to be in a bowl and is a perfect example of why our bowl system is broken. With a 6-6 record, Purdue’s
strongest win is over IOWA!!! Purdue lost to Notre Dame (20-17), Michigan (44-13), Wisconsin (38-14), Minnesota (44-28), and
Penn State (34-9). Terrible. They have two QBs who have thrown for yards. Their defense isn’t good. Not wasting my time on
-Oklahoma State is a different story. They have wins that count and a freshman QB who is going to be someone to watch in the
coming years. The Cowboys used both J.W. Walsh and C.Chelf at QB and combined for 2869yrds and 23 TDs. They also got
1351yrds and 14 TDs rushing from J.Randle. Oklahoma State beat Iowa State (31-10), TCU (36-14), West Virginia (55-34), and
Texas Tech (59-21). Their loses came from Arizona, Texas (by 5), Kansas State, Oklahoma (51-48 OT), and Baylor (41-34).
Oklahoma State should waste Purdue.
Georgia vs. Nebraska
-Georgia is the 2nd or 3rd best team in the SEC (depending on who you ask). They are very balanced on offense and highly
aggresive on defense with the best linebacker in the country in J.Jones (in my opinion). A.Murray looked like the QB everyone
was expecting from day 1. The most efficient QB in the nation he threw for 3466yrds and 31 TDs. T.Gurley and K.Marshall
combined for 1983yrds and 24 TDs. The defense finished ranked 27th and allowing 351 yards per game. Georgia’s only losses
came at the hands of South Carolina (35-7) and Alabama in an epic SEC Championship game (32-28). Noteable wins include
Vandy (48-3), Tennessee (51-44), Florida (17-9), Ole Miss (37-10), and Georgia Tech (42-10).
-Nebraska is confusing. They lose to UCLA (36-30) then beat Wisconsin (30-27) only to get crushed by Ohio State (63-38).
Then the beat Northwestern (29-28), Michigan, Michigan State, and Penn State. On a roll they go into the Big 10 championship
game against a team they’ve already beaten…and get CLOBBERED (70-31). QB T.Martinez threw for 2667yrds and 21 TDs and
rushed for 973yrds and 10 TDs. RB A.Abdullah rushed for 1089yrds and 8 TDs. Martinez is the offense and needs to have
success against a strong Georgia defense for Nebraska to win. Nebraska’s defense ranked 22nd averaging 343 yards allowed per
game (but then again they gave up 70 to Wisconsin..so…)
South Carolina vs. Michigan
-Even without “The player never to be mentioned”, South Carolina made the best of 2013. The only losses the Gamecocks
suffered were to LSU (23-21) and Florida (44-11). Big wins include Vandy, Georgia, Tennessee, and Clemson. C.Shaw threw for
1732yrds and 15 TDs while “The player never to be mentioned” rushed for 662yrds and 11 TDs. The defense was South
Carolina’s strong suite finishing the year ranked 12th and only allowing an average of 312 yards per game and only giving up 24
TDs all year. J.Clowney and the South Carolina defense will determine who wins this game.
-Michigan is the benefactor of Penn State and Ohio State being inelligible for the bowl season. QB D.Robinson was not nearly as
effective as last year and has had to resort to playing multiple positions. He threw for 1319yrds and 9 TDs while rushing for
1166yrds and 7 TDs. QB D.Gardner stepped in and has been effecient throwing for 1005yrds and 8 TDs. Michigan’s defense has
been very strong, finished the year ranked 11th in yards allowed and only giving up 23 offensive TDs. Losses include Alabama
(41-14), Notre Dame (13-6), Nebraska (23-9), and Ohio State (26-21). In order for Michigan to win, they will need to confuse the
Gamecock defense by running multiple formations had moving D.Robinson around the field.
Wisconsin vs. Stanford
-How can anyone know what Wisconsin is going to do? Early in the year they were bad, losing to Oregon State (10-7), barely
beating NIU (26-21) and losing to Nebraska (30-27). But they beat the teams they needed to get to the championship game
(Illinois, Purdue, Minnesota, Indiana). When they got there they BLEW UP scoring 70 points on Nebraska. Wisconsin is led by
the very talented M.Ball at RB who rushed for 1730yrds and 21 TDs. RB J.White also rushed for 802yrds and 12 TDs. As you
can tell, there wasn’t much passing involved as J.Stave only threw for 1104yrds and 6 TDs. Wisconsin’s defense finished ranked
13th allowing 320 yards per game on average. Run the ball, play good D. With or without their coach, this will be the game plan.
-Stanford has the exact same philosophy. Their defense finished ranked 21st in yards allowed, but only gave up 26 TDs all year.
RB S.Taylor rushed for 1442yrds and 12 TDs. QBs J.Nunes and K.Hogan combined for 2616yrds and 19 TDs. Stanford’s only
losses came to Washington (17-13) and Notre Dame (20-13 OT). Stanford had to beat UCLA twice to get to the Rose Bowl and
handled them both times.
Northern Illiniois vs. Florida State
-The most controversial team in the BCS is Northern Illinois. Their defense finished 35th giving up 356 yards per game and 30
TDs on the year. QB J.Lynch has put up J.Manziel numbers throwing for 2962yrds and 24 TDs while rushing for 1771yrds and
19TDs. He is their offense. NIU lost by 1 to Iowa in the first game of the year (18-17) and never looked back. Their notable wins
are Ball State, Toledo, and Kent State (44-37 2 OT). All of that is great, but they are overmatched and out-talented. They will be
destroyed. That is all.
-Florida State is the same old Florida State we always see. Lots of hype, always lose at least 1 game they shouldn’t. They got
lucky that the ACC was pathetic this year and no one stood to face them in the ACC Championship game. The Seminole’s losses
come from NC State (17-16) and Florida (37-26). They didn’t play much outside of that. Clemson is the only other real team they
played (49-37). It fits that the only team who hasn’t played anyone all year goes to a BCS game and plays…no one. The
Seminole’s are led by E.J. Manuel who threw for 3101yrds and 22 TDs. They have a 2 RB threat in RBs C.Thompson and
D.Freeman who combined to rush for 1317yrds and 13 TDs. They will win. Period.
Louisville vs. Florida
-Another overmatched game. Louisville was my darkhorse to make it into the top 10 at season’s end. A BCS game is pretty close
right? Louisville’s defense has been good all year ranking 25th and allowing 344 yards per game. QB T.Bridgewater might be the
best QB prospect in the NFL draft after throwing for 3452yrds and 25 TDs. RBs J.Wright and S.Perry combined for 1445yrds
and 20 TDs. Louisville lost a big threat in their RB and lost to Syracuse (45-26) then to UConn in 3OT (23-20 3OT) before
beating Rutgers (20-17) in the championship game. They can’t hang with Florida.
-Florida has had a remarkable year when you consider most experts say Florida is still 1 year away. The Florida defense finished
5th giving up only 283 yards on average and only allowing 17 TDs all year! Offensively they are a run first team who combined
M.Gillislee and QB J.Driskel to rush for 1505yrds and 14 TDs. J.Driskel also threw for 1471yrds and 11 TDs. The Gators only
lost to Georgia (17-9) in an ugly game, but have beaten FSU (37-26), South Carolina (44-11), Vandy (31-17), LSU (14-6), and
Texas A&M (20-17). They will win. Done.
Oregon vs. Kansas State (which defense can hold for 1 possession?)
-Oregon looked like a shoe-in…until Stanford their only loss (17-14 OT). Oregon was able to fend off Arizona (49-0), Washington
(52-21), Arizona State (43-21), USC (62-51), and Oregon State (48-24). An explosive offense, Oregon used K.Barner and
M.Mariota to combine for 2314yrds rushing and 25 TDs. M.Mariota also threw for 2511yrds and 30 TDs. Oregon finished 47th
in defense allowing 381 yards per game and 33 TDs all season.
-Kansas State was hit harder than anyone on November 17th when they were run out of the building by Baylor (52-24). They
previously perfect Wildcats came back and took care of Texas (42-24) the next week and contained the slide. Noteable wins
include Oklahoma (24-19), West Virginia (55-14), Texas Tech (55-24), Oklahoma State (44-30), and TCU (23-10). K-State also
used a QB RB tandem to do some damage on the ground. J.Hubert and C.Klein combined to rush for 1782yrds and 37 TDs while
C.Klein passed for 2490yrds and 15 TDs. The K-State defense is suspect and allowed a ton of points during the season. They
finished ranked 42nd allowing 356 yards per game and 30 TDs on the season.
Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma
-Texas A&M can be summed up with 2 words. Johnny Manziel. This freshman led the Aggies to an inprobable first year in the
SEC going 10-2. His stat are pretty impressive (see Heisman) in that he threw for 3419yrds and 24 TDs and ran for 1181yrds and
19 TDs. The A&M defense was ok, finishing 56th in the country and allowing 389 yards per game on average. A&M had a rough
situation when a hurricane came in and postponed its first game (against La Tech). A&M played its first game against a great
Florida team and lost by 3 (20-17). A 5 point loss to LSU (24-19) is the only other blemish on a pretty impressive resume. Wins
against Ole Miss, La Tech (59-57), Mississippi State (38-13), and a memorable upset of Alabama (29-24) made this an impressive
year. Oklahoma will have their hands full with Johnny Football.
-Oklahoma finished the year ranked 44th on defense, giving up 378 yards per contest. QB L.Jones was asked to do a lot of this
Sooner team. He threw 507 times this year for 3989yrds and 29 TDs. The rushing attack was a combinations of RBs D.Williams
and B.Clay who combined for 1416yrds and 17 TDs. The Sooners can put up some numbers, but they are wildly inconsistent.
The only two losses were to Kansas State (24-19) and Notre Dame (30-13). But it’s the wins that are more worriesome if you are
a Sooner fan. The end of the season saw close wins over Baylor (42-34), West Virginia (50-49), Oklahoma State (51-48 OT), and
TCU (24-17). Sooner fans are hoping the rest helps them prepare for Texas A&M and recover from a grueling season.
Pittsburg vs. Ole Miss
-Pittsburg shouldn’t be here. They lost to Yougstown State. Season over. They beat Virginia Tech, Buffalo, Temple, Rutgers and
South Florida. They don’t belong in a bowl. They have a Sunseri brother at QB who threw for 3103yrds and 19TDs and a RB
tandem that rushed for over 1500 yards. They shouldn’t be in a bowl. Ole Miss should win handily. Not wasting my time.
-Ole Miss had a very good season in rebuilding a franchise that has struggled for years. Their defense finished 49th and they
developed a very balanced offense and almost beat LSU. B.Wallace finished with 2843 passing with 19TDs and 363yrds rushing
with 8 TDs. J.Scott finished with 828yrds rushing and 6 TDs. Losses include Texas, Alabama, Texas A&M, Georgia, Vandy and
LSU. Wins include Miss State, Arkansas, and Auburn. Ole Miss should win.
Kent State vs. Arkansas State
-The Kent State Golden Flashes had a once in a lifetime season. With their only losses to Kentucky (47-14) and in the
championship game to NIU (44-37 2OT), the Flashes burst onto the bowl scene with wins over Ball State, Rutgers, Bowling
Green, and Ohio. Led by two fabulous backs D.Archer and T.Durham, they combined to rush for 2600yrds and 29 TDs. QB
S.Keith threw for 1864yrds and 12 TDs. Against a Malzhan-less Arkansas State team, I like Kent State’s chances.
-Arkansas State lost their coach and offensive co-ordinator to Auburn. Before that, they went 9-3 with losses to Oregon,
Nebraska, and Western Kentucky. Marquee wins were Memphis, UL-Lafayette, UL-Monroe, and Troy. QB D.Aplin led the way
with 3129yrds passing and 23 TDs while D.Oku and R.Hayed combined for 1505yrds rushing and 18 TDs. Can’t do it without
the coach. Sorry guys, enjoy the freebies.
Notre Dame vs. Alabama
-Championship breakdown(s) to come in the near future