Monday, December 13, 2010

Bowl Previews

BCS Bowls
#1 Auburn will take on #2 Oregon in the BCS National Championship game. This game will be a battle of offenses and the fans should love all the scoring. Oregon is first in the nation and scoring almost 50 points a game while Auburn is 6th with about 43 points per game. 
Auburn is led by Heisman winner, quarterback Cam Newton. Newton leads an offense that is 6th in the nation in rushing and averages just under 500 total offensive yards in a game. Newton threw for almost 2,600 yards and 28 touchdowns and ran for 1,409 more and 20 touchdowns, which was tops in the SEC. Newton had more touchdowns, passing and running,   than 85 FBS schools did all season. Auburn also has 950 yard rusher Micheal Dyer, 700 yard rusher in Onterio McCalebb, and a 909 yard receiver in Darvin Adams for the Oregon defense to contain. If Oregon puts all their focus on Newton then these players will shine. All-American Defensive Tackle Nick Fairly has 10.5 sacks on the season and will lead the Auburn defense. 
Oregon will be led by their fast paced spread offense which hicks the ball with 20 seconds left on the play clock. Even opposing defensive players have faked injures so they could get off the field and rest. Dual-Threat quarterback Darren Thomas will be under center for the Ducks and control this fast paced offense. Thomas has thrown for 2,518 yards and 28 touchdowns and has gained 488 more on the ground. The star of this offense though is Heisman Finalist and the nations leader rusher in LaMichael James. James has rushed for 1,682 yards and 21 touchdowns despite being suspended for the first game and sitting out several 4th quarters of games that were blowouts. Kenjon Barner will be another option in the back field while Jeff Maehl will be the vertical threat for the Ducks. Casey Matthews, brother of Clay Matthews, will lead the Oregon defense. 
Many teams have tried to shut down Cam Newton on the ground so he just threw over them. So whats the solution to stopping him? Who knows. But if someone finds out Oregon will be interested in learning. Can Auburn stay with Oregon when they make their 2nd half push? Will Oregon keep the SEC from winning a 5th straight national title? All these question will be answered in Glendale, Arizona on January 10th.

Prediction: Oregon over Auburn 

#6 Ohio St will face #8 Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. Ohio St finished the season with an 11-1 record with their only loss being #5 Wisconsin in Madison. Ohio St has rolled off five straight wins since the loss and they look to add a sixth. Arkansas finished the season with a 10-2 record and had a big win over #5 LSU. The Razorbacks have won 6 straight heading in to New Orleans. 
Ohio St will be led by their 14th ranked rush offense and their 3rd ranked defense that gives up only 13 points per game. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor will lead the Buckeyes. Pryor has thrown for 2,551 yards and 25 touchdowns and has rushed for 639 more and four scores. 1,000 yard rusher Dan "Boom" Herron will be in the back field to be another offensive threat. Dane Sanzenbacher and DeVier Posey will be the vertical threats and have been Pryor's major targets all season. 
Arkansas will be lead by Ryan Mallett and the 3rd ranked pass offense. Mallett has 3,592 yards and 30 touchdowns on the season and has really spread the ball out. There are five receivers on Arkansas that have over 500 yards on the season. Knile Davis will be the ground threat for the Razorbacks. Davis has 1,183 yards and 13 touchdowns on the season. 
Arkansas will need to get to Terrelle Pryor and stop the run while the Ohio St defense will need to pressure Ryan Mallett and force him to make throws on the run. 

Prediction: Arkansas over Ohio St

#4 Stanford will take on #13 Virginia Tech on January 3rd in the Orange Bowl. Stanford finished the season with a 11-1 record, their only loss being to Oregon in early October. Stanford has since won eight straight and has climbed up to the 4th ranking. Virginia Tech started off the season in the worst way possible. They lost the season opener to #3 Boise St on Labor Day then lost to a FCS team in James Madison to start off 0-2. Since then the Hokies have won 11 straight, went 9-0 in the ACC and beat Florida St in the ACC Championship game. 
Stanford will be led by Heisman runner-up and All-American Andrew Luck. Luck passed for over 3,000 yards and 28 touchdowns and also ran for 438 more. Luck's main target all season was receiver Doug Baldwin who has over 800 yards receiving on the season. Running back Stepfan Taylor had over 1,000 yards rushing and will help spread the Virginia Tech defense. The Stanford defense gives up only 17 points per game and score 40 per game, a major reason while their 4th in the country. 
 Dual-Threat quarterback Tyrod Taylor who has be stellar all season will lead the Virginia Tech offense. Taylor has passed for over 2,500 yards with 23 touchdowns and only 4 touchdowns and has rushed for 637 more on the ground. Running back Darren Evans has had over 800 yards on the ground and has 11 scores. The 11th ranked defense will need to limit Andrew Luck's options. 

Prediction: Stanford over Virginia Tech

#10 Oklahoma will face unranked UConn in the Fiesta Bowl. Oklahoma finished the season with four straight wins, a 11-2 record and a season finale win over #13 Nebraska to win the Big 12 Title. UConn finished the season at 8-4 but won the Big East thanks to five straight wins. UConn has only been a FBS school for 10 years and is already in a BCS Bowl. 
Oklahoma will follow the lead of quarterback Landry Jones and the 4th ranked pass offense. Jones has thrown for 4,289 yards and 35 touchdowns for the Sooners. His major target will be All-American receiver Ryan Broyles who has over 1,400 yards and 13 touchdowns. Running back DeMarco Murray will also be a big weapon for the Sooner's offense. Murray has 1,121 yards and 14 yards rushing but has also come out of the backfield to catch 69 passes for just under 600 yards. The weakness for the Sooners will be their young defense and especially their secondary which as been exploited a couple times this season. 
Running back Jordan Todman has carried the UConn offense all season and will need to carry them once again. Todman has 1,574 yards, which is 4th in the nation, and 14 touchdowns despite only playing 10 games. Zach Frazer will be under center but has done a sub par. He started at the beginning of the season but then got benched and then got the starting job once again after their quarterback got kicked off the team. Zach Frazer will need to have an amazing game so he can open up the run game for Jordan Todman and exploit the young Oklahoma secondary. 
The Sooners are the overwhelming favorites over unranked UConn but remember they were overwhelming favorites over Boise St and that didn't really work out too well. 

Prediction: Oklahoma over UConn

#3 TCU and #5 Wisconsin will kick off the BCS Bowls as they play each other in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day in Pasadena. TCU finished the season with and unblemished record at 12-0. TCU was challenged by San Diego St and only won by five but they have dominated all their opponents. Wisconsin finished the season with a 11-1 record and won the Big Ten. Wisconsin's offense has been stellar, they have scored 70+ points three times this season. 
TCU will be led by their defense that gives up only 11 points per game and quarterback Andy Dalton. Dalton has passed for over 2,600 yards, 26 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions. Running back Ed Wesley will lead TCU's 8th ranked rush offense. Wesley has 1,064 yards and 11 scores while Matthew Tucker has almost 700 yards on the ground and 7 touchdowns for the Horned Frogs. 
Wisconsin will be led by their amazing three man rushing attack that has torn fields a part, especially in their last three games. In the last three game they have rushed for over 325 yards in each game and 13 rushing scores. James White has 1,029 yards and 14 scores, John Clay has 936 yards and 13 touchdowns and Montee Ball has 864 yards and 17 touchdowns for the Badgers. Quarterback Scott Tolzien will lead the air attack. Tolzien has passed for 2,300 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Prediction: Wisconsin over TCU 
January 9th
#15 Nevada will face Boston College in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl which will be played in San Francisco. Nevada hopes to finish off their best season ever that included as of now a 12-1 record, a win over #3 Boise St, and a WAC championship. Boston College finished with a 7-5 record and they are entering the game with a five game win streak. This will be a battle between defense and offense. Nevada's offense has carried this team all year and it will try and do so again. They have averaged 43 points per game and over 530 yards a game, which is first in the nation. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick has passed for a career best 2,830 yards and 20 touchdowns and has ran for 1,184 more and 20 scores. Vai Taua, who is 6th in in rushing, has rushed for over 1,500 yards and 19 scores. This duo will be the key to adding win number 13 to their season. Boston College is lead by All- American linebacker Luke Kuechly and all ACC linebacker Mark Herzlich. This defense has given up only 19 points per game and only 80 rushing yards a game. 1,200 yard rusher Montel Harris will carry the Boston College offense, which hasn't really developed a passing game all season. This will be be a battle on the ground between the Nevada rushing attack and the Boston College rush defense. Which ever breaks through will get the bowl win. 

Prediction: Nevada over Boston College

January 8th
Pittsburgh and Kentucky will face off in the Compass Bowl. Pittsburgh started out the season being ranked in the top 15 and predicted to win the Big East but instead they started out 1-3 and finished the season with a 7-5 record and no Big East Title. Their head coach Dave Wannstedt then resigned just days after the season finale. Kentucky finished the season with a 6-6 season and went 2-6 in the SEC. Pittsburgh will need running backs Dion Lewis and Ray Graham to have big games on the ground and help quarterback Tino Sunseri so he'll have less coverage to throw into. Suneri has turned the ball over a lot this season and he will need to get rid of the turnovers in order to win this one. Kentucky is led by quarterback Mike Hartline, who has 3178 passing yards, and All-American Randall Cobb. Cobb plays everything. From kick and punt returner to running back to receiver he is the play maker for the Wildcats. Kentucky will need to get him the ball as much as possible for them to beat the Panthers.

Prediction: Kentucky over Pittsburgh

January 7th
#11 LSU and #17 Texas A&M will face each other in the Cotton Bowl which will be played at Cowboy's Stadium in Arlington, Texas. LSU comes into the game with a 10-2 record but a disappointing season finale loss to Arkansas which probably cost them a BCS Bowl. Texas A&M comes in with a 9-3 record and they have won six straight that includes wins over Oklahoma and Nebraska. All-Americans DT Drake Nevis and CB Patrick Peterson lead a LSU defense that gives up only 18 points a game and is ranked 8th in total defense. Their offense has struggled all season, especially their quarterbacks, but 1,000 yard rusher Stevan Ridley has been their main man. Back-up quarterback Ryan Tannehill has played great all season and will need to play great again. He will have help from 1,000 yard rusher Cyrus Gray and 980 yard receiver Jeff Fuller.

Prediction: LSU over Texas A&M

January 6th
The Miami RedHawks, the MAC Champions, will take on Middle Tennessee in the Bowl. Miami finished the season with a 9-4 record and they've won five straight including the come from behind win over North Illinois in the MAC Title game. Middle Tennessee finished with a modest 6-6 record. Quarterback Zac Dysert will lead the a RedHawks offense that averages just under 350 total yards a game and 250 through the air. Dysert's main target is receiver Armand Robinson who has 90 catches for 981 yards on the season. Middle Tennessee's offense is led by senior quarterback Dwight Dasher who has 1388 passing yards and 453 rushing yards in 7 games. Running back Phil Tanner, who has just under 900 rush yards, will also be a huge part of the Blue Raiders rushing attack. We'll see if Miami will be down after the loss of their head coach to Pittsburgh or if they will thrive off that loss.

Prediction: Miami (Ohio) over Middle Tennessee

January 1
#16 Alabama will take on #9 Michigan St in the Capital One Bowl. Many are saying that this is the biggest non BCS Bowl game and its even bigger than some of the BCS Bowl games. Michigan St finished the season at 11-1 and shared the Big Ten title while Alabama finish a disappointing 9-3 after being pre season #1. Michigan St has had a balanced attack all year which has contributed to their success. Kirk Cousins has thrown for over 2,700 yards and Edwin Baker has rushed for almost 1,200 yards on the season. Alabama will be led by their 5th ranked defense, which is giving up only 14 points a game, and some stellar offensive players. Quarterback Greg McElroy will led the tide with running backs Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson in the backfield while receiver Julio Jones will be a key target. 

Prediction: Alabama over Michigan St 

#21 Mississippi St will take on Michigan in the Gator Bowl. Mississippi St finished the season with a 8-4 record but all four losses were to top 15 teams. Michigan started the year out with a 5-0 record but finished 7-5 and 3-5 in the Big Ten. Mississippi St is led by Dual Threat Quarterback Chris Relf who has 1,508 yards passing and 683 rushing. 900 yard rusher Vick Ballard will also be key for the Bulldogs. The Bulldog's defense only gives up 20 points per game but they will have their hands full with quarterback Denard Robinson. Robinson was the first person in NCAA history to pass for over 1,500 yards and run for over 1,500 yards. Robinson finished the season with 2,316 passing yards and 1,643 rushing yards, which was second in the nation. If the Michigan defense steps up then we could see a solid game, if not this could be a big offensive game for the Bulldogs.

Prediction: Mississippi St over Michigan

Urban Meyer-less Florida will take on Joe Pa and Penn St in the Outback Bowl. Both teams finished the season with disappointing 7-5 records and dropped out of the top 25. Florida will need their athletic defense to step up big time to make up for the sub par Florida offense. John Brantley will need to have a solid game under center for the Gators and Jeff Demps will need to have a big game on the ground. Penn St freshman Matt McGloin will need to again step up at quarterback and they will need to get the ball to Evan Royster as much as possible. 

Prediction: Florida over Penn St

Northwestern will take on Texas Tech to kick off New Years Day in the TicketCity Bowl. Both teams ended the season with 7-5 records and 3-5 in their respective conference. 3,300 yard passer Taylor Potts leads Texas Tech and the 8th ranked pass offense in the nation. His targets will be two 800+ yard receivers. Northwestern will miss their star dual-threat quarterback Dan Persa and they'll need to put in a young quarterback with little experience in under center. Wide receiver Jeremy Ebert will need to get open to help out the young quarterback. Look for Texas Tech to put pressure on the young quarterback early and often in the game. 

Prediction: Texas Tech over Northwestern

December 31
#25 Central Florida will take on Georgia in the Liberty Bowl. Central Florida is coming of off one of their best seasons ever and off of a C-USA Championship while Georgia has won 5 of their last 7 to become bowl eligible at 6-6. Central Florida is led by Freshman dual-threat quarterback in Jeffrey Godfrey who has over 2,000 yards passing and over 500 rushing. 900 yard rusher Ronnie Weaver will also help the Knights 25th ranked rush offense. Freshman quarterback Aaron Murray has greatly improved since the start of the season for the Bulldogs and they will need him to step up big time in this game for the Bulldogs to secure the win. 

Prediction: Georgia over UCF 

Notre Dame will take on Miami in the Sun Bowl the rivalry called "Catholics vs Convicts". Both teams limped through the season with a 7-5 record and are in even more trouble now. Miami fired their head coach ,Randy Shannon, and just hired head coach Al Golden from Temple. Notre Dame is in its first year head coach Brian Kelly but they are troubled with injuries. Starting quarterback Dayne Christ is out and arguably the top tight end in the nation, Kyle Rudloph, is out. Miami will need Jacory Harris to come back healthy and able to hold onto the ball and they'll need wide receiver Leonard Hankerson to get open and help out Harris like he has all season. Notre Dame has won three straight under freshmen quarterback Tommy Rees, including one over rival USC. Michael Floyd will need to help out their young quarterback in this physical battle.

Prediction: Miami over Notre Dame

#20 South Carolina will face #23 Florida St in the Chik-fil-A Bowl. South Carolina tied a program best 9 wins but their SEC Championship game was embarrassing as they got destroyed by Auburn. Florida St finished the season with a 9-4 record and also suffered a loss in a conference championship game (Virginia Tech). Florida St has a more balanced team with a solid defense and offense while South Carolina has a powerful offense but a weaker defense. South Carolina will look to quarterback Stephen Garcia, running back Marcus Lattimore, and receiver Alshon Jeffery to make some big plays throughout the game. Florida St will need Chris Ponder to step up and their defense will need to quiet the strong South Carolina offense.

Prediction: South Carolina over Florida St

Clemson will take on South Florida in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. Clemson finished the season with a disappointed 6-6 record while South Florida finished with a 7-5 record under first year head coach Skip Holtz and he had a huge win over Miami in overtime 23-20. On the other side Clemson got dominated by instate rival South Carolina in their season finale. Clemson will need quarterback Kyle Parker to have a big game for the lowly Clemson offense. Clemson will need their defense, especially the nations sack leader and possible top 5 draft pick Da'Quan Bowers, to have a big game. South Florida will need quarterback B.J. Daniels to have a big game passing and running and they will need him to protect to the ball to get the win.

Prediction: Clemson over South Florida

December 30

Kansas St will take on Syracuse in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl which will be played at Yankee Stadium. Both teams started out the season very strong but finished the season sluggishly. Syracuse started out 4-1 while Kansas St started 4-0 but both ended at 7-5. Kansas St will need 1,400 yard rusher Daniel Thomas to get a boat load of carries. The Syracuse defense, which is ranked 13th in the nation in points against, will need to step up big time to help a sub par offense. 

Prediction: Kansas St over Syracuse

North Carolina will try and end their miserable season on a high note as they take on Tennessee in the Music City Bowl. North Carolina finished 7-5 on the regular season while Tennessee finished 6-6. Quarterback T.J. Yates will try and carry the Tar Heels and finish off his senior season with a win while quarterback Tyler Bray and running back Tauren Poole will try and help the Vol's win their 5th straight. 

Prediction: Tennessee over North Carolina

Nebraska will finish off their season in San Diego as they take on Jake Locker and Washington in the Holiday Bowl. Locker and Washington had high expectations going into the season but Locker got banged up early and often and Washington faltered at 6-6 while Nebraska fell to Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game and finished the season at 10-3. Locker has help in the backfield with 1,200 yard rusher in Chris Polk but he will have trouble throwing against one of the best pass rush defenses and two of the best corners in the nations. Nebraska will be led by that 8th ranked defense and a 9th ranked rush offense led by Roy Helu Jr and Taylor Martinez. Both teams will need to put constant pressure on the quarterback, especially Taylor Martinez, to get the win.

Prediction: Nebraska over Washington

Army will take on SMU in the Armed Forces Bowl in Dallas. Army finished the season at 6-5 but lost two straight to end the regular season while SMU finished with a 7-6 season and second in the C-USA after a loss to UCF in the C-USA Title game. Army finishes the season with the 10th ranked rush offense but the last passing offense with only 83 yards a game. SMU enters with a 3,500 yard passer in Kyle Pardon and two 1,000 yard receivers in Aldrick Robinson and Cole Beasley. The Army corners will need to play lock down while SMU will need to make Army throw the ball in order to win.

Prediction: SMU over Army

December 29
Maryland will face East Carolina in the Military Bowl. Maryland has surpassed expectations as they finished the regular season at 8-4 after being 2-10 the year before. East Carolina has had a bounce around year with big wins and bad losses causing them to finish with a 6-6 record on the season. East Carolina has the 7th ranked pass attack and is 12th in the nation in scoring, led by Dominique Davis, but their defense has been less than stellar this year, ranking 118th out of 120 in points against. Maryland will need their quarterback Dan O'Brein and 1,000 yard receiver Torrey Smith to hook up several times in the game.

Prediction: Maryland over East Carolina

Illinois will take on Baylor in the Texas Bowl. Illinois sits at a 6-6 record but several of those losses have been by 3 points or less while Baylor enters the game at 7-5 on the season. Illinois will need to be led by their Dual-Threat quarterback in Nathan Scheelhasse and 1,000 yard rusher in Mikel Lashoure. Baylor will need 3,000 yard passer Robert Griffin III to step up and 1,000 yard rusher Jay Finley to pound it out on the ground for a win.

Prediction: Baylor over Illinois

#14 Oklahoma St will take on Arizona in the Alamo Bowl in one of the premier non BCS Bowl games. Oklahoma St finished the regular season at 10-2 but disappointed after a loss to Oklahoma that knocked them out of the Big 12 Championship Game. Arizona started the season with a 7-1 record but they have lost 4 straight including a season finale loss to Arizona St because of two blocked PAT's. The Arizona defense will have their hands full as they take on the nation's 2nd ranked pass offense led by 4,000 yard passer Brandon Weeden and 1,600 yard receiver and first team all american in Justin Blackmon. Nick Foles will need to have another huge game for the Wildcats to keep up with the high scoring offense of Oklahoma St.

Prediction: Oklahoma St over Arizona

December 28

#23 West Virginia would like to be in the Fiesta Bowl representing the Big East but instead they will again play in the 
Champs Sport Bowl, this time against NC State. West Virgina has won four straight while NC State is coming off of a regular season finale loss to Maryland. Quarterback Geno Smith and running back Noel Devine will try and lead West Virginia to their first 10 win season under Bill Stewart. Russell Wilson will again try and lead the Wolfpack to finish off a stellar season which involved them being in the top 25 several times.

Prediction: West Virginia over NC State
#12 Missouri will take on Iowa in the Insight Bowl. Missouri finished the regular season with a 10-2 recored and a share of the Big 12 North title while Iowa finished with a disappointing 7-5 recored after the team was in the preseason top 10. Iowa has lost three straight including the season finale to a terrible Minnesota squad while Missouri has won three straight and they have wins over Oklahoma and Texas A&M on the season. Iowa's quarterback Ricky Stanzi will need to limit his turnovers in order for the Hawkeyes to win. The Missouri defense will need to step up again and shut down the running game and passing game of the Hawkeyes, they are the 6th ranked team in the nation for points against.

Prediction: Iowa over Missouri

December 27

Air Force will take on Georgia Tech in the Independence Bowl. Air Force is right now at 8-4 while Georgia Tech is at 6-6 on the season. The number one rushing attack in the country will take on the number two in a game full of the triple option. Air Force's offense is led by their 2nd ranked rushing attack with 317 yards per game. Josh Nesbitt will lead the Yellow Jacket's triple option with their top option being running back Anthony Allen. Look for both defenses to load the box with 8 or 9 guys and try and shut down the run. Which ever team can get the best blocking and sticks to their assignments on defense should get the win.

Prediction: Air Force over Georgia Tech

December 26

After losing their first four games Florida International bounced back and won 6 of their last eight to become bowl eligible. They will take on Toledo, who is 8-4, in the Little Caesars Bowl. The Florida International corners will need to have a big day shutting down a 1,000 yard wide receiver in Eric Page. The Florida International offense isn't as strong but their defense is a little better.

Prediction: Toledo over Florida International

December 24

A 10-3 Hawaii squad will take on a 9-3 Tulsa team on Christmas Eve in the Hawaii Bowl. Tulsa's secondary will need a huge game to stop the #1 passing attack in the country. Hawaii averages just under 400 yards a game passing. They have the nations leading passer in Bryant Moniz and the nations leading wide receiver in Greg Salas. Tulsa also has a great offensive attack averaging over 500 yards a game. This game will be high scoring and a battle of offenses. Whichever defense steps up more that team should get the win.

Prediction: Hawaii over Tulsa

December 23

Navy will take on San Diego St in the San Diego County Credit Poinsettia Bowl. Navy is having another solid season with Ricky Dobbs under center while San Diego St had a surprising 8-4 season. Ricky Dobbs leads the Midshipmen in rushing and has a career best in passing yards this season. The Navy defense that ranks 66th in the country will need to shut down 1,300 yard rusher in Ronnie Hillman and 1,200 yard receiver in Vincent Brown in order to get the win.

Prediction: San Diego St over Navy

December 22

Las Vegas Bowl

#10 Boise St will take on #19 Utah in a battle between BCS busters. This is the premier match up before Christmas and one of the major non BCS Bowl games to watch. Boise is still trying to bounce back from their loss to Nevada and their first loss since 2008 while Utah is flying high after two straight wins and a big come from behind win over instate rival BYU. Quarterback and Heisman finalist Kellen Moore will need to lead the Broncos along with wide receiver Titus Young and running back Doug Martin. The Utah defense will need to have a huge game and force Kellen Moore to make quick decisions and scramble to get the win.

Prediction: Boise St. over Utah

December 21

Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl in St. Petersburg

After a surprising 6-6 season under new head coach Charlie Strong Louisville will take on Southern Mississippi. Running back Bilal Powell will look to again lead the Cardinals and add to his 1,300 yard season. The Cardinals defense will also need to step up Southern Miss's quarterback Austin Davis who nearly had 3,000 yards on the season. Southern Miss lost three of their 4 games by a total of eight points and two by one point. Southern Miss's defense struggles at times but their offense makes up for it several times. I see Louisville establishing the running game early ,with Powell, and getting a bowl win before Christmas.

Prediction: Louisville over Southern Miss

December 18

BYU takes on UTEP in the New Mexico Bowl. Both teams stand at 6-6 on the season and look to end the season above .500. BYU has had a great second half of the season thanks to freshmen quarterback Jake Heaps really maturing and becoming a real solid leader. On the other hand UTEP has struggled in the second half and finished just 3-5 in their conference. Look for Jake Heaps to have a big game and look for BYU to continue their great second half of the season.

Prediction: BYU over UTEP

Northern Illinois will take on Fresno St in the Humanitarian Bowl on the blue turf in Boise, Idaho. Northern Illinois is coming off of a tough loss to Miami (OH) in the MAC Championship game while Frenso St is coming off of a big win at home vs Illinois. Northern Illinois will need their star running back Chad Spann to have a big game on the ground and pick up some big yards on clutch plays. Fresno St's quarterback Ryan Colburn will have to have a big game through the air like he has all season.

Prediction: Fresno St over Northern Illinois

Ohio will take on Troy in the New Orleans Bowl at the Superdome. Troy is coming off of a late season smacking by South Carolina while Ohio just missed out on the MAC Championship. Troy's offensive fire power is much more than that of Ohio's. Troy has a 3,300 yard passser in Corey Robinson who controls many games. Ohio has a huge advantage on the defensive side though, giving up only 21 points a game on average. Ohio really hasn't played many good offensive team so they really don't think they will be ready for this Troy squad.

Predction- Troy over Ohio

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