College Bowl Bonanza: Nearing the End...
In what has felt like an eternity of a season (and subsequent postseason), the time has come for the finale of Bowl Week (sidenote: I love how Capital One “Bowl Week” lasts about 20 days for ESPN). There’s been a little bit of everything this season – wild nail biters, #BEATEMDOWNs, epic fails, you name it – it’s probably happened this year. And among the final four games of the season, we could see plenty of everything I just mentioned above.
AT&T Cotton Bowl: Kansas State vs Arkansas
Or, as I call it, the “Two teams that should’ve replaced Virginia Tech and Clemson in their respective BCS Bowls” game. Both the Wildcats and Razorbacks had sensational seasons. Arkansas, in particular managed to go 10-2 despite being in the same division of the SEC as Alabama and LSU. That’s quite the impressive feat all things considered. The Razorbacks have quite the potent offense, but can also be prone to giving up huge plays on defense.
Kansas State also had a sensational season, and absolutely deserved to go to a BCS bowl (especially over Clemson and Virginia Tech. Sorry, I’m still bitter that my conference was and still is so putridly bad in BCS games). Much like their opponent, the Wildcats have the ability to score at will, although unlike Arkansas, K-State likes to keep the offense on the ground. Once the defense takes the field, look for a showing similar to Arkansas.
Bottom line, I have a strong feeling this game will play out much like the K-State and Oklahoma State game from several weeks ago. However, unlike that game, the Wildcats will come out on top. If the BCS bowls were any indication, take the over on this game and don’t look back.
Prediction: Kansas State 42, Arkansas 39
BBVA Compass Bowl: Southern Methodist vs Pittsburgh
Seriously, why is this game happening now? Does a game between a 7-5 team and a 6-6 team really need to be played in January? I hope you like terrible ratings, ESPN, because that’s what you are going to have with this stink bomb of a game. SMU at least beat a solid opponent in TCU. However, the Mustangs also lost to Navy, who’s not nearly as good as they have been in the past.
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh will be lead by defensive coordinator Keith Patterson as the interim coach, after Todd Graham bolted the Panthers after only one season for Arizona State. While Pittsburgh had an up and down season that lead to a mediocre record, they have one thing going for them – they lost to West Virginia in the regular season by one point. Clemson just lost to West Virginia by 37. Call me crazy, but I think the Panthers will win this game easily, and look for quarterback Tino Sunseri to have a big game. That’s right, I said it.
Prediction: Southern Methodist 17, Pittsburgh 32
Godaddy.com Bowl: Arkansas State vs Northern Illinois
One word to sum up this game: Ugh. While this will likely be an entertaining matchup that features wild plays served with extra #MACtion, I can almost guarantee every commercial break will feature some unbearably bad Godaddy.com commercial. Is there any advertisement besides the Geico Caveman that’s more tired and worn out than the Godaddy.com commercials? That makes this game completely unwatchable for me, which is unfortunate because both teams had pretty solid seasons.
As for the game itself, the Sun Belt Champions Arkansas State will look to get their highflying passing game going early. The Red Wolves (had to link their logo, which is fantastic) also feature a fairly good defense, but those statistics are a little slanted because the teams on their schedule were woefully bad. As for the Huskies, they shocked the MAC world beating Ohio in the MAC Championship game, and they will be looking to carry over the momentum from that game, though I’ll be honest, the MAC Championship game feels like it happened 3 months ago. I expect the Huskies to start a tad sluggish, but once they get rolling, this game will turn into a wild shootout. Look for Northern Illinois to come away with the win.
Prediction: Arkansas State 42, Northern Illinois 48
Enjoy the games this weekend, and be on the lookout for my final college football post of the season in a special Sunday Edition, when I preview the BCS Championship game between Alabama and LSU. Also, IHJJR will be doing a live chat during the BCS Championship game, so plan to join in! Until then, follow me on Twitter @thrillis4.