Welcome to the bowl edition of By the Numbers. The ratings give an interesting perspective on which to judge the bowls, although the predictions are typically only about 50-50. There's no particular controversy about this year's BCS selections (unless you live in Manhattan, Kansas). The other bowls fell into line reasonably well. Neither West Virginia nor Virginia is very happy about being in Charlotte (the Eers got bumped from the Gator Bowl by Notre Dame and the Hoos got Scrooged by the Gator, Peach and Tangerine). Alabama and California are ineligible for bowls, otherwise it's mostly the MAC teams that didn't get bids. So, let's give out some awards!
WORST BOWLS (smallest total ratings for teams):
1. Hawaii, 2. New Orleans, 3. GMAC
BEST BOWLS (largest total ratings):
1. Fiesta, Orange (tie!), 3. Rose
BEST TEAMS NOT IN A BOWL (not on probation):
1. South Florida, 2. Texas A&M, 3. Bowling Green
WORST TEAMS IN A BOWL :
1. New Mexico, 2. Tulane, 3. North Texas
The following predictions are directly from the ratings, with no points added for home field (although Boise and Hawaii are at home). The comments are not always backed by good research.
New Orleans Bowl: Cincinnati over North Texas by 4
The Sun Belt champs could have a mediocre C-USA team seeing green.
GMAC Bowl: Marshall over Louisville by 1
Last college game for Byron Leftwich, and he should be healthy again!
Tangerine Bowl: Texas Tech over Clemson by 4
These teams will probably score more than their basketball counterparts. Kliff Kingsbury and Charlie Whitehurst may get sore arms throwing TD passes.
Las Vegas Bowl: UCLA over New Mexico by 15
A classic "mismatch" that makes bowl predictions hard. After 3 weeks of hearing how bad New Mexico is, how will UCLA play? And the Lobos are already mad!
Hawaii Bowl: Hawaii over Tulane by 6
The worst-rated computer bowl. Will the Waves be at home in Hawaii, or will they be steppin on a rainbow?
Motor City Bowl: Boston College over Toledo by 4
Not a gimme for BC, the MAC is better than it gets credit for.
Insight Bowl: Oregon State over Pittsburgh by 3
The Beavers came on strong at the end of the year, and Erickson's bunch always brings a lot of attitude.
Houston Bowl: Oklahoma State over Southern Miss by 6
These Cowboys have some big wins this year (Oklahoma, Nebraska). But, the other Cowboys lost in Houston ...
Independence Bowl: Nebraska over Mississippi by 2
Not the Louisiana bowl the Huskers were shooting for. Expect Eli to launch 50 or more passes for Ole Miss.
Holiday Bowl: Kansas State over Arizona State by 13
I guess K-State's used to going to a bowl several levels below what they've earned. The computer's #6 team (a quarter of a point out of third) goes up against #36.
Alamo Bowl: Colorado over Wisconsin by 7
A forgettable game? The Badgers flopped once they started playing Big 10 games. If Chris Brown's healthy for Colorado, look out!
Continental Tire Bowl: West Virginia over Virginia by 3
Two teams that did better than expected and then got abused by the bowls. The Eers run and run, the Hoos pass and pass. Can either defense stop the other?
Music City Bowl: Arkansas over Minnesota by 10
All the Hogs can do is run the ball. Oddly, the ground game is exactly what the Gophers can't handle.
Seattle Bowl: Oregon over Wake Forest by 5
The Ducks and Seattle would seem to be a good match, but maybe the Deacs can leave them in their wake.
Humanitarian Bowl: Boise State over Iowa State by 4
Iowa State has already played at Iowa, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas State and Colorado. Now they must handle the blue turf at Boise. Brock Forsey scored 29 touchdowns as the Broncos averaged 46.6 points per game.
Sun Bowl: Washington over Purdue by 5
Purdue is only 6-6, but they never lose by more than a touchdown. That's the pick here, too.
Liberty Bowl: Colorado State over TCU by 4
Two conference champions, each coming off a disappointing final game. Watch for the Rams' Cecil Sapp.
Silicon Valley Bowl: Georgia Tech over Fresno State by 7
Is this a silly con game or do these teams deserve a bowl? Tech's a wreck and Fresno misses its Carr.
Peach Bowl: Maryland over Tennessee by 3
A heavyweight battle, at least where the coaches are concerned. An unusual matchup, both teams play defense.
San Francisco Bowl: Virginia Tech over Air Force by 8
This is physically a mismatch. Tech runs like Notre Dame and the Irish beat up the Falcons. But the Academy always comes ready to play. The Hokie defense needs to step up in this one.
Outback Bowl: Michigan over Florida by 4
These teams bring an unusually large number of losses to the outback. Not a beauty.
Cotton Bowl: Texas over LSU by 8
Can Chris Simms overcome his Cotton Bowl demons? It may not matter against LSU.
Gator Bowl: Notre Dame over NC State by 5
Notre Dame looks to go 3-0 in the ACC. A great opportunity for the Woofpack.
Capital One Bowl: Penn State over Auburn by 4
He may not get the Heisman, but Larry Johnson has 2000 yards in his wallet. In spite of several losses, neither team was far from a conference championship.
Rose Bowl: Oklahoma over Washington State by 5
The Sooners are psyched about the Rose Bowl, but will they have touchdown passes coming out their WSU? OU's Quentin Griffin may be the most underrated player in the game.
Sugar Bowl: Georgia over Florida State by 5
These neighbors rarely play. Both teams have played musical chairs with the QB position, but both seem to have it figured out now. This should be a good one.
Orange Bowl: Southern Cal over Iowa by 7
This is a great Rose Bowl game, it's just on the wrong coast. The computer's #1 team and the top two QB's in the country. Can Carson Palmer and Brad Banks handle the spotlight?
Fiesta Bowl: Miami over Ohio State by 3
The Big One! This is similar to Oklahoma - Florida State two years ago. The Buckeyes play defense and somehow manage to win, but the Canes act unbeatable.
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