Welcome to the bowl edition of By the Numbers. The ratings give an interesting perspective on which to judge the bowls, which often are the first time the teams have played. Historically, the predictions are only about 50-50 against the spread. If you're not a fan of the BCS, check out my list of best bowl games! On the other hand, we could have the good old days of USC in the Rose, Auburn in the Sugar and Oklahoma in the Orange. There aren't enough polls to crown all those champions. This year's list of best teams not in a bowl game doesn't include any controversy. Basically if you're bowl eligible this year you go! After last year when the MAC had three deserving teams not get in, this year the MAC got five bids (and probably deserved the two they got last year). Like the BCS, a year late with the correction. Enjoy the bowl games and have a great holiday!
BEST BOWLS (largest total ratings):
1. Orange, 2. Sugar, 3. Holiday, 4. Liberty
WORST BOWLS (smallest total ratings):
1. New Orleans, 2. (Tie) Fort Worth, Silicon Valley, 4. Hawaii
BEST TEAMS NOT IN A BOWL :
1. Arkansas (by a snout), 2. Clemson (on a TKO), 3. Stanford
WORST TEAMS IN A BOWL :
1. North Texas, 2. Marshall, 3. Hawaii
The following predictions are directly from the ratings, with no points added for home field, except for Hawaii (I gave them 7 points, which probably underestimates this team at home). The comments are not always backed by good research. Below each game, I listed what I thought were the teams' best and worst results of the year.
12/14 New Orleans Bowl: Southern Miss over North Texas by 7
North Texas has steadily improved, and this is their fourth straight New Orleans Bowl.
North Texas (7-4): L Texas 65-0, W Arkansas State 31-7
Southern Miss (6-5): L TCU 42-17,W Nebraska 21-17
12/21 Champs Sports Bowl: Georgia Tech over Syracuse by 5
Two young and inconsistent teams. Will the Mud-dobbers be on the Ball?
Georgia Tech (6-5): L UNC 34-13, W UConn 30-10
Syracuse (6-5): L Purdue 51-0, W BC 43-17
12/22 GMAC Bowl: Bowling Green over Memphis by 1
Can BG's Mobile offense rock and roll past Memphis?
Bowling Green (8-3): L North.Ill. 34-17, W Marshall 56-35
Memphis (8-3): L Cincinnati 49-10, W Ole Miss 20-13
12/23 Fort Worth Bowl: Cincinnati over Marshall by 6
Two middling midwest teams with great nicknames visit Cowtown.
Cincinnati (6-5): L Louisville 70-7, W Memphis 49-10
Marshall (6-5): L Bowling Green 56-35, W Miami O 33-25
12/23 Las Vegas Bowl: UCLA over Wyoming by 9
The Bruins played USC tough. Wyoming visits the big time.
UCLA (6-5): L Cal 45-28, W Stanford 21-0
Wyoming (6-5): L Colorado State 30-7, W Air Force 43-26
12/24 Hawaii Bowl: Hawaii over UAB by 1
Record passer Timmy Chang led Hawaii to two Big 10 victories at home.
Hawaii (7-5): L Boise State 69-3, W Michigan State 41-38
UAB (7-4): L South Florida 45-28, W Memphis 35-28
12/27 MPC Computers Bowl: Virginia over Fresno State by 6
The folks with the cold weather and blue field got a red-hot matchup.
Virginia (8-3): L Florida State 36-3, W Syracuse/Clemson/GTech 30/31-10
Fresno State (8-3): L La Tech 28-21, W Kansas State 45-21
12/27 Motor City Bowl: UConn over Toledo by 1
The Huskies go bowling in their 3rd 1-A season. Toledo just likes to bowl.
UConn (7-4): L Georgia Tech 30-10, W Pittsburgh 29-17
Toledo (9-3): L Kansas 63-14, W Northern Illinois 31-17
12/28 Independence Bowl: Iowa State over Miami O by 7
Iowa State is improved, Miami could use Roethlisberger back.
Iowa State (6-5): L Texas A&M 34-3, W Kansas State 37-23
Miami (8-4): L Cincinnati 45-26, W Toledo 23-16
12/28 Insight Bowl: Oregon State over Notre Dame by 4
A rematch of the 2001 Fiesta, where a big OSU win got ND's coach fired. Ironic?
Oregon State (6-5): L California 49-7, W Oregon 50-21
Notre Dame (6-5): L Southern Cal 41-40, W Tennessee 17-13
12/29 Houston Bowl: Colorado over UTEP by 2
Colorado may have more trouble than usual abusing these Miners.
Colorado (7-5): L Oklahoma 42-3, W Iowa State 19-14
UTEP (8-3): L Arizona State 41-9, W Hawaii 51-20
12/29 Alamo Bowl: Oklahoma State over Ohio State by 6
Remember when Ohio was #1? Have a glass of Clarett and tell the tale.
Oklahoma State (7-4): L Texas 56-35, W UCLA 31-20
Ohio State (7-4): L Iowa 33-7, W Michigan 37-21
12/30 Continental Tire Bowl: North Carolina over Boston College by 4
An early ACC game for BC, a job-saving bowl for Heels coach Bunting.
North Carolina (6-5): L Louisville 34-0, W Miami 31-28
Boston College (8-3): L Syracuse 43-17, W West Virginia 36-17
12/30 Emerald Bowl: New Mexico over Navy by 7
You'd be (Emerald) nuts to bet against a service team, but the Lobos are favored.
New Mexico (7-4): L Air Force 28-23, W Texas Tech 27-24
Nacy (9-2): L Tulsa 42-10, W Air Force 24-21
12/30 Holiday Bowl: California over Texas Tech by 11
The Holiday again gets a BCS-shouldabeen. Two great passing attacks go at it.
California (10-1): L Southern Cal 23-17, W Oregon State 49-7
Texas Tech (7-4): L Texas 51-21, W Nebraska 70-10
12/30 Silicon Valley Bowl: Troy over Northern Illinois by 1
This San Jose bowl was supposed to be Pac-10 vs WAC. Another dot-com disaster.
Troy (7-4): L Arkansas State 13-9, W Marshall 17-15
Northern Illinois (8-3): L Maryland 23-20, W Bowling Green 34-17
12/31 Music City Bowl: Alabama over Minnesota by 1
The Gophers feature (duh) a ground game, Bama stops the run well.
Alabama (6-5): L South Carolina 20-3, W Southern Miss 27-3
Minnesota (6-5): L Michigan State 51-17, W Toledo 63-21
12/31 Sun Bowl: Arizona State over Purdue by 7
This is the Vitalis Sun Bowl: somehow Gene Keady's image comes to mind.
Arizona State (8-3): L Arizona 34-27, W Iowa 44-7
Purdue (7-4): L Northwestern 13-10, W Notre Dame 41-16
12/31 Liberty Bowl: Louisville over Boise State by 1
Great game! High-scoring shootout if the Boise can keep up.
Louisville (10-1): L Miami 41-38, W Cincinnati 70-7
Boise State (11-0): W San Jose 56-49, W Hawaii 69-3
12/31 Peach Bowl: Miami over Florida by 9
Not very Peach-y for either team. UF hopes for an Urban renewal next year.
Miami (8-3): L Clemson 24-17, W Louisville 41-38
Florida (7-4): L Miss State 38-31, W Florida State 20-13
1/1 Outback Bowl: Georgia over Wisconsin by 5
An old-fashioned physical game between Dawgs and Badgers.
Georgia (9-2): L Auburn 24-6, W LSU 45-16
Wisconsin (9-2): L Iowa 30-7, W Ohio State 24-13
1/1 Cotton Bowl: Texas A&M over Tennessee by 5
Great comeback this year by the Aggies. The Vols' season was ruined by QB injuries.
Texas A&M (7-4): L Baylor 35-34, W Oklahoma State 36-20
Tennessee (9-3): L Auburn 34-10, W Georgia 19-14
1/1 Gator Bowl: Florida State over West Virginia by 10
FSU can't like anything about this game, including the name. Bowden was WVU coach '70-75.
Florida State (8-3): L Maryland 20-17, W Virginia 36-3
West Virginia (8-3): L BC 36-17, W Syracuse 27-6
1/1 Capital One Bowl: LSU over Iowa by 1
Big 10 champ Hawkeyes again get Florida instead of Pasadena.
LSU (9-2): L Georgia 45-16, W Alabama 26-10
Iowa (9-2): L Arizona State 44-7, W Wisconsin 30-7
1/1 Rose Bowl: Texas over Michigan by 10
The Horns get their first BCS bowl and first Rose Bowl. Can they win a big one?
Texas (10-1): L Oklahoma 12-0, W Oklahoma State 56-35
Michigan (9-2): L Ohio State 37-21, W Iowa 30-17
1/1 Fiesta Bowl: Utah over Pittsburgh by 20
Utah thought they earned a big one, but it turned out to be the Pitts.
Utah (11-0): W Arizona 23-6, W Texas A&M 41-21
Pittsburgh (8-3): W Furman 41-38, W West Virginia 16-13
1/3 Sugar Bowl: Auburn over Virginia Tech by 3
The Hokies get to Nawlins without a Vick, Auburn without a loss or much joy.
Auburn (12-0): W LSU 10-9, W Tennessee 34-10
Virginia Tech (10-2): L NC State 17-16, W Maryland 55-6
1/4 Orange Bowl: Southern Cal over Oklahoma by 3
Two great histories, two great QB's, two great RB's, etc.; first bowl game!
Southern Cal (12-0): W Stanford 31-28, W Arizona State 45-7
Oklahoma (12-0): W Kansas State 31-21, W Colorado 42-3
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