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 in years. Historically, the predictions are only about 50-50 against the spread. Everybody is grudgingly admitting that the computers are not at fault for this year's mess. While I am inclined to agree with the choice made (Lloyd Carr said that he just wished there could be a system to decide it on the field. I think that's what happened, coach, and you lost on the field.), it very clearly was a choice of who should be in the championship game, not who is a better team. Meanwhile, my computer completely agrees with Ohio State and Florida 1-2. (By the way, if you think that's because my system uses points scored as well as wins, when I remove points from the scheme and just use wins and losses, Michigan jumps all the way up to ... #3, behind Florida at #1 and Ohio State at #2.)
A couple of themes emerged as I put together comments about the bowl games. The first is that the early games are more closely matched than usual. The almost-big games have the mismatches that are so hard to predict. Usually we get several early games of the Rutgers - Kansas State variety, where on paper one team is vastly superior. Of course, it's quite odd that Rutgers is the superior team. The games that sound like mismatches, like Nevada versus Miami F, are close according to the computer. Speaking of which, how about Oklahoma over Boise State by ... 1? The other trend is the large number of coaches who are moving on, of their own accord or not. There could be another one or two added, depending on if anybody takes the Alabama job. Personally, I think it's great that the Miamis and Alabamas had / are having trouble hiring someone. The process just seems a little too predatory.Somehow, it doesn't seem right having games going on all the way to January 8. The GMAC Bowl on the 7th seems dumb, but the MAC always plays on weird days. And the International Bowl in Toronto is on the 6th, but that would just be the 4th converting to American. At least there are still 6 games on the 1st with which to get our couch potato on.
Enjoy the bowl games and have a great holiday!
BEST BOWLS (largest total ratings):
1. BCS, 2. Rose, 3. Sugar, 4. Fiesta
WORST BOWLS (smallest total ratings):
1. New Orleans, 2. New Mexico, 3. Motor City, 4. GMAC
BEST TEAMS NOT IN A BOWL (bowl eligible):
1. Washington State, 2. Arizona, 3. Pittsburgh, 4. Kansas
WORST TEAMS IN A BOWL :
1. Troy, 2. New Mexico, 3. Northern Illinois, 4. Western Michigan
The following predictions are directly from the ratings, with no points
added for home field (even New Mexico and Hawaii).
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.
12/19 Poinsettia Bowl: TCU over Northern Illinois by 12
8:00 ESPN2. San Diego.
The Frogs had a quiet 10 wins (5 times in 7 years), NI has Garrett Wolfe, NCAA rushing champion.
TCU (10-2): W Texas Tech 12-3, L Utah 7-20
Northern Illinois (7-5): W Central Michigan 31-10, L Ohio State 13-35
12/21 Las Vegas Bowl: BYU over Oregon by 3
8:00 ESPN. Las Vegas.
Both teams started 7-2, Oregon needs supplemental insurance to manage BYU QB John Beck.
BYU (10-2): W TCU 31-17, L Boston College 23-30
Oregon (7-5): W Arizona State 48-13, L Arizona 10-37
12/22 New Orleans Bowl: Rice over Troy by 6
8:00 ESPN. New Orleans.
Jambalaya over rice would be tastier. Troy is in its 2nd bowl in 3 years, Rice its first since 1961.
Rice (7-5): W Tulsa 41-38, L Florida State 7-55
Troy (7-5): W Middle Tennessee 21-20, L UAB 3-21
12/23 Papa Johns Bowl: South Florida over East Carolina by 5
1:00 ESPN2. Birmingham.
Old Conference-USA rivals that finished strong, USF is led by QB Matt Grothe, ECU was 2-0 in the ACC.
South Florida (8-4): W West Virginia 24-19, L Louisville 8-31
East Carolina (7-5): W Virginia 31-21, L Tulsa 10-31
12/23 New Mexico Bowl: San Jose over New Mexico by 4
4:30 ESPN. Albuquerque.
Spartans rebounded from a 3-8 season and hope to make that left turn in the first-ever N.M. Bowl.
San Jose (8-4): W Fresno 24-14, L Hawaii 17-54
New Mexico (6-6): W Utah 34-31, L Portland State 6-17
12/23 Armed Forces Bowl: Tulsa over Utah by 2
8:00 ESPN. Fort Worth.
Two ex-WAC teams. Two good QB's, the Ute-ful Brett Ratliff and the youthful Paul Smith.
Tulsa (8-4): W East Carolina 31-10, L SMU 24-34
Utah (7-5): W TCU 20-7, L Boise 3-36
12/24 Hawaii Bowl: Hawaii over Arizona State by 2
8:00 ESPN. Honolulu.
Warrior Colt Brennan threw 53 TD passes, one short of the record. The Devils fired their coach.
Hawaii (10-3): W Purdue 42-35, L Alabama 17-25
Arizona State (7-5): W Wash State 47-14, L Oregon State, 10-44
12/26 Motor City: Central Michigan over Middle Tennessee by 3
7:30 ESPN. Detroit.
Chippewas got a championship and lost a coach. Blue Raiders get their first Division 1-A bowl.
Central Michigan (9-4): W Ohio 31-10, L Northern Illinois 10-31
Middle Tenn (7-5): W Ark State 38-10, L Oklahoma 0-59
12/27 Emerald Bowl: UCLA over Florida State by 8
8:00 ESPN. San Francisco.
Surprising matchup for this bowl. The Bruins have a great defense? The Noles have nothing? It's nuts.
UCLA (7-5): W Southern Cal 13-9, L Wash State 15-37
Florida State (6-6): W Virginia 33-0, L Wake Forest 0-33
12/28 Independence Bowl: Oklahoma State over Alabama by 1
4:30 ESPN. Shreveport.
Both are 6-6, but one team's glad to be bowling, the other needs a new coach, Ol' Ball or otherwise.
Oklahoma State (6-6): W Nebraska 41-29, L Texas 10-36
Alabama (6-6): W Hawaii 25-17, L Miss State 16-24
12/28 Texas Bowl: Rutgers over Kansas State by 12
8:00 NFL. Houston.
K-State knows about sliding down the bowl shaft. Rutgers deserved better in a great year.
Rutgers (10-2): W Louisville 28-25, L Cincinnati 11-30
Kansas State (7-5): W Texas 45-42, L Kansas 20-39
12/28 Holiday Bowl: California over Texas A&M by 6
8:00 ESPN. San Diego.
A lot of talent in this game. Check out Cal's DeSean Jackson and A&M's Jorvorskie Lane (a wide Lane).
California (8-3): W NC State 30-10, L UNC 14-16
Texas A&M (9-3): W Texas 12-7, L Texas Tech 27-31
12/29 Music City Bowl: Clemson over Kentucky by 4
1:00 ESPN. Nashville.
Who will be the top Nashville cats? Davis and Spiller might go wild, but CU knows how to lose the close one.
Clemson (8-4): W Georgia Tech 31-7, L Virginia Tech 7-24
Kentucky (7-5): W Georgia 24-20, L LSU 0-49
12/29 Sun Bowl: Oregon State over Missouri by 4
2:00 CBS. El Paso.
The Beavers won 7 of their last 8, including SC; Mizzou showed nothing after a 6-0 start.
Oregon State (9-4): W USC 33-31, L California 13-41
Missouri (6-5): W Texas Tech 38-21, L Iowa State 16-21
12/29 Liberty Bowl: South Carolina over Houston by 4
4:30 ESPN. Memphis.
The Chickens are led by Sidney Rice, Houston beat Rice and all other C-USA teams.
South Carolina (7-5): W Clemson 31-28, L Georgia 0-18
Houston (10-3): W Tulsa 27-10, L La-Lafayette 28-31
12/29 Insight Bowl: Texas Tech over Minnesota by 4
7:30 NFL. Phoenix.
In a "down" year, Tech QB Harrell passed for 4110 yards and 36 TD; the Gophers rallied from a 3-5 start.
Texas Tech (7-5): W Texas A&M 31-27, L Colorado 6-30
Minnesota (6-6): W Iowa 34-24, L Ohio State 0-44
12/29 Champs Sports Bowl: Maryland over Purdue by 3
8:00 ESPN. Orlando.
The turtles lived on close wins until cracking the last 2 games; Purdue DE Anthony Spencer is a beast.
Maryland (8-4): W Clemson 13-12, L Boston College 16-38
Purdue (8-5): W Minnesota 27-21, L Iowa 17-47
12/30 Meineke Car Care Bowl: Boston College over Navy by 7
1:00 ESPN2. Charlotte.
Navy usually has a big bowl edge in disciplne and effort, maybe not here, but BC lost their coach.
Boston College (9-3): W Virginia Tech 22-3, L NC State 15-17
Navy (9-3): W Army 26-14, L Rutgers 0-34
12/30 Alamo Bowl: Texas over Iowa by 14
4:30 ESPN. San Antonio.
Two teams wrecked by injuries, Texas lost last 2, Iowa 5 of 6; will the Horns remember how to win?
Texas (9-3): W Oklahoma 28-10, L Kansas State 42-45
Iowa (6-6): W Purdue 47-17, L Northwestern 7-21
12/30 Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Virginia Tech over Georgia by 4
8:00 ESPN. Atlanta.
Last meeting in 1932; two first-year starters at QB, both teams finished strong.
Virginia Tech (10-2): W Wake Forest 27-6, L Boston College 3-22
Georgia (8-4): W Auburn 37-15, L Tennessee 33-51
12/31 MPC Computers Bowl: Nevada over Miami by 2
7:30 ESPN. Boise.
Go 6-6 at Miami, you get fired and shipped out to Boise and the blue field
Nevada (8-4): W San Jose 23-7, L Boise State 7-38
Miami (6-6): W Boston College 17-14, L Louisville 7-31
1/1 Outback Bowl: Tennessee over Penn State by 10
11:00 ESPN. Tampa.
The Vols' Ainge actually had good stats, but jury is still out. Penn State limps in to Paterno's 33rd bowl game.
Tennessee (9-3): W Georgia 51-33, L Arkansas 14-31
Penn State (8-4): W Purdue 12-0, L Notre Dame 17-41
1/1 Cotton Bowl: Auburn over Nebraska by 5
11:30 FOX. Dallas.
Two home losses took Auburn out of the BCS; Huskers are back in the big time, just not winning yet.
Auburn (10-2): W Florida 27-17, L Georgia 15-37
Nebraska (9-4): W Texas A&M 28-27, L Oklahoma 7-21
1/1 Gator Bowl: West Virginia over Georgia Tech by 10
1:00 CBS. Jacksonville.
ACC team can't win in Jville, gets to try again; it worked for VT last year, not as likely for GT
West Virginia (10-2): W Maryland 45-24, L South Florida 19-24
Georgia Tech (9-4): W Virginia Tech 38-27, L Clemson 7-31
1/1 Capital One Bowl: Arkansas over Wisconsin by 3
1:00 ABC. Orlando.
Neither team was ranked preseason. Badgers were a quiet 11-1, Hogs' McFadden is one of the best
Arkansas (10-3): W Auburn 27-10, L Southern Cal 14-50
Wisconsin (11-1): W Penn State 13-3, L Michigan 13-27
1/1 Rose Bowl: Southern Cal over Michigan by 2
5:00 ABC. Pasadena.
Great Rose Bowl matchup, too bad nobody wants to be here. Can the Michigan D kick SC's Booty?
Southern Cal (10-2): W Arkansas 50-14, W UCLA 9-13
Michigan (11-1): W Notre Dame 47-21, Ohio State 39-42
1/1 Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma over Boise State by 1
8:00 FOX. Tempe.
Is BS for real? In last game, Ian Johnson ran for 147 yards and 3 td's ... with 2 broken ribs ... and a collapsed lung. And there's always onside kicks.
Oklahoma (11-2): W Nebraska 21-7, L Texas 10-28
Boise State (12-0): W Oregon State 42-14, W San Jose 23-20
1/2 Orange Bowl: Louisville over Wake Forest by 11
8:00 FOX. Atlanta.
Wake and Rutgers would have been more fun, but much flash against no flash is interesting.
Louisville (11-1): W West Virginia 44-34, L Rutgers 25-28
Wake Forest (11-2): W Florida State 30-0, L Virginia Tech 6-27
1/3 Sugar Bowl: LSU over Notre Dame by 6
8:00 FOX. Miami.
The Tigers have blown people out, the Irish come back to win. The two most likely outcomes?
LSU (10-2): W Kentucky 49-0, L Florida 10-23
Notre Dame (10-2): W Penn State 41-17, L Michigan 21-47
1/6 International Bowl: Cincinnati over Western Michigan by 10
12:00 ESPN. Toronto.
First bowl out of US since 1937 Bacardi Bowl in Havana. There's something rum about this game, too, eh?
Cincinnati (7-5): W Rutgers 30-11, L Ohio State 7-37
Western Michigan (8-4): W Virginia 17-10, L Indiana 20-39
1/7 GMAC Bowl: Southern Miss over Ohio by 6
8:00 ESPN. Mobile.
The Eagles survived their usual tough schedule, Frank Solich's Bobcats go to a bowl for the first time since 1968.
Southern Miss (8-5): W NC State 37-17, L Virginia Tech 6-36
Ohio (9-4): W Northern Illinois 35-23, L Missouri 6-31
1/8 BCS Title Game: Ohio State over Florida by 1
8:00 FOX. Glendale.
An awesome unbeaten in Arizona against a team that just manages to win; "just manages" won in 2003 (Ohio State) and 1987 (Penn State)
Ohio State (12-0): W Michigan 42-39, W Illinois 17-10
Florida (12-1): W LSU 23-10, L Auburn 17-27
|99||New Mexico St||28.61|
|108||San Diego St||25.40|