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. One reason for this lack of success might be that the relative strengths of conferences are largely set by early season games; the round of ACC vs SEC rivalry games is the exception to this rule (by the way, it was 3-1 ACC this year). Another reason could be the oddity of playing on a neutral site, in Florida sunshine or on a blue field in Idaho. But I suspect that the main reason why bowls are hard to predict is the month or more off for the teams. Coaches change, new schemes can be introduced in practice and there is a month of being a favorite or underdog. Bowl games can be more like first games of the year than the tenth-game-in-a-row grind it out that occurs throughout the year. In any case, I don't recommend large bets based on bowl games.
If you scroll to the bottom, you'll find the ratings as of 12/1.
Enjoy the bowl games and have a great holiday!
BEST BOWLS (largest total ratings):
1. BCS, 2. Rose, 3. Fiesta, 4. Sugar
WORST BOWLS (smallest total ratings):
1. Motor City, 2. Independence, 3. New Mexico, 4. New Orleans
BEST TEAMS NOT IN A BOWL :
1. James Madison, 2. Virginia, 3. Duke, 4. Richmond
WORST TEAMS IN A BOWL :
1. Florida Atlantic, 2. Memphis, 3. La Tech, 4. Northern Illinois
The following predictions are directly from the ratings, with no points
added for home field (even 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.
12/20 Eagle Bank Bowl: Wake Forest over Navy by 5
11 am ESPN. Washington DC.
A rematch of a game won by Navy, 24-17, with both QB's out of it, Kaipo by injury and Skinner by 5 turnovers. The Deacs may not be as giving 5 days before Christmas.
Wake (7-5): W Florida State 12-3, L Maryland 0-26
Navy (8-4): W Air Force 33-27, L Duke 31-41
12/20 New Mexico Bowl: Colorado State over Fresno State by 1
2:30 ESPN. Albuquerque.
The Rams are on an uptick and glad to be here. The Bulldogs had much higher aspirations and lost their poise against Boise. They may need a win to save the coach's job.
Colorado State (6-6): W Houston 28-25, L Cal 7-42
Fresno State (7-5): W Rutgers 24-7, L Nevada 28-41
12/20 St. Petersburg Bowl: South Florida over Memphis by 12
4:30 ESPN2. Florida.
Watch the Bulls' QB passin' and rushin' in St. Petersburg. Could be a Groethe mismatch.
USF (7-5): W NC State 41-10, L Rutgers 16-49
Memphis (6-6): W Southern Miss 36-30, L UCF 21-28
12/20 Las Vegas Bowl: BYU over Arizona by 4
8:00 ESPN. Las Vegas.
BYU's two losses were lopsided, Arizona lost 5 close ones. Two good passing attacks here.
BYU (10-2): W UCLA 59-0, L TCU 7-32
Arizona (7-5): W Cal 42-27, L New Mexico 28-36
12/21 New Orleans Bowl: Troy over Southern Miss by 1
8:00 ESPN. News Orleans.
The Trojans let the big one get away with a 28-point lead at LSU. The Eagles won their last 4 to finish 6-6.
Troy (8-4): L LSU 31-40, L La-Monroe 30-31
Southern Miss (6-6): W East Carolina 21-3, L Marshall 27-34
12/23 Poinsettia Bowl: TCU over Boise State by 1
8:00 ESPN. San Diego.
Oddly, only a late blown lead by TCU kept Boise out of a major bowl (which Utah got). Last game for everybody's favorite Fiesta Bowl marriage proposer, Ian Johnson.
TCU (10-2): W BYU 32-7, L Oklahoma 10-35
Boise (12-0): W Oregon 37-32, W Nevada 41-34
12/24 Hawaii Bowl: Notre Dame over Hawaii by 5.0
8:00 ESPN. Honolulu.
The Irish have a 9-game bowl losing streak. Can the leprechaun find a pot of gold against the Rainbow Warriors?
Notre Dame (6-6): W Navy 27-21, L Syracuse 23-24
Hawaii (7-6): W Fresno 32-29, L Utah State, 14-30
12/26 Motor City: Central Michigan over Florida Atlantic by 7
8:00 ESPN. Detroit.
CM's Dan Lefevour puts up big numbers. Owl coach Schnellenberger is 5-0 in bowl games.
Central Michigan (8-4): W Buffalo 27-25, L E Michigan 52-56
FAU (6-6): W La-Lafayette 40-29, L Minnesota 3-37
12/27 Meineke Car Care Bowl: UNC over West Virginia by 3
1:00 ESPN. Charlotte.
Both let conference titles slip away. Last game for the great Pat White, a rare bowl for the Heels.
UNC (8-4): W Georgia Tech 28-7, L NC State 10-41
WVU (8-4): W UConn 35-13, L E Carolina 3-24
12/27 Champs Sports Bowl: Wisconsin over Florida State by 2
4:30 ESPN. Orlando.
A better year for the Noles, especially at home; just a Bad-ger year for Wisconsin.
Wisconsin (7-5): W Indiana 55-20, L Penn State 7-48
Florida State (8-4): W Virginia Tech 30-20, L Wake Forest 3-12
12/27 Emerald Bowl: California over Miami F by 3
8:00 ESPN. San Francisco.
A couple of teams trying to find their identity. Too many QB's, not enough consistency.
California (8-4): W Oregon 26-16, L Oregon State 21-34
Miami (7-5): W Virginia Tech 16-14, L Georgia Tech 23-41
12/28 Independence Bowl: La Tech and Northern Illinois even
8:00 ESPN. Shreveport.
Not much star power here. The computer can't find a favorite, either.
La Tech (7-5): W Fresno 38-35, L Army 7-14
N Illinois (6-6): W Bowling Green 16-13, L Navy 0-16
12/29 PapaJohns Bowl: Rutgers and NC State even
3:00 ESPN2. Birmingham.
Two red and red-hot teams (Rutgers 6 straight wins, the Woofpack 4). Mike Teel versus Russell Wilson.
Rutgers (7-5): W Pitt 54-34, L UNC 12-44
NC State (6-6): W N Carolina 41-10, L S Carolina 0-34
12/29 Alamo Bowl: Missouri over Northwestern by 6
8:00 ESPN. San Antonio.
Two 9-win teams. The last Chase for Mizzou, an excellent year already for Northwestern.
Missouri (9-4): W Buffalo 42-21, L Oklahoma 21-62
Northwestern (9-3): W Iowa 22-17, L Indiana 19-21
12/30 Humanitarian Bowl: Maryland over Nevada by 5
4:30 ESPN2. Boise.
The Terps were consistently inconsistent, but 1-0 against Wolf Packs. Do the Turtles fear blue turf?
Maryland (7-5): W Wake Forest 26-0, L Virginia 0-31
Nevada (7-5): W Fresno 41-28, L Missouri 17-69
12/30 Texas Bowl: Rice over Western Michigan by 2
8:00 NFL. Houston.
Expect a lot of points! Rice QB Chase Clement had 41 TD passes and the surprising Owls are at home.
Rice (9-3): W Houston 56-42, L Tulsa 28-63
WM (9-3): W Illinois 23-17, L Ball State 22-45
12/30 Holiday Bowl: Oklahoma State over Oregon by 1
8:00 ESPN. San Diego.
A chance for the Cowboys to prove they're for real. A lot of O for both teams! Dez Bryant had 18 TD catches, Johnson and Blount 28 rushing TDs.
Oklahoma State (9-3): W Troy 55-24, L Texas Tech 20-56
Oregon (9-3): W Oregon State 65-38, L Southern Cal 10-44
12/31 Armed Forces Bowl: Air Force over Houston by 4
12:30 ESPN. Fort Worth.
Air Force was 1-4 against bowl teams, beating only ... Houston. The Cougars' Case Keenum topped 40 TD passes.
Air Force (8-4): W Houston 31-28, L TCU 10-44
Houston (7-5): W Tulsa 70-30, L Marshall 23-37
12/31 Sun Bowl: Oregon State and Pitt even
2:00 CBS. El Paso.
Could be Lesean McCoy against Jacquizz Rodgers, if Quizz passes his medical exam.
Oregon State (8-4): W Southern Cal 27-21, L Oregon 38-65
Pitt (9-3): W West Virginia 17-13, L Bowling Green 17-27
12/31 Music City Bowl: Boston College over Vanderbilt by 7
4:00 ESPN. Nashville.
Vandy in a bowl at home is a great story, BC a headache for any bowl team. The Eagles have won 8 bowls in a row.
Boston College (9-4): W Florida State 27-17, L UNC 24-45
Vanderbilt (6-6): W South Carolina 24-17, L Tennessee 10-20
12/31 Insight Bowl: Kansas over Minnesota by 6
5:30 NFL. Tempe.
The Gophers finished ofer-4. Jayhawks still have Todd Reesing.
Kansas (7-5): W Missouri 40-37, L Texas 7-35
Minnesota (7-5): W FAU 37-3, L Iowa 0-55
12/31 Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Georgia Tech over LSU by 7
7:30 ESPN. Atlanta.
Tech's QB Nesbitt should be healthy again, LSU's Lee threw an amazing 7 pick-sixes but may be benched.
Georgia Tech (9-3): W Georgia 45-42, L North Carolina 7-28
LSU (7-5): W South Carolina 24-17, L Arkansas 30-31
1/1 Outback Bowl: Iowa over South Carolina by 4
11:00 ESPN. Tampa.
When at Florida, Spurrier liked to joke that you can't spell "Citrus Bowl" without UT. Welcome to Tampa, Coach. SC's offense has been Smelley.
Iowa (8-4): W Penn State 24-23, L Illinois 24-27
S Carolina (7-5): W NC State 34-0, L Clemson 14-31
1/1 Capital One Bowl: Georgia over Michigan State by 3
1:00 ABC. Orlando.
Great runners with great names: Javon Ringer and Knowshon Moreno. The Dawgs add Stafford, though.
Georgia (9-3): W LSU 52-38, W Florida 10-49
Michigan State (9-3): W Northwestern 37-20, Ohio State 7-45
1/1 Gator Bowl: Nebraska and Clemson even
1:00 CBS. Jacksonville.
Two programs trying to return to Orange Bowl glory days -- right state, anyway. Clemson finished strong -- we'll see if Yabo Dabo can do in a bowl game.
Nebraska (8-4): W Kansas 45-35, L Oklahoma 28-62
Clemson (7-5): W South Carolina 31-14, L Alabama 10-34
1/1 Rose Bowl: Southern Cal over Penn State by 3
4:30 ABC. Pasadena.
Two great programs in the Rose Bowl, one conference loss from the title game. A lot of speed and depth here.
Southern Cal (11-1): W Ohio State 35-3, L Oregon State 21-27
Penn State (11-1): W Michigan State 49-18, W Iowa 23-24
1/1 Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech over Cincinnati by 1
8:30 FOX. Miami.
The Hokies hope to motor past the Bearcats and break a bowl losing streak. Tony Pike has been a key to Cincy's winning streak.
Virginia Tech (9-4): W Boston College 30-12, L East Carolina 22-27
Cincinnati (11-2): W Pitt 28-21, L UConn 16-40
1/2 Cotton Bowl: Texas Tech over Mississippi by 9
2:00 FOX. Dallas.
Harrell and Crabtree bring the show to Dallas. Don't sell the Rebels' Jevan Sneed short.
Texas Tech (11-1): W Oklahoma State 56-20, L Oklahoma 21-65
Mississippi (8-4): W Florida 31-30, L Vanderbilt 17-23
1/2 Liberty Bowl: East Carolina over Kentucky by 3
5:00 ESPN. Memphis.
The Pirates managed to Skip past a midseason slump to win Conference USA. Kentucky has Randall Cobb and not much else.
East Carolina (9-4): W Tulsa 44-23 and 44-25, L South Florida 12-64
Kentucky (6-6): W Kentucky 31-14, L LSU 0-45
1/2 Sugar Bowl: Alabama and Utah even
8:00 FOX. New Orleans.
Interesting that the computer has this one even. Bama will try to grind it out with Coffee, but the Utes have Brian Johnson and several close wins.
Alabama (11-1): W Georgia 41-30, L Florida 20-31
Utah (12-0): W Oregon State 31-28, W Michigan 25-23
1/3 International Bowl: UConn over Buffalo by 5
12:00 ESPN2. Toronto.
In plain black and white, Turner Gill did a great coaching job at Buffalo. QB Drew may give UConn the Willy's. UConn wilted after a 5-0 start.
UConn (7-5): W Cincinnati 40-16, L Pitt 10-34
Buffalo (8-5): W Ball State 42-24, L Kent State 21-248
1/5 Fiesta Bowl: Texas over Ohio State by 9
8:00 FOX. Glendale.
Colt McCoy and Terrelle Pryor are fun, but the Buckeyes have some big game demons to deal with. The Horns staged two of the best games of the year. Another, please.
Texas (11-1): W Oklahoma 45-35, L Texas Tech 33-39
Ohio State (10-2): W Michigan State 45-7, L Southern Cal 3-35
1/6 GMAC Bowl: Ball State over Tulsa by 3
8:00 ESPN. Mobile.
Tulsa returns to the GMAC with a lot of offense. Ball State brings Nate Davis and other lettermen, but no unbeaten record.
Ball State (12-1): W Western Michigan 45-22, L Buffalo 24-42
Tulsa (10-3): W Rice 63-28, L Houston 30-70
1/8 BCS Title Game: Florida over Oklahoma by 1
8:00 FOX. Miami.
Both teams recovered from early close losses with a string of devastating victories. Two Heisman QB's. It sounds like a great matchup. Will Florida be mad about no Heisman for Tebow, or will Oklahoma be mad about being an underdog? Let's hope Oklahoma shows up!
Florida (12-1): W Georgia 49-10, L Mississippi 30-31
Oklahoma (12-1): W Texas Tech 65-21, L Texas 35-45
|41||North Carolina St||79.77|
|92||William & Mary||68.49|
|97||Cal Poly SLO||67.59|
|101||San José St||66.45|
|124||Middle Tennessee St||61.63|
|132||South Dakota St||58.80|
|133||South Carolina St||58.46|
|138||San Diego St||58.02|
|142||North Dakota St||56.80|
|145||New Mexico St||56.17|
|160||Texas St-San Marcos||54.37|
|173||Sam Houston St||50.27|
|184||SE Louisiana St||47.64|
|185||Prairie View A&M||47.64|
|195||Central Conn St||45.11|
|197||Stephen F. Austin||44.83|
|212||SE Missouri St||41.12|
|224||North Carolina Central||34.55|
|236||North Carolina A&T||27.14|
|242||Mississippi Valley St||19.93|
|244||St Francis PA||18.64|