2013-12-18 07:06

Here comes the fun part of the season.
The Bowls are set and there are a lot of nice matchups (and a few boring ones ...).

This season the Bowls start at Saturday, December 21 and will be fielded until Monday, January 6, which is the National Championship game.
35 Bowls will be played, 70 teams are set to battle it out a last time.
79 teams were eligible to participate for a Bowl, so 9 teams were left out.
San Jose State (6–6, MWC)
Toledo (7–5, MAC)
Central Michigan (6–6, MAC))
Florida Atlantic (6–6, C-USA)
Western Kentucky (8–4, SBC)
Louisiana-Monroe (6–6, SBC)
South Alabama (6–6, SBC)
Texas State (6–6, SBC)
Troy (6–6, SBC)
Main reason for NOT getting a Bowl spot are normally that those conferences don't have so many guaranteed Bowl spots and they have to hope for other conferences having a weak year so their guaranteed spots can't be filled, because not enough teams got the needed 6 wins.
Why can so many teams be eligibly if there are only 125 teams? Unfortunately do FCS games also count against the needed 6 wins (max 2 games against FCS opponents) so the teams can much easier get the needed 6 wins. It's a strange system.
One special case was UTSA of C-USA, they are in a transition year and are not eligible even with a 7-5 record.
As far as I know, there are plans to get those non-BCS conferences more Bowl spots by creating more Bowl games with only non-BCS teams eligible.
Yep, that's what we need .... more Bowl games.

Since we have again a 1 loss team in the BCS Championship game, chances are very high, the winner of that game will become the lone national champion, which is good.
This is the last year of the BCS system, from next season on we will have a 4 team playoff system and a committee to s e l e c t not only those 4 teams playing, but also all other big bowl game participants.
I'm curious to see, which problems will then come up and who will complain because they were left out of those Bowls or out of the 4 teams playing for the national championship.
This year it all did turn out quite good, but even then did Michigan States HC complain, why they don't get a shot for the title, after they have beaten Ohio State.
Well, if they wouldn't have lost against Notre Dame ... maybe ... but with 1 loss I would give any 1-loss SEC team the spot before a 1-loss Big 10 team gets consideration.

Now let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE BOWL GAMES FOR WAVE 1

Saturday, December 21, 2:00 PM ET GILDAN NEW MEXICO BOWL
Washington State vs. Colorado State @ University Stadium, ALBUQUERQUE, NM
This is played at the University of New Mexico and is played since 2006.
Each team gets around 912,500$
It's a Bowl organized between the MWC and the PAC 12.
Colorado State does participate as Mountain West team. They are in the first Bowl since 2008 (which was also the New Mexico Bow and they won it).
Washington State does represent the PAC 12 and did not play in a Bowl since 2003 (Holiday Bowl, won).
Both teams are of cause excited to play this extra game.
Both teams have 2nd year coaches who did turn the program into the right direction.
This won't be an easy one.
I give Washington State a small bonus, since they play in a much tougher conference and still managed to win some games.
But don't underestimate the Rams.
They are no longer the laughing stock of the MWC.
This will be a fun Bowl, hopefully the explosive offense of the Cougars will strike often and the high scoring Rams do answer.
Forget defense and let's get some points on the board.
I pick Wazzou as the winner.

Saturday, December 21, 3:30 PM ET ROYAL PURPLE LAS VEGAS BOWL
#20 Fresno State vs. #25 USC @ Sam Boyd Stadium, LAS VEGAS, NV
They play in the home of the UNLV Rebels.
It is is played since 1992 and each team gets around 1.000.000$.
The Tie-ins on conferences are since 2001 between PAC 12 (5th) and MWC (1st).
I think this will be a bit odd this year.
Fresno State did win the Mountain West and will be good.
My concerns are regarding USC. They did not have 2 different HC this season, no, now they have the 3rd.
After Kiffin was let go, Orgeron did start winning with the team as interims coach, but did not win the crucial UCLA game and USC did decide to hire a new HC, former Washington HC Sarkisians. Orgeron did step down immediately. I'm not sure that was fair for the kids, but coaching isn't always fair.
I think he should have stayed to coach the Trojans in that Bowl if he was given the chance.
Now the kids have to listen to the 2nd interims coach.
That's why I think the team will not play 100%. The y have to listen to the next coach only to get the next (hopefully for some time then final) new coach right after the Bowl.
I might be wrong but I think the kids do have more on their mind than this bowl game.
Tim DeRuyter, the HC of Fresno State, will probablyl get some calls for a higher paid job sooner or later, but I think for this season the Bulldogs are save.
So we have a full strength Bulldogs team against a probably confused USC team ...
If this would be Orgerons team, I would pick USC any day, but in this situation?
Bulldogs will win.

Saturday, December 21, 5:30 PM ET FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL
Buffalo vs. San Diego State @ Bronco Stadium, BOISE, ID
This was known as the Humanitarian Bowl.
It is played at the University of Boise in Idaho and is worth around 750.000$ for each team.
This Bowl is played since 1997 and it is played at the moment between teams from the MWC and the MAC.
Buffalo had a nice turnaround this season. With 8-4 total they doubled their win total this season.
They were a long time in the hunt for the division championship but lost the crucial game against Bowling Green, the later MAC champion, by 3 scores.
San Diego State was in the hunt for the West division of the MWC.
But Fresno State was too dominant to get at 1st place.
The Mountain West should win this any given gameday, so don't expect a wonder.
The only thing which speaks for Buffalo is the cold weather.
I'm not sure this is enough here.
Especially on the smurf turf.
I pick San Diego.

Saturday, December 21, 9:00 PM ET R+L CARRIERS NEW ORLEANS BOWL
Tulane vs. Louisiana-Lafayette @ MERCEDES-BENZ SUPERDOME, NEW ORLEANS, LA
This is played since 2001 and each team gets around 500.000$.
The teams are chosen from the CUSA and the SBC. And if not enough teams are eligible from the CUSA, they can choose some other team.
In 2005, while Hurricane Katrina did hit New Orleans, this Bowl was actually played at the home site of Louisiana Lafayette.
The Ragin' Cajuns are now playing this Bowl since 2011 the 3rd time in a row.
So far they did win all of them.
But this year it's a bit special.
We have ULL, which is a University in Louisiana, recruiting the still available talents which did not get an offer by LSU.
And we have Tulane, which is a University in Louisiana, recruiting the still available talents which did not get an offer by LSU.
Hmmm. Bad news for ULL: Tulanes home site is ... New Orleans ... and ... the play in the Superdome (as last game this season, next season they have their own stadium).
I'm not sure if this can be called a neutral site .... Officially it's called that way.
ULL did suck the last few games and did throw away the chance to win the SBC all by their own.
Tulane did start strong, but did then suck in November.
It's hard to predict the outcome of this. ULL is the favourite, but Tulane did play some nice games and they did win against ULM, which ULL was not able to do.
I give Tulane the pick as home field gift.

Monday, December 23, 2:00 PM ET BEEF 'O' BRADY'S BOWL ST. PETERSBURG
East Carolina vs. Ohio @ Tropicana Field, SAINT PETERSBURG, FL
This is a DOME in Florida and home of the Tampa Bay Rays, a major league baseball team.
A bit crazy, but that's America.
The Bowl is played since 2008 and each team gets around 500.000$.
It's a Bowl organized between the Big East and the CUSA. If the Big East does not have enough eligible teams, teams from the MAC or the SBC can be invited.
As it happened again this year, since Ohio is from the MAC.
East Carolina did play very well this season, but were not able to win the division.
Ohio did have a bit of a down year and finished 3rd in their division.
The Pirates are the favourite and I can't argue against that.
I hope for a bit of a fight here, but it looks like this will be a very one dimensional game.
I pick East Carolina.

Tuesday, December 24, 8:00 PM ET SHERATON HAWAII BOWL
Boise State vs. Oregon State @ Aloha Stadium, HONOLULU, HI
Ah ... the Hawai'i Bowl. I like the site, but normally the teams are not worth a second look.
Might be not fair, but normally Hawai'i does play here (if eligible) and then some other team.
The Hawai'i Bowl is played since 2002 and each team gets around 750.000$.
It did team up teams from either PAC 12 or CUSA against a team from the WAC before Hawai'i did switch Conference.
The rule was that if Hawai'i is eligible and not qualified for the BCS it has a guarantee to play here, regardless of the standings in the conference.
Hawai'i did move to the MWC and the bid was transferred to the MWC.
OK, so Hawai'i did finish last in the MWC this year (again) and that way Boise State did come into this Bowl.
Normally the CUSA should bring the other team, but somehow Oregon State got the spot, while two C-USA teams, which would have been eligible, are left out of ANY Bowl.
OK, fine, we get a nice Bowl here.
This looks like an only-offense-allowed Bowl, since both team can score, a lot.
Boise State will have an interims coach on the side line, since their HC went to Washington and the new one will come right after the Bowl.
I pick the Beavers for the win, since they have a stable environment, while Boise State not only had a down year; they also have to play under new management.

‘Til next time

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