2015-01-02 09:43

Happy New year to everybody.

The New Years Bowls are done, the National Championship matchup is set.
We will come to that soon.

First the reviews of the reviews of the BLOCK OF GRANITE BOWL GAMES FOR WAVE 5

Wednesday, December 31, 12:30 PM ET CHICK-FIL-A PEACH BOWL
#9 Ole Miss vs. #6 TCU @ Georgia Dome, ATLANTA, GA
This can only described as pure failure by Ole Miss.
TCU did play very good, as if they wanted to say 'hey, we would belong into the college football playoffs' but honestly I think the main reason for THAT score was the bad Ole Miss team which showed up, and less the good TCU team.
TCUs QB had 3 TDs but also 3 Interceptions.
Ole Miss on the other hand had only the 3 interception and one was truly the nightmare of all coaches.
This was the situation. Ole Miss deep in their own territory, Bo Wallace, the QB, did drop back into his own endzone and was hurried by several defenders.
He looked and searched for a quick pass to avoid the safety, but did throw the ball already falling to the ground into the arms of a defender, in the endzone.
So instead of 2 points and the ball for TCU they gave up 7 points.
No very clever.
There were several other situation where you could see, that the TCU players just wanted that game more then the Rebels players.
One example was a deep pass into the endzone by TCU.
The receiver was well covered, 2 to 3 near him.
The defender did caught the ball in the air, in the endzone, but on the way to the ground did the receiver steal the ball right out of the defenders hands and secured it.
Instead of an interception, a TD.
At the end it was a big win by TCU and a miserable game performance by Ole Miss.
#9 Ole Miss 3 - #6 TCU 42 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 16-9

Wednesday, December 31, 4:00 PM ET VIZIO FIESTA BOWL
#20 Boise State vs. #10 Arizona @ University of Phoenix Stadium, GLENDALE, AZ
When I do those previews I always anticipate a rested, prepared team, on both sides.
All other assumption are not really helpful.
Who could think of a sleepwalking offensive line, who thinks about a sleepwalking defense, when they had 4 weeks of film studies and practice?
Well ... Arizona was Sleepwalking in the first quarter and half asleep until halftime.
Bad for them, the game was more or less over then.
Boise State on the other hand did exploit all Arizona weaknesses without mercy and did very well deserve the win.
The Broncos came out strong, scored on a big play, held Arizona to a short drive, scored another big play, held Arizona again and were then again able to score.
As a Wildcat fan I would have been totally frustrated.
That was not the high scoring dynamic team, which won the PAC 12 South.
So, 21 - 0 before Arizona did score their first TD.
Then Arizona did stop Boise State, so the Wildcats fans probably thought 'nice, now let's score and turn this around'.
Good thought, but the Arizona QB did throw a pick, right the next play, gave Boise State excellent field position to score another TD.
Arizona was only able to score another TD and both teams kicked FGs before halftime.
17 - 31.
Still room to come back, especially for Arizona.
Yes, but you have to move the ball, and both teams were not really able to do that in the 3rd quarter.
The Broncos did score by a pick 6 and Arizona did score a FG and after the Pick they did score on offense.
Not much of a comeback so far.
27 - 38.
The 4th quarter was almost like the 3rd one, only to have less Arizona errors, but the Broncos defense was still sharpe and didn't let much plays happen.
Arizona shorted it by a Field Goal and did manage to created one last good drive, less then 3 minutes to go.
They had 1st and goal on the Broncos 8 yard line, but were not able to get anything done.
Without timeouts a sack did seal the deal, while the clock ran out.
Boise State did upset Arizona.
#20 Boise State 38 - #10 Arizona 30 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 16-10

Wednesday, December 31, 7:30 PM ET CAPITAL ONE ORANGE BOWL
#7 Mississippi State vs. #12 Georgia Tech @ Sun Life Stadium, MIAMI, FL
Great game!
Georgia State was very creative and surprised the Bulldogs a bit.
They outscored their opponent 0-14 in the first quarter. One score by a big passing play!
Then did Mississippi State turn the table and began playing.
Scored 13 unanswered points until GT had again a nice drive and scored a TD.
29 seconds to go did the Bulldogs coach decide, that there is still room to score.
With all Timeouts left they marched down the field from the MSU 23 to the GT 42.
Huh? And then? Hail Mary Time!
Dak Prescott did throw right into the endzone, in heavy coverage, a defender tipped the ball, the receiver in the crowed was unable to catch the ball .. but the other one right BEFORE the crowd did get the ball and was able to hold on.
TD with time expired. 20 - 21 to the half.
So, now comes the Bulldogs show?
Now comes the GT show in person of Synjyn Days, a RB with 171 yards at the end and 3 TDs, and Justin Thomas, the QB with 121 rushing yards at the end and 3 TDs.
Especially Thomas did just keep the drives alive and did score when possible.
At the end of the 3rd quarter did GT lead by 22 points.
The Bulldogs did try to come back, but GT was able to stop them often enough to pull this upset and win the Orange Bowl.
#7 Mississippi State 34 - #12 Georgia Tech 49 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 16-11

Thursday, January 1 2015, 12:00 PM ET OUTBACK BOWL
#19 Auburn vs. #18 Wisconsin @ Raymond James Stadium, TAMPA, FL
This game was very nice.
I didn't think the Badgers would be motivated, but they were at the end they won.
It was an open game, throughout the whole game, the leading team changed constantly and it went into overtime.
Auburn did stop the Badgers and held them to a Field Goal, but then were also unable to get into the endzone and had to kick a Field Goal on their own.
The 45 yarder did hit the right goalpost and went out of bounds.
#19 Auburn 34 - #18 Wisconsin 31 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 16-12

Thursday, January 1 2015, 12:30 PM ET GOODYEAR COTTON BOWL CLASSIC
#8 Michigan State vs. #5 Baylor @ AT&T STADIUM, ARLINGTON, TX
And this game was awesome!
Open 'til start of second quarter, then did Baylor pull away, leading by 10 at the half.
End of the 3rd quarter they lead by 20 points, 21 - 41.
Then did Baylor miss a Field Goal and MSU did score. Down 13.
MSU went for an onside kick and won it, but were later intercepted. Over? No!
They stopped Baylor and were able to score. Down 6.
With 5 minutes to play, Baylor made a long drive and setup for a Field Goal.
Blocked! And returned for 36 yards.
MSU marched down the field, with about a minute to play and scored the leading TD.
Baylor was unable to get anything down in the last 17 second and were intercepted.
Michigan State won that game, congratulation.
#8 Michigan State 42 - #5 Baylor 41 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 16-13

Thursday, January 1 2015, 1:00 PM ET BUFFALO WILD WINGS CITRUS BOWL
#16 Missouri vs. #25 Minnesota @ Florida Citrus Bowl, ORLANDO, FL
At least here did the game went as expected.
But Minnesota had a lot of fighting spirit in it.
The game was over when Missouri scored on a big play beginning of the fourth quarter.
They stopped Minnesota after that run and were then able to score another TD in the next drive.
Minnesota is not that big play team, they need a bit of time to score and they managed to get down the field after that, but burned to much time and at the end they were even unable to score.
Of cause they had to go for it, trailing by 16 points, so it was not really a surprise.
Missouri got the ball back with less then 2 minutes to play and did let the time run out.
#16 Missouri 33 - #25 Minnesota 17 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 17-13

#2 Oregon vs. #3 Florida State @ Rose Bowl, PASADENA, CA
Well ... I mentioned 3 scenarios for the Rose Bowl (which I forgot to mention is nick-named 'The Granddaddy of Them All', thanks dpiece ;-) ).
1.) FSU will be way worse than expected and the basically don't belong in that game. They did only beat Clemson and Georgia Tech during the season. So they get beaten by Oregon with a forty-burger to 7 or something like that.
2.) FSU does grow during the game, but this will be not enough this time. They will lose by less than 8 points.
3.) FSU will win by a small margin, the game will be quite open the whole time and the Ducks will just not be able to defend that last scoring drive by Winston.
It turned out there was a 4th one.
The FSU-is-able-to-compete-as-long-as-they-don't-suck-scenario.
They teams did play nicely for the first 2 quarters.
FSU was unable to score a TD at first, but held on and stayed in the game.
It looked a bit bad when Oregon pulled away 18-6, but FSU scored a TD after that, intercepted Mariota the next drive and did almost kick another Field Goal, the goal post did deny that 54 yarder.
Still, 18-13 at the half was OK.
Then came the 3rd quarter were Oregon and FSU did score early, and Oregon did pull away a bit with 32 - 20, but still a less then 2 score difference.
Then came the they-suck-part.
1. sucking: After a pass did FSU fumble the ball and Oregon recovered (and returned) the ball. 2 plays later 39 - 20.
2. sucking: Winston did scramble around did some kind of pass attempt, lost control during the throwing (or before), fumbled and one of the three defenders did return the rock to the house. 45 - 20. (PAT blocked)
3. sucking: Winston did throw the ball to a receiver, who was not able to hold onto it, and a near defender did grab the lose ball out of the air for an interception. A few plays later, already in the 4th quarter, did Oregon score. 52 - 20.
4. sucking: Winston completed a pass to a receiver and that guy wanted to make something happen. It happened to be a fumble, Oregon recovered. 4 plays later did Oregon score. 59 - 20.
Then did nothing really spectacular happen and the game was over.
Oregon will play for National Championship, FSU did lose the first time since ages in a very bad way.
For Winston it was the first loss of his career.
Basically it looked like they got all the bad plays that might happen to lose a game packed in the most important game of the season.
On the other hand, if they would have lost during the season, they probably wouldn't be in that game, so ...
#2 Oregon 59 - #3 Florida State 20 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 18-13

Thursday, January 1 2015, 8:30 PM ET ALLSTATE SUGAR BOWL
Wow, also an awesome game.
It started as expected, Ohio State did bite their teeth off against that Alabama defense, had to go for Field Goals, had a turnover and the 1 quarter ended 14 - 6.
Then did Alabama even pulled away 21 - 6 when Ohio State came alive.
They scored, held 'Bama to 3-and-out and right before the half had a nice play with a great catch in the endzone.
21 - 20 at the half.
Then did Alabama fell apart, at least a bit.
Ohio State score on a regular drive to go ahead and then scored on a pick-6 later in the 3rd.
21- 34 at that moment, the Tide scored the next drive and made it 28 - 34.
That interception was a bad throw into a zone coverage, which normally is not Alabama standard.
In the 4th did nothing spectacular happen, until Alabama was almost in the Buckeye redzone and Blake Simms did throw another bad pass for an interception.
They couldn't do anything with that ball, but the momentum was gone.
Later did Ohio State score for the 28 - 42 lead, which seemed to motivate the Tide again, scoring the next drive.
Now 35 - 42, less then 2 minutes to play.
Alabama held Ohio State to 3-and-out and got the ball back, 1:33 to play.
But they were unable to overcome the sharp defense and the last Hail Mary pass went into the hands of Ohio State in the endzone.
Ohio State won their spot in the National Championship game.
Alabama did lose because of untypical errors in their offense.
#1 Alabama 35 - #4 Ohio State 42 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 18-14

Let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE BOWL GAMES FOR WAVE 6

Houston vs. Pittsburgh @ Amon Carter Stadium, FORT WORTH, TX
Since 2003 is this Bowl played and they field it at the moment at the home of the TCU Horned Frogs in Texas.
The Bowl is inviting teams from different conferences, depended on the year and the contracts made with the conferences and with Army or Navy as independent.
This season the American conference was the one to send a team, which they did with the 7-5 Houston cougars and planed was as opponent Army, but they were again unable to become eligible, so Pitt was invited, with a 6-6 record from the ACC.
Each team gets around 675.000$.
This will be Interims Bowl, since Pitts coach Paul Chryst did bold the Panthers to become the new Wisconsin coach and Houstons Headcoach Tony Levine was fired after the regular season after 3 not very successful seasons.
Both teams do already hired their new coaches, but those will not coach the bowls.
So, it's interims coach time again.
Personally I think this will be a bowl everybody wants to be over fast.
My bet is on the rising Pitt team, instead on the declining Houston team.
Pitt might have the worse record, but did play in the ACC and did win against Virginia Tech, while Houston plays the AAC and did win against Memphis as a highlight.
Under the given circumstances it's hard to make a solid pick, but in doubt I pick the team from the stronger conference.
So, Pitt it is.

Friday, January 2 2015, 3:20 PM ET TAXSLAYER BOWL
Iowa vs. Tennessee @ Everbank Field, JACKSONVILLE, FL
Since 1946 is this Bowl played (formerly known as GATOR BOWL, again an established brand destroyed by a damn corporation sponsoring) and is of cause played in Florida.
At the moment it is a SEC vs Big Ten Bowl.
Each team gets around 2.750.000$.
This season that matchup is worse than last season.
Both teams are in rebuilding mode, or at least in reloading mode.
Iowa was 7-5 overall and 4-4 in the conference, avoiding Ohio State Michigan State and Michigan from the other division.
Tennessee was 6-6 and 3-5 in the SEC. They are in big rebuilding mode after the last few years or bad coaching changes.
So, what to make out of this?
It looks like a gut pick.
The fans and Vegas do have the Vols as the small favorite here, but my gut likes Iowa.
For Tennessee does count they are on the second year of the new coach and they played some nice games at the end of the season.
For Iowa does count the long time coach (16th season) who knows basically everything about that team and they did lose against the best teams of the Big 10 only by a few points.
I pick Iowa with a little bad feeling in my guts.

Friday, January 2 2015, 6:45 PM ET VALERO ALAMO BOWL
#11 Kansas State vs. #14 UCLA @ Alamodome, SAN ANTONIO, TX
This Bowl exists since 1993 and has tie ins to the Big 12 and the PAC 12.
Each team gets around 3.820.000$.
Interesting matchup.
Kansas State was 9-3 overall and 7-2 in the Big 12 while UCLA is also 9-3 with 6-3 in the PAC 12.
Their loss to Stanford opened the door for Arizona to get into the PAC 12 Championship game.
KSUs loss to Baylor did cost them a Big 12 Co-Champ title and even a better Bowl participation.
But this one is quite good, too.
Kansas State did lose maybe a step from last season but is still a tough team.
UCLA also lost a step compared to last season but are still the favorite in that game.
I'm curios to see both teams facing off against each other, especially, how UCLA will stop Kansas States Offense.
On the other hand, I hope UCLAs offense will click against the normally very good Kansas State defense.
I pick UCLA in that quite evenly matched game (Vegas has UCLA as -2.5) for one reason.
Jim Mora seems to have a bit better hand coaching Bowls than Bill Snyder.
So, UCLA it will be.

Friday, January 2 2015, 10:15 PM ET TICKETCITY CACTUS BOWL
Washington vs. Oklahoma State @ Sun Devil Stadium, TEMPE, AZ
This does operate since 1989.
It's played at the home of the Arizona State Sun Devils.
It does field a PAC 12 Team facing a Big 12 team.
Each team gets around 3.325.000$.
Washington is in some kind of a transition, having a new head coach (former Boise State) and Oklahoma State did lose a step or two compared to former years.
So, don't expect the best game here.
But if we are lucky, we will see an offensive firepower show with an open end.
Oklahoma State barely made it to that game, with an upset of rival Oklahoma on the last gameday on the road, which was the best sign of life the Cowboys did show since a long time this season.
Washington had a quite good season, but did finish 3rd in the division behind Oregon and Stanford.
The Huskies are the favorites, no doubt, but I hope that Oklahoma State did get a big motivation out of that last gameday and will challenge Washington to the bones.
My guts do expect a quite clear Huskies win, but my hope is for an open game.
Still, I pick Washington.

Saturday, January 3 2015, 1:00 PM ET BIRMINGHAM BOWL
East Carolina vs. Florida @ Legion Field, BIRMINGHAM, AL
Since 2006 is this Bowl played and is fielded at the (former) home of the UAB Blazers (team is defunct now, still a shame).
It's an American vs SEC game.
The teams get around 900.000$.
This one stinks, actually.
East Carolina was quite good in the beginning, but lost to Temple and Cincinnati later in the season and on the final gameday against UCF.
Final record was 8-4 as an AAC team.
Florida on the other hand was a stinker all season long, which did cost the Headcoach his job after a 6-5 season. (they had only 11 games, because the first game against Idaho was played, but later called 'no contest' because of bad weather conditions and many breaks and a ultimate suspension after the second break.)
Normally the Gators would be out of reach for the Pirates.
But under this conditions ...
I'm not sure, what the interims coach will do here.
I think he can get the most out of the players and then the Pirates shouldn't be a match for them.
I give Carolina credit for the situation, but not that much.
I pick the save pick, Gators.

Sunday, January 4 2015, 9:00 PM ET GODADDY BOWL
Toledo vs. Arkansas State @ Ladd-Peebles Stadium, MOBILE, AL
Since 1999 is this Bowl played.
This is played at the home of the newcomers from last season on FBS level this season, the South Alabama Jaguars.
At the moment it is a Sun Belt Conference vs MAC Bowl.
Each team gets around 750.000$.
We have Arkansas State here after a 7-5 season and 5-3 in the SBC, being in that game the 4th time in a row.
They lost the first one, and did win ever since.
Toledo on the other hand went 8-4 in the regular season and 7-1 in the MAC, trailing only NIU in the division, the later MAC Champions.
I did bet against Arkansas State last season and was wrong.
I will bet against them again and hope for a better pick this season.
Why? Because did win inside their conference against every team, except the later champs, while Arkansas State lost 3 against other SBC teams and they overall quality of the MAC is a bit better than the SBC.
But I'm not saying, this will be clear thing.
Toledo has to bring their A-game to win this.
Still, I pick the Rockets.

'Til next time

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