2016-01-01 13:33

And that leaves 10 Bowls for the rest of the season.

Happy new year to all of you.

Today is a quite football heavy day, but enjoy it, as long as it lasts.


Wed. Dec. 30 - 12:00 pm ET
Birmingham Bowl
Auburn vs. Memphis

@Legion Field - Birmingham, AL
After a tied game with a score of 10-10 at halftime, this got very one sided.
Auburn did stop Memphis regularly and did on the other hand score a few times.
There was nothing going on Memphis offense in the 2nd half, maybe the end zone interception on the 1st drive after the halftime break did crushed their motivation.
Of cause such a play is bad, driving over the field and then not only having the ball taken away, but also not having any points out of this.
But with a tied game, everything was still possible.
But all remaining drives of Memphis were bad.
They had only 3-and-out-drives until their last drive had 15 plays and with trailing at that point by 21 points they had to go for it on 4th down and the game was over.
Nice finish for Auburn.
Auburn 31 - Memphis 10 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 15-10

Wed. Dec. 30 - 3:30 pm ET
Belk Bowl
North Carolina State vs. Mississippi State

@Bank of America Stadium - Charlotte, NC
This was over at halftime.
NC State did trail by 17 points and there was no sign of a shifted momentum.
After the break did the Bulldogs team play as before, scored many points and did NC State had some scoring drives on their own, but never enough to get near a win.
And Mississippi State did not really play 100% good.
They left many chance unused.
North Carolina State 28 - Mississippi State 51 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 16-10

Wed. Dec. 30 - 7:00 pm ET
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
Texas A&M vs. Louisville

@Nissan Stadium - Nashville, TN
It's not that A&M had no chance to win this.
They did start bad and never recovered totally.
After the 1st quarter Louisville was leading 20-7 and even when A&M shortened the distance over the quarters, in the final drives it was obvious the A&M defense was not in the game, while the Cardinals defense did come up big when they were needed most.
It was the fitting finish on that disappointing A&M season and a good one for Louisville, which needed a win in a bowl after a bad start into the season and an early elimination of contention.
Texas A&M 21 - Louisville 27 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 16-11

Wed. Dec. 30 - 10:30 pm ET
Holiday Bowl
#25 USC vs. Wisconsin

@Qualcomm Stadium - San Diego, CA
This was entertaining and ended as I wished it to be. Close.
They did start slow and at halftime we had Wisconsin leading 13-7.
After the break did both teams score a TD and later did USC add another score, now leading 21-20.
With a bit over 3 minutes to go did the Badgers kicker score a field goal for the 23-21 lead and USC tried to answer that.
An their 1st drive after that FG we saw the 1st and only interception of the game, which was crucial.
Wisconsin was unable to do anything with the ball except to run down the clock and gave it back to USC with 35 ticks left to go.
From their own 10 yard line USC did start their last drive, made it to mid field and did pass incomplete on 4th and 10.
Badgers win.
That was the 1st win of the Badgers over USC ever (on 7 games) and the last game was 1966!
USC 21 - Wisconsin 23 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 17-11

Thurs. Dec. 31 - 12:00 pm ET
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
#18 Houston vs. #9 Florida State

@Georgia Dome - Atlanta, GA
I make this one short.
Turnover score: Houston 1, FSU 5.
Any questions?
And the worst part of this is, Houston was bad in converting those turnovers in points.
They did score after the single fumble, they had to punt after the 1st, 2nd and 3rd INT. The 4th INT was the last comeback attempt and Houston only had to run down the clock.
Still Houston won by 14 points.
That was an embarrassing match for FSU, sorry to say that.
Cougars future looks bright, it will be interesting to see, how FSU will play next season.
Houston 38 - Florida State 24 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 18-11

Thurs. Dec. 31 - 4:00 pm ET
#4 Oklahoma vs. #1 Clemson

@Sun Life Stadium - Miami, FL
Great game and one of the best so far.
Oklahoma did score 1st, Clemson had a field goal a few drives later and did score a TD on their next drive after a gutsy fake punt play on 4th and 4 on Oklahomas 44 yard line.
That did set the tone for the rest of the game.
Clemson did play a bit tougher, a bit more with their hearts in this and at the end it was more than enough.
The Sooners did lead 17-16 at the half, but in the 3rd quarter Clemson did not only adjust their offense, which did too often had to settle for a field goal, they did also adjust their defense and held Oklahoma scoreless until the game was over.
Overall was Oklahoma never able to stop the runs, which did hurt them especially in the 4th quarter where they simply ran out of time.
They allowed 312 yards, which is way too much.
I think Clemson did all the right things in this game and deserves to play for a national championship.
Oklahoma 17 - Clemson 37 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 19-11

Thurs. Dec. 31 - 8:00 pm ET
#3 Michigan State vs. #2 Alabama

@AT&T Stadium - Arlington, TX
I never expected a so one sided game.
It was OK until short the halftime, Alabama was leading 10-0 when MSU went all over the field and delivered a bad through right at the 1 yard line for an interception.
No points and halftime over.
Still time to recover?
Yes, but not by allowing an Alabama score with the opening drive, with a fumble on Spartans 1st drive, allowing a punt return TD after Spartans 2nd drive and being behind already 31-0 shortly after another Alabama TD.
MSU did play more risky after that and that backfired even more.
At the end a very one sided game with a great Alabama defense and a bad Michigan State defense on the other side.
Alabama will play for another national championship.
Michigan State 0 - Alabama 38 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 20-11


Fri. Jan. 1 - 12:00 pm ET
Outback Bowl
#13 Northwestern vs. #23 Tennessee

@Raymond James Stadium - Tampa, Fla.
This is played since 1986 and is fielded at the home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the South Florida Bulls.
Another SEC vs Big Ten Bowl and each team gets around 3.500.000$.
Tough to pick. Northwestern had some nice wins and some strange losses, losing high against Michigan and Iowa.
They finished 10-2, which is great for Northwestern.
Tennessee on the other hand did record 8-4, with all 4 losses very close and having 5 wins in a row at season end.
It's hard to pick against the team with the better record, but Tennessee could have been easily 10-2 also or even better.
They had some bad luck during the season and became better and better.
Under such circumstances I see the Vols having the edge over a good Northwestern team.
This might come down to a last minute play, but my guess is, even that won't happen.
Volunteers win.

Fri. Jan. 1 - 1:00 pm ET
BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl
#8 Notre Dame vs. #7 Ohio State

@University of Phoenix Stadium - Glendale, AZ
The Bowl is played since 1971 and belongs also to the CFP-Bowls.
Two at-large-teams will face off.
The payout is part if the CFP-system.
This is a classic matchup in a college football leftovers bowl.
Notre Dame did lose to Stanford on season final (and also against Clemson during the season) and dropped out of contention with 10-2, while Ohio State did lose 1 crucial game, against Michigan State, finishing 11-1.
It's really funny, I don't see Notre Dame as TOP10 team, not with their schedule and results.
On the other hand did they lose each game by 2 points.
Ohio State did lose that crucial game against Michigan State by 3 in a low scoring game.
As said, I don't think Notre Dame is really a TOP10 team, while Ohio State very likely is.
I will not pick an upset under that impression.
My expectations are, that Ohio State will score regularly, while Notre Dame will have trouble to do so.
Hence, Ohio State will control the clock, will score more often and will win.
Buckeyes win.

Fri. Jan. 1 - 1:00 pm ET
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl
#14 Michigan vs. #19 Florida

@Citrus Bowl - Orlando, FL
Since 1946 played, under different names. Thanks to whomever, we have the Citrus Bowl back since last season.
It is still played in the stadium named after the bowl in Orlando, Florida.
SEC against Big Ten, again.
Each team gets around 4.250.000$.
The matchup is challenging.
Maybe they should have called this the resurrection bowl.
Michigan was 2nd class last season and the new coach did bring them back to the better half of the BIG10.
The last game against Ohio State did prove, there is still work to do.
But 9-3 and a big bowl spot are very good for the 1st season.
Florida was also 2nd class last season and the new coach did bring them right back to the SEC Championship game, which they lost.
They also lost some other big games and almost some games against less strong teams.
Finishing 10-3 was great for them.
Both teams do have nice perspectives for the future.
This bowl?
I see Michigan in the lead here.
Tough defense and a good enough offense, against a not so good offense and a sometime sloppy defense.
Florida can play, no doubt and playing in Florida might lift them a bit.
Still I think Michigan will win here, by force of will.
Wolverine win.

Fri. Jan. 1 - 5:00 pm ET
Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual
#6 Stanford vs. #5 Iowa

@Rose Bowl - Pasadena, CA
The mother of all Bowls is played since 1902!
It was permanently installed in 1916 and is played since then.
It was the Big Ten Champion vs. the PAC12 Champion, but with the CFP-System it's either a semi-finale or as this season, just a bowl game fielding a BIG10 team vs. a PAC12 team.
The payout is part of the CFP-system.
Stanford is the PAC12 Champ this season, but losing 2 games (against Oregon and Northwestern) did led them sink deep enough to become that conference champ without a playoff ticket.
Still, they finished 11-2.
Iowa was the unbeaten (and only one) team from the BIG10, until they played Michigan State for the championship.
They lost by 3 and did finish with 12-1.
This one is anybodies guess.
I think Stanford is a good team, but Iowa did grow with their challenges and had a terrific season, the best under Ferentz ever.
Good offense will meet good defense.
I'm divided between a nice season finish of Stanford and a great season by Iowa, coming up short in the championship game.
Stanford is the favorite in this, but I think Iowa will give them something to play.
I love to see this and I pick Iowa over Stanford on a silly Iowa-will-manage-to-win-somehow-feeling.
Hawkeyes win.

Fri. Jan. 1 - 8:30 pm ET
Allstate Sugar Bowl
#16 Oklahoma State vs. #12 Ole Miss

@Mercedes-Benz Superdome - New Orleans, LA
This bowl was established 1935 and is played since then.
The payout is part of the CFP-system and last season, this was a semi-finale, but this season, it's only 1 of the Big6 bowls.
Oklahoma State did finish 10-2 and lost their last 2 games against Baylor and Oklahoma, which did let them sink faster in the rankings than you can say 'hype'.
The question will be, whether that team can play tough enough against the other team.
Ole Miss had an up and down season. They started great, 4-0, including a win against big contender Alabama, then lost to Florida, lost to Memphis as a big surprise and later lost to Arkansas, giving all possible chances for a division title out of their hand.
They finished 9-3 with a strong team, based on a shaky QB and they now were forced to suspend 1 of their key defense lineman because of drugs.
If Oklahoma State finds room, they will pick Ole Miss apart.
Given the suspension, the line might not be able to pressure the QB enough, like Oklahoma did on their last game.
Ole Miss is the favorite and I was leaning towards this until they reacted on that stupid lineman.
Will that distraction be enough to play poor?
I don't know.
But I'm willing to test this and I pick the Cowboys in an entertaining game.
Cowboys win.

Sat. Jan. 2 - 12:00 pm ET
TaxSlayer Bowl
Penn State vs. Georgia

@EverBank Field - Jacksonville, FL
Since 1946 is this Bowl played, also once known as GATOR BOWL, renamed after a damn corporation sponsoring was found, and it is of cause played in Florida, on the home field of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
At the moment it is a SEC vs Big Ten Bowl.
Each team gets around 2.750.000$.
Not expecting much here.
Penn State did move themselves through an unimpressive BIG10 season, finishing 7-5 (granted, they had tough division rivals this season, but hey, as did the rivals), while Georgia did play OK until they faced Alabama and did sink from that moment on.
The Bulldogs were so unhappy over their 9-3 season, they fired their long lasting HC Mark Richt (which was immediately hired by Miami) and did hire Alabamas DC as new HC for next season.
Georgia should win this easily.
Penn State is far away from being a national contender, while Georgia did not play well enough to content in the SEC, but should be on 1 or 2 level higher, after healing up and preparation.
The Lions are not without a chance, but they will need a perfect game from their QB (which might turn pro) and a good, if not great, defense to stop Georgia.
Georgia on the other hand has all the tools to control the game and the clock.
Expect a nice mix of run and pass and expect them to pressure the QB.
Bulldogs win.

Sat. Jan. 2 - 3:20 pm ET
Liberty Bowl
Kansas State vs. Arkansas

@Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium - Memphis, TN
This one exists since 1959.
It's meant to play the Big 12 #4 vs a SEC pool pick.
Each team gets around 1.437.500$.
Kansas State did earn a Bowl spot by winning their last game and getting that 6th win.
I like that, because prior to the game, it was clear they would play a bowl, regardless of win or lose, since KSU has one of the best APR ranking of the country would have been considered as 5-7 team.
No, they went on the field and won that one, finishing 6-6.
Arkansas did start 2-4 and became a laughing stock fast with losses to Toledo and Texas Tech. But they did fight through this and came out of this season not only 7-5, but also as one of the least liked teams to play in the SEC, beating Ole Miss in OT and LSU.
They almost won against Mississippi State also.
Kansas State is a good team, well coached, but they had some problems over the season and that's not the Wildcats team of the past, it's the team winning their 6th game on season finale.
So no wonder they are the underdogs in this game against the Razorbacks and I doubt they will have a big impact on the field.
Arkansas better come in prepared, but if so, they will win this, easily.
That's not nice of me, but Kansas State will lose big here.
The Razorbacks did clash with the good teams of the SEC and some of those they won, how can an average BIG12 team win here?
It would be a major upset and would hurt Arkansas HC big time if the Wildcats would do that.
That's the motivation of coming in prepared, and winning this game, because that was the motivation after the 2-4 start.
Razorbacks win.

Sat. Jan. 2 - 6:45 pm ET
Alamo Bowl
#15 Oregon vs. #11 TCU

@Alamodome - San Antonio, TX
This Bowl exists since 1993 and has tie ins to the Big 12 and the PAC12.
Each team gets around 3.820.000$.
Can be a nice game, can be boring.
TCU had some ups and downs during the season, losing 2 of their last 4 (finished 10-2), while Oregon did start slow, but finished strong winning their last 6 (finished 9-3).
The only plus TCU has is their dynamic QB.
If they can make him do, what he can do best (run, scramble and juke), they can win this.
Of Oregon can contain that QB, TCU is in trouble, big time.
The Ducks did learn to score often again and they became better and better.
And that's something TCU was not really good in, during the season, keeping the other team from scoring.
I think they did only win their last game against Baylor, because the Bears went out of QBs during the season.
So, my pick is clearly on Oregon here.
TCU can win this, if they can score more than Oregon and I would like to see that.
Ducks win.

Sat. Jan. 2 - 10:15 pm ET (ESPN) Line
Cactus Bowl
West Virginia vs. Arizona State

@Chase Field - Phoenix, Ariz.
This does operate since 1989.
It's played at the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, a baseball team in MLB.
Normally this is played on the home field of the Sun Devils, but the stadium is under reconstruction during the off-season and this bowl will be played on Chase Field until 2018.
It does field a PAC12 Team facing a Big 12 team.
Each team gets around 3.325.000$.
Bad luck for the Sun Devils, they would have played at home.
But it's almost a home game anyway and they will face as 6-6 team a 7-5 West Virginia team, which does need a win.
Or let's say, their coach does need a win.
Since 5 seasons is Holgorsen coaching the Mountaineers and did so far win big (10-3, including an Orange bowl win) in his 1st season (the last in the Big East), but since then did win max 7 games each season and did go in 3 of 4 seasons to a bowl, losing 2 of them, playing the 3rd this season.
He is not a bad coach, but while other BIG12 teams did prosper, did the Mountaineers stay in mid field and did not content.
That's not the kind of performance West Virginia is used to.
Is he on a hot seat?
A bit.
Arizona State on the other hand did had the worst season under Graham since he came into town.
I don't think he is on a hot seat, but for sure, everyone would like to see the season ending on a high note, and not with 2 losses (last regular season game was a loss against Cal).
The Sun Devils are a favorite as home team and I think this will come down to team play on both sides.
Arizona State had great games and bad games, as had West Virginia.
That team with a better day form will win this.
I pick ASU, because I think that home field environment will help them to have that good day.
Sun Devils win.

'Til next time

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