Sunday, December 30, 2007

Bowl Bonanza Part Two

Happy New Year!

Welcome to the second set of bowl picks from The Campus Game. These picks cover New Year's Eve and New Year's Day games.

We are off to an outstanding start with a 12-2 professor's picks record heading into the Alabama-Colorado matchup tonight. If you'd like to view our picks for the games up to December 30th simply scroll down or click here.

We will wrap up our bowl picks on Wednesday with predictions for post-New Year's Day Bowls, including the BCS title game.

If you want to visit a bowl website, simply click on the game. Enjoy!

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl
Dec. 31 at 12:30 (ESPN)
Air Force (9-3) vs. Cal (6-6)
The Falcons of Air Force go bowling for the first time in five years. Troy Calhoun was Mountain West coach of the year in his first season as head man at the Academy. His offense is lead by little Chad Hall, a 5'8 hybrid back who gained over 1400 yards rushing and caught 46 passes for 488 more. The Cal Golden Bears were at one point considered a national title contender (and reached a #2 ranking) but collapsed, losing six of their last seven. The Bears are more talented, but the Falcons will be more excited about the bowl game. A hunch says Cal. Prof's Pick: Cal

Brut Sun Bowl
Dec. 31 at 2:oo (CBS)
South Florida (9-3) vs. Oregon (8-4)
These teams both reached a #2 ranking during the season before falling. Oregon fell harder and farther, primarily because outstanding QB Dennis Dixon was lost for the season after suffering a knee injury in a loss to Arizona. South Florida packs a nice one-two offensive punch with QB Matt Grothe and RB Mike Ford, and the Bulls defense is rated 19th nationally. Ducks haven't done much since losing Dixon, so I ride the Bulls. Prof's Pick: South Florida

Roady's Humanitarian Bowl
Dec. 31 at 2:00 (ESPN2)
Georgia Tech (7-5) vs. Fresno State (8-4)
The Blue Field Bowl provides us rematch of the compelling 2002 Silicon Valley Classic (ok, it was discontinued two seasons later but we needed a lead). Actually, players rave about the treatment they get in Boise (after they thaw out) what with snow-mobiling and other cold weather activities not usually associated with bowl games. Georgia Tech (7-5) will have interim head coach and defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta at the helm because head man Chan Gailey was fired at the end of the regular season. Paul Johnson of Navy will take over the program after the bowl game. Expect Tenuta to blitz even more than normal (which is a lot) against the Bulldogs (8-4). Both teams run the ball well; Tech’s TB Tashard Choice (1310 yds) led the ACC in rushing and is one of the nation’s best. Each team has won the Humanitarian Bowl in a previous appearance. Prof's Pick: Georgia Tech

Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl
Dec. 31 at 4:00 (ESPN)
Kentucky (7-5) vs. Florida State (7-5)
Bobby Bowden will fit in Nashville like a fiddle and steel guitar. The head Seminole takes FSU to a 26th consecutive bowl, but he will be without a staggering 35 Seminoles due to suspensions. Those numbers might not bode well against high-scoring Kentucky. Their main threat is senior QB Andre Woodson who passed for 3351 yards and 36 touchdowns as the Cats scored almost 37 points per game. That’s a lot of firepower going against a suspect FSU secondary. Let’s give a final word to Daddy Bowden … “We’ve got to get better there (the secondary) … if we don’t they’ll score a million.” Not a million, but enough. Prof's Pick: Kentucky

Insight Bowl
Dec. 31 at 5:30 (NFL)
Indiana (7-5) vs. Oklahoma State (6-6)
The Hoosiers are a nice story as they go to a bowl just six months after the death of head coach Terry Hoeppner due to complications from a brain tumor. Hoeppner provided the foundation for IU's first bowl appearance in fourteen years and you know emotions will be high in Tempe. The Cowboys of OSU score a lot but give up almost as many points, so expect a big game from Indiana QB Kellen Lewis. Could be a shootout, and I always go with a Cowboy in a shootout. Prof's Pick: OSU

Chick-fil-A Bowl
Dec. 31 at 7:30 (ESPN)
Auburn (9-3) vs. Clemson (8-4)
This is always a dream matchup for the folks in Atlanta. Two great programs with enthusiastic fans about the same distance from the city. The bowl game is almost always exciting, so this is one I'm really looking forward to. Clemson QB Cullen Harper had an All-America type season (27 TDs vs. 6 Int), and has super running backs James Davis and CJ Spiller. Auburn relies on a rugged defense, but the offense might be in a bit of flux as new offensive coordinator Tony Franklin comes in from Troy. Nice game. Prof's Pick: Clemson

Outback Bowl
Jan. 1 at 11 a.m. (ESPN)
Tennessee (9-4) vs. Wisconsin (9-3)
In addition to a New Year’s trip to sunny Tampa, a 10 win season will be the reward for the winner of the Outback Bowl. Tennessee comes into the game after losing a tough SEC championship game to LSU. The Volunteers controlled the title tilt most of the way, but two uncharacteristic Erik Ainge interceptions turned the game around. Ainge passed for 3157 yards and 29 TDs, and was only sacked 3 times in 476 passing attempts. Wisconsin brings a more balanced offensive attack to the game as the Badgers average over 200 yards passing and rushing. A major concern is that TB P.J. Hill is likely out for the bowl game. That injury is enough to give the Big Orange an advantage. Prof's Pick: Tennessee

AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic
Jan. 1 at 11:30 a.m. (Fox)
Arkansas (8-4) vs. Missouri (11-2)
The venerable Cotton Bowl will host two teams with something missing. Missouri is missing a trip to a BCS game, passed over in the Orange Bowl for a Kansas team the Tigers whipped soundly in late November. Mizzou lost to only one team this season, Oklahoma, but the Sooners beat the Tigers twice. QB Chase Daniel passed for 4170 yards and 33 touchdowns, came in third in Heisman balloting, and led his offense to 40 points per game. One player who finished ahead of him was Razorback great Darren McFadden. D-Mac was Heisman runner-up for a second consecutive year, rushed for 1725 yards and 15 touchdowns, and also provided a passing threat when lining up at QB in the Wild Hog formation. Arkansas will be missing Houston Nutt, who stepped down (under pressure) to take the Ole Miss job. DC Reggie Herring will coach the bowl game before new head Hog Bobby Petrino takes over (unless he takes yet another job between now and then). Crank up the scoreboards at the old Cotton Bowl. Prof's Pick: Missouri

Konica Minolta Gator Bowl
Jan. 1 at Noon (CBS)
Virginia (9-3) vs. Texas Tech (8-4)
This is probably the least appealing of the New Year's Day bowls, but hey - any bowl is a good bowl. The Cavaliers won a bunch of close games this season, but it is unlikely they faced a passing attack like the TT Red Raiders bring to Florida. Tech QB Graham Harrell threw for 5298 yards and 45 TDs. He will be facing one of the nation's best defensive end in UVA's Chris Long. Expect the six shooters to be firing away for the Red Raiders. Prof's Pick: Texas Tech

Capital One Bowl
Jan. 1 at 1:00 (ABC)
Florida (9-3) vs. Michigan (8-4)
Something old and something new. Sounds like a wedding ditty, but this phrase applies to the new Heisman Trophy winner, Florida QB Tim Tebow, and the old Michigan man Lloyd Carr, coaching his last game for Big Blue. Tebow became the first sophomore to win college football’s most prestigious award by posting mind-boggling touchdown numbers (29 passing and 22 rushing) while accounting for nearly 4000 yards of total offense. The Wolverines will be trying to send Carr out on a winning note as he steps down after 12 years as head man, and as always seniors RB Michael Hart and QB Chad Henne will be providing leadership. Expect youth to trump experience in this contest as the Gators try to nail down a 2008 preseason #1 ranking by wearing out the Wolverines. Prof's Pick: Florida

Rose Bowl
Jan. 1 at 4:30 (ABC)
USC (10-2) vs. Illinois (9-3)
The Granddaddy may be a snoozer this year because USC could outclass Illinois. The Illini offense provides the best chance for a Big Ten victory as QB Juice Williams, RB Rashard Mendenhall, and WR Aurrelious Benn spear-head a potent spread option attack. Many people still believe the Trojans are the best team in the nation, but close losses to Oregon and Stanford, along with a host of injuries hurt them. The Trojans are well now. Prof's Pick: USC

Allstate Sugar Bowl
Jan. 1 at 8:30 (Fox)
Georgia (10-2) vs. Hawaii (12-0)
This Sugar Bowl should be mighty sweet this season because each team will have something to prove. Georgia was ranked #4 in the BCS poll going into the last game of the season. When numbers one and two lost, many Georgia fans figured their beloved Bulldogs would get the championship game bid. Instead the Dawgs actually dropped in the final poll (even though they were idle) as conference champions jumped them. The Georgia defense played well late in the season, but the real story was the emergence of freshman running back sensation Knowshon Moreno (1273 yards). Working in tandem with senior Thomas Brown (706 yards despite missing a couple of games) behind a line that started three freshman, Moreno and QB Matthew Stafford hit stride at mid-season and never looked back. The Sugar Bowl gives Georgia a chance to prove a point nationally (and to set themselves up for a high preseason ranking in 2008). The best way to do so would be to wallop the Warriors of Hawaii. June Jones’ islanders also come with a chip on the shoulder as many felt they did not belong in a BCS game. QB Colt Brennan has put up incredible numbers (4174 yards, 38 TDs). The only two other non-BCS conference teams to make a BCS bowl (Utah and Boise State) both won their games. Expect Georgia to end that streak and make a statement. Prof's Pick: Georgia