Monday, December 27, 2010

Bowl Breakdown-Part 4

Armed Forces Bowl
December 30, 12PM

SMU (7-6) vs. Army (6-6)
This game will be played at Ford Field, SMU's home stadium. This is the first back to back bowl appearance for the Mustangs since the Pony Excess days of the 80's. Army has not been bowling in 14 years, and has not won a bowl since the 1986 Peach Bowl. This is the meeting of two teams trying to surge into the national consciousness at the same time.
The Mustangs have not won more than 2 games in a row all season long, and they come in having been the loser of the C-USA title game. The one major issue holding SMU back is consistency. You cannot look at the schedule all season and see any real trends. They are a team that plays down to their competition, and plays up to people that they should lose to. QB Kyle Padron has been solid this seaosn, as he has passed for 3526 yards with 29 TDs against 12 picks. He averages 271 yards per game.
If Zach Line isn't running the ball, than nobody is. Line has rushed for 1362 yards on the season with 10 TDs, but the next highest total on the team is Chris Butler with 173 yards. The only other player to rush for a score is Padron with 4.
Aldrick Robinson and Cole Beasley have both gone for over 1000 yards receiving (Robinson has 1225 yards and 13 scores, while Beasley has 1036 yards and 6 scores). Darius Johnson is a solid 3rd option with 693 yards and 5 scores.
SMU is 1-4 against 2010 bowl teams this season.
Army has made it back to what was there perennial place back in the golden era of colege football. The proverbial joke of a team has regained dignity under Rich Ellerson. Ellerson has brought the grind back to Army football and has created an environment where bowling feels like a right of the program.
Ellerson has maintained the triple option as the meat and potatoes of the offense, with sophomore Trent Steelman completing his 2nd season as the starter at QB. Steelman has passed for 965 yards and has rushed for 579 yards. He scored 18 times combined in 2010, so he is the central focus of this offense.
Jared Hassin rushed for 921 yards and 9 scores, but considering that the Cadets run the triple option, and that there are no 1000 yard rushers, that bodes ill for Army.
Army has keyed on defense the last two seasons, but the scoring defense was a bit off this season. Josh McNary is still a star at DE, and leads the team in TFLs and sacks. SMU will likely double team him on the edge using creative blocking schemes using h-backs and motion men.
I Pick: SMU...More offense, more firepower in general.

Pinstripe Bowl
December 29, 3:30PM EST

Kansas State (7-5) vs. Syracuse (7-5)
This marks another game with two resurgent participants in the mix. Kansas State missed the bowl season last season, and Syracuse has been missing it for a while now. Both began a turnaround that could be a lasting thing.
The Wildcats were not exactly a force in Big 12 play, having gone 3-5 in conference play. QB play has not been a high mark again this season, and until K-State can find a solid signal caller, they have maxed out. Carson Coffman is the first choice at starter, having passed for 1832 yards and 12 TDs, but also has 7 picks to go along with low scoring production. Daniel Thomas is the offensive leader of this club, having rushed for 1471 yards and 16 TDs this season.
Aubrey Quarles is the only real receiving threat as he has 47 grabs for 685 yards and 5 TDs. K-State is a mixed bag on defense, so they have to maintain possession on offense to keep the defense off of the field.
Syracuse is a very similar team to Kansas State in almost every way. The Orangemen have turned a corner this season, and are still building towards the future under HC Doug Marrone. Ryan Nassib has begun to develop at QB and passed for 174 yards per game in 2010. Not great, but solid. He had a 2-1 TD/INT ratio (16 TDs to 8 picks). He held onto the job all season.
Delone Carter had a solid season at RB with 1010 yards and scored 7 times this season. He is a nice compliment to the change of pace game when the Orangemen need to wear down the clock.
Defensively, Syracuse held teams to 16 points or less 7 times in 2010, so the defense is pacing the team, and the offense is doing just enought to get by.
I Pick: Syracuse...It's an in-state game for Cuse, and they seem to have consitencies that Kansas State lacks at this point.

Music City Bowl
December 29, 6:30PM EST

Tennessee (6-6) vs. North Carolina (7-5)
This is a bowl game that I'll be honest with you about. Tennessee does not deserve this spot, and North Carolina barely does. Not going to be one of my favorite bowls to concern myself with. Both teams thrived more on off-field drama than that going on between the endzones this season.
Tennessee cannot decide between Tyler Bray and Matt Sims at QB, but Tyler Bray would be a better bet to start at this point. Neither player is a world beater.  Bray averages 192 yards per game on the season with 14 TDs.
Tauren Poole is the only real run game option for the Vols with 944 yards and 11 scores, but they don't brag a 1000 yards rusher.
Denarius Moore is the main deep threat with 912 yards and 9 scores. He averages just over 21 yards every time that he touches the ball.
TJ Yates had a huge season at QB for UNC. He averages 265 yards per game with 3184 yards on the season. He has, however, only passed for 18 TDs against 8 picks. Not great for a 3000 yard passer.
The rushing game is not great for the Tar Heels. Johnny White has only 677 yards on the season as the rushing leader. He has 7 TDs.
Dwight Jones is the primary receiver, but is not a spectacular game changer, and this game really lacks a game changer on either side.
I Pick: North Carolina...Someone has to win and it may as well be them.

Holiday Bowl
December 29, 10:00PM EST

Nebraska (10-3) vs. Washington (6-6)
This is one of the "Who Cares" bowls of 2010. If we all remember back in September, The Huskers crushed the Huskies in Seattle. I am going to cut this preview way short and state that Nebraska will repeat September's performance on the new stage in San Diego. This game is not worth breaking down.
I Pick: Nebraska...don't stay up late for this guaranteed blowout.

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