Saturday, December 21, 2013

Bilo's Picks: 2013-14 Bowls

Sorry for the lateness of this post, as I was suffering from an inconvenient flu bug all are my picks for the bowl season!

Las Vegas Bowl
Fresno State wins this game if they can use their offensive firepower aggressively and early. David Carr must get the ball to his talented receivers, and spread the field to neutralize the tough and rigid USC defense, which was the only bright spot for the Trojans in another down season.
USC is on their third coach this season, and that could effect the groove that USC can start on. If the defense can contain the Bulldogs using tight zones and blitzing, the Trojans could pull this one off..
My Pick: Fresno State

New Mexico Bowl
Washington State favors the pass. Colorado State can stop the run, but struggles against the pass. Washington State won't likely run all that much, so the edge goes to Mike Leach and company here.
My Pick: Washington State

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Buffalo was the surprise team in the MAC East this season, and they were in the race for the MAC title until the very end. San Diego State started the season by being blown out by FCS member Eastern Illinois, but put enough of a run together in the last 6 weeks to push for a bowl bid. Buffalo is the hotter hand here.
My Pick: Buffalo

New Orleans Bowl
This is a Tulane home game, with the Green Wave coming in as one of a number of surprise teams in CUSA. UL-Lafayette won the Sun Belt handily this season, and is now the reigning power in that conference. Once again, I am going hot hand here.
My Pick: UL-Lafayette

Beef O'Brady's Bowl
Ohio struggled for much of the season in the MAC, and really struggled to get to a bowl in 2013. East Carolina was the overwhelming favorite in CUSA, and they have one of the best QB/WR combos in the country.
My Pick: East Carolina

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl
I am still trying to figure out how Pitt got to a bowl this season after struggling much of the year despite the play of DE Aaron Donald. Bowling Green stuck around all season, and finally bounced Buffalo and Northern Illinois to win the MAC. Even though the Falcons are the hotter hand here, I like Pitt's defense to control the tempo.
My Pick: Pittsburgh

Hawaii Bowl
Who really wants to play in a bowl in the most non-Christmas place in the country on Christmas Eve? This bowl will probably suffer low ratings, and no buzz. Boise State is limping into this game this season, and Oregon State has been awful for the last 6 weeks, despite the play of Mannion and Cooks on offense.
My Pick: Boise State

Poinsettia Bowl
Utah State has one of the bets defenses in the country, and survived after the loss of QB Chuckie Keeton. Northern Illinois was a shoe in for the Fiesta Bowl before Bowling Green ruined their season in the MAC title game. If NIU and Jordan Lynch are suffering a hangover, anything can happen.
My Pick: Utah State

Military Bowl
Marshall took down CUSA favorite East Carolina behind the play of QB Rakeem Cato. Maryland was awful for weeks on end, and only gets here by virtue of a hot start to their season. Hot hand again.
My Pick: Marshall

Texas Bowl
Syracuse impresses me not at all, and barely scraped their way into this bowl with a .500 record. Minnesota had a huge season despite not having head coach Jerry Kill for most of the season. Interim Head Coach Tracy Klaes would have been a coach of the year candidate in most circles, and will be considered for our Big 10 award.
My Pick: Minnesota

Fight Hunger
This is probably the most interesting early bowl matches between Washington and BYU. BYU QB Taysom Hill is a dual threat QB on the rise, and Keith Price has had a very nice career that he's wrapping up. UW is going into the game with an interim coach before Chris Petersen arrives, so that gives the edge to...
My Pick: BYU

Pinstripe Bowl
This is one of the more "who cares" bowls of the season. I won't waste much time here. Rutgers is awful, and Notre Dame is passable at best right now.
My Pick: Notre Dame

Belk Bowl
Again, this bowl has very little buzz, and very little effect on the big picture. Again, a low energy game between Cincinnati and North Carolina.
My Pick: Cincinnati

Russell Athletic BowlNeither Louisville nor Miami lived up to expectations, and Miami was just plain flat the last few weeks of the season. Louisville barely scraped by in several high profile games, with Teddy Bridgewater's season looking highly average despite some nice numbers. If it weren't for Bridgewater, Louisville would have been a mess. Still, Miami slumped despite having Stephen Morris, who in my opinion, has been one of the most overhyped QBs in America.
My Pick: Louisville

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl
Michigan completely collapsed in Big 10 play this season, and Brady Hoke is feeling some heat heading into 2014. Kansas State was a team that most people paid no attention to this season, and despite being highly average, they seem to just find a way to hurt people at weird times.
My Pick: Kansas State

Armed Forces Bowl
Middle Tennessee had a slow start in 2013, but got hot in the second half, and comes into this bowl at 8-4. Navy was up and down, and never really got a rhythm going in 2013. That being said, Navy looks intriguing with an offense that can explode at any given time.
My Pick: Navy

Music City Bowl
Ole Miss and Georgia Tech both limp into the game having lost their rivalry games in situations where both should have won said games. I'll be honest, I won't be building my schedule around this tilt.
My Pick: Ole Miss

Alamo Bowl
You have to know that neither team really wants to be in San Antonio after all of the expectations that both fan bases had for the season. Texas will be coached by Mack Brown for the final time after he resigned last week, but do the Horns have the tools to keep up with Marcus Mariota and company?
My Pick: Oregon

Holiday BowlArizona State came up severely flat in the PAC-12 title game loss to Stanford, but Texas Tech is Flat Stanley coming into the bowl season. After a red hot start, GQ head coach Kliff Kingsbury must now find a way to motivate his team rather than concentrate on all the attention he's getting for looking like a movie star. Here's a side story...will Todd Graham still be coaching the Sun Devils, or will he have already bolted to join his old boss, Steve Patterson, at Texas?
My Pick: Arizona State

Independence Bowl
Here's the story line...Arizona's BJ Denker and Ka'Deem Carey against Boston College's Andre Williams. This could be fun, and is one of the more interesting matches, despite neither team being anything huge on a national scene.
My Pick: Arizona

Sun Bowl
UCLA may have fallen short of taking the PAC-12 South for the 3rd straight season, but they are coming off of two straight seasons of beating USC. The Bruins are coming in hot, and Virginia Tech is coming in after having been highly average for most of the season. For once, the Hokies may have found their match in the special teams game.
My Pick: UCLA

Liberty Bowl
Another no buzz game. Rice was a nice surprise in CUSA, but Mississippi State is as average as they come, only getting here by virtue of a last game win over Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl.
My Pick: Rice

Chik-Fil-A Bowl
As wonderful a story as Duke was over the final half of the season, they are outmatched on an athletic level once again. I usually like this bowl, but I feel a bad game coming on this year.
My Pick: Texas A&M

Gator Bowl
I can't really pick two teams who may be less deserving to be playing on New Year's Day than Nebraska and Georgia. In the old days, this would not have occurred. Too Many bowls?
My Pick: Georgia

Heart of Dallas Bowl
UNLV is taking a $200,000 loss playing this game. North Texas hardly has to travel. Again, a bowl that I would dump. UNLV was traded here after being originally touted for the Military Bowl, but the bowl couldn't have Middle Tennessee playing North Texas (both CUSA members). Hence, the trade.
My Pick: North Texas

Capital One BowlWisconsin had a solid season, and had it not been for a stronger Michigan State team, Wisconsin would likely be in the Rose Bowl. South Carolina hung around in the SEC East all season, pressing Missouri until the final game. This will be a battle, but don't expect a ton of points.
My Pick: Wisconsin

Outback Bowl
I am not exactly hyped about an Iowa-LSU matchup. Again, two teams who hardly deserve a New Year's Day bout.
My Pick: LSU

Rose Bowl
Always the best game on the bowl schedule. and to me, the only one that usually sets my schedule. It's the oldest, the grandest, and the king of all bowls. Stanford-Michigan State will be a fantastic tilt between two old school, smash mouth styled football teams. This is what the Rose Bowl is all about.
My Pick: Michigan State

Fiesta Bowl
This is the garbage plate bowl for the BCS, and has rarely ever gotten a top tiered matchup during the BCS era, which ends this year. This year we get Baylor, one of the more fun teams to watch in college football, against UCF, who, while solid, hardly matches up athletically with the Bears.
My Pick: Baylor

Sugar Bowl
This would have been a huge game in 1975. Not so much today. Alabama is a junior NFL team that had a bad moment against Auburn. Not that I'm complaining, but Alabama could have very well been playing in the title game. Don't expect Nick Saban to let the Tide have a letdown moment against an Oklahoma team who, let's face it, have hardly been a BCS bowl juggernaut.
My Pick: Alabama

Orange Bowl
This could be the best Orange Bowl in years, but the last time Clemson went to Miami for a bowl, they were crushed against West Virginia. This game has all of the makings of a solid tilt between two teams who love to play up tempo football. Expect lots of points between Clemson and Ohio State here.
My Pick: Ohio State

Cotton Bowl
The only reason that there is a Heart of Dallas Bowl is because this game got pulled out of the Cotton Bowl stadium and moved to the ridiculous megaplex that the Jerry Dome is. The Cotton Bowl should be played in the original stadium, and on New Year's morning. Despite all that, this Missouri-Oklahoma State match will be a blast to watch.
Oklahoma State failed miserably to hold off Oklahoma for a BCS birth, while Mizzou fell flat in the SEC title game. Both teams want the win here, but both could be flat as well.
My Pick: Oklahoma State

BBVA Compass Bowl
Another bowl that nobody asked for, except for maybe ESPN for advertising money. This may be one of their more enticing matches in this game's history, however, pitting Houston against Vanderbilt. Will James Franklin still be the coach of the Commodores?
My Pick: Vanderbilt

GoDaddy Bowl
I hope I have something else to do this night. Nobody really cares about this bowl game. Between Ball State and Arkansas State, BSU has the best news heading into the game, because they still have their head coach (Pete Lembo) after Bryan Harsin bolted ASU for Boise State.
My Pick: Ball State

National Title Game
Florida State and Auburn are intriguing for so many reasons. Auburn is red hot, but Florida State was never challenged by anyone all season. That being said, Auburn probably played the tougher schedule by far. Jameis Winston needs this game as a showcase for what he can do, but Auburn's run game, lead by option QB Nick Marshall, will have something to say about this title thing.
My Pick: Florida State

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