Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Sportscapper Island
| | New Years Eve Bowls 12-31
Sun Bowl - Oregon State vs. Pittsburgh 2:00 PM ET
Oregon State just gave coach Riley extension thru 2015 season, after his Beavers came within one game of going to first Rose Bowl in 43 years-- they beat USC, after starting season 0-2, losing 36-28 at Stanford, then 45-14 at Penn State. OSU won eight of nine after Penn State loss, losing on late FG at unbeaten Utah (31-28), then got trounced 65-38 at home in finale vs Oregon, when Rose Bowl was on line. Riley won his last four bowl games, scoring 38.3 ppg- they beat Missouri here 39-38 in 2006.
Pitt's last bowl win was 38-13 vs Oregon State in '02 Insight Bowl, only time these teams have met (Dennis Erickson's last game with Beavers)-- Panthers lost in bowls two years after that, and haven't been back since. All that was with Walt Harris as coach-- this is Wannstedt's first bowl game as a head coach. Panthers opened season losing to Bowling Green, but won four of last five games-- they went 7-2 vs bowl teams, so they played lot of good teams this year. Pitt has a -4 turnover ratio for year.
Underdog covered nine of last ten Sun Bowls, with underdog 7-5 SU in last 12; average total in last seven bowls is 68.4. Both head coaches have been head men in NFL, with Riley having been head coach in CFL, NFL (Chargers) and World League-- he won two Grey Cups in Winnipeg, and may be one of most underrated coaches in country, with 4-0 bowl mark. Wannstedt is famous for being an assistant under Jimmy Johnson with the Cowboys, but his head coaching career has been far less impressive. I am thinking Oregon State is the right side in this game.
Music City Bowl - Boston College vs. Vanderbilt 3:30 PM ET
Vanderbilt is playing in first bowl since '82, and is playing at home, after a 6-6 season where they started out 5-0, then lost next four games, losing 17-14 to Miss State, 10-7 to Duke, before winning 31-24 at Kentucky, a win that made them bowl eligible, but they lost to Tennessee and Wake Forest in last two games, making them 1-6 in last seven, scoring 14 pts or less in seven of their last eight games. Commodores were +9 in TOs in their 5-0 start (four of five wins were upsets), were -3 after that. Vandy is 3-3 this season against teams that went to bowl games. .
Boston College won its last eight bowls, covering six; they've played 10 games vs bowl teams this season (played Va Tech twice), scoring nine TDs on defense/special teams. Eagles were +8 in turnovers in their first four games, then -9 in next three, then +8 from that point on, +7 for the year- they only had 10 starters back this season, but overachieved once again. BC is 1-4 as road favorite this year, and this is road game, playing in same city as Vandy, even if it isn't in their stadium. .
Commodores waited 26 years to get back to a bowl, and didn't even get a road trip out of it, but make no mistake, they're excited to be playing in postseason. Vandy's offensive line lost all five starters from LY, has just four seniors who start, so it is surprising they're here. Coach Johnson is dead ringer for Steve Martin-- he won '01 national title in I-AA, so he's no jerk. Vandy has shaky QB play, so they'll be conservative. BC leads nation with 26 INTs, but has shaky kicking game. This is the #1 bowl team in country (8 wins in row) vs a bowl neophyte. Take the dog.
Insight Bowl - Kansas vs. Minnesota 6:00 PM ET
Two years ago, Minnesota was here, blew 31-point lead to Texas Tech, lost 44-41, and Glen Mason (who came to Minnesota from Kansas) was fired. Gophers were then 1-11 LY, so you know they're damn happy to be here, despite losing last four games after a 7-1 start. After allowing an average of 17.1 ppg in first eight games, they gave up 35.8 ppg in the last four games, which culminated with 55-0 debacle at home vs Iowa in the regular season finale. Everything turned an a hideous INT for TD they threw in last minute of Game 9 vs Northwestern, which cost them that game, and sent the season spiraling in a negative direction.
Kansas started year 5-1, losing tough Friday night game 37-34 down at South Florida, then limped home 2-4, giving up 35+ points in five of the six games- they did upset Missouri 40-37 in rivalry game at Arrowhead, but still, they had 12 takeaways in last four games and still allowed an average of 34.5 ppg, so you know they rarely forced a punt. Jayhawks are 3-3 vs spread as favorite this season. They became unbalanced late in season, running ball 56 times, throwing it 101 in last two games- they do have very good QB in smallish Reesing.
This is one bowl I'm glad is on NFL Network, not the best matchup, but t should be wide open at least; Kansas' defense got worn down in second half of both games and season- they gave up an average of 24.8 ppg, just in second half of games in last six contests. Minnesota is 4-1 vs spread as a dog this season-- I'm thinking in a game between two very mediocre teams, grabbing big spread is a wise thing to do.
Chick-fil-A Bowl - LSU vs Georgia Tech 7:30 PM ET
LSU had disappointing 7-5 season, going 3-5 in last eight games, and in one of the wins, they trailed 31-3 with 2:00 left in third quarter, vs Troy State. In all that, only one team (Florida) ran ball for more than 138 yds against them, so will be interesting to see hwo the option does against them. LSU just signed John Chavis to be the new defensive coordinator, so they're still going thru chaos as the bowl approaches, with this year's defensive coordinators off to other, less prominent coaching jobs. Tigers are 2-6 against the spread this season when favored.
Georgia Tech is at home in Atlanta, with their funky option offense that racked up 288-326-472-409 rushing yards in its last four games, with the four opponents Florida St-UNC-Miami-Georgia, all bowl teams, so this is a powerful offense, but LSU had time to prepare for it. Johnson was 2-0 vs spread as a bowl underdog at Navy (2-2 SU), losing last two by a combined total of four points to BC, Utah- he beat New Mexico 34-19, Colorado State 1-30 two years before that, but he's in deeper water here, against the Bayou Bengals. Tech was 3-1 as an underdog this season.
LSU went 7-5 this season without a major college QB, due to transfer of Perrilloux to I-AA school after numerous suspensions; hard to imagine a program like LSU getting stuck without a QB, but they did. Les Miles won and covered all three of his bowls at LSU, winning by the scores of 40-3/41-14/38-24; he knows how to win big games, but his Tigers have been disappointing, and this is road game for them in Atlanta, against a prolific running game. LSU is 0-6 vs spread in last six games, losing last two in regular season for first time since '81. Lean to Georgia Tech.