Bowl Preview Part 2

Bowl Preview Five!!

Bowl Preview Five!!

Here is part two of our Scrubs-themed bowl preview. If you made it through all 11,000+ words, I thank you.

Armed Forces Bowl, December 31st, Fort Worth, TX

Houston vs. Air Force

“Bob, the day I willingly cradle your dusty old twig and berries and get a whiff of your chronic halitosis while you turn your head and cough is the day you can look for me up on the roof singing ‘I Believe I Can Fly’.”

This hilarious rant from Dr. Cox only loosely fits here, but again, it’s my column. After all, Air Force has a lot to do with flying and the song “I Believe I Can Fly” was once played during a space mission. A space mission flown by NASA – which is in Houston. Case closed.

Players to know:

Houston – Case Keenum, QB – In his first year as the starter, the sophomore leads the nation in passing yards per game at 397.3, 1.7 ahead of Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell. Keenum has complete 375 of 556 passes for 4,768 yards and 43 touchdowns. The completions, attempts, and touchdowns all rank 2nd in the nation. Despite those numbers, Keenum was just 2nd team all-Conference USA, losing out to Rice’s Chase Clement.

Air Force – Jake Paulson, DE – The senior became the first defensive lineman in school history to be named 1st team all-conference. Paulson finished 2nd in the Mountain West with 8.5 sacks and 3rd in tackles for loss with 14. He also scored the first touchdown by an Air Force defensive lineman since 1997 on a fumble return against Utah.

Other stats to be aware of:

Houston ranks 1st in the nation in total offense (2nd in pass offense) at 575.1 yards per game and 10th in scoring offense at 41.2 points per game. On the flip side, the defense ranks 102nd in total defense and 92nd in scoring defense. Air Force has the 5th best rush offense in the nation and leads the nation with 710 rushes, an average of 59.2 per game, while throwing only 120 passes, second fewest to Navy. The Falcons had three games in which they ran the ball more than 70 times and won a game this year in which they did not complete a pass – 31-28 over Houston.

Random Thought:

It seems rare that you see a bowl game rematch but we get one in the Armed Forces Bowl. You will also rarely see two offenses more different – the #2 pass offense vs. the #117 pass offense and the team who has thrown the 2nd most passes vs. the team who has thrown the 2nd fewest. Good stuff.

Sun Bowl, December 31st, El Paso, TX

Pittsburgh vs. Oregon State

“Lonnie, you look ridiculous – except for that glorious moustache.”

This quote is self-explanatory since the Wann-stache is involved.

Players to know:

Pittsburgh – LeSean McCoy, RB – McCoy, a sophomore, was named first team All-Big East for the second year in a row, rushing for 1,403 yards and 21 touchdowns this season. McCoy leads the nation in scoring at 10.5 points per game and is just the 3rd player in Pitt history to rush for more than 1,000 yards twice. He needs two rushing TDs against the Beavers to break the single-season school record.

Oregon State – Jacquizz Rodgers, RB – The true freshman tailback was named 1st team all-Pac 10, Freshman Player of the Year, and Offensive Player of the Year in the conference. He rushed for a conference freshman record 1,253 yards and 12 touchdowns. Rodgers also caught 29 passes for 247 yards and one score.

Other stats to be aware of:

This game appears to be a fairly evenly matched contest between two conferences that do not cross paths all that often. Oregon State and Pittsburgh’s defense allow nearly the same amount of yardage per game, with the Panthers surrendering 320.8 and the Beavers giving up 323.3. On the offensive side of the ball Oregon State would seem to have the edge, averaging 418.3 yards and 32.8 points, while the Panthers put up 356.2 yards and 29.3 points per contest.

Random Thought:

Prediction: An embarrassing moment occurs before the game while the coaches from each team are talking. Pittsburgh coach Dave Wannstedt has to repeatedly remind Oregon State coach Mike Riley that “my eyes are up here” as Riley’s eyes continually move to Wannstedt’s upper lip.

Music City Bowl, December 31st, Nashville, TN

Boston College vs. Vanderbilt

“Do you people have any idea how long I’ve been waiting on you? Next time, if you’re not here in thirty minutes or less, I expect a free dead body…or at least some garlic knots.” “Dr. Kelso, I think that’s extremely insensitive.” “I don’t think so. Miss Parker, you care to weigh in?…Nope, she’s fine with it. And she knows a thing or two…except, of course, that a yellow light means to slow down.”

Vanderbilt fans have been waiting on their team to make a bowl game for 26 years, but their wait is over now. And they don’t even have to leave Nashville to get there. No word on free garlic knots.

Players to know:

Boston College – Mark Herzlich, LB – The junior standout was named 1st team all-ACC and the conference Defensive Player of the Year after leading the Eagles with 98 tackles. Herzlich was one of only two LB’s in the country to intercept six passes (finishing tied for 5th in the nation) and returned two of them for touchdowns.

Vanderbilt – D.J. Moore, CB – Moore was named 1st team all-SEC and 2nd team All-American by the Associated Press, becoming the 1st Vanderbilt player to be honored nationally by that organization since 1997. Moore enters bowl season with six interceptions, amassed 143 yards and two touchdowns receiving, averaged 9.1 yards per carry, and also took snaps at quarterback and as a return man.

Other stats to be aware of:

This game could be considered the bizarro Oklahoma State-Oregon game as the two offenses squaring off here have struggled throughout the year. Boston College ranks 94th in total offense and 61st in scoring offense, while Vandy sits at 117th and 104th in those categories. In fact, the Commodores are the only bowl team averaging less than 20 points per game. Boston College does boast the 6th ranked total defense and both teams are in the top 25 in scoring defense. Thus, it is entirely possible that the Oklahoma State-Oregon game will have a higher score after one quarter than this one has at the end of the game.

Random Thought:

Congrats to Vandy for making their first bowl game since 1982. Although the SEC is a little watered down this year, that should take nothing away from the job Bobby Johnson is doing at Vanderbilt. After a couple of near misses in recent years, no program deserved a bowl opportunity more than Vandy.

Insight Bowl, December 31st, Tempe, AZ

Kansas vs. Minnesota

“And this is a fact: you are what you eat. And you clearly went out and devoured a big fat guy, didn’t you?”

This one seems pretty self-explanatory, too.

Players to know:

Kansas – Dez Briscoe, WR – The 2nd team all-Big XII pick set school records for receiving yards (1,206) and touchdown catches (12). His 78 receptions would have set a school record if not for teammate Kerry Meier’s 87 catches this season. Just a sophomore, Briscoe also set a single-game school record with 269 receiving yards against Oklahoma.

Minnesota – Willie VanDeSteeg, DE – A 1st team all-Big Ten selection by the coaches, the senior finished 4th in the conference with 9.5 sacks and 18 tackles for loss. VanDeSteeg is also the all-time Golden Gopher career leader in tackles for loss with 43.5.

Other stats to be aware of:

Kansas WR/QB Kerry Meier deserves mention for his performance this season. Meier is KU’s backup QB, having been replaced as starter by Todd Reesing last year and still practices with the quarterbacks. However, on game day, he starts at wide receiver and emerged as Reesing’s favorite target. As mentioned above, his 87 receptions set a single-season school record, totaling 932 yards and 7 touchdowns.

Random Thought:

The NCAA ranks Kansas’s schedule as the 11th toughest in the country but they certainly got the short end of the straw from the Big XII. The three teams Kansas played from the South Division were Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech. Considering that Oklahoma and Texas are seemingly always tough, why would any team from the North ever have to play both? Kansas was put at a serious competitive disadvantage because of their in-conference schedule, perhaps costing them a shot at the Big XII North title. If they had played Texas A&M or Baylor instead of one of the big three, there may have been 3-way ties in both divisions. Wouldn’t that have been fun?

Chick-Fil-A Bowl, December 31st, Atlanta, GA

Georgia Tech vs. LSU

“Okay, come on: Two coins. Thirty cents. No nickels. Come on! You can do this! You went to Harvard, for God’s sake!”

Janitor’s plea to himself to solve J.D.’s riddle may also apply to LSU QB – and former Harvard QB – Andrew Hatch. Hatch is out for the season now, but had a passing efficiency rating of just 118.4 when he was in the lineup, indicating the riddle he couldn’t solve was opposing defenses.

Players to know:

Georgia Tech – Jonathan Dwyer, RB – The sophomore running back was named 1st team all-ACC and the conference’s Offensive Player of the Year. Dwyer leads the ACC in rushing (110.7 yards per game) and is 2nd in touchdowns scored (13). He has 1,328 yards on the season, averaging 7.0 yards per carry.

LSU – Brandon LaFell, WR – Despite inconsistent quarterback play for the Tigers, LaFell totaled 61 catches for 903 yards and eight touchdowns, earning 1st team all-SEC recognition. Ninety-seven yards in the bowl game would give LaFell the 6th 1,000-yard receiving season in school history.

Other stats to be aware of:

Georgia Tech ranks 3rd in rush offense and is one of only three teams to average 50 rushes per game, while ranking 116th in pass offense, ahead of only the three service academies. In addition to Dwyer, Roddy Jones and Josh Nesbitt also ran for over 600 yards apiece and combined for 11 touchdowns on the ground. LSU’s Charles Scott has run for 1,109 yards and 15 touchdowns so this game should feature a lot of running.

Random Thought:

All of the “experts” who wondered whether Georgia Tech’s option offense would work in a BCS conference should be stripped of their public platform. At what point will everyone realize that it isn’t the scheme, it’s the players? The surprise should be that it worked in year one of the Paul Johnson era, not that it worked. If you have the horses, your offense will probably work – if you don’t, your offense probably won’t. It seems pretty simple.

Outback Bowl, January 1st, Tampa, FL

Iowa vs. South Carolina

“Let’s play Steak. Steak: the first person to finish their steak is the winner of Steak.”

What other game could Turk’s explanation of Steak apply to other than the Outback Bowl?

Players to know:

Iowa – Shonn Greene, RB – The Doak Walker Award winner, likely consensus 1st team All-American, and 1st team all-Big Ten running back has set the school’s single-season record for rushing yards (1,729) and tied the record for rushing touchdowns (17) heading into the bowl game. Greene’s story has been well-documented as it should be – from out of school and working at a furniture store to Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year is a great tale that shouldn’t be ignored.

South Carolina – Eric Norwood, LB – Norwood racked up 13.5 tackles for loss and 9 sacks this season, earning 1st team all-SEC honors from the coaches and the media. The junior is South Carolina’s all-time leader in tackles for loss with 42 and is 3rd all-time in sacks with 22. This was his 2nd straight 1st team honor from the league’s coaches.

Other stats to be aware of:

On paper, this has the look of a defensive struggle. The two teams rank 11th and 12th in total defense and Iowa currently stands 8th in scoring defense. South Carolina’s pass defense is 3rd in the nation while Iowa’s run defense ranks 10th. On the offensive side of the ball, South Carolina ranks 109th in rush offense, 97th in total offense, and 92nd in scoring offense. While not a juggernaut the Hawkeyes rank significantly higher than the Gamecocks, coming in at 29th in rush offense and 35th in scoring offense.

Random Thought:

I cannot pretend to be unbiased in this one. I will enjoy seeing Mitch King play one more game – the 1st team all-Big Ten defensive lineman is a beast. Perhaps no one in the nation gets held more often than King, but I certainly have no evidence to back that up. I do know that very few teams have blocked him with any success. He will probably be tougher to replace than Greene, who will almost certainly turn pro after the bowl game.

Gator Bowl, January 1st, Jacksonville, FL

Clemson vs. Nebraska

“I was just a little disappointed to find out who you really are.”

Just as J.D. was disappointed to find out Dr. Briggs cared too much about her surgery stats, Clemson fans were disappointed to find out the preseason Top 10 ranking was way, way off. Clemson had to win its last three games just to be bowl-eligible as two of their seven wins came against Division I-AA teams.

Players to know:

Clemson – C.J. Spiller, RB – Spiller was named 2nd team all-ACC at running back and 1st team all-conference on special teams. Spiller ran for 612 yards and seven touchdowns and caught 30 passes for 430 yards and three touchdowns. The 430 yards set a school record for receiving yards by a running back. Spiller also returned 15 kickoffs for 419 yards and one touchdown and 14 punts for 127 yards. His per game average of 144.4 all-purpose yards rank him in the top 25 in the nation.

Nebraska – Ndamukong Suh, DT – The junior nose tackle was named 2nd team all-Big XII by the league’s coaches. Suh led the team in tackles with 68, and added 15.5 tackles for loss, and 5.5 sacks. The 6’4” 300 pound lineman had two interceptions, returning them both for touchdowns. Suh also played some snaps on offense at fullback, scoring on a two-yard touchdown reception against Kansas.

Other stats to be aware of:

Nebraska QB Joe Ganz set single-season school records for passing yards (3,332), completions (266), completion percentage (69.3), and total offense (3,589). Unfortunately for Ganz, the numbers didn’t even merit honorable mention in the QB-heavy Big XII this season. Also, since I like statistical oddities, here is one from the Cornhusker season – in the season opener against Western Michigan, kicker Alex Henery made four field goals, all from 44 yards. Weird.

Random Thought:

Nebraska’s season eerily resembles Iowa’s. Both teams started 3-0, lost three straight, won the next two, lost game nine, and finished the season with three more victories. Both are now playing in a New Year’s Day bowl in the state of Florida against a team from the state of South Carolina. I wonder if many of Nebraska’s fans irrationally hate their offensive coordinator, too.

Capital One Bowl, January 1st, Orlando, FL

Michigan State vs. Georgia

“Do you drink out of the toilet? My bulldog drinks out of the toilet.”

A haughty patient’s question to Dr. Cox is fitting since a lot of Georgia fans feel a 9-3 season belongs in the toilet. The preseason #1 team has loads of talent but got embarrassed in its two biggest games (Alabama and Florida) and blew a big halftime lead against in-state rival Georgia Tech in the season finale.

Players to know:

Michigan State – Javon Ringer, RB – Ringer was 1st team all-Big Ten and was a finalist for the Doak Walker Award. Ringer ranks 1st in the nation in carries (370), tied for 2nd in touchdowns (21), 3rd in rushing yards per game (132.5), and 4th in rushing yards (1,590). For good measure, Ringer also caught 25 passes for 160 yards and returned 11 kickoffs for a 20.4 average.

Georgia – Knowshown Moreno, RB – Moreno was the 3rd finalist for the Doak Walker Award along with Ringer and Iowa’s Shonn Greene. The 1st team all-SEC pick has totaled 1,338 yards and 16 touchdowns on 227 carries, plus 329 yards and one score on 27 receptions.

Other stats to be aware of:

Georgia ranks 21st in total offense and 28th in total defense, while Michigan State is much lower in both – 66th in total offense and 62nd in total defense. Georgia has a huge advantage in the major offensive and defensive categories except scoring defense, in which the Spartans are 42nd while the Bulldogs are 64th.

Random Thought:

This could be an interesting game as both of these teams come in with solid records but got blown out in their biggest tests – Georgia by Alabama and Florida and Michigan State by Ohio State and Penn State. Ringer and Moreno may be a wash but Matt Stafford seems to have a huge advantage over Brian Hoyer. Is that a prediction? Nope, I don’t do those.

Rose Bowl, January 1st, Pasadena, CA

USC vs. Penn State

“The man’s 92 years old. He has full dementia. He doesn’t know we’re here. He is inches from Carla’s rack and he hasn’t even flinched.”

I don’t think I need to explain this one.

Players to know:

USC – Rey Maualuga, LB – Maualuga is arguably the top defensive player in the nation – the Bednarik Award winner, the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year, now a 3-time 1st team all-conference selection, and an All-American according to all the teams that have been named thus far. Maualuga leads USC with 73 tackles, including 2.5 for loss, and has two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown against Ohio State.

Penn State – Derrick Williams, WR – The do-it-all Williams was one of 10 Nittany Lions selected as 1st team all-Big Ten. He ranked second on the team in receptions with 40, covering 451 yards and three touchdowns. In addition, he ran for 226 yards and three scores and threw for 23 yards, taking many snaps at QB late in the season. Williams also averaged 9.4 yards on 18 punt returns with one touchdown and had 18 kickoff returns for a 27.0 yard average and two scores.

Other stats to be aware of:

USC ranks 14th in scoring offense and 1st in scoring defense (a miniscule 7.8 points per game), allowing only 11 touchdowns and just 3.38 yards per play, also the lowest in the nation. The Trojans are also #1 in pass defense and total defense, and 5th in rush defense.

Random Thought:

Joe Paterno signed a contract extension this week to stay on until at least 2011. I’m afraid that he is going to die on the sidelines before he quits but I do believe he has been good enough for long enough that if that is how he wants to go, it should be his decision. Of course, that doesn’t mean every reporter out there won’t still ask him the same questions over and over, but that is all they are good for, anyway.

Orange Bowl, January 1st, Miami, FL

Virginia Tech vs. Cincinnati

“That’s perfect. It’s simple; it’s elegant; and it’ll hide her turkey neck.”

This quote from Dr. Kelso fits because um….er….let’s just move on.

Players to know:

Virginia Tech – Macho Harris. CB – Harris was named 1st team all-ACC for the second straight season after intercepting six passes and returning two for touchdowns. Harris also played on offense, rushing for 48 yards on five carries and catching eight passes for 63 yards, and on special teams, returning 24 punts for a 9.8 yard average.

Cincinnati – Mardy Gilyard, WR – Gilyard earned 1st team accolades in the Big East as a receiver and a kick returner this season. Gilyard has grabbed 74 passes for 1,118 yards and 10 touchdowns heading into the bowl game. The yardage is a single-season school record, while he needs seven receptions and three touchdowns to break those records as well. On special teams, he has 32 kickoff returns for 897 yards and two touchdowns. The yardage and touchdowns are also school records, while two returns in the bowl game will give Gilyard a clean sweep of those categories.

Other stats to be aware of:

This has the look of a defensive battle as Virginia Tech ranks 7th in total defense but just 107th in total offense, and both defenses are stingy as far as allowing points – the Hokies rank 13th and the Bearcats 26th. The teams are at the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of turnover margin with Virginia Tech standing 18th and Cincinnati 83rd.

Random Thought:

I can’t think of anything to say about this game and it’s been a while, so let’s play the name game. Here it’s a battle between Cincinnati’s Kazeem Alli and Isaiah Pead against Virginia Tech’s Jahre Cheeseman and Dustin Pickle. Clearly, it’s a name game rout in favor of the Hokies.

Cotton Bowl, January 2nd, Dallas, TX

Ole Miss vs. Texas Tech

“Are you insane” “No, I’m a pirate.”

This exchange between J.D. and Janitor fits this game perfectly due to the presence of Texas Tech coach – and admitted pirate-phile – Mike Leach.

Players to know:

Ole Miss – Peria Jerry, DT – Jerry was voted 1st team All-American by the Associated Press as well as all-SEC by the AP and the coaches after piling up an SEC-high 17 tackles for loss and a team-leading six sacks. He also forced two fumbles and had a fumble return for a touchdown.

Texas Tech – Michael Crabtree, WR – The sophomore won his 2nd consecutive Biletnikoff Award and will certainly be a consensus All-American for the 2nd straight season as well. Crabtree finished the regular season with 93 catches for 1,335 yards and 18 touchdowns. His totals for receptions per game and receiving touchdowns rank 5th and tied for 2nd, respectively. In just 25 career games, Crabtree owns the Texas Tech career records for receiving yards (3,097) and touchdowns (40).

Other stats to be aware of:

Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell leads the nation in completions (406) and attempts (568) while ranking second in yards (4,747), 3rd in completion percentage (71.48), and tied for 4th in touchdowns (41). As a team the Red Raiders stand 1st in passing offense and 4th in total and scoring offense. Ole Miss’s strength lies on the defensive side of the ball, ranking 6th against the rush, 15th in total defense, and 14th in scoring defense.

Random Thought:

I wrote about this the day the Heisman was awarded, but whatever committee invites attendees should be ashamed for not inviting Harrell, Crabtree, and/or Iowa’s Shonn Greene. Harrell’s numbers are right there with the other Big 12 QB’s but I guess he didn’t count in this race just like many people thought Texas Tech shouldn’t count in the tiebreak.

Liberty Bowl, January 2nd, Memphis, TN

Kentucky vs. East Carolina

“Heeey ho, it’s waffle time, it’s waffle time, won’t you have some waffles of mine!”

Two teams from the south are playing a bowl game in the south. I assume everyone involved with this one can appreciate Dr. Cox’s rendition of J.D.’s waffle song. The reason? The south is home to one of the greatest places on earth – Waffle House.

Players to know:

Kentucky – Trevard Lindley, CB – Lindley intercepted four passes and was credited with 11 passes defended this season, a season that saw him voted 1st team all-SEC. A junior, Lindley was a semifinalist for the Thorpe Award and has already set the Kentucky career record for passes defended with 34.

East CarolinaC.J. Wilson, DL – Wilson was named 1st team all-conference after leading Conference USA with 18.5 tackles for loss. He also led the team 10.5 sacks and finished 4th on the team with 64 tackles.

Other stats to be aware of:

Better than average defenses (37th and 43 in total defense and 33rd and 40th in scoring defense) square off against worse than average offenses (78th and 87th in total offense and 83rd and 105th in scoring offense) in this game. The teams look equal in most respects except for the quality of the conference in which they play. The SEC-niks certainly believe Kentucky should stomp any challenger from Conference USA so it will be interesting to see how this one plays out.

Random Thought:

Remember after two weeks when East Carolina was the popular “BCS Buster” of all the talking heads after wins over Virginia Tech and West Virginia? I do believe that was the first time someone from ESPN was ever wrong. Also, I firmly believe that anyone who uses the term “BCS Buster” or “Bracket Buster” during college basketball season should have their head busted open. No one busts the BCS – everyone qualifies by either winner their conference or meeting the various requirements for at-large teams. Please, I implore all the talking heads – stop using the term “BCS Buster”.

Sugar Bowl, January 2nd, New Orleans, LA

Utah vs. Alabama

“Oh, I keep forgetting – you’re a horrible, horrible person.”

I’m sure Alabama fans believe Saban will be in Tuscaloosa forever and don’t think Slick Nick will ever leave them. Fans in East Lansing, Baton Rouge, and Miami thought the same thing.

Players to know:

Utah – Louie Sakoda, K/P – Sakoda has been named to a few All-American teams (AP, FWAA, Walter Camp) already and was named the Mountain West Conference Special Teams Player of the Year award for the 3rd straight year while being named 1st team all-conference kicker and punter. He has converted 52 of 53 extra points and 21 of 23 field goals while averaging 41.7 yard on 50 punts. He also threw two passes this year, completing one for nine yards.

Alabama – Andre Smith, LT – Even a former lineman like me is guilty of ignoring the players who form the bedrock of a solid offense, but Smith deserves to be noticed. He was named the Outland Trophy winner last week and was named 1st team All-SEC for the 2nd consecutive year. In addition to those honors, Smith has been named an All-American by the AFCA, the FWAA, the Walter Camp Foundation, and more honors are sure to follow.

Other stats to be aware of:

Not surprising for a game with two teams who combine for a 24-1 record, the team stats are gaudy. Alabama ranks 4th in rush defense, 3rd in total defense and 6th in scoring defense while Utah is 14th, 18th, and 12th in the same categories. The offenses are more solid than spectacular (Utah 31st and Alabama 56th in total offense), but both rank in the top 30 in scoring offense, suggesting they are both opportunistic.

Random Thought:

There is little doubt Nick Saban is an excellent coach but as the above quote implies, I won’t be applying for membership to his fan club. Bailing on the Dolphins after two years of coaching and two months of denying rumors he was leaving was a low move – albeit not as low as what Bobby Petrino pulled on the Falcons. However, the most inexcusable thing about Saban leaving the Dolphins was that Miami management clearly went insane and forced us fans to live through the misery that was the Cam Cameron era (year). Thanks, Nick. This is another game that SEC fans would like to believe there is no chance they will lose. I’m not saying Utah will win, but the idea isn’t as far-fetched as those below the Mason-Dixon would have you believe.

International Bowl, January 3rd, Toronto, ON

Buffalo vs. Connecticut

“I don’t want to beat them. I want to embarrass them.”

This quote from Dr. Wen before the Doctors vs. Surgeons wheelchairs race applies because when I hear “Buffalo vs. Connecticut”, I think intensity. You can throw out the records when these northeastern neighbors get together. I hope Canada is ready for this fierce battle.

Players to know:

Buffalo – Naaman Roosevelt, WR – The 1st team all-MAC wideout has rewritten the Buffalo record books this season, setting marks in receptions (86) and yards (1,196), while tying the record for touchdown catches (10). Roosevelt also leads the MAC in receiving yards per game and should set career records in all of the above categories during his senior season next fall.

Connecticut – Donald Brown, RB – The nation’s leading rusher supplanted West Virginia’s Pat White as Big East Offensive Player of the Year and been named 2nd team All-American by the Walter Camp Foundation and the AP. Brown has rushed for 1,822 yards on 338 carries and scored 17 touchdowns. Brown is also the school record holder in single-season and career rushing yards and single-season and career rushing attempts and is just two shy of the career touchdown mark.

Other stats to be aware of:

The Bulls rank just 74th in scoring defense and 96th in total defense, while UConn is 24th and 10th, respectively. Buffalo ranks much higher in the offensive categories, featuring the school’s all-time leading rusher (James Starks) and passer (Drew Willy) in addition to the aforementioned Roosevelt. Like Roosevelt, Starks is only a junior, although Buffalo will have to replace Willy next season.

Random Thought:

This will mark Buffalo’s first bowl game in school history. They were selected for the Tangerine Bowl in 1958 but the team voted unanimously to refuse the offer because they would only be allowed to participate if their two black players did not play. I often take shots at ESPN and am quite cynical about the company in general, but if you haven’t read the Outside the Lines story about that team, you should do so.

Fiesta Bowl, January 5th, Glendale, AZ

Ohio State vs. Texas

“You seem unhappy. I like that.”

This quote from Janitor to J.D. fits a game that involves more unhappy people than any other. Texas is unhappy they are in the Fiesta Bowl instead of the National Championship game. Most of the rest of the nation is unhappy that Ohio State is in another BCS game. And I am unhappy that Ohio State is in the BCS because otherwise I would have spent a stupor-filled week in San Antonio because Iowa would have been in the Alamo Bowl.

Players to know:

Ohio State – James Laurinitis, LB – Laurinitis became a rare three-time All-American this season and added the 2008 Lott Trophy to his 2006 Nagurski and 2007 Butkus awards. He led the team with 121 tackles and added 5.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, two interceptions, and one forced fumble. In addition to multiple All-American honors, Laurinitis was also named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year for the 2nd straight year.

Texas – Colt McCoy, QB – McCoy has collected several post-season honors this season, having been named 1st and 2nd all-Big XII, to various All-American teams, and as Big XII Offensive Player of the Year. The Heisman runner-up is completing 77.6 percent of his passes, which will shatter the NCAA single-season record. McCoy has thrown for 3,445 yards and 32 touchdowns, while also leading Texas in rushing with 576 yards and 10 scores.

Other stats to be aware of:

Strength vs. strength and in this one as Texas’s offense (8th in total offense, 5th in scoring offense) squares off against Ohio State’s defense (9th in total defense, 7th in scoring defense). It also should be noted that despite being 50th in total defense, Texas does rank 20th in scoring defense despite playing in the wide-open Big XII. Oklahoma has the next highest-ranked scoring defense in that conference, coming in at 57th nationally.

Random Thought:

I, for one, am tired of Ohio State ruining the reputation of the entire Big Ten. Penn State had no chance at the title game with one loss this season, ostensibly because of the view that the Big Ten cannot compete at the national level. The recent bad losses by Ohio State serve as the fuel for that perception. I guess that makes it convenient for SEC fans to look down on the Big Ten. I imagine they would have a barrel full of excuses for how Michigan beat Florida and the sainted Tim Tebow last year. That’s right; the second coming is 0-1 against the Big Ten as a starter.

GMAC Bowl, January 6th, Mobile, AL

Tulsa vs. Ball State

“And I need you to crunch the numbers on next year’s budget.” “Sir, that would be a job for the accounting department. I’m an attorney.” “Uh-huh, and speaking of crunching, I have been jonesing for some Double-Stuf Oreos all day. Why don’t you see if you can hook me up?

This exchange between Dr. Kelso and the lovable sad-sack Ted seems enough of a fit for a bowl game sponsored by a financial services company.

Players to know:

Tulsa – Tarrion Adams, RB ­– The league’s second-leading rusher has 1,316 yards and 11 touchdowns and was named 1st team all-C-USA. He rushed for a school-record 323 yards against Tulane earlier this season and needs 93 yards in the bowl game to become Tulsa’s all-time leading rusher.

Ball State – Nate Davis, QB – Davis was named 1st team all-MAC and the conference’s Offensive Player of the Year after throwing for 3,446 yards and 26 touchdowns heading into the bowl game. He is the school’s all-time passer with over 9,000 yards and has a year of eligibility remaining.

Other stats to be aware of:

Ball State is not all passing as running back MiQuale Lewis has rushed for 1,701 yards and 22 touchdowns, both totals establishing single-season school records. Tulsa has an even more prolific offense, as evidenced by the numbers of David Johnson. Johnson garnered just honorable mention all-conference despite throwing for 3,866 yards and 43 touchdowns, good for a tie for 2nd in the nation. Tulsa ranks 2nd in both total offense and scoring offense while Ball State is 11th in total offense and 17th in scoring offense, so this could turn out to be a very entertaining game.

Random Thought:

Our final chance for the name game – Tulsa sends out the pairing of Moton Hopkins and Da’sor Horton. Ball State counters with Gonzalo Barinaga and Spain Cosby for the win.

BCS Title Game, January 8th, Miami, FL

Florida vs. Oklahoma

“I guess he’ll always be a hero to me.”

J.D.’s view of Dr. Cox fits here because of the ridiculous fawning and hero worship lavished upon Tim Tebow by “objective” media. I’m fairly certain Verne Lundquist thinks this very line every time he gazes longingly at the life-size poster of Tebow on his bedroom ceiling. (Incidentally, this quote is from a great episode – Ted and the Worthless Peons sing cartoon theme songs throughout. Not as good as the episode when they sing the theme from Charles in Charge, but I digress….)

Players to know:

Florida Tim Tebow, QB – While I admit to Tebow/media fawning fatigue, I also admit that he is a heck of a player. The 1st team all-SEC quarterback and SEC Offensive Player of the Year has completed 64.9 percent of his passes this season for 28 touchdowns while throwing just two interceptions. Tebow has also rushed for 564 yards and 12 touchdowns and ranks as one of the best, if not the best, short-yardage runners in the nation.

Oklahoma – Sam Bradford, QB – The Heisman winner’s numbers this year are certainly worthy of the award. Bradford leads the nation with 48 touchdowns while ranking 2nd in yards per attempt (10.10), 3rd in yards per game (343.38), and 7th in completion percentage (68.33), while throwing only six interceptions.

Other stats to be aware of:

The nation’s #1 (Oklahoma – 54.0) and #3 (Florida – 45.2) scoring offense meet for the national title. Oklahoma scored a ridiculous 97 touchdowns this season and set an all-time NCAA scoring record with 702 points. Just as impressive is that Florida finished 5th in scoring defense, although there are not a lot of offensive juggernauts in the SEC outside of Gainesville. Regardless, Florida’s average margin of victory this year is a ridiculous 33.4, while Oklahoma’s checks in at 29.5. Also, Oklahoma became the first school to have a 4,000-yard passer and two 1,000-yard rushers in the same season. Think about it – that’s a whole lot of yards.

Random Thought:

Two outstanding quarterbacks, two high-powered offenses, and two rabid fan bases clash in this game. I will admit that I hope Oklahoma wins, but I hope even more that the game lives up to the billing. Something like the Texas-USC game from a few years ago would be nice. I will be avoiding the hype machines leading up to the game and look forward simply to watching this game, as well as most, if not all, of the others. I hope you enjoyed the preview as much as I enjoyed researching and writing it.

~ by Bristol on December 18, 2008.

14 Responses to “Bowl Preview Part 2”

  1. Great stuff. If only we could have the drunken stuper weekend in San Antonio.


  2. Congrats to Boss and Douger for assisting on a piece that appeared on Hot Clicks. Chris, is it lonely out there all by yourself?


  3. Troy went to Yale, not Harvard.


  4. Rover,

    Good point. The janitor is talking to himself instead of Troy. I misread the quote. Post edited.

    My face is red like a straw-brary because of the error.


  5. It’s Dr. Nguyen, not Dr. Wen.


  6. IMDB,, and Wikipedia all have it spelled Wen. I’m not sure whether they are right or you are, just passing the blame for the mistake.


  7. actually in one episode it is harvard, and then in the episode where they repeat a lot of humor (my deja vu, my deja vu) it is yale… so your oth right…


  8. Air Force – Jake Paulson, DE – The senior became the first defensive lineman in school history to be named 1st team all-conference.

    Ever hear of a guy name Chad Hennings? I think he beat Paulson to 1st team all-conference, by about 21 years.


  9. Big Show,

    Take it up with the Air Force school website. Re-reading the press release, it appears they probably meant in the Mountain West Conference but they did not take pains to be specific.

    And of course I’ve heard of Chad Hennings. I’m from Iowa. What a silly question.

    Sorry to have wasted your precious time with a mistake of semantics.


  10. game lives up to the billing. Something like the Texas-USC game from a few years ago would be nice. I will be avoiding the hype machines leading up to the game and look forward simply to watching this game, as well as most, if not all, of the others. I hope you enjoyed the preview as much as I enjoyed researching and writing it.


  11. […] Big ol bowl previews from Is Not a Waste Land. Part 1 | Part 2 […]


  12. […] Bowl Preview Part 2 Here is part two of our Scrubs-themed bowl preview. If you made it through all 11,000+ words, I thank you. […]


  13. Great Article. Drunken stupors in San Antonio are underrated. I would have preferred a Texas/Florida or Florida/USC matchup. Oklahoma is 0-4 in BCS bowls. A playoff would settle all of this mess though. “NCAA Division 1/Big Money Bowl bash high-five” The TODD.


  14. Did that work?


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