Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Bowl predictions, part 4

Onward we march.....

Motor City Bowl
Middle Tennessee (7-5) vs. Central Michigan (9-4)

I'm going to make this one very simple for everybody. Take Central Michigan. Although the MAC is not the greatest conference, it's still not easy to win. Everybody thought Garrett Wolfe would carry NIU to a title, or at least thought Akron had a shot at a repeat. Instead, Central Michigan had a great year and won when it needed to, especially in a 3-touchdown victory over Ohio in the title game. Give them respect for winning the conference, and bet on them to win in their home state.

As for Middle Tennessee, I have to wonder how they got to a bowl game anyway? They're 7-5, beating teams like Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana-Lafayette, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Arkansas State, Tennessee Tech, and North Texas. What the hell?

When they played good teams, they got killed. 24-10 to Maryland, 59-0 to Oklahoma, 44-17 to Louisiana, and 52-7 to South Carolina.

Nuff said. Take the Chippewas.

Central Michigan 24
Middle Tennessee 17

Emerald Bowl
Florida State (6-6) vs. UCLA (7-5)

OK, so this game isn't exactly the greatest bowl game, considering the average play of each team throughout the year, but at least we can say that both teams have a tradition and KNOW how to play bowl games.

Florida State never really put together much of anything this year. Even when they beat Miami early on (when everyone still thought both teams were good), it wasn't impressive. The teams combined for three yeards rushing. But still, they beat a big rival and that gets respect. Also, they held their own and could have knocked off Florida, who is preparing for the big one.

UCLA struggled during the middle of the year, an a heartbreaker at Notre Dame was the focus of a 4-game losing streak. But nobody can deny the Bruins anything after they stole the dreams of everyone at the rival university. That win against USC was one for the ages.

This game will be all about defense. Neither team has an outstanding offense, which means I expect the game to be low-scoring. But the key to this game isn't about offense or defense...it's about intangibles.

UCLA wants to win because they need to build on that big win over USC. They return 19 starters next year and could be a contender if they maintain confidence, and they could do that by winning a bowl game.

FSU needs to win to save face. A losing record is NOT welcome at Football State University, and would devastate a lot of their recruiting efforts in a state that has Florida's Urban Meyer promoting the BCS Championship Game as their focal point. Going 6-7 on the year would be the best thing to happen to the Gators. "Son, you want to stay in Florida to play college ball? You can come here and play for national championships, you can go to FSU and try to be average, or you can play for......wait, who's the coach at Miami again?"

Take the Bruins. Not even Bobby Bowden will scare the Bruins this year.

FSU 17

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