Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Bowl predictions, part 6

By the way, FSN Ohio is replaying a bunch of Ohio State games from the past few years. Right now, they're playing the 1999 Minnesota game, and tonight at 730pm, you can watch the 2005 Michigan game. Tomorrow at Noon is the 2002 nailbiter against Cincinnati.

Back to the bowls......

Music City Bowl
Clemson (8-4) vs. Kentucky (7-5)

In my mind, this game is an important one. If Kentucky wins this one, the SEC fans will begin their assault on reality with their claims to being the best overall conference. It's bullshit and Clemson must win this game in order to keep them in check throughout bowl season.

Fortunately, this shouldn't be a problem, and it's all because of the running game. Let this stat sink in before you make a wager on the Music City Bowl.

Clemson has the 5th-ranked rushing team in the NCAA.
Kentucky has the 112th-ranked rush defense in the NCAA.

Expect the Tigers to pound the ball early and often. James Davis and C.J. Spiller may both end up with huge days, eating up plenty of yardage (and the clock, for that matter). Kentucky will counter with a prolific passing attack (nearly 300 yards per game), but Clemson's pass defense is good, ranked 14th in the NCAA.

Clemson played well enough to beat then-#9 Florida State, then-#13 Georgia Tech (by 24 points), and even beat eventual ACC Champion Wake Forest.

Every time Kentucky played anybody good, they got monkey-stomped. Lost by 31 to Louisville. Lost by 19 to Florida. Lost by 49 to LSU. You can see they're in over their heads.

Clemson 41
Kentucky 27

Sun Bowl
Oregon State (9-4) vs. Missouri (8-4)

These two teams match up well, and both represent the second tier of their respective conferences. In the end, this game will be one that saves face for one conference, because I don't think either the Big 12 or the PAC-10 will win many games.

Missouri will try to spread the field all day long, because that's what they did throughout 2006. The problem for them is that Oregon State knows how to defend it....remember, they beat USC by shutting down the spread for 3 quarters and then holding on to the end.

The Tigers raced out to a 6-0 record and were ranked 19th when reality set in. Since then, they are 2-4.

The Beavers started slowly, losing three of their first 5 games. Then they found their groove and went 7-1 down the stretch, and five of those games were against bowl teams. They're no fluke.

Expect the late-season streaks to continue. Oregon State will thrive and Mizzou will keep sliding to a merciful end.

Oregon State 27
Missouri 24

Liberty Bowl
South Carolina (7-5) vs. Houston (10-3)

Seriously, who the hell told Houston they could play in a bowl? I'm pretty sure that Louisiana-Lafayette told them "no" when they actually beat the Cougars back in October. Yeah, yeah, they're champions of Conference USA, so they get in. But come on? Those wins against Memphis, SMU and Grambling State just don't impress me.

Which means that South Carolina, the team who was just one average kicker away from beating #2 Florida, will get an easy win.

I'll be pulling for Houston, just to shut SEC fans up, but I know who's going to win.

South Carolina 31
Houston 28

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