Archive for December, 2006

Just a quick note on how things are going:

Poinsettia Bowl:   Prediction:  TCU  31    No. Illinois  21
Actual Result:       TCU 37  No. Illinois 7

I think I gave No. Illinois too much credit obviously.

Las Vegas Bowl:  Prediction:  BYU 37   Oregon 24
Actual Result:   BYU 38   Oregon  8

This one wasnt even a game.

New Orleans Bowl:  Prediction:   Rice 28  Troy  10
Actual Result:   Troy 41   Rice  17

Wow, what the hell happened to Rice?  So much for my thinking that they had made big strides there.

New Mexico Bowl:  Prediction:  New Mexico 27  San Jose State  24
Actual Result:  San Jose St.  20    New Mexico 12

Well, I thought this would be a good game. Congrats to the Spartans on a fine effort in front of a hostile crowd!

PapaJohns.com Bowl:  Prediction:   South Florida  35   E. Carolina  17
Actual Result:   So Florida 24  E. Carolina 7

About the right margin, just lower scoring.

Armed Forces Bowl:  Prediction:   Tulsa  24  Utah  21
Actual Result: Utah 25  Tulsa 13

I should have remembered that Utah almost always wins bowl games!

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This week starts the first round of the 2006 College Footbal bowl games, culminating on January 8, 2007 in Glendale, Arizona  with the National Championship between Florida and Ohio State. It is a shame that the smaller bowls dont get the major recognition that the major bowls do. Its true they dont pit high ranked teams together, but consider the following NFL survey:

Tony Romo, QB – Cowboys – Eastern Illinois
Terrell Owens , WR – Cowboys – U. Tennessee-Chattanooga
Tiki Barber, RB, – Giants – Virginia
Eli Manning, QB – Giants – Ole Miss
LaDanian Tomlinson, RB – Chargers – Texas Christian
Jerry Rice, WR – 49ers – Miss Valley State
Steve Young, QB – 49ers – BYU
Roger Staubach, QB – Cowboys – Navy
Terry Bradshaw, QB – Steelers – Louisiana Tech
Bob Lilly, DL – Cowboys – TCU
Eric Dickerson, RB – Rams, Colts – SMU

I could go on and on, but you get the idea.  So many great professional players, including many Hall of Famers, came from the not-so-major college programs, and these will be the one’s highlighted in the so-called “minor bowls”.  So I invite you to set aside some time and watch these games, and pay attention, as you might just be watching a future Hall of Famer!

Tuesday, December 19 – Poinsettia Bowl – Northern Illinois vs.  TCU

TCU (10-2) brings its #25 ranking to San Diego to take on the Huskies of No. llinois (7-5) who came in 3rd in the MAC-West this year. On the surface, and looking at the records, you might think this would be a cakewalk for the Horned Frogs. However, the Huskies bring the the #1 running back in the country, Garret Wolfe (over 1900 yards this year) leading an offense that beat Miami (OH), Temple, E. Michigan and C. Michgan, the latter appearing in the post-season also. TCU will need to have an inspired defensive game to stop Wolfe, while No. Illinois will need diversity in its offense to keep TCU off balance so that Wolfe can help them control the game. TCU gets in trouble when their offense can’t move the ball, so look for the Huskies to disguise alot of coverages.

Prediction:  TCU  31    No. Illinois  21

Thursday, December 21 – Las Vegas Bowl – BYU vs.  Oregon

BYU (10-2), ranked #19 in the country, always brings a potent offense with a strong WR corps.  They will match up against the Ducks from Oregon, who likewise bring an explosive offense under the leadership of Junior QB Dennis Dixon. Oregon averages over 31 points per game and has the Pac-10’s leading pass defense. But after losing to USC this year, they seemed to be their own worst enemy, losing 3 of its last 5 games of the year (3 in a row to end the season). The Cougars, however, are on a roll. QB John Beck has thrown for almost 900 yards and eight TD’s in his last 2 games.  With 10,646 yards and 76 touchdowns in his career, he is easily the best QB Oregon will face this year (including Johndavid Booty at USC).  The big question is if Oregon will come to play. They’ll need an extraordinary effort from their defense!

Prediction:  BYU 37   Oregon 24

Friday, December 22 – New Orleans Bowl – Rice  vs.  Troy

Both teams come into the Superdome sporting identical 7-5 records, but Troy is definitely the hotter team, winning 6 of their last 7 games and finishing 2nd in the Sun Belt Conference. Both teams rely on their offenses for wins. Rice is #113 in total defense in Div 1-A, but then Troy only manages an average of 21 points per game.  They actually had one common opponent, UAB:  Rice beat them 34-33, while Troy lost to them 21-3. Troy’s QB, Omar Haugabook threw for 17 TDs but also 16 interceptions. This doesnt bode good.

Prediction:   Rice 28  Troy  10

Saturday, December 23 – New Mexico Bowl – New Mexico  vs.  San Jose State

This should be an interesting matchup pitting the Lobos (6-6) and their fine QB Chris Nelson against  the San Jose State Spartans (8-4) and their outstanding cornerback Dwight Lowery.  Chris might want to be very careful, as Lowery has picked off nine this year. New Mexico also has one very hot running back by the name of Rodney Ferguson, who just recently ran for 210 yards in only 3 quarters against San Diego State, and 138 against BYU. San Diego will counter with QB Adam Tafralis, who three times this year, threw for over 80% completion rate to a couple of very fine WRs  James Jones and John Broussard. This might be one of the best matchups, despite the apparent disparity in record.

Prediction:  New Mexico 27  San Jose State  24

 Saturday December 23 – PapaJohns.com Bowl – So. Florida  vs. E. Carolina

Coach Jim Leavitt brings his 8-4 South Florida Bulls into Birmingham to take on Skip Holtz’ East Carolina Pirates (7-5).  South Florida is probably known best for their upset Big East win over West Virginia, basically knocking them out of any contention for any shot at a big bowl. They do it with an explosive offense and punishing defense. QB Matt Grothe, the Big East Freshman of the Year,  is a threat to both pass and run, which tears up defenses, so stopping him will be the Pirate’s #1 consideration. E. Carolina will need to rely on their senior QB James Pinkney to outgun their opponent, which wont be easy.

Prediction:   South Florida  35   E. Carolina  17

Saturday December 23 – Armed Forces Bowl – Tulsa  vs.  Utah

If you are wondering if this is a new bowl or not…its not.  Last year this was the Fort Worth Bowl, but the name was changed.  This game should come down to turnovers.  Utah is one of the best teams in the country in turnover margin, while Tulsa is just the opposite.  Tulsa (8-4) will need to focus a steady offense that averages a litle over 28 points/game behind its QB Paul Smith who has 15 TDs on the season completing around 70% of his passes. WR Idris Moss should figure prominately in Tulsa’s game plan against a modest Utah defense. The Utes will need a good solid running offense behind Darryl Poston. Why?  Because Tulsa has one of the best pass defenses in the country and held opponents to 10 points or less 5 times this year.

Prediction:   Tulsa  24  Utah  21

Sunday December 24 – Hawaii Bowl – Arizona State  vs. Hawaii.

Well if you like to witness how aerodynamically sound a football is, this will be the game to watch!  Hawaii’s (10-3) fabulous QB Colt Brennan, who just absolutely shattered NCAA records. He threw for almost 5000 yards and get this… 53 touchdowns!  Thats more than most QB’s throw in their career!  The Warriors’ Run-n-Shoot offense moves the ball quickly and scores often. Arizona State’s only hope is to find a way to get in his face. In order to do this they will need to bring pressure, but will they be able to without opening up big plays? The Sun Devils (7-5) will need the defensive game of their life, and their knack for big special teams’ play.  They led the Pac-10 in kickoff returns, for instance. Their defense averages almost 3 sacks per game, so if they get that kind of pressure it could be close.

Prediction:  Hawaii  41  Arizona State 21

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In a move that reeks of a sore-loser mentality, Republican members of Congress are sidestepping their responsibilities in order to make the new Congress harder to govern. Would we expect anything else from a White House led by total incompetents?

In an article posted in the conservative Wall Street Journal, the Republican leadership has moved to saddle the new Democratic majority with responsibility for resolving $463 billion in spending bills for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1. Rep. Bill Thomas (R., Calif.), outgoing chairman of the House Ways and Means committee, has been demanding that the Democrat-crafted 2008 budget absorb most of the $13 billion in costs incurred from a decision now to protect physician reimbursements under Medicare, the federal health-care program for the elderly and disabled.

To me, this just a continuation of a Bush-led mentality of ignoring the voice of the people, and a “scorched-earth” attempt at running government. It has been been one bad decision after another by this gullable, incompetent fool, with his own cronies making decisions for their own political gain (usually monetary and illegal), rather than establishing an air of cooperation and governing. Losing the majority in both houses of Congress has only made the infantile Republicans turn tail and run, rather than stepping up and doing their job.

Of course the unstated goal i of these “cut and run” tactics is to disrupt the Democratic agenda and make it harder for the new majority to meet its promise to reinstitute “pay-as-you-go” budget rules, under which new costs or tax cuts must be offset to protect the deficit from growing. With Congress turning off the lights this week, there seems no chance of saving many unresolved appropriations issues in Transportation, Commerce, Finance and Justice departments. Instead, most of the government will remain on a stopgap bill through Feb. 15, and in kicking this can down the road, the Republican leadership has no idea where it will stop rolling. Did I say leadership? Maybe thats too kind a word.

Interestingly enough, the so-called President could pay for his tactics by not dealing with the problems now. Democrats could simply extend the stopgap resolution again in February and set themselves up as a budget appeals court of sorts, to which the administration will have to come for relief. Even administration officials admit it could yet pay a price if the spending issues become entangled with President Bush’s spring supplemental-spending request for military operations in Iraq.

Speaking of Iraq, isnt it interesting that the Iraq Study Group, consisting of some of the greatest minds, both Republican and Democratic, and the new Secretary of Defense both agree than a major shift in strategy in Iraq needs to be changed, and yet we still hear those same words coming our of the puppet President “Stay the Course”?

With a Democratic House, and a Republican bonehead White House, we’ll see what kind of governing can be done soon. When you have all the muscle on your side, its easy to win a tug of war. What happens when all the muscle goes to the other side? Bill Clinton was able to set aside ideological differences and work WITH his Republican Congress very successfully. Of course, the man was a Rhodes Scholar and charasmatic. Our current President hardly compares.

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What a finish to a great regular season!

USC couldn’t muster enough offense to overcome an inspired UCLA defense today, and lost their change to play for a national title. In fact, the Trojans looked woeful in their lack of capability to move the ball effectively. The USC offensive line was terrible, and the play calling worse.  As a result they will settle for a Rose bowl match probably against LSU.  I will give the edge to LSU.

Wake Forest did its job, albeit in an unusual manner, in defeating Georgia Tech. As I predicted, Reggie Ball again couldnt perform in the clutch, and the Demon Deacon defense was equal to the GT defense.  So, the 9-6 win, gives Wake Forest an automatic bid to the Orange Bowl against Louisville, as Rutgers lost a heart breaker against West Virginia.

Florida surprised me and held on to beat Arkansas, thanks to a very stupid play by a Razorback punt returner, who muffed a punt inside the 5 yard line that was recovered by Florida.  My guess is that Florida will get put second by both coaches polls, so its going to be close to see if the computers bump them ahead of Michigan. I really hope so, frankly.

Kudos to the Oklahoma Sooners for winning the Big-12, beating Nebraska. Nebraska just couldn’t perform. Husker QB Zach Taylor threw 3 interceptions, which was very uncharacteristic. Nebraska was just bit this year with the inability to perform in big games, and this just was the last in a series of disappointments.  So, Oklahoma will go to the Fiesta, while Nebraska will go to the Cotton (most likely against Auburn.

So with our results of the day, some of the bowl games get pretty locked down:

BCS Championship:  Ohio State  v.  Florida- OSU will win this mainly because Chris Leak doesnt seem to do well in high pressure games.

Rose Bowl: USC  v.  Michigan – Classic pre-BCS battle. I think the Wolverines prevail with great defense.

Orange Bowl:  Wake Forest  v.  Louisville. –  This wont be a game. Louisville will dominate by at least 17 or more.

Sugar Bowl:  LSU  v.  Notre Dame – Notre Dame doesnt deserve to be in a bowl game and will be run off the field LSU. Look for JaMarcus Russell to have a big game, and the LSU defense to make life miserable for Brady Quinn.

Fiesta Bowl:  Oklahoma   v.  Boise State – This should be a very entertaining game. I like OU in a squeaker, late.

Capital One:  Arkansas  v.  Wisconsin – Another excellent game, which I think Arkansas wins by maybe a FG.

Gator Bowl:  Georgia Tech  v. West Virginia – West Va should run GT off the field.

Texas Bowl:  Texas Tech  v. Rutgers – This should be a very interesting game. Ray Rice for Rutgers should run rough-shod over the Red Raiders, but if Graham Harrell can show up, he should pass all over the Scarlet Knights.  Rutgers DOES have a defense though and will prevail in the end.

R&L Carrier New Orleans Bowl:  Troy  v.  Rice – Who the hell cares.

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