Obviously, intervening considerations have sidetracked me after I offered the first two installments of my postseason predictions, for which I humbly apologize and which I now will endeavor to rectify by providing the next four bowl forecasts.
Two points bear making before I proceed, however. First of all, I am omitting the Independence Bowl from the mix because I will be giving special attention to the matchup in Shreveport between now and December 28. Secondly, my record as a prognosticator is not an impressive one, so, whatever you do . . . Don’t Bet On It!
Emerald Bowl: Boston College Eagles v. USC Trojans (Dec. 26): Southern California fell off a cliff in 2009, relatively speaking, earning the Men of Troy the highly unflattering distinction of "Team Schadenfreude." Boston College, meanwhile . . . um . . . wait a second . . . yeah, the Eagles quietly went a perfectly respectable yet nondescript 8-4 with five conference wins for a league mark above .500, which far outdistanced USC’s disastrous record of 8-4 with five conference wins for a league mark above .500. Hang on, that can’t be right, can it? Oh, yeah, it is. All right, then, I’m going with the Trojans.
Music City Bowl: Clemson Tigers v. Kentucky Wildcats (Dec. 27): While I hope this proves to be a preview of an SEC East divisional matchup in a couple or three years, I’m still a bit miffed that those Outback Bowl clowns slammed the door on the possibility of a renewal of the rivalry in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. These two clubs ought to be fairly evenly matched, since capturing an ACC division championship is approximately equivalent to finishing in the muddled middle of the SEC, but the Country Gentlemen have C.J. Spiller and the Wildcats have the 11th-ranked rushing defense in the Southeastern Conference. Yeah, I’m thinking Clemson wins a close one.
EagleBank Bowl: Temple Owls v. UCLA Bruins (Dec. 29): Absolutely nothing about this bowl makes sense to me. I don’t get the idea of playing a college football bowl game in Washington, D.C., home of the efforts to foul up the sport permanently. I don’t know what EagleBank is, although I’d be willing to bet that EagleBank uses magicJack for its telephone/internet/facsimile/séance/other communication services. I can’t wrap my brain around the concept of Temple playing in a bowl game. The only part of this whole thing that computes is the idea of the Bruins being there, and that only happened because the Army Black Knights couldn’t hold a halftime lead against the Navy Midshipmen. Since everything else about this bowl seems like something out of a Salvador Dali painting, a David Lynch film, or that "Star Trek" episode where Mr. Spock had a goatee, I’m going with the only sensible aspect of the entire affair and picking UCLA to emerge triumphant.
Champs Sports Bowl: Miami Hurricanes v. Wisconsin Badgers (Dec. 29): Are there two teams in the country tougher to figure than these two? We’re twelve games into the year for each of these squads and I have no idea how good either of them really is. While the Big Ten is a better conference than the ACC, that isn’t saying much, and whatever advantage Wiscy enjoys by virtue of its superior league affiliation is offset by the stellar ratings "The U" received. (Would a documentary about Wisconsin football called "The W" garner as many viewers? I think not, even on the Big Ten Network.) I’m going with the ’Canes to make the bold declaration, "Badgers? We don’t need no stinking badgers!"
I’ll pick up next time with the games being played on the eve of New Year’s Eve. In the interim, though, you should heed my regular advice and refrain from placing trust in my forecasts, so I will remind you once again: Don’t Bet On It!