I’m not going to lie to you; this season’s bowl picks were a fiasco. I blew the call on seven of the first eight postseason tilts before dropping seven straight between the EagleBank and Chick-fil-A Bowls. This has been my worst year of postseason prognostications ever, so I’m not even going to bother with warning you not to bet on it. Here are my forecasts for the last four games of the 2009 college football season:
Fiesta Bowl: Boise St. Broncos v. TCU Horned Frogs (Jan. 4): While I am a big believer in Boise State, there is no mistaking the statement the Mountain West has made this postseason. A Fiesta Bowl win by Texas Christian could be to the MWC’s future as an automatic BCS qualifier what the West Virginia Mountaineers’ victory over the Georgia Bulldogs in the 2006 Sugar Bowl was to the Big East’s continued retention of that same status. The Broncos will give TCU a good game at the scene of Boise State’s greatest triumph, but, in the end, we’ll all be yelling, "How ‘bout them Frogs!"
Orange Bowl: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets v. Iowa Hawkeyes (Jan. 5): The Big Ten has brought me nothing but aggravation since ending its regular season back in mid-October or whatever ridiculously early date the Midwest insists upon setting for bringing sports to a screeching halt before allowing the rest of us to get back to college baseball after the spring thaw in the vicinity of the Great Lakes. I picked the Ohio St. Buckeyes, the Penn St. Nittany Lions, and the Wisconsin Badgers to lose, and they all won. I picked the Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Northwestern Wildcats to win, and they both lost. Since I clearly cannot pick a Big Ten game correctly under any circumstances, and since I really don’t want to hear about it from Ramblin’ Wreck fans, I’m selecting the Golden Tornado to defeat the Hawkeyes. You can thank me later, Iowa fans.
GMAC Bowl: Central Michigan Chippewas v. Troy Trojans (Jan. 6): Thank goodness ESPN elected to save the best for last! If given the prompt "penultimate game of college football season" as part of a word-association test, which of us would not reply instantly "MAC against Sun Belt in Mobile, Alabama"? I know Troy will enjoy home state advantage at Ladd-Peebles Stadium (although I didn’t know that either Alan Ladd and Melvin Van Peebles or Cheryl Ladd and Mario Van Peebles ever made a movie together), but Troy is, after all, just one guy, and the Chippewas will be able to counteract him with Dan LeFevour, leaving CMU with a ten-man advantage. I like those odds for Central Michigan.
BCS National Championship Game: Alabama Crimson Tide v. Texas Longhorns (Jan. 7): Let me be clear from the outset that this is not a conference homer pick. Four years ago, when the USC Trojans were being declared the greatest team of all time, I picked Texas to win the Rose Bowl. However, if you pair comparable (read: equally overrated in the preseason yet not half-bad) clubs from the Big 12 and the SEC in the Cotton Bowl, the SEC team will claim a 14-point victory. If you pair comparable (read: mediocre overall and awful defensively) clubs from the Big 12 and the SEC in the Independence Bowl, the SEC team will claim a 24-point victory and the Big 12 team will point out all the deficiencies of the SEC. While 2009 has been a down year for both leagues, there is a gap at the top and I have greater faith in the ability of University of Georgia graduate Kirby Smart’s defense to stop Texas than I have in the ability of University of Georgia graduate Will Muschamp’s defense to stop Alabama. Despite the Heisman Trophy jinx, I think the Tide will roll.
Well, I’m finally finished . . . that takes care of all 98 Division I-A bowl games! Have a happy new year, enjoy what little remains of college football season, and, whatever you do . . . Don’t Bet On It!