The proliferation of bowl games in college football is attested to by the fact that I have predicted fifteen games already, yet I haven’t yet made it as far as New Year’s Eve. I will rectify that situation below, but, before I get to that, I must offer my usual disclaimer. I’m really bad at predicting the outcomes of college football games, and you should bear that in mind before wagering any of your hard-earned money on my skills as a prognosticator. In short, whatever you do, . . . Don’t Bet On It!
Pinstripe Bowl: Kansas St. Wildcats v. Syracuse Orange (Dec. 30): Come on, now. A wildcat is a carnivorous and opportunistic predator known to prey upon animals as large as roe deer or antelopes. An orange is a citrus fruit lacking any natural defense system. Also, Kansas State brings more than one wildcat to bear, whereas Syracuse offers up just one orange. That’s hardly a fair fight, is it? Maybe the Orange would stand a chance if Syracuse’s bowl game was against, say, the Georgia A&M Peach, the Hawaii State Pineapple, or the California Southwestern Pomegranate, but, against Kansas State, the Orange are
Music City Bowl: North Carolina Tar Heels v. Tennessee Volunteers (Dec. 30): We in Bulldog Nation have a special disdain for UNC over the Chapel Hill school’s spurious claim to being the oldest state-chartered university in the land, so I am pleased as a Georgia partisan to see the Tar Heels meet the Volunteers in Nashville. "Your nickname dates back to the War Between the States? Wow! Impressive! FYI, ours dates back to the War of 1812, you bunch of powder-blue parvenus. S-E-C! S-E-C! S-E-C!" In 1964, Vince Dooley led the Georgia Bulldogs to a six-win regular season and a low-scoring bowl victory in a campaign that featured a triumph over UNC. In 2010, Derek Dooley will match that feat for Tennessee, then he will teach the North Carolina players proper shower discipline so they can get their heels clean before the 2011 season.
Holiday Bowl: Nebraska Cornhuskers v. Washington Huskies (Dec. 30): If you’re like me, and you recall the 1991 meeting in Lincoln between these two teams that propelled the Huskies to a share of the national championship, you like the idea that the next meeting between these two teams could come in a Rose Bowl. At the moment, though, it reminds me of the Cornhuskers’ Alamo Bowl date with the Northwestern Wildcats a decade ago. On the night that game was played, my wife and I had some friends from college over for a holiday get-together, and we played Balderdash while the game was on in the background. The sound was muted, and I was sitting on the floor with my back to the television, and, every time I turned around, Nebraska had scored again. While I don’t anticipate that the final score of this game will be 66-17 the way it was that night, I also didn’t anticipate that the Big Red Machine would win last year’s Holiday Bowl by 33 points, either. I wish Washington well, but this game is a mismatch, and I fully expect the ’Huskers to shuck the Huskies.
Meineke Car Care Bowl: Clemson Tigers v. South Florida Bulls (Dec. 31): The sad fact that the Fort Hill Felines are facing the Bulls in Charlotte instead of the Bulldogs in Nashville means that we currently are in the longest gap ever separating series meetings in the long and storied history of the Georgia-Clemson football rivalry. Naturally, I wish this season had ended with the neutral site game that produced the 63rd chapter of Fighting Like Cats and Dogs, but, since it didn’t, I’ll give a nod to the traditional Georgia rival I miss the most by picking the Tigers to defeat USF.
Sun Bowl: Miami Hurricanes v. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Dec. 31): The Sun Bowl is the fifth-oldest existing bowl game, after the historic four major postseason tilts (Cotton, Orange, Rose, and Sugar Bowls). The Irish and the ‘Canes have a storied "Catholics versus convicts" rivalry dating back to their days as the nation’s top two independent powers. Why, then, does this feel like a consolation game between a pair of mediocre also-rans? Oh, right: it is. Both squads sport 7-5 ledgers, with Miami having gone 5-3 in ACC play and Notre Dame having finished 1-2 in Big Ten play. This should be a competitive game, although that is not a compliment to either outfit, and, in the end, talent will tell as the Hurricanes outlast the Hibernians.
Believe it or not, we’re actually a little more than halfway through the picks for this year’s bowl slate, so stay tuned, and, in the meantime, remember: Don’t Bet On It!