I have predicted nearly all the bowl games, and already I am well on my way to getting most of my forecasts wrong, so, as I prepare to offer my final five prognostications for this college football postseason, I feel honor-bound to remind you for the final time in the 2010 campaign that you simply must heed the advice I routinely give you: Don’t Bet On It!
GoDaddy.com Bowl: Miami (Ohio) RedHawks v. Middle Tenn. St. Blue Raiders (Jan. 6): In the battle of the color-coordinated mascots, do the odds favor the team with a directional indicator and "State" in its name or the squad that parenthetically identifies its home state in its nomenclature? Ah, what do you care; you’re just watching it for the risqué Danica Patrick ads that will refer you to the internet to continue watching their commercials. I, for one, am not going to take Miami (Ohio) lightly; we in Bulldog Nation learned that lesson the hard way in the 1974 Tangerine Bowl. I’ll be rooting for the Blue Raiders out of regional pride and revenge for that stinging 36-year-old bowl defeat, but I’m taking the RedHawks to win the game.
Cotton Bowl: LSU Tigers v. Texas A&M Aggies (Jan. 7): This is starting to get a little awkward, isn’t it? First, the Aggies inked a deal to play Arkansas, then they accepted a bowl bid to play Georgia, now they’re taking the opportunity to play Louisiana State. All right, we get it: Texas A&M is totally into the SEC! Get out of that abusive relationship with Texas, and we’ll talk, but, until then, stop calling us! I don’t know whether there will come a point in this game at which an Aggie tailback slips a Tiger linebacker a note reading:
Do you like us?
. . . but I am confident that Texas A&M will lose to the Bayou Bengals and like it.
BBVA Compass Bowl: Kentucky Wildcats v. Pittsburgh Panthers (Jan. 8): This fight between ferocious felines may not move the needle for basketball-obsessed Bluegrass State boosters or coachless Keystone State supporters, but, for denizens of Bulldog Nation who recall the Red and Black’s encounters with Pitt during the heyday of the present Big East program, there is a strong sense of conference loyalty that compels
us me to side with Kentucky, if for no other reason than SEC solidarity.
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Boston College Eagles v. Nevada Wolf Pack (Jan. 9): Am I the only one who’s bothered by the notion that a bowl dedicated to fighting hunger selected teams whose mascots are birds of prey and a social group of canines that hunts down smaller animals? If that’s indicative of the way in which the event’s organizers intend to fight hunger, this game may need to be moved from AT&T Park in San Francisco to the Flavian Amphitheatre in Rome. Although Nevada will be attending a bowl game for the sixth straight season, the Wolf Pack has a less than stellar postseason history, as the club from Reno has lost four consecutive bowls by a combined margin of 131-65. The only three bowl wins in Nevada history came against North Texas, Ball State, and Central Florida, but this Wolf Pack outfit is a solid squad, so I’m picking Nevada to buck recent trends and get the win over Boston College.
BCS National Championship Game: Auburn Tigers v. Oregon Ducks (Jan. 10): This game features two of the top six teams in the country in scoring offense, two of the top six in rushing offense, and two of the top seven in total offense. The Ducks rank ahead of the Plainsmen in all three categories. Oregon also ranks in the top fifteen nationally in scoring defense and in the top 30 in total defense, but Auburn ranks 54th and 53rd, respectively, in those categories. While the Tigers have amassed the more impressive resume en route to their date in the desert, the SEC champions’ schedule strength fails to account for the defensive disparity between these two clubs. It will be a shootout, but, for Auburn, the four-quarter breakdown will read: Duck, Duck, Duck, lose. Oregon may not be the better-dressed combatant (although the Pac-10 champions at least have sense enough not to wear orange), but the Ducks will be the last squad standing.
Well, there you have it, folks: those are my predictions for all 35 Division I-A bowl games. If I’m right about as many as twelve or 15 of them, I’ll be surprised, and so should you be, so, as I sign off and allow you to enjoy your college football postseason in peace, I urge you for the final time this year to heed the wisdom I try to impart to you each time I forecast the outcomes of gridiron games: Don’t Bet On It!