Bowls. There are a lot of them. You'll watch at least some this holiday season, so you might as well know what to look for. That's where we come in. Spears already brought you up to speed on the first round of bowl action. It's now my pleasure to preview the bowl full of modern Southern Style, the Belk Bowl.
The Belk Bowl In 30 Seconds Or Less
The Belk Bowl is played at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte and used to be known as the Meineke Car Care Bowl. One presumes the change results from the general downturn in the muffler market and the news-worthy uptick in the purchase of jaunty derby hats for ladies and reasonably priced mens' plaid shirts. Last year it was won by the Cincinnati Bearcats, 48-34 victors over the Duke Blue Devils. This year's edition features those same Bearcats taking on the University of North Carolina, which may, just may have a few fans who haven't moved into full-on basketball mode. Like, 50-60 minimum.
A Real Bear(cat) of a Season
I have a confession. I still don't understand why Tommy Tuberville is the head football coach at Cincinnati, and I occasionally forget that he is. But Bearcat fans are well aware of that fact, having watched Tubs lead his boys to a 9-3 record. The Bearcats have been keyed by Brendon Kay, who took over for QB Munchie Legaux early in the year and responded by throwing for over 3100 yards and 22 touchdowns. He's joined in the backfield by Atlanta native Ralph David Abernathy, IV and Hosey Williams, who's averaging a nifty 5.8 yards per carry.
Fedora Throws His Hat in the Ring for Turnaround of the Month
On the surface it's tempting to write off Larry Fedora's Tar Heels as another 6-6 team barely scraping into a bowl game. But that oversimplifies things a bit. In reality, North Carolina started the season 1-5 and were left for dead halfway through the season. The low point was probably the 24 point drubbing at the hands of East Carolina. Starting QB and All-Preppy Name Team member Bryn Renner went down with an injury and the ball transferred to sophomore Marquis Williams. And things started to click. Beginning with a 34-10 home win over Boston College the Heels ripped off 5 straight victories before dropping a close 27-25 contest to divisional champion Duke to end the year. In short, North Carolina may be a good bit better at this point than they were when they were struggling for an identity and continuity at the start of the season.
The Bottom Line On The Betting Line
The Tar Heels are a two point favorite in this one, which I think owes in part to their hot finish to the season and the fact that they're 6-1 against the spread this season. I expect that the Heels will cover the spread thanks to Marquis Williams' exceptional play and difficulty on the part of Cincinnati covering tight end Eric Ebron. The Dawg Sports prediction sure to be totally wrong: UNC 34, Cincy 31. Until later . . .