With only a couple of exceptions, the real bowl games get underway tomorrow with a slate of four matchups. Except for Saturday's Meineke Bowl in Charlotte and the Houston Bowl, we are now left with the traditional holiday schedule of games that have been around for a while. These games feature teams that finished the season in or near the Top 25 and most of them actually deserve being in a bowl game.
So much for the editorial comment and now to my picks:
Music City/Dec. 30 - Minnesota has a stud runner named Maroney and I like the Gophers over Virginia. I'd like anybody over Virginia.
Independence/Dec. 30 - South Carolina will need to find a way to stop Missouri QB Brad Smith or outscore him. I think the Gamecocks will prevail.
Sun/Dec. 30 - This used to be a fun trip for southern teams but the El Paso location is not what it used to be. I pick UCLA to beat Northwestern.
Peach/Dec. 30 - This will be the Chicken Sammich' Bowl next year. It'll be a Tiger Casserole this year. LSU can't beat Miami with or without QB Jamarcus Russell. The last time I saw Russell he was road kill on the Ga. Dome turf.
Meineke/Dec. 31 - This will be a morning kickoff in Charlotte and NC State fans can get home in time for basketball season, where they belong anyway. I pick South Florida.
Liberty/Dec. 31 - Two teams west of the big river visit Graceland, Fresno State over Tulsa.
Houston/Dec. 31 - The Houston Cougars played like crap against Kansas on TCU's home field in the Fort Worthless Bowl. TCU will fare better against Iowa St. in Houstontown.
Outback/Jan. 2 - Iowa is pretty tough on New Years Day but it ain't New Years Day and the Florida Gators are pretty much playing at home.
Cotton/Jan. 2 - Alabama has a great defense and no offense. Texas Tech has a great offense that passes on every play. I don't think the Tide can outscore the Red Raiders.
Capital One/Jan. 2 - What's in your wallet? Big money if you bet on Auburn in this one. I expect the Tigers to smash the Wisconsin Badgers.
Fiesta/Jan. 2 - TV talking heads build up Ohio State as the nation's third best team. The same heads say Notre Dame is undeserving of this bowl. Talent trumps luck, Buckeyes win.
Sugar/Jan. 2 - I predict the weather will be a factor in this game. It gets hot in the Georgia Dome during the second half. I'll wear shorts and a t-shirt and pull for Georgia to beat West Virginia. It'll be close but the environment favors the Dogs. I do too.
Orange/Jan. 3 - Two old coaches, Bowden and Paterno, have been left for dead by many but they still have pretty good teams. The magical season will continue for Penn State but Florida State can make it close if they avoid mistakes.
Rose/Jan. 4 - This game has been on everybody's schedule since September. The BCS panned out to provide the matchup. Texas will give Southern Cal a battle but the Trojan's experience in big games and Reggie Bush will win the crystal football.