BCS National Title Game '11

BCS National Title Game '11
BCS National Championship 1/10/11 Oregon vs Auburn

Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve/Day Bowl Game Predictions

It's the best time of the year! It's bowl week with some of the most intriguing matchups of the college football season. The interesting December bowl games include Oregon State and Texas in the Valero Alamo Bowl, TCU and Michigan State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, and LSU-Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. As we make our way into the New Year, we have a few interesting matchups on New Year's Day. The Outback Bowl between Michigan and South Carolina could be interesting with strong defensive play and the Rose Bowl will be fun with Stanford and Wisconsin, who are mirror images of one another because of their strong running game and physical defenses. We continue with the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl between Oregon and Kansas State, who both had their chance of making the BCS National Championship. The season finishes up with Texas A&M, led by Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, against old Big 12 opponent Oklahoma in the AT&T Cotton Bowl. The season then finishes up with the BCS National Championship game between the historic programs of Notre Dame and Alabama.

I will be attending the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Tempe and the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl in Glendale. The Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl pits two teams that rely heavily on their defense. Both TCU and Michigan State underachieved this season and lost close games that could have turned their season's around. We will see which offense decides to show up and put more points on the board. The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl is probably the second best bowl game this season. Both Oregon and Kansas State had a chance to punch their ticket to Miami for the BCS National Championship, but choked it away in the third to last week of the season and found themselves playing each other in the desert instead.

1. Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl (Tempe, AZ) 12/29 10:15 PM ET ESPN
TCU vs Michigan State

2. Tostitos Fiesta Bowl (Glendale, AZ) 01/03  8:30 PM ET ESPN
#4 Oregon vs #5 Kansas State

December 31, 2012

3. Chick-fil-A Bowl (Atlanta, GA)  7:30 PM ET ESPN  
#8 LSU @ #14 Clemson

- It's an all Tiger matchup and teams that could have been BCS bowl game qualifiers. This is going to be a fun game because of the style of play from both teams. LSU likes to pound it out on the ground and win games in the trenches. Clemson likes to spread the ball out to their wide receivers and rely more on the play of their quarterback Tajh Boyd. LSU's pound it out on the ground offense has been led by Jeremy Hill this season. Zach Mettenberger has also improved as a passer as the season has gone on as well. The strong part about this LSU team though has been the defense. The LSU defense led by defensive ends Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo have given up only 16.5 points per game and 297.6 yards per game this season. This defense will be in for a good one though as they must hold off a lethal Clemson offense. The Clemson offense is full of explosive players consisting of quarterback Tajh Boyd, running back Andre Ellington, and wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins. The Clemson offense is averaging 42.5 points per game and are putting up 520.2 yards per game. For Clemson to win this ball game, the offensive line is going to need to protect Tajh Boyd. The Clemson defense is also going to have to be physical against the LSU ground game and cause Zach Mettenberger to make bad decisions when he is forced to throw the football. This is going to be a good game, but I think LSU's defense gets the job done in the end.

Prediction: LSU 34, Clemson 27

January 1, 2013

4. Outback Bowl (Tampa, FL)  1:00 PM ET ESPN
#10 South Carolina @ #18 Michigan 

- South Carolina and Michigan lost key games that could have put them in BCS bowl games. Both teams have good defenses that rank ten and eleven in the country. The South Carolina Gamecocks lost running back Marcus Lattimore in late October for the season, but were still able to have a good season. The offense led by quarterback Connor Shaw was good, but the Gamecock defense is what made this team successful. The Gamecock defense is led by one of the best defensive ends in the country Jadeveon Clowney. The Gamecock defense held opponents to 18.4 points per game and just 106.3 rushing yards per game this season.

The Michigan Wolverines lost a key game at Nebraska that would have put them in a position to go to the Rose Bowl, but quarterback Denard Robinson went down with an elbow injury. With Robinson injured, the Wolverines brought back converted wide receiver Devin Gardner to the quarterback position. Gardner proved to be the right fit as a dual threat quarterback for the Wolverine offense. The offense was shaky at times this season for the Wolverines, but the defense was able to be the catalyst for winning ball games. The Wolverine defense held their opponents to 18.8 points per game and 155.2 passing yards per game. The Michigan defense will need to be strong and keep their team in this game, because the offense may struggle. The Gamecock defense is so fast and physical, which means that the Michigan offensive line will need to protect Devin Gardner, as well as Denard Robinson, from big hits. Gardner will not be able to run the ball or scramble like he was able to in other games this season. The Wolverines are going to have to mix up their game plan with more passing plays. If Michigan cannot establish a passing game it is going to be tough for them to stay in this game. 

Prediction: South Carolina 32, Michigan 21

5. Capital One Bowl (Orlando, FL)  1:00 PM ET ABC 
#7 Georgia vs #16 Nebraska 

- Both teams were one game away from going to a BCS bowl game. Georgia wasn't able to hold off Alabama when it mattered most and Nebraska was blown out by Wisconsin as they gave up 70 points. The Georgia Bulldogs had a good offense with an even better defense this season. The Bulldog passing game was solid with quarterback Aaron Murray. Murray passed for 31 touchdowns and had a 172.4 quarterback rating this season. The running game also surprisingly became very good with freshman Todd Gurley rushing for over 1,000 yards. The Bulldog defense struggled early in the season, but were able to bounce back. After giving up 35 points to South Carolina in a 35-7 loss in early October, the Bulldog defense finished their last seven games by giving up just 14.1 points per game. The defensive play of linebackers Jarvis Jones and Alec Olgletree played a key role in why the defense became such a threat to other team's offenses.

The Nebraska Cornhuskers had high hopes of being in the Rose Bowl, but found themselves in a horrible nightmare when they were blown out against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship game. The Husker offense relies heavily on the running game consisting of quarterback Taylor Martinez and running backs Ameer Abdullah and Rex Burkhead. The passing game has struggled, even though Taylor Martinez improved his accuracy. The Husker defense ranks first in the nation against the pass, but against the run it has been a different story. Wisconsin's rushing attack led by Montee Ball put up 539 rushing yards on the Husker defense. The Husker defense must try to contain yet another physical rushing attack led by Todd Gurley. For the Huskers to win this ball game, the offensive line has to protect Taylor Martinez and be able to run the ball. If the Huskers cannot establish a rushing attack and begin committing turnovers like they have this season it will be another long game for this Husker team. Most people are not giving the Huskers a chance in this game. I think this game is closer than most people might think.

Prediction: Georgia 37, Nebraska 27

6. Rose Bowl Game Presented by Vizio (Pasadena, CA)  5:00 PM ET ESPN
Wisconsin vs #6 Stanford

- This is a matchup that everyone has wanted to see. These two teams are identical in the way they play football. They pound it out on the ground with their talented running backs and play physical defense. The Stanford Cardinal hung around this season and then upset #2 Oregon on the road in overtime. This gave Stanford a clear path to the Pac-12 Championship game and then found themselves in their first Rose Bowl since 2000. Stanford became a much better team when head coach David Shaw made the switch at the quarterback position from Josh Nunes to Kevin Hogan. Kevin Hogan made the Cardinal offense tremendously better with his ability to take pressure off of 1,000 yard rusher Stepfan Taylor by being able to scramble and make plays outside of the pocket. The Cardinal defense was once again one of the best defenses in the country with potentially the best outside linebacking unit in the country consisting of Trent Murphy and Chase Thomas. The Cardinal defense has given up just 17.5 points per game and an astounding 88.0 rushing yards per game.

The Wisconsin Badgers appeared to be out of a BCS game with an 7-5 record season, but with Ohio State and Penn State being ineligible in the Big Ten Leaders Division it gave the Badgers an opportunity to knock off Nebraska in the Big Ten Championship. The Badgers ran all over Nebraska and won in blow out fashion 70-31. So here are the Badgers again in Pasadena for the third straight year. The Badgers come into this game without their head coach Bret Bielema, after he bolted for the Arkansas job. This will give the most successful coach in Wisconsin history, Barry Alvarez, one last time to coach his school that he loves so dearly. The Badgers offense finally found a starting quarterback in Curt Phillips, but will still need to depend on running backs Montee Ball, James White, and Melvin Gordon to move the offense. The Badger defense is an important aspect to this team as well. The Badger defense is solid with a linebacking core consisting of Mike Taylor, Chris Borland, and Ethan Armstrong. This is going to be a hard-nosed football game with teams running it up the gut the whole game and being put in third and five passing situations. This is going to be a very close game with both teams leaning on their defenses to make key stops in the red zone. Most people are taking Stanford to win this game, but I'm going with Wisconsin. Third time's a charm, right?

Prediction: Wisconsin 28, Stanford 24

7. Discover Orange Bowl (Miami Gardens, FL)  8:30 PM ET ESPN
#15 Northern Illinois vs #12 Florida State 

- This became the most controversial bowl matchup of the year. Northern Illinois found themselves at No. 15 in the BCS Standings, which put them in the Orange Bowl. The Huskies will be without head coach Dave Doeren who left for the NC State job, but the Huskies will have one of the most dynamic players in college football Jordan Lynch. Lynch has 43 total touchdowns and 1,771 rushing yards on the season. The Husky offense has averaged 41.2 points per game and 490.7 yards per game this season. The Husky offense focuses on running the ball, but Lynch will need to rely on wide receiver Martel Moore because of how difficult it may be to run on the Florida State defense. The Florida State Seminoles almost blew their ACC title again this season, but found a way to get to their first BCS Bowl game since the 2005 season. This will be senior quarterback EJ Manuel's last game as a Seminole and he will be more motivated then ever to go out with an Orange Bowl victory. The Seminole offense averaged 35.9 points per game this season and will face a Northern Illinois defense that held opponents to 20.0 points per game this season. The Seminole defense is going to be the story of this game with defensive end Bjoern Werner, safety Lamarcus Joyner, and cornerback Xavier Rhodes. The Seminole defense is the fourth best in the country and give up only 104.2 rushing yards per game. If the Husky offense cannot get the rushing attack going, the Seminoles are going to blow the Huskies out. It is not possible for Lynch to sit back in the pocket the entire game and expect to have a chance of upsetting the Seminoles.

Prediction: Florida State 31, Northern Illinois 17

Saturday, December 29, 2012

December 29th Bowl Game Predictions

It's the best time of the year! It's bowl week with some of the most intriguing matchups of the college football season. The interesting December bowl games include Oregon State and Texas in the Valero Alamo Bowl, TCU and Michigan State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, and LSU-Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. As we make our way into the New Year, we have a few interesting matchups on New Year's Day. The Outback Bowl between Michigan and South Carolina could be interesting with strong defensive play and the Rose Bowl will be fun with Stanford and Wisconsin, who are mirror images of one another because of their strong running game and physical defenses. We continue with the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl between Oregon and Kansas State, who both had their chance of making the BCS National Championship. The season finishes up with Texas A&M, led by Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, against old Big 12 opponent Oklahoma in the AT&T Cotton Bowl. The season then finishes up with the BCS National Championship game between the historic programs of Notre Dame and Alabama.

I will be attending the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Tempe and the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl in Glendale. The Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl pits two teams that rely heavily on their defense. Both TCU and Michigan State underachieved this season and lost close games that could have turned their season's around. We will see which offense decides to show up and put more points on the board. The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl is probably the second best bowl game this season. Both Oregon and Kansas State had a chance to punch their ticket to Miami for the BCS National Championship, but were tripped up in the third to last week of the season and found themselves playing each other in the desert instead.

1. Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl (Tempe, AZ)  10:15 PM ET ESPN
TCU vs Michigan State

2. Tostitos Fiesta Bowl (Glendale, AZ)  8:30 PM ET ESPN
#4 Oregon vs #5 Kansas State

1. Valero Alamo Bowl (San Antonio,TX)  6:45 PM ET ESPN
 #23 Texas vs #13 Oregon State 

- This will surprisingly be a very good game between two teams that are very even. The Texas Longhorns and Oregon State Beavers were in position to win their conferences, but lost key games at the end of the season. Texas will start quarterback David Ash again after he was benched against TCU and Kansas State at the end of the season. There is going to be a lot of pressure on the Longhorn rushing attack as the Beaver defense continues to be tough against the run. The Longhorn offense needs to run outside like they did against Kansas State to pick up yardage, otherwise the Beaver defensive line will stuff them if they try to go up the middle. Another aspect to this game is going to be the Longhorn secondary trying to defend the Beaver receiving core consisting of Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks. The Longhorn defense consisting of defensive end Alex Okafor will need to get pressure on Beaver quarterback Cody Vaz to take the Beaver passing game away. This is going to be a tough game, but I feel with the Longhorns being a Texas team and almost having a home field advantage they will find a way to win this game. Texas Head Coach Mac Brown cannot afford to lose this game either.

Prediction: Texas 34, Oregon State 24

              2. Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl (Tempe, AZ)  10:15 PM ET ESPN
TCU vs Michigan State

- This is a game of underachieving teams. Both the TCU Horned Frogs and Michigan State Spartans were projected to be contenders to win their conferences, but lost key games and found themselves in the middle of the pack. TCU had their fair share of problems this season with Casey Pachall leaving the team with alcohol related problems and having to rely on 16 true freshman to play after other starters went down with injuries. It is going to be interesting to see if the Horned Frogs offense led by quarterback Trevone Boykin can score points on the third best overall defense in the country. The Spartan defense is giving up just 16.3 points per game and 99.6 rushing yards per game. What Michigan State has to do in this game is keep TCU's offense off the field and continue to run with one of the most physical running backs in the country in Le'Veon Bell. It just depends if the Spartans can put enough points up to beat a team that has played in a stronger conference this season. The Spartans have lost five games by four points or less this season and have only averaged 20.2 points per game. We'll see if the Spartans have what it takes to improve offensively tonight. This is going to be a very defensive ball game and it is going to be up to the offenses to put up enough points to win this ball game.

Prediction: TCU 27, Michigan State 23

Friday, December 14, 2012

College Basketball Games to Watch on Saturday

Saturday's Lineup

(Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis, IN) 
 (1) Indiana vs Butler *   2:00 PM ET CBS

- The Hoosiers have looked almost unstoppable this season with sophomore center Cody Zeller leading the way with 15.4 points per game. Butler has lost to Xavier and a very good Illinois team this season, but are true contenders to win the Atlantic-10 Conference in their very first season. Butler is led by senior guard Rotnei Clarke and junior forward Khyle Marshall. The Bulldogs may keep it close early in Indianapolis, but the Hoosiers will take control of this game once the second half begins. The explosiveness and play on the glass for the Hoosiers will be simply to much for the Bulldogs to handle. Cody Zeller along with Victor Oladipo and Christian Watford will be a nightmare for these Bulldogs to handle.  

Prediction: Indiana 75, Butler 58 

(5) Louisville at Memphis  2:30 PM ET FSN

- Louisville has been one of the best teams in the country this season with their only loss coming at the hands of #2 Duke. The leader of the Cardinals this season has been junior guard Russ Smith. Smith is averaging 20.3 points per game and has averaged 3.3 steals per game. Senior guard Peyton Siva continues to be a leader of this Cardinals team as well. Josh Pastner's Memphis Tigers have lost to VCU and Minnesota, but are the clear favorite to win Conference USA again this season. The Tigers do not have a dynamic scorer this season. The Tigers have been led by junior guard Geron Johnson who missed the first three games of the season because of disciplinary reasons. From the opening tip, this game could possibly turn into an uphill battle for the Tigers. I feel though that Memphis makes this a closer game than most might think.

Prediction: Louisville 71, Memphis 65

(Brooklyn Hoops Winter Festival in Brooklyn, NY) 
West Virginia vs (3) Michigan *  8:00 PM ET ESPN

- The Michigan Wolverines are off to their best start since the 1988-1989 season. The Wolverines led by sophomore guard Trey Burke have turned into one of the most dangerous teams in the country this season. The Wolverines currently have a field goal percentage .507 and are one of the most defensively sound teams I have seen this season. The play from Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr, Nick Stauskas, and Glenn Robinsin III has been impressive and it appears they will continue to get better as the season goes on. Bob Huggin's West Virginia Mountaineers come in limping after losing on the road at Duquesne 60-56 Tuesday night. The Mountaineers have not been impressive this season and have already lost four of their first eight games. The Mountaineers currently have a team field goal percentage of .390, which is one of the worst in the country. The Wolverines are a by far better team than the Mountaineers and should have no problem winning this ball game.

Prediction: Michigan 78, West Virginia 61

Kansas State vs (10) Gonzaga * (Seattle, WA)  9:00 PM ET ESPN2

- Gonzaga was in for a rude awakening last Saturday at home as they lost to a surging Illinois team. The Zags will now play at a neutral Key Arena in Seattle against a Kansas State Wildcat team that has been questionable so far this season. Gonzaga barely escaped Washington State last week then fell at home against Illinois in part to Fighting Illini guard Brandon Paul's 35 points. The Zags otherwise have been dominant this season and currently rank first in the country with a team shooting percentage of .527. Senior forward Elias Harris has led the way hitting double-digits in nine games this season and junior forward Kelly Olynyk, after missing the first three games of the season, has been averaging 7.1 rebounds per game. The Wildcats are coming off of a close game against George Washington and are looking to upset the No. 14 Zags. The Wildcats are sixth in the nation averaging 44.6 rebounds per game. The Wildcats will need scoring and rebounding from senior guard Rodney McGruder. The Wildcats will also need solid play from sophomore guard Angel Rodriguez and outside scoring from junior guard Will Spradling. It will be interesting to see if Kansas State can hang in this game with a tough Gonzaga squad that will be coming in very motivated after a tough loss.

Prediction: Gonzaga 73, Kansas State 66

(5) Florida @ (8) Arizona  10:00 PM ET ESPN

- This is going to be the best game on Saturday. Both teams are ranked in the Top 10 and this game would be a huge boost for whichever team can win it. This game went into overtime last year in Gainesville with the Gators winning 78-72. The Gators are led by senior guard Kenny Boynton who is averaging 14.4 points per game and leads his team in three-pointers with 14. senior forward Erik Murphy, senior guard Mike Rosario, and junior center Patric Young will also be very important in leading the Gators into a hostile Zona Zoo. The Wildcats have been led this season so far by sophomore guard Nick Johnson, who is averaging 13.6 points per game with a field goal percentage of .548. The Wildcats will need solid play out of senior guard Mark Lyons who will be matched up against Kenny Boynton and freshman center Kaleb Tarczewski who will guard Patric Young. Also if senior forward Solomon Hill can step up in this game it could be crucial in the Cats winning. A key to this game will be the the Wildcats being able to guard the lethal 3-point attack that the Gators present. This game will be just as close this year as it was last year. Look for this game to come down to the very last minute.

Prediction: Florida 71, Arizona 69

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Why You Can't Blame Northern Illinois

Associated Press/Carlos Osorio
The Northern Illinois Huskies out of the Mid-American Conference will be playing in their first BCS Bowl game in school history. The Huskies were selected to play in the Discover Orange Bowl against ACC Champion Florida State after hitting the 15th spot in the final regular season BCS Standings. There are a lot of analysts and fans of college football that have not accepted the fact that the Huskies are playing in this bowl game. The Huskies, who are led by one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the country Jordan Lynch, came into the final weekend with an 11-1 record and a No. 21 ranking in the BCS Standings. It seemed almost impossible that the Huskies would make a BCS Bowl game, even with a MAC Conference Championship win over #17 Kent State. The Huskies would need to defeat Kent State, leap an idle Michigan and hope Boise State, Texas, UCLA, Florida State, and Nebraska would lose. What ended up happening was that Northern Illinois won the MAC Conference Championship in double overtime, Boise State defeated Nevada, Texas lost to Kansas State, UCLA lost to Stanford, Florida State defeated Georgia Tech, and Nebraska lost to Wisconsin. Just hours before the final BCS Standings were to be released on the Bowl Game Selection Show, there were reports that Northern Illinois had hit No. 15 in the BCS Standings. Northern Illinois only needed to hit No. 16 in the BCS Standings to receive an automatic BCS Bowl bid, because the Big East and Big Ten Champions were not going to be ranked in front of them. The reports were indeed correct and the Huskies became the main topic of discussion when the bowl games were unveiled on ESPN. There was a lot of anger and confusion over the Huskies and why they did not deserve to be in the Discover Orange Bowl.

NIU Pre-game Huddle
A majority of College Football fans that were not living in the small Illinois town of DeKalb thought this was the most ridiculous thing they had ever seen. The real question was do they really belong in a BCS Bowl game over Oklahoma or Clemson? In all honesty, they probably did not deserve it. You can't hate Northern Illinois though. All Northern Illinois did was continue to win and ended up doing what they needed to do to crash the BCS. The Huskies cannot control that a few conference champions from other BCS automatic qualifying conferences finished behind them. The teams to be blamed for this problem are simply Louisville and Nebraska. Louisville and Rutgers both were upset a week before their final meeting of the season and were knocked out of the Top 25. After Louisville defeated Rutgers for the Big East title, the Cardinals were only able to make it to No. 21 in the BCS Standings. It wasn't so much having Wisconsin (8-5) winning the Big Ten Championship as it was Nebraska getting blown out and dropping from No. 12 to No. 16. The Big East Champion was already going to be the automatic qualifier to fall behind Northern Illinois. The Huskers loss gave the Huskies a very good chance of hitting the No. 16 spot in the BCS Standings.

Who to blame for Northern Illinois's BCS Birth?

                                 1. Louisville and Rutgers from a weak Big East Conference.
  2. Nebraska losing to Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship. 
                  3. Can also blame UCLA and Texas for not winning their season finales. 
                                 4. The BCS system.          

Northern Illinois Huskies Resumé
Record: 12-1 (8-0 MAC)

Defeated #17 Kent State 44-37 (2OT) for the MAC Championship.
Best wins: #17 Kent State (11-2), Toledo (9-3), Kansas (1-11)
Bad loss: Iowa (4-8)            
Ranking: 15th in the final regular season BCS Standings. 
Note: Have won 11 or more games in their past three seasons and currently are 
          back-to-back MAC Champions.          

What is interesting about this resumé is that Northern Illinois only defeated one ranked opponent the entire season and their best win over a BCS automatic qualifier was against a Kansas team that won just one game this entire season. Northern Illinois was winning the entire game against the Iowa Hawkeyes in a showdown at Chicago's Soldier Field, but then blew a a five-point lead with 2:15 left in the game and lost 18-17. I figured Northern Illinois had a legitimate chance coming into the season to make a splash into the BCS picture, but thought for sure they were completely eliminated after this loss. What happened this season was out of the ordinary. If you noticed teams such as Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Northwestern, and Arizona bounced back and forth between entering and dropping out of the Top 25. This gave teams from mid-major conferences with one or two losses to begin placing themselves in shape to hit the No. 16 spot in the BCS Standings. These mid-major schools hoped that the conference champion from the Big East would drop behind them. As everyone well knows, the Big East should not be an automatic qualifying conference. This season, the Big East was the main reason why mid-major schools felt they had a chance of crashing the BCS party. Northern Illinois didn't hit the Top 25 until one week before the regular season ended. Look at all of the non-BCS automatic qualifying teams that could have been in a BCS bowl game besides Northern Illinois. 

Final BCS Standings

19. Boise State       10-2
22. Utah State        10-2
24. San Jose State  10-2
25. Kent State        11-2

All of these mid-major schools had a chance to make it to a BCS Bowl game because of the inconsistency of teams from BCS automatic qualifying conferences. The MAC had an overall record of 4-3 against the Big East. This is proof of why the Big East should be placed in the pool of mid-major schools. With the loss of West Virginia to the Big 12 this season, the depth of the conference has become weaker and weaker. One positive aspect that Northern Illinois has that these other mid-major schools do not is an explosive player in quarterback Jordan Lynch. Lynch became more and more recognizable as the college football season progressed. There are pros and cons to this whole BCS situation and here they are. 


° Northern Illinois will be in their first BCS Bowl game and is led by an explosive quarterback in Jordan Lynch.

° 28th in total defense and holding opponents to 19.0 points per game. 

° Free tickets for Northern Illinois students (see con below related to this topic).

° Have nothing to lose against Florida State. 


° Dave Doreen will not be the head coach during the Discover Orange Bowl as he has accepted the head coaching position at NC State.

° Potentially being overmatched by Florida State. Have not faced a team with this much talent all season long. 

° As generous as it is giving students free tickets to the Discover Orange Bowl, the university could be in jeopardy of losing money because of their BCS Bowl bid. The ticket allotment for Northern Illinois is 17,500. Northern Illinois has averaged just 15,670 in attendance this season. With a once in a life time opportunity, hopefully Husky fans will make their way down to Miami. 

Note: UConn went to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl in 2010 and lost $2,924.385. Only 2,771 of the tickets were sold of the ticket allotment of 17,500. This is what NIU is hoping to avoid. 


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

College Football Regular Season Recap

Preseason Projections: 

Correct Bowl Projection

Capital One Bowl (Orlando, FL)

Georgia vs Nebraska 

Note: Lindy's Sports Magazine, Athlon Sports Magazine, and Phil Steele Magazine did not pick one correct bowl game in their preseason projections. 

Heisman Projection

Kansas State Quarterback Collin Klein was sixth on my Heisman list heading into the 2012 College Football Season. 

Who surprised and disappointed this season: 


1. Notre Dame: 

My projection: 9-3 losses: Michigan, Oklahoma, USC
Record: 12-0         losses: none

- I wasn't sure if this Irish team could pull through this season. The inconsistency these past few seasons made me doubt the Irish and put them in the Russell Athletic Bowl. The Irish became a new beast this season with a defense led by linebacker Manti Te'o. The offense also improved as the season continued under sophomore quarterback Everett Golson. The Irish will play Alabama in the BCS National Championship.  

2. Texas A&M:

My projection: 7-5 losses: Florida, Arkansas, LSU, Auburn, Alabama
Record: 10-2         losses: Florida & LSU

- Everyone was saying how the Aggies could not compete in the SEC Conference this season. First year head coach Kevin Sumlin turned the program around in one season with the help of freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel. The Aggies lost to Florida and LSU, but had possibly the best win of the season in college football at Alabama. Texas A&M ranked in the Top 15 in passing yards, rushing yards, and in scoring.

3. Oregon State:

My projection: 5-7 losses: Wisconsin, UCLA, BYU, Utah, Washington, Stanford, Oregon 
Record: 9-3           losses: Washington, Stanford, Oregon

-  After this season, it was thought that Head Coach Mike Riley would be on the hot seat and his job would be in jeopardy after losing seven or eight games. Riley once again proved the nation wrong and led his team to a 6-0 start and ended the season with a 9-3 record. The defense ranked as one of the best against the rush and the offense became dangerous with a passing attack led by quarterbacks Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz. The wide receiver play of Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks presented problems for secondaries all season long as well.

4. Stanford:

My projection: 8-4 losses: USC, Washington, Notre Dame, Oregon
Record: 10-2         losses: Washington, Notre Dame

- With the departure of quarterback Andrew Luck, there weren't many people who thought the Cardinal would be competing for the Pac-12 Championship with Oregon and USC appearing to be the true contenders. David Shaw's team hung around in the rankings the whole season. The Cardinal upset #2 USC in the second week of the season and then were upset two weeks later at Washington. The Cardinal two weeks later lost in a controversial overtime loss at #7 Notre Dame, but won out the regular season as they upset #2 Oregon on the road and defeated #16 UCLA in the Pac-12 Championship. A major reason for the improvement of the Cardinal at the end of the season was in part to the switch of quarterbacks from Josh Nunes to Kevin Hogan. The defense continued to be one of the best in the nation again this season.

5. Kansas State:

My projection: 8-4 losses: Oklahoma, West Virginia, TCU, Baylor
Record: 11-1         losses: Baylor

- I think most people thought that last year was simply a fluke. The 73-year-old Bill Snyder and his captain quarterback Collin Klein apparently did not feel the same way as the Wildcats made it all the way to number one in the nation until their second to last game of the season when they were upset at Baylor. The Wildcats were not flashy, but were a solid team offensively, as well as defensively. Without Heisman finalist Collin Klein, this team does not go on the road and get a signature win at Oklahoma, nor do they win the Big 12 title.


1. Arkansas:

My projection: 9-3 losses: Alabama, South Carolina, LSU
Record: 4-8           losses: LA-Monroe, Alabama, Rutgers, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, South Carolina,     Mississippi State, LSU

- The departure of Bobby Petrino hurt the Razorbacks, but who would have seen a 4-8 record coming? The upset loss, most likely the biggest one in Arkansas history, again LA-Monroe in overtime put the Razorbacks in panic mode and everything hit rock bottom after that. Interim coach John L. Smith lost control of the situation and senior quarterback Tyler Wilson battled through an injury early in the season and was not able to be as successful as last season. Arkansas's only SEC wins came against Auburn and Kentucky, who both combined for a total of five wins on the season and no wins in SEC play.

2. USC:

My projection: 13-0 losses: none
Record: 7-5             losses: Stanford, Arizona, Oregon, UCLA, Notre Dame

- The Trojans came into the season as a lock for the Pac-12 Championship and a potential BCS National Championship contender. Only three weeks into the season though the Trojans were upset at Stanford. After that loss, USC went on to win their next four games and were at a solid 6-1 record. Once late October/November hit the Trojans season went literally down the drain. USC lost at Arizona, gave up 62 points to Oregon at home in a 62-51 loss, lost the Pac-12 South Division as UCLA beat USC for the first time since 2006, and then lost at home to Notre Dame. The offense led my senior quarterback Matt Barkley and potential Heisman candidate wide receiver Marqise Lee was solid for the most part, but the Trojan defense looked awful and struggled most of the season. "Unfinished business" was not finished as the Trojans settled with a 7-5 record.

3. Auburn:

My projection: 8-4 losses: LSU, Arkansas, Georgia, Alabama
Record: 3-9           losses: Clemson, Mississippi State, LSU, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, Georgia, Alabama

- This team may have been the biggest nightmare of them all. Auburn looked to be an improved team this season and everything was bad from start to finish. The offense was atrocious averaging just 18.7 points per game and had one of the worst passing attacks in the country. The Auburn offense was my preseason biggest disappointment. The defense which should have been improved this season ended up giving up 439.8 yards per game and 28.3 points per game. Auburn failed to beat a team from a BCS automatic qualifying conference and had their worst season since 1998. Head Coach Gene Chizik was fired just two seasons after he had won a BCS National Championship.

4. Iowa:

My projection: 8-4 losses: Michigan State, Northwestern, Michigan, Nebraska
Record: 4-8           losses: Iowa State, Central Michigan, Penn State, Northwestern, Indiana, Purdue, Michigan, Nebraska

- The Iowa Hawkeyes may have been projected to be the fourth best team in the Big Ten Legends Division, but their were expectations this season of being at least an eight win team. The schedule set up nicely for the Hawkeyes as they did not have to face Ohio State or Wisconsin this season. Iowa began the season in a tussle with a Northern Illinois team that is now playing in the Orange Bowl. The Hawkeyes came away with a one-point victory, but lost two of their next three non-conference games at home to in-state rival Iowa State and Central Michigan. As the season went on in Big Ten play the offense struggled to put points on the board as they averaged just 19.3 points per game. This ended up  putting the Hawkeye defense in a difficult position to win ball games. The expectations of senior quarterback James Vandenberg were not fulfilled and there continued to be problems with depth at the running back position. Heading into next season Kirk Ferentz will be on the hot seat.

5. Utah:

My projection: 8-4 losses: BYU, USC, Cal, Washington
Record: 5-7           losses: Utah State, Arizona State, USC, UCLA, Oregon State, Washington, Arizona

- A team that was supposedly going to be improved and an asset to the Pac-12 Conference were a disappointment this season. It started with being upset at Utah State in overtime and losing quarterback Jordan Wynn with an injury for good. This Utah team should have been at worst second in the Pac-12 South Division with an 8-4 record. This team made costly mistakes in close games and turned the ball over. This is what prevented this Ute team from being bowl eligible and a contender in the Pac-12  Conference this season.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

College Football Week 14 Recap

My Overall Record: 99-41  
My Record in Week 14: 7-3

Best game from Week 14: #2 Alabama 32, #3 Georgia 28

The regular season is done besides the Army-Navy game and Heisman Trophy Presentation this upcoming weekend. Head Coach Nick Saban and his Alabama Crimson Tide have done it again. They defeated the #3 Georgia Bulldogs in what would be considered by most as the best SEC Championship game of this decade. Who knows if Alabama wins this game if Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray spikes the ball with 12 seconds to go? No one can really figure out why that play was not executed. You can't take anything away from Alabama though. The Crimson Tide fought back in the second half after the Bulldogs took the momentum by blocking a field goal and returning it for a touchdown to take a 21-10 lead. The rushing attack led by Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon played a huge role in the Crimson Tide climbing back into the game and the 45-yard touchdown pass from AJ McCarron to Amari Cooper with 3:15 left in the game is what advanced this team to another BCS National Championship game. The Crimson Tide won their second SEC title in four years and will be going for their third national championship in four years.

Other conference games came down to the very end as well.  On Thursday, The Big East showdown came down to the very end in Piscataway with Louisville and injured quarterback Teddy Bridgewater defeating Rutgers 20-17. Louisville is now headed to their first BCS Bowl game since 2006. On Friday, there were two very close games in the MAC Championship and Pac-12 Championship. One of the biggest stories of the weekend was the Northern Illinois-Kent State game. For the third straight year, the MAC Championship went down to the wire. Jordan Lynch and company fought off Kent State 44-37 in double overtime and now are headed to their first BCS Bowl game in school history. The Pac-12 Championship came down to the very end as UCLA kept it close the whole game. Unfortunately, Bruin kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn was not able to convert a 52-yard field goal to tie the game with 34 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. Stanford fought off UCLA for the second straight week 27-24. The Stanford Cardinal will head to their third straight BCS Bowl game. The ACC title game ended up being surprisingly close as well between Florida State and Georgia Tech. Florida State stopped Georgia Tech on a last minute drive when Seminole defender Tevin Washington intercepted a Karlos Williams pass. Florida State hung on to win the ACC Championship 21-15 and will go to their first BCS bowl game since 2005. Collin Klein and Kansas State clinched their first Big 12 Championship since 2003 as they knocked off the Texas Longhorns at home 42-24. Lastly, the biggest upset of the weekend occurred in Indianapolis. The 7-5 Wisconsin Badgers absolutely dismantled the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The Badgers came in with revenge on their minds as running backs Montee Ball, Melvin Gordon, and James White ran for a combined 527 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. The Husker defense ended up giving up a total of 640 yards in a 70-31 loss. The Wisconsin Badgers are now heading to their third straight Rose Bowl.

BCS Bowl Games  

BCS National Championship 
 Sun Life Stadium 
Miami Gardens, FL                  
Jan. 7, 2013
#1 Notre Dame vs #2 Alabama 

Fiesta Bowl
University of Phoenix Stadium
Glendale, AZ
Jan. 3, 2013
#4 Oregon vs #5 Kansas State 

Sugar Bowl
Mercedes-Benz Superdome
New Orleans, LA
Jan. 2, 2013
#3 Florida vs 21 Louisville 

Orange Bowl
Sun Life Stadium
Miami Gardens, FL
Jan. 1, 2013
#12 Florida State vs #15 Northern Illinois 

Rose Bowl
Rose Bowl
Pasadena, CA 
Jan. 1, 2013
#6 Stanford vs Wisconsin 

2012 Heisman Trophy Predictions

1. QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M (Freshman)
- Johnny Manziel was the biggest surprise of the 2012 College Football season. Manziel was not a clear starter until right before the season began. As a freshman, Manziel became the first SEC player to have 4,600 yards in one season. He also set freshman FBS records, such as most rushing yards for a quarterback in one season with 1,181 yards. Manziel led his team to a 10-2 regular season record and knocked off Alabama on the road. 

2. LB Manti Te'o, Notre Dame (Senior)
- No one can even explain how great Mant Te'o is as a leader and human being. In September, Te'o lost his girlfriend and grandmother in a matter of a day and was still able to perform at the highest level . Te'o recorded 103 total tackles and seven interceptions during the regular season. Te'o also led an Irish defense that has given up just 10.3 points per game. Te'o and the Irish are headed to the BCS National Championship to play Alabama. 

3. QB Collin Klein, Kansas State (Senior)
- There is not one player who meant more to his team than Collin Klein did. Kansas State is at best an 8-4 team without him. Klein passed for 2,490 yards and 15 touchdowns. Klein also rushed for 890 yards and 22 touchdowns. The play of Klein has led Kansas State to their first Big 12 Championship since 2003 and a Fiesta Bowl bid. Klein would have been the obvious choice to win the Heisman Trophy, but the 52-24 loss at Baylor where he threw three interceptions hurt his chances of winning.