Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Preview

January 1, 2011 8:30 PM ET
Stadium: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
Payout: $17,000,000
Played: 1971-present
Once known as: N/A
Broadcasters: Sean McDonough, Matt Millen
Sideline Reporter: Heather Cox
Storyline: Oklahoma is a 16.5 point favorite over Connecticut. Many critics believe the Huskies don’t deserve being in a BCS bowl even if they did win a weak Big East. UConn will be playing in its fourth consecutive bowl game and by far the biggest one in the 10-year FBS history of Huskies football. The Huskies are 8-4, with two losses coming from team that aren’t even in bowls. The one thing that can be said about Connecticut is that they do find ways to win games. Its best player, tailback Jordan Todman, averages 143.1 yards per game, which is good enough to be the second-best rusher in the FBS. Oklahoma won the Big 12 title and will be appearing in its 12th straight bowl. Seven of those twelve bowl appearances were BCS bowl games. One positive for UConn is that despite going to the big games, the Sooners have lost their last five BCS bowls. Oklahoma is the third best passing team, averaging 351.7 yards per game. The Sooners have five players with at least 26 receptions this season. They are led by wide receiver Ryan Broyles. Broyles has 118 receptions for 1,452 yards and 13 touchdowns. The Huskies will look to tell the nation that they belong in the BCS with a big upset over Oklahoma. Even keeping the game close will be a moral victory. The Sooners are in a lose-lose situation. If they lose, they are the laughing stock of college football. If they win, they beat up on an 8-4 squad from a weak Big East Conference. The Sooners need to put this game away by the half and bury their BCS-game losing streak.
All-time Series: 0-0
Line: Oklahoma by 16.5

Overall Record8-4Overall Record11-2
Conference Record5-2Conference Record6-2
Bowl Record3-1Bowl Record25-17-1
Last Bowl Win2009 Papajohns.comLast Bowl Win2009 Sun

2011 Rose Bowl Preview

January 1, 2011 5:00 PM ET
Stadium: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
Payout: $17,000,000
Played: 1902, 1916-present
Once known as: Tournament East-West Football Game (1902, 1916-1922)
Broadcasters: Brent Musberger, Kirk Herbstreit
Sideline Reporter: Erin Andrews
Storyline: Texas Christian went 12-0 yet was not invited to the BCS Championship Game. The Horned Frogs have a chip on their shoulder and will use a matchup with Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl to prove to their critics that they should have been in the BCS title game. TCU has the best defense in the country and is tied for 4th best offense based on points per game with Wisconsin. Wisconsin has the 27th defense in the country. That defense will need to step up big time if the Badgers think they can hang with the Horned Frogs. Wisconsin’s only loss came against Michigan State, and the Badgers’ trademark this season was running up the score to 70 or better three times on weak teams. Both TCU and Wisconsin are run-first teams, with TCU averaging the 7th most rushing yards per game, while Wisconsin’s rushing attack is 12th. TCU is the first school from a non-automatic qualifying league to play in the Rose Bowl in the BCS era. They look to prove doubters wrong and make a statement that they are indeed the best team in the country. Wisconsin looks to be 4-0 in the Rose Bowl since 1994. The two teams have only met once before; the result was a 14-14 tie in 1970. The Granddaddy of Them All promises to be a good game.
All-time Series: 0-0-1
Line: TCU by 3

WisconsinTexas Christian
Overall Record11-1Overall Record12-0
Conference Record7-1Conference Record8-0
Bowl Record11-10Bowl Record11-14-1
Last Bowl Win2009 Champs SportsLast Bowl Win2008 Poinsettia

2011 Progressive Gator Bowl Preview

January 1, 2011 1:30 PM ET
Stadium: EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Florida
Payout: $2,750,000
Played: 1946-present
Once known as: N/A
Broadcasters: Mike Patrick, Craig James
Sideline Reporter: Todd Harris
Storyline: Dan Mullen just got a big pay raise, $2.65 million a year, at Mississippi State to prevent him from being courted by other programs. Meanwhile, rumors abound that Rich Rodriguez will be fired if he loses the Gator Bowl as his buyout drops by $1.5 million with the first day of 2011. Mississippi State has been resurgent with an 8-4 record. The Bulldogs went 4-8 in 2008 and 5-7 in 2009. Mississippi State’s offense is average, but its defense is 27th in the country. The battle between the Bulldogs defense and Michigan’s offense should determine the outcome of this game. The Wolverines have the 6th most productive offense in the nation, but have been horrible on defense. Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson set an NCAA record for rushing yards by a quarterback this season. He rushed for 1,643 yards. If he can break loose, Michigan has a chance to win. The Bulldogs look to get their first bowl win since 2007. The Wolverines look to win to save Rodriguez’s job. This will be the Bulldogs first Big Ten opponent in thirty years.
All-time Series: 0-0
Line: Mississippi State by 4.5

Mississippi StateMichigan
Overall Record8-4Overall Record7-5
Conference Record4-4Conference Record3-5
Bowl Record7-6Bowl Record19-20
Last Bowl Win2007 LibertyLast Bowl Win2008 Capital One

2011 Outback Bowl Preview

January 1, 2011 1:00 PM ET
Stadium: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida
Payout: $3,100,000
Played: 1986-present
Once known as: Hall of Fame Bowl (1986-1995)
Broadcasters: Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden
Sideline Reporter: Suzy Kolber
Storyline: The teams that will be facing off in Tampa are similar. Both Penn State and Florida are teams with rebuilding offenses. Both Urban Meyer and Joe Paterno have won a pair of national championships. The Gators and Nittany Lions have shuffled quarterbacks: Robert Bolden and Matt McGloin for Penn State, John Brantley, Jordan Reed, and Try Burton for Florida. It is unclear which two will start in the Outback Bowl. The Gators are coming off of a loss to Florida State. Penn State is coming off a loss to Michigan State. Florida looks to get a bowl win in Urban Meyer’s last game. Penn State looks to go 4-0 in the Outback Bowl. No team has ever won the Tampa bowl four times.
All-time Series: 2-0 Florida
Line: Florida by 7


Penn State
Overall Record7-5
Overall Record7-5
Conference Record4-4
Conference Record4-4
Bowl Record18-19
Bowl Record27-13-2
Last Bowl Win2010 Sugar
Last Bowl Win2010 Capital One

2011 Capital One Bowl Preview

January 1, 2011 1:00 PM ET
Stadium: Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Florida
Payout: $4,250,000
Played: 1947-present
Once known as: Tangerine Bowl (1947-1982), Citrus Bowl (1983-2002)
Broadcasters: Brad Nessler, Todd Blackledge
Sideline Reporter: Holly Rowe
Storyline: Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio was an assistant under Nick Saban when Saban was the head coach of Michigan State from 1995 to 1999. Now, Dantonio is the headman at Michigan State, and he will be competing against his mentor who has been the head coach of Alabama for the last four seasons. The Crimson Tide lost three games this year after going 14-0 last season and winning the national championship. While disappointing compared to last season, the Tide still had a good year and lost two of its three losses by a combined 4 points. Alabama has the best defense in the SEC and 5th in the country, giving up on average only 296 yards per game. The Spartans have the 25th best defense in the country. Michigan State won eleven games this season, a record for the school, and claimed a share of the Big Ten title for the first time in twenty years. Michigan State will be without leading receiver B.J. Cunningham due to a broken foot in practice. Alabama looks to win ten games for the third straight season. Michigan State looks to get its first bowl win since 2001 and get respect on the national stage after being left out of a BCS bowl. The Capital One Bowl should prove to be better than some of the BCS games.
All-time Series: 0-0
Line: Alabama by 10

AlabamaMichigan State
Overall Record9-3Overall Record11-1
Conference Record5-3Conference Record7-1
Bowl Record32-22-3Bowl Record7-13
Last Bowl Win2010 BCS ChampionshipLast Bowl Win2001 Silicon Valley

2011 TicketCity Bowl Preview

January 1, 2011 12:00 PM ET
Stadium: Cotton Bowl, Dallas, Texas
Payout: $1,200,000
Played: 2011
Once known as: N/A
Broadcasters: Dave Pasch, Bob Griese, Chris Spielman
Sideline Reporter: Quint Kessenich
Storyline: The inaugural TicketCity Bowl kicks off Saturday in Dallas in the Cotton Bowl. Northwestern and Texas Tech are teams headed in opposite directions. Northwestern lost five of its last seven, while Texas Tech won three of its last four. Northwestern lost their best player, quarterback Dan Persa, at the conclusion of the Northwestern-Iowa game on November 13th. Persa accounted for 310 yards per game on average. Backup quarterback Evan Watkins has one touchdown and four picks in two games. Texas Tech is sixth in passing yards per game with 330.5. A struggling Northwestern defense will have its hands full. Texas Tech is just as bad on defense, ranking 116th in the FBS. Northwestern looks to get its first bowl victory since it’s only bowl victory, the 1949 Rose Bowl. The Wildcats have lost seven straight bowls since then. Texas Tech looks to rack up another W in its eleventh straight bowl. The Red Raiders have won six of their last eight postseason games.
All-time Series: 0-0
Line: Texas Tech by 9.5

NorthwesternTexas Tech
Overall Record7-5Overall Record7-5
Conference Record3-5Conference Record3-5
Bowl Record1-7Bowl Record11-21-1
Last Bowl Win1949 RoseLast Bowl Win2010 Alamo

Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 Chick-fil-A Bowl Preview

December 31, 2010 7:30 PM ET
Stadium: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia
Payout: $3,250,000 (ACC), $2,400,000 (SEC)
Played: 1968-present
Once known as: Peach Bowl (1968-1997)
Broadcasters: Ron Franklin, Ed Cunningham
Sideline Reporter: Jeannine Edwards
Storyline: Two similar teams will face off in the Georgia Dome in the last college football game of the 2010 calendar year. South Carolina and Florida State both lost in their respective conferences’ title games. Both teams are 9-4. Both teams have excellent defenses; the Seminoles lead the nation in sacks, while the Gamecocks are 5th in that category. South Carolina won nine games for the first time since 2001, including giving Alabama its first loss since its national championship. A win over the Seminoles will tie South Carolina’s record for the most wins in a season. The Gamecocks won 10 games in 1984. Steve Spurrier is 1-3 in bowl games at South Carolina. Florida State is appearing in its 29th straight bowl game, the longest streak in college football. Talk about consistency! Seminoles quarterback Christian Ponder will be behind center despite an elbow injury that has plagued him the second half of the season and not appearing in the ACC title game against Virginia Tech. Florida State looks to cap Jimbo Fisher’s inaugural season with a win over a proven Gamecocks squad. Florida State has defeated South Carolina in the previous six meetings, the most recent being 1991.
All-time Series: 15-3 Florida State
Line: South Carolina by 3

South CarolinaFlorida State
Overall Record9-4Overall Record9-4
Conference Record5-3Conference Record6-2
Bowl Record4-11Bowl Record22-14-2
Last Bowl Win2006 LibertyLast Bowl Win2010 Gator

2010 AutoZone Liberty Bowl Preview

December 31, 2010 3:30 PM ET
Stadium: Liberty Bowl, Memphis, Tennessee
Payout: $1,700,000
Played: 1959-present
Once known as: N/A
Broadcasters: Charlie Neal, Andre Ware
Sideline Reporter: Cara Capuano
Storyline: The AutoZone Liberty Bowl will feature the two highest-rated freshman quarterbacks in the FBS, Central Florida’s Jeff Godfrey and Georgia’s Aaron Murray. Godfrey passed for 2,042 yards this fall and ran for 546 yards and nine touchdowns. Murray passed for 2,851 yards and twenty-four touchdowns. Georgia is looking to end a disappointing 6-6 season with a winning record. If the Bulldogs lose to the Knights, they will have their first losing season in 14 years. UCF won the Conference USA title this year and is within reach of a school-record 11 wins should it be able to defeat Georgia. UCF is looking to beat a BCS conference foe and get the Knights’ first bowl win ever. With more conference expansion on the horizon, a big win on the national stage could shine as favorable light on the program. Georgia beat Central Florida 24-23 on September 25, 1999, the only meeting between the two schools.
All-time Series: 1-0 Georgia
Line: Georgia by 6.5

GeorgiaCentral Florida
Overall Record6-6Overall Record10-3
Conference Record3-5Conference Record7-1
Bowl Record26-16-3Bowl Record0-3
Last Bowl Win2009 IndependenceLast Bowl WinN/A

2010 Hyundai Sun Bowl Preview

December 31, 2010 2:00 PM ET
Stadium: Sun Bowl, El Paso, Texas
Payout: $1,900,000
Played: 1935-present
Once known as: N/A
Broadcasters: Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson
Sideline Reporter: Tracy Wolfson
Storyline: Miami and Notre Dame once had a high-profile rivalry in the 1980’s, but twenty years after their last meeting, both come stumbling into the Sun Bowl broken teams. Notre Dame was sitting at 4-5 after losing to Tulsa October 30th, but was able to regroup and win three straight over Utah, Army, and USC. The Notre Dame football program has been a hotbed of controversy with the death of a student videographer and the suicide of a student assaulted by a football player. Meanwhile, Miami finished the season with an overtime loss to South Florida and subsequently fired Randy Shannon who was never able to get the Hurricane program to the ACC title game or a bowl win. Interim head coach Jeff Stoutland will lead the team. Notre Dame needs to win the Sun Bowl to generate some good publicity for the program. Miami is looking to get its first bowl win in four years. Miami’s last bowl win came on December 31st, 2006—a 21-20 win over Nevada in the MPC Computers Bowl.
All-time Series: 15-7-1 Notre Dame
Line: Miami by 2.5

Notre DameMiami
Overall Record7-5Overall Record7-5
Conference RecordN/AConference Record5-3
Bowl Record14-15Bowl Record18-15
Last Bowl Win2008 HawaiiLast Bowl Win2006 MPC Computers

2010 Meineke Car Care Bowl Preview

December 31, 2010 12:00 PM ET
Stadium: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina
Payout: $1,000,000
Played: 2002-present
Once known as: Continental Tire Bowl (2002-2004)
Broadcasters: Carter Blackburn, Mike Bellotti, Brock Huard
Sideline Reporter: Shannon Spake
Storyline: Clemson failed to meet expectations this season, only going .500. The bright spots for Dabo Swinney’s team were being the team that was closest to beating Auburn and Da’Quan Bowers leading the nation with 15.5 sacks. The Meineke Car Care Bowl may be the last game Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker plays in as he is expected to leave college football for a career in baseball. The Tigers need a win to get a winning season and to end a season of heartbreakers on a good note. South Florida finished 7-5, including a win over Miami. South Florida may be playing former walk-on Bobby Eveld at quarterback as BJ Daniels is still recovering from injury. Skip Holtz is looking for his first bowl win with the Bulls. South Florida’s offense is 103rd in the nation, while Clemson’s is not much better at 87th. The strength of both teams is their fast, shutdown defenses, which rank ninth (Tigers) and 20th (Bulls). Expect a low-scoring defensive battle Friday afternoon.
All-time Series: 0-0
Line: Clemson by 5.5

South FloridaClemson
Overall Record7-5Overall Record6-6
Conference Record3-4Conference Record4-4
Bowl Record3-2Bowl Record16-16
Last Bowl Win2010 InternationalLast Bowl Win2009 Music City

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl Preview

December 30, 2010 10:00 PM ET
Stadium: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California
Payout: $2,200,000
Played: 1978-present
Once known as: N/A
Broadcasters: Chris Fowler, Todd Blackledge
Sideline Reporter: Erin Andrews
Storyline: Nebraska decisively defeated Washington 56-21 in Seattle on September 18th. Now, the Cornhuskers and Huskies will meet in a rematch in the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl. The Huskers and Huskies will meet for a third time in Lincoln next season to complete the home-and-home series that began this September. Nebraska was hoping for a BCS bowl, but had its hopes shattered when it lost to Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship and finished 10-3. The Cornhuskers beat Arizona in the Holiday Bowl 33-0 last year. Nebraska looks to win its final bowl as a Big 12 member and enter the Big Ten Conference with momentum. While the Huskers were disappointed to not play in a BCS bowl, the Huskies are glad to just get to a bowl game. Washington was behind the eightball at 3-6 and needed to win three straight games to get to .500 and become bowl-eligible for the first time since 2002. Jake Locker’s NFL stock has plummeted, but a solid performance with national exposure could help restore it. Washington looks to take revenge on a Nebraska team that embarrassed them at home earlier in the season.
All-time Series: 4-3-1 Nebraska
Line: Nebraska by 14

Overall Record10-3Overall Record6-6
Conference Record6-2Conference Record5-4
Bowl Record24-22Bowl Record14-14-1
Last Bowl Win2009 HolidayLast Bowl Win2000 Rose

2010 Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl Preview

December 30, 2010 6:40 PM ET
Stadium: LP Field, Nashville, Tennessee
Payout: $1,600,000
Played: 1998-present
Once known as: N/A
Broadcasters: Mark Jones, Bob Davie
Sideline Reporter: Cara Capuano
Storyline: North Carolina and Tennessee will meet for the first time since 1961 in the Music City Bowl. North Carolina spent much of the season immersed in scandal involving sports agents, improper gifts, and academic misconduct to the detriment of the football programs reputation. Despite having to sit seven players all season, the Tar Heels were able to perform well enough to make it into the postseason and go 4-4 in ACC play. Tennessee was 2-6 and had to win its final four games to become bowl-eligible. Freshman quarterback Tyler Bray was the spark the Volunteers needed; he went 4-0 as a starter. Tennessee is trying to regroup under new head coach Derek Dooley after Lane Kiffin and some recruits left the program after one year. The Volunteers will be playing 180 miles from home and can expect a Vols-friendly crowd. The Tar Heels need to win this game to end the reputation-damaging 2010 season on a positive note. The Volunteers need to win to get above .500 and to prove their program is finally on the rebound.
All-time Series: 20-10-1 Tennessee
Line: North Carolina by 1

North CarolinaTennessee
Overall Record7-5Overall Record6-6
Conference Record4-4Conference Record3-5
Bowl Record12-5Bowl Record25-23
Last Bowl Win2001 PeachLast Bowl Win2007 Outback