Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 Allstate Sugar Bowl Preview

Date: January 2, 2013 8:30 PM ET
Stadium: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
Payout: $17,000,000 per team
Played: 1935-present
Former Names: N/A
Broadcasters: Sean McDonough, Chris Spielman
Sideline Reporter: Quint Kessenich

Louisville: Louisville started the season 9-0, then lost 2 of their last 3 games. Louisville was dealt a serious blow when running back Senorise Perry was lost for the season in their loss to Syracuse. Jeremy Wright has gained just 89 yards on 48 carries, an average of 1.9 yards per rush, since Perry's injury. The Cardinals are heavy underdogs. A win over Florida would send shockwaves through college football.

Florida: A dominant defense that finished in the top 15 against both the pass and rush and surrendered the third-fewest points in the nation has delivered the Gators a trip to their 22nd consecutive bowl game. Florida defeated four teams that finished in the top 12 of the BCS standings. Its only loss came from rival Georgia. The Gators are back in a BCS bowl for the first time since 2009.

Louisville Florida
Overall Record 10-2 Overall Record 11-1
Conference Record 5-2 Conference Record 7-1
Bowl Record 7-8-1 Bowl Record 20-19
Last Bowl Win 2010 Beef 'O' Brady's Last Bowl Win 2012 Gator

All Time Series: 2-0 Florida
Line: Florida by 14

Sunday, December 30, 2012

2013 Discover Orange Bowl Preview

Date: January 1, 2013 8:30 PM ET
Stadium: Sun Life Stadium, Miami, Florida
Payout: $17,000,000 per team
Played: 1935-present
Former Names: N/A
Broadcasters: Joe Tessitore, Matt Millen
Sideline Reporter: Maria Taylor

Northern Illinois: The Huskies go to their fifth bowl game in as many years as they finish the season ranked No. 15 in the BCS allowing them to go to a BCS bowl game, despite criticism from the media and many fanbases that Northern Illinois does not belong. Quarterback Jordan Lynch threw for 2,962 yards and rushed for another 1,771 yards. Northern Illinois looks to upset the Seminoles and prove they can roll with the big dogs.

Florida State: The well-balanced Seminoles are equally talented on both sides of the ball, contributing to an average margin of victory of 24.8 points per game, the third-best margin in the FBS. The Seminoles have the 7th most effective scoring defense in the land and the 13th scoring offense. Head coach Jimbo Fisher is 2-0 in bowl games at Florida State. The Seminoles have lost their past 3 Orange Bowl appearances: 2001, 2004, 2006.

Northern Illinois Florida State
Overall Record 12-1 Overall Record 11-2
Conference Record 8-0 Conference Record 7-1
Bowl Record 4-3 Bowl Record 24-14-2
Last Bowl Win 2012 Last Bowl Win 2011 Champs Sports

All Time Series: 0-0
Line: Florida State by 13.5

2013 Rose Bowl Preview

Date: January 1, 2013 5:00 PM ET
Stadium: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
Payout: $17,000,000 per team
Played: 1902, 1916-present
Former Names: Tournament East-West Football Game (1902, 1916-1922)
Broadcasters: Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit
Sideline Reporter: Heather Cox, Tom Rinaldi

Wisconsin: The Badgers played in the Big Ten Championship, despite a third-place finish in the Leaders division, due to sanctions at Ohio State and Penn State. A 70-31 rout of Nebraska in the title game earned the Badgers their third consecutive trip to the Rose Bowl. Wisconsin has lost to TCU and Oregon in its past two Rose Bowls. Wisconsin's head coach of seven years, Bret Bielema, bolted for Arkansas. Athletic director and former head coach Barry Alvarez will lead the team.    

Stanford: With the departure of Andrew Luck to the NFL, Stanford fell from the 22nd-ranked passing offense to 94th in the country. Despite a poor passing game, the Cardinal won their first conference championship since 1999, due to a stout defense. Stanford's run defense was the third-best in the FBS. The defense also produced 56 sacks, the most in the nation. Stanford rides a seven-game winning streak as it looks to win the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1972.

Wisconsin Stanford
Overall Record 8-5 Overall Record 11-2
Conference Record 4-4 Conference Record 8-1
Bowl Record 11-12 Bowl Record 10-12-1
Last Bowl Win 2009 Champs Sports Last Bowl Win 2011 Orange

All Time Series: 4-0-1 Wisconsin
Line: Stanford by 6

2013 Outback Bowl Preview

Date: January 1, 2013 1:00 PM ET
Stadium: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida
Payout: $3,500,000 per team
Played: 1986-present
Former Names: Hall of Fame Bowl (1986-1995)
Broadcasters: Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden
Sideline Reporter: Shannon Spake

South Carolina: The Gamecocks have the 12th best defense in the nation. Sophomore defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has accounted for 13 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss this season. Senior Kenny Miles and freshman Mike Davis have shared the rushing duties after Marcus Lattimore's season ended on October 27th with a knee injury.

Michigan: Michigan will be without cornerback J.T. Floyd, punter Will Hagerup, and backup linebacker Brandin Hawthorne who were all suspended for the bowl game for violating team rules. Michigan's defense allows just 155.2 passing yards per game. Denard Robinson will play in his final collegiate game, likely splitting time at both quarterback and running back.

South Carolina Michigan
Overall Record 10-2 Overall Record 8-4
Conference Record 6-2 Conference Record 6-2
Bowl Record 5-12 Bowl Record 20-21
Last Bowl Win 2012 Capital One Last Bowl Win 2012 Sugar

All Time Series: 1-1
Line: South Carolina by 5

2013 Capital One Bowl Preview

Date: January 1, 2013 1:00 PM ET
Stadium: Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Florida
Payout: $4,550,000 per team
Played: 1947-present
Former Names: Tangerine Bowl (1947-1982), Citrus Bowl (1983-2002)
Broadcasters: Rece Davis, Jesse Palmer, David Pollack
Sideline Reporter: Samantha Steele

Georgia: Bulldogs fans will remember the 2012 SEC Championship as the one that got away. Instead of playing Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship game, the 32-28 heartbreaking loss to Alabama relegates the Bulldogs to the Capital One while their SEC East rival Florida, who Georgia beat, plays in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Georgia looks to take its frustration out on the Huskers and get redemption.   

Nebraska: Nebraska is 91st in the nation in passing yards, but 8th in the nation in rushing yards. The defense has been middle-of-the-pack, allowing 26.2 yards per game. Nebraska needs a signature win desperately after being massacred by Wisconsin 70-31 in the Big Ten Championship and losing the Capital One Bowl last year to South Carolina 30-13.

Georgia Nebraska
Overall Record 11-2 Overall Record 10-3
Conference Record 7-1 Conference Record 7-1
Bowl Record 26-18-3 Bowl Record 24-24
Last Bowl Win 2009 Independence Last Bowl Win 2009 Holiday

All Time Series: 1-0 Nebraska
Line: Georgia by 9

2013 Heart of Dallas Bowl Preview

Date: January 1, 2013 12:00 PM ET
Stadium: Cotton Bowl, Dallas, Texas
Payout: $1,100,000 per team
Played: 2011-present
Former Names: TicketCity Bowl (2011-2012)
Broadcasters: Clay Matvick, Matt Stinchcomb
Sideline Reporter: Kaylee Hartung

Purdue: After dropping its first five conference games, Purdue salvaged its season by defeating  Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana to close the regular season and become bowl-eligible. The day after becoming bowl-eligible, head coach Danny Hope was canned. Receivers coach Patrick Higgins will act as the interim head coach for the Heart of Dallas Bowl.   

Oklahoma State: Oklahoma State was not as polished in 2012 without Justin Blackmon and Brandon Weeden. However, the Cowboys still had a prolific offense that averaged 44.7 points per game, good for third-best in the nation. Oklahoma State used 3 quarterbacks this season: J.W. Walsh, Clint Chelf, and Wes Lunt. They combined for 3,965 passing yards in 12 games.

Purdue Oklahoma State
Overall Record 6-6 Overall Record 7-5
Conference Record 3-5 Conference Record 5-4
Bowl Record 9-7 Bowl Record 14-8
Last Bowl Win 2011 Little Caesars Pizza Last Bowl Win 2012 Fiesta

All Time Series: 1-0 Purdue
Line: Oklahoma State by 17

2013 Gator Bowl Preview

Date: January 1, 2013 12:00 PM ET
Stadium: Everbank Field, Jacksonville, Florida
Payout: $3,500,000 per team
Played: 1946-present
Former Names: N/A
Broadcasters: Bob Wischusen, Danny Kanell
Sideline Reporter: Allison Williams

Mississippi State: Junior quarterback Tyler Russell threw just 6 interceptions in 366 pass attempts to help the Bulldogs achieve the fifth-best turnover margin in the country at +17. After starting the season 7-0, Mississippi State derailed losing 4 of its last 5 games. The Bulldogs look to end the season on a high note and get their sixth consecutive bowl victory.   

Northwestern: Venric Mark and Kain Colter led the nation's 14th-ranked ground assault, combining for 2,130 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns. The Wildcats are playing in their fifth consecutive bowl game. Northwestern has lost its last nine bowl games. The only bowl victory the Wildcats have ever gotten was in their first bowl appearance, the 1949 Rose Bowl. Northwestern looks to end a 64 season drought.

Mississippi State Northwestern
Overall Record 8-4 Overall Record 9-3
Conference Record 4-4 Conference Record 5-3
Bowl Record 9-6 Bowl Record 1-9
Last Bowl Win 2011 Music City Last Bowl Win 1949 Rose

All Time Series: 0-0
Line: Northwestern by 1

Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012 Chick-fil-A Bowl Preview

Date: December 31, 2012 7:30 PM ET
Stadium: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia
Payout: $3,967,500 ACC, $2,932,500 SEC
Played: 1968-present
Former Names: Peach Bowl (1968-1997)
Broadcasters: Mike Patrick, Ed Cunningham
Sideline Reporter: Jeannine Edwards

LSU: LSU's 11th-ranked defense gave up just 16.9 points per game in 2012. The Tiger defense intercepted 18 passes, returning 3 for touchdowns. Louisiana State is 9-1 in the Georgia Dome, including 5-0 record in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. The Bayou Bengals have won 11 of their last 14 bowl games.

Clemson: Countering the LSU defense will be a Clemson offense that averaged 42.3 points per game, good for sixth-most in the country. Quarterback Taj Boyd threw for 3,550 yards and 34 touchdowns while rushing for 492 yards and 9 touchdowns. Clemson looks to get 11 wins in a season for the first time since the 1981 national championship team went 12-0.

Louisiana State Clemson
Overall Record 10-2 Overall Record 10-2
Conference Record 6-2 Conference Record 7-1
Bowl Record 22-20-1 Bowl Record 16-18
Last Bowl Win 2011 Cotton Last Bowl Win 2009 Music City

All Time Series: 2-0 Louisiana State
Line: Louisiana State by 6

2012 AutoZone Liberty Bowl Preview

Date: December 31, 2012 3:30 PM ET
Stadium: Liberty Bowl, Memphis, Tennessee
Payout: $1,437,500 per team
Played: 1959-present
Former Names: N/A
Broadcasters: Mark Jones, Brock Huard
Sideline Reporter: Jessica Mendoza

Iowa State: Iowa State lost 5 of its last 7 games, going 3-6 in conference games. The Cyclones' 25.2 points per game ranked 84th nationally, but the Cyclones countered with a strong defense that gave up an average of just 23.3 points per game. Iowa State has not been to the Liberty Bowl since 1972, a 31-30 heartbreaking loss to Georgia Tech.

Tulsa: The Golden Hurricane won their first Conference USA title since 2005 by defeating Central Florida 33-27 in overtime. Tulsa is hoping for a different result than the last time they faced Iowa State: a 38-23 loss in the first game of the 2012 season. The Tulsa defensive front tallied the third-most sacks in the country. The Golden Hurricane are 11th nationally in rushing yards per game.

Iowa State Tulsa
Overall Record 6-6 Overall Record 10-3
Conference Record 3-6 Conference Record 7-1
Bowl Record 3-8 Bowl Record 8-10
Last Bowl Win 2009 Insight Last Bowl Win 2010 Hawaii

All Time Series: 2-0 Iowa State
Line: Iowa State by 1.5

2012 Hyundai Sun Bowl Preview

Date: December 31, 2012 2:00 PM ET
Stadium: Sun Bowl, El Paso, Texas
Payout: $2,000,000 per team
Played: 1935-present
Former Names: N/A
Broadcasters: Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson
Sideline Reporter: Tracy Wolfson

USC: The preseason AP No. 1 team ended the regular season by losing four out of its last five games. Quarterback Matt Barkley will not play due to a shoulder injury. Redshirt freshman Matt Wittek will get the start. Wide receivers Marquise Lee and Robert Woods combined for 2,493 yards and 25 touchdowns this season.   

Georgia Tech: The program needed a waiver from the NCAA to go to a bowl after falling below .500 with a loss in the ACC title game. The Yellow Jackets are going to their 16th consecutive bowl game. However, Georgia Tech has lost its last seven bowl games. Just like past Paul Johnson-coached teams, Georgia Tech strongly favors the run. Six different players ran for over 400 yards this season.

Southern California Georgia Tech
Overall Record 7-5 Overall Record 6-7
Conference Record 5-4 Conference Record 5-3
Bowl Record 32-16 Bowl Record 22-18
Last Bowl Win 2009 Emerald Last Bowl Win 2004 Champs Sports

All Time Series: 2-1 Southern California
Line: Southern California by 7.5

2012 Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl Preview

Date: December 31, 2012 12:00 PM ET
Stadium: LP Field, Nashville, Tennessee
Payout: $1,837,500 per team
Played: 1998-present
Former Names: N/A
Broadcasters: Carter Blackburn, Rod Gilmore
Sideline Reporter: Jemele Hill

North Carolina State: Quarterback Mike Glennon accumulated 3,648 passing yards and threw 13 touchdowns, leading the twentieth best passing attack in terms of yards per game. Head coach Tom O'Brien was fired at the end of the season. Offensive coordinator Dana Bible will act as interim head coach for the bowl game.

Vanderbilt: Vanderbilt relied on a stout defense, allowing just 18.3 points per game. Vandy's pass defense held opposing quarterbacks to just 175.8 yards per game. The Commodores will be playing in a default home game. A win in the Music City Bowl will give Vanderbilt their first 9-win season since 1915.

North Carolina State Vanderbilt
Overall Record 7-5 Overall Record 8-4
Conference Record 4-4 Conference Record 5-3
Bowl Record 14-11-1 Bowl Record 2-2-1
Last Bowl Win 2011 Belk Last Bowl Win 2008 Music City

All Time Series: 1-0 Vanderbilt
Line: Vanderbilt by 7.5

Friday, December 28, 2012

Chris Ault

Chris Ault announced he was retiring today after 28 years as the head coach at Nevada. It is not clear if Ault has been planning on retiring or whether pressure from the athletic department was applied after Nevada lost 5 of their last 6 games this season. Other factors to consider are that in 2012 Nevada moved into the most competitive conference it has ever played in, the Mountain West, and Ault's salary is about half of the average salary of Mountain West coaches. Nevada's football budget is far less than other programs in the Mountain West. When asked whether the limited budget and the loss of coaches was part of his decision to retire, Ault said, "All of that plays into the decision ... I want to be a Top 25 program and we have that opportunity, but there are so many intangibles that I had to deal with." Apparently, the 66 year old Ault has not totally ruled out coaching somewhere other than his alma mater.

Ault was one of the coaches I really admired. He took Nevada from a D2 program to a D1AA in 1978 to a D1A program in 1992. You would think a university with limited resources would be a doormat in the FBS, but that was not the case with the Wolf Pack under the leadership of Ault. Nevada was a legitimate program. He led the Wolf Pack to 10 bowl games in 12 FBS seasons. Nevada won a share of the WAC Championship in 2005 and 2010. The Wolf Pack finished 13-1 in 2010.

Chris Ault forever changed football with his "pistol offense". The pistol is a modified version of shotgun where the quarterback takes the snap from a shorter distance with a running back lined up directly behind the quarterback. The pistol is now used in all levels of football from the NFL to college to high school.

I have been watching college football for many years and have always awed at Ault's coaching and what he has been able to accomplish. Wolf Pack football never commited any major violations and had a high graduation rate. Ault not only won, but he was truly one of the good guys in college football, something exceedingly rare nowadays. It will be weird watching Nevada and not seeing Ault on the sidelines.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 Buffalo Wild Wings Preview

Date: December 29, 2012 10:15 PM ET
Stadium: Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Arizona
Payout: $3,350,000 per team
Played: 1989-present
Former Names: Copper Bowl (1989-1996), Bowl (1997-2001)
Broadcasters: Brad Nessler, Todd Blackledge
Sideline Reporter: Holly Rowe

TCU: The Big 12 proved a bit more challenging than the Mountain West for the Horned Frogs. In 7 seasons in the Mountain West, TCU totaled 11 or more wins 6 times. A win against Michigan State will be the school's eighth of the year and its third consecutive bowl game victory. Texas Christian was eighteenth in total defense in the nation, despite not winning a single home conference game.

Michigan State: The Spartans lost 5 Big Ten games by a combined 13 points, going 4-1 on the road and 1-4 at home. Running back Le'Veon Bell rushed for 1,648 yards and 11 touchdowns. The Spartans are fourth in the country in total defense. Michigan State is making its sixth consecutive bowl appearance. The Spartans won their only previous meeting with the Horned Frogs in 1953.

Texas Christian Michigan State
Overall Record 7-5 Overall Record 6-6
Conference Record 4-5 Conference Record 3-5
Bowl Record 13-14-1 Bowl Record 8-14
Last Bowl Win 2011 Poinsettia Last Bowl Win 2012 Outback

All Time Series: 1-0 Michigan State
Line: Texas Christian by 2.5

2012 Valero Alamo Bowl Preview

Date: December 29, 2012 6:45 PM ET
Stadium: Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas
Payout: $3,175,000 per team
Played: 1993-present
Former Names: N/A
Broadcasters: Sean McDonough, Chris Spielman
Sideline Reporter: Quint Kessenich

Texas: The Longhorns ended a two-year slide in the win column, but will still fall short of a 10-win campaign, a feat Texas accomplished for nine consecutive years from 2001 to 2009. Running back Joe Bergeron demonstrated a nose for the end zone, leading the ground game with 16 scores on just 122 carries. Texas has beaten Oregon State in both previous meetings between the two teams, the last being a 61-16 rout in 1987.   

Oregon State: Mike Riley led the Beavers to 6 bowl games in his first 7 seasons, including 5 bowl wins, before failing to become bowl-eligible the past two seasons. That streak ended in 2012 as Oregon State climbed to as high as No. 7 in the AP poll on its way to a nine-win season. Oregon State has 2 capable quarterbacks who combined for over 316 passing yards per game in 2012. Cody Vaz will get the start, but Sean Mannion could see action as well.

Texas Oregon State
Overall Record 8-4 Overall Record 9-3
Conference Record 5-4 Conference Record 6-3
Bowl Record 26-22-2 Bowl Record 8-5
Last Bowl Win 2011 Holiday Last Bowl Win 2008 Sun

All Time Series: 2-0 Texas
Line: Oregon State by 3

2012 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Preview

Date: December 29, 2012 4:00 PM ET
Stadium: AT&T Park, San Francisco, California
Payout: $837,500 per team
Played: 2002-present
Former Names: San Francisco Bowl (2002-2003), Emerald Bowl (2004-2009)
Broadcasters: Dave Pasch, Brian Griese
Sideline Reporter: Jenn Brown

 Navy: After dropping three of their first four contests, the Midshipmen earned wins in seven of their last eight games. As usual, Navy stuck to the ground game this season. Gee Gee Greene, Noah Copeland and Keenan Reynolds all exceeded 100 carries and 600 yards. Reynolds also threw for 884 yards and 8 touchdowns.

Arizona State: First-year coach Todd Graham guided the Sun Devils to their most wins since 2007 and will be seeking the school's first bowl win since the 2005 Insight Bowl. An opportunistic Arizona State defense averaged 3.9 sacks per game, the second-best mark in the nation, and totaled 20 interceptions, fourth-most nationally. Three Arizona State running backs combined for 1,536 yards and 18 scores.

Navy Arizona State
Overall Record 8-4 Overall Record 7-5
Conference Record N/A Conference Record 5-4
Bowl Record 7-9-1 Bowl Record 12-12-1
Last Bowl Win 2009 Texas Last Bowl Win 2005 Insight

All Time Series: 0-0
Line: Arizona State by 14

2012 New Era Pinstripe Bowl Preview

Date: December 29, 2012 3:15 PM ET
Stadium: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York
Payout: $1,800,000 per team
Played: 2010-present
Former Names: N/A
Broadcasters: Chris Fowler, Jesse Palmer
Sideline Reporter: Tom Rinaldi

West Virginia: The Mountaineers' first season in the Big 12 began with great promise, as the team's 5-0 record included victories over No. 25 Baylor and No. 11 Texas. Then came five straight losses in Big 12 games, relegating West Viginia to the conference's seventh bowl tie-in. West Virginia looked stellar in last season's Orange Bowl, routing Clemson 70-33.

Syracuse: Doug Marrone has guided Syracuse to its second bowl game in his four years as head coach. In 2010, the Orange defeated Kansas State 36-34 in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. They'll be hoping for a similar result against another Big 12 foe and former Big East conference-mate. The Orange beat West Virginia in their past two meetings, including a 49-23 beatdown last season.

West Virginia Syracuse
Overall Record 7-5 Overall Record 7-5
Conference Record 4-5 Conference Record 5-2
Bowl Record 14-17 Bowl Record 13-9-1
Last Bowl Win 2012 Orange Last Bowl Win 2010 Pinstripe

All Time Series: 32-27 Syracuse
Line: West Virginia by 3.5

2012 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl Preview

Date: December 29, 2012 11:45 AM ET
Stadium: Amon Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas
Payout: $600,000 per team
Played: 2003-present
Former Names: Fort Worth Bowl (2003-2005)
Broadcasters: Beth Mowins, Joey Galloway
Sideline Reporter: Lewis Johnson

Rice: The Owls won their last 4 games to get to 6-6 and bowl eligible. Rice's 201.2 rushing yards per game ranks 29th nationally. Quarterback Taylor McHargue passed for 11 scores and rushed for another 11. The Owls may have only beat the Falcons once in 6 tries, but the Owls have more late season momentum than Air Force coming into Saturday's game.

Air Force: Air Force lost to both of their military academy rivals and 3 of their last 4 contests. However, a 6-6 record, including 5-3 in the Mountain West Conference, enables Air Force to go bowling for the sixth consecutive season. The Falcons are second nationally in rushing yards per game, averaging 328.8.

Rice Air Force
Overall Record 6-6 Overall Record 6-6
Conference Record 4-4 Conference Record 5-3
Bowl Record 4-4 Bowl Record 10-11-1
Last Bowl Win 2008 Texas Last Bowl Win 2010 Independence

All Time Series: 5-1 Air Force
Line: Air Force by 2.5