The Bowl Season continues this morning with SIX, count 'em SIX games. First up will be Northwestern and Texas Tech in the TicketCity Bowl, followed by Alabama-Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl and Florida-Michigan State in the Outback Bowl. To start out the final three games, Mississippi State will face Michigan in the Progressive Gator Bowl, followed by Wisconsin and TCU in the Rose Bowl Game Presented By Vizio. The day will come to an end with Connecticut facing Oklahoma in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
Below I will break down each game, and reveal my picks at the end. Along with my picks, I will post the favorite and flip a coin for each game. Whichever method has the most points at the end of Bowl Season, I will use for next year's games.
TicketCity Bowl, Northwestern Wildcats (7-5, 3-5 in the Big Ten) vs Texas Tech Red Raiders (7-5, 3-5 in the Big 12), 9:00 AM on ESPNU, from the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
Why You Should Watch: Because it's either this or sleep. You choose sleep? Whimp.
Breakdown: Both teams tied 2-2 in the five categories I use. Northwestern won in turnovers and penalties, while Texas Tech had the better SOS and record in their last three games. Both teams were equal in motivation.
I'm going with the Wildcats for no special reason, but only with 11 confidence points.
Capital One Bowl, #16 Alabama Crimson Tide (9-3, 5-3 in the SEC) vs #9 Michigan State Spartans (11-1, 7-1 in the Big Ten), 10:00 AM on ESPN, from the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.
Why You Should Watch: To see the first Top 10 team play a bowl game this season.
Breakdown: Alabama won out in SOS, Turnovers, and Penalties, while Michigan State prevailed in last three games and motivation. Even though MSU is ranked 9th in the country, I really like Alabama to win this one. Michigan State's record can be deceiving, considering they only beat Northwestern by 8, Purdue by 4, and Penn State by 8. There is nothing deceiving about Julio Jones or Trent Richardson though. They are physical mis-matches at this level.
Outback Bowl, Florida Gators (7-5, 4-4 in the SEC) vs Penn State Nittany Lions (7-5, 4-4 in the Big Ten), 10:00 AM on ABC, from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
Why You Should Watch: To see Florida head coach Urban Meyer coach his last game as a Gator.
Breakdown: Penn State did prevail 2-1 in my categories, but I'm throwing that out for this game. I'm picking Florida, and picking them big because this will be coach Meyer's final game, and we all saw what happened with Maryland and Ralph Friedgen a few days ago.
If for some reason the players aren't extremely pumped up, the coordinators and coaches will be. All of them will be auditoning for jobs around the country, so they should be on their A Game.
Gator, Rose, and Fiesta Bowl previews after the break
Gator Bowl, #21 Mississippi State Bulldogs (8-4, 4-4 in the SEC) vs Michigan Wolverines (7-5, 3-5 in the Big Ten), 10:30 AM on ESPN2, from EverBank Field in Jacksonville.
Why You Should Watch: To see Michigan Quarterback Denard Robinson, who was a serious Heisman Contender until mid-October.
Breakdown: Mississippi State prevailed 3-0, with the teams being tied in last three games and motivation. The Bulldogs should be able to over-power the Wolverines with their ground game (ranekd 16th in the nation), agaisnt a Michigan Defense that's ranked 102nd in the country.
Rose Bowl, #5 Wisconsin Badgers (11-1, 7-1 in the Big Ten) vs #3 TCU Horned Frogs (12-0, 8-0 in the MWC), 1:30 PM on ESPN, from the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
Why You Should Watch: First of all, it's the Rose Bowl, so it's your obligation as a College Football fan to tune in. Second, it's the first of two Top 5 Matchups this Bowl Season. Third, to see the incredible duo of running backs for the Badgers, James White and John Clay. The two have combined for 27 touchdowns this season. Fourth, it will be a chance for scouting the Badgers (The Beavers play them next season), and a chance to see one of Oregon State's opponents from this season.
Finally, to see undefeated TCU, who is playing for Non-AQ Teams throughout the nation. If the Horned Frogs win this game, you could argue that it would be bigger than Boise State's win over Oklahoma.
Breakdown: Wisconsin won out 3-0 in my categories, but I'm tossing those out once again. I'll be rooting for the Horned Frogs anyway, so why not pick them? We know well how good both QB Andy Dalton and the unique 4-2-5 defense coach Gary Patterson employs can be. The Horned Frogs are currently #1 in total defense again, as they were the last two years.
Fiesta Bowl, Connecticut Huskies (8-4, 5-2 in the Big East) vs #7 Oklahoma Sooners (11-2, 6-2 in the Big 12), 5:30 PM on ESPN, from University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.
Why You Should Watch: To see if Connecticut can pull off the biggest upset of the bowl season, by beating the 7th Ranked Sooners.
Breakdown: The teams endind up tying 2-2, with Connecticut prevailing in penalties and motivation, and Oklahoma prevailing in SOS and Turnovers. While I can see UCONN winning this game (If Washington can beat Nebraska, then anything can happen), it's impossible not to go with Oklahoma. But you heard it here first, UCONN loses by 10 or less.
First Three Games
TicketCity Capital One Outback Current Total to Date
Odds Texas Tech Alabama Florida 10
Coin Northwestern Alabama Florida 14
Connor Northwestern (11) Alabama (29) Florida (32) 10 (180)
Last Three Games
Gator Rose Fiesta Current Total to Date
Odds Mississippi State TCU Oklahoma 10
Coin Michigan TCU Connecticut 14
Connor Mississippi State (17) TCU (28) Oklahoma (34) 10 (180)
(Rose Bowl and Fiesta Bowl recaps, and a scouting report on Wisconsin, are in the Comments)