Posted by Walter
Clemson -11 over Kentucky
I admire the Wildcats this season. They hung tough in the ultra competitive SEC, and they may even have a bourgeoning superstar in quarterback Andre Woodson (see my "Next Big Thing" column). Yet, this is a nightmare matchup for them. Clemson has the best 1-2 running back combination in the country with James Davis and (my favorite) CJ Spiller, and Kentucky has not exactly been adept at shutting down top talent running games this season. Louisville's Mike Bush ran for nearly 130 yards on only 18 carries in the opener, LSU ran up over 250 rushing yards, and even Florida hung over 200 rushing yards on the Wildcat defense. The scary thing is that the Davis and Spiller combination is appreciably better than all three of the aforementioned running games. The only way Kentucky has a chance is to put the ball in the hands of Andre Woodson early and get out to a big lead. Keeping the ball out of Davis and Spillers' hands is the only way they can slow those two down. No disrespect to Andre Woodson (who is fantastic), but he can't do it alone. This one is a laugher as Clemson takes it 35-17.
Oregon State -4 over Missourri
This line looks a little off to me, don't it? Mizzou got off to a hot start, but they have lost three of their last four games (including a disaster at Iowa St.) and 4 of their last 6. Oregon State, on the other hand, has been peaking at the right time, winning 7 of their last 8 games, including impressive road wins at Washington, Arizona, and Hawaii, not to mention the stunning upset of USC. The most impressive thing, though, is that the Beavers did all this, for the most part, without their best offensive player, Yvenson Bernard. Well he came back for the Hawaii game and put up 100 yards, and with him fully healthy this Oregon State team should be poised for a big offensive day against an all of a sudden suspect Mizzou defense that has given up 20 points or more in 6 of the last 7 games. Look for the Oregon State three headed monster of Bernard, QB Matt Moore, and WR Sammie Stroughter to all have huge games. Missourri QB Chase Daniel is good enough to keep it close early, but Oregon State pulls away late. Call it 35-24.
South Carolina -7 over Houston
As far as meaningless bowl games go, this one could be one of the most fun. South Carolina and Houston are two teams that are extremely athletic on offense, and both have coaches who never call off the dogs. First Houston. Lost in Colt Brennan mania, was the magnificent season that Houston senior Kevin Kolb had. Considered one of the top pro prospects in this senior class, Kolb put up an other wordly 27:3 TD to INT ratio and over 3400 passing yards. Not to be outdone, Houston tailback Anthony Aldridge put up a video-game type stat of his own, averaging over 10 yards per carry on the season!!! He teams with Jackie Battle to form one of the more imposing and least known tailback tandems in the nation. But how about South Carolina. Well we are all aware of my unabashed love for Steve Spurrier, but this team is loaded on offense. Blake Mitchell has really turned his game around since being benched in favor of Syvelle Newton in the middle of the season, and with Sidney Rice around it's not hard to see why. But the big edge South Carolina has in this game is their defense. Although it's young, it has been steadily improving all season and has become a strength of the team in recent weeks. While there will be a ton of points scored in this game, South Carolina's defense, led by the Brinkley twins (Casper and Jasper), will have far more answers than the Houston squad. It will be a relatively close game, and should be a lot of fun to watch. Give me South Carolina 38-30.
Purdue +4 over Maryland
Tough game to call. Maryland was a huge suprise in the ACC this season, although they didn't really beat anyone (their best win was at Clemson, who finished the season unranked). Same goes for Purdue whose best win was, er....at Michigan State? Still, when picking games you can't ignore how teams have been playing lately, and Maryland has been bad. They've lost two straight, albeit to top competition (BC and Wake Forest), but they gave up 38 points in each game and got blown out in each game. Purdue, on the other hand, had won three straight before dropping their finale to Hawaii on the island (no shame there). Look for Purdue QB Curtis Painter to have a strong, poised game against a suspect Terrapin defense, and for Maryland QB Sam Hollenbach to make one or two crucial mistakes against an opportunistic and ball hawking Boilermaker secondary. As far as uninspiring games go, this one may take the cake. Give me Purdue winning outright, 21-17.
Texas Tech -7 over Minnesota
Another game that could be a fun one. We all know that Texas Tech loves to throw the ball and put up points, but what many people don't know is that Gophers can score too. In their last 3 games Minnesota has put up 34, 31, and 63 points. Problem is, when they are good they are good, but when they are bad, they are bad. Just look at the 44-0 shellacking Ohio State laid on them. Looking at these teams its hard to go against the Red Raiders. Despite some early season struggles, Tech quarterback Graham Harrell ended up with All America caliber numbers, completing 67% of his passes en route to over 4000 yards and 36 touchdowns. Minnesota QB Brian Cupito is no slouch, but he isn't the pure passer Harrell is, and the Minnesota passing game won't be able to keep up. The Gophers will really miss Gary Russell in this one as Tech will take a big lead early and score enough late to keep this one comfortable. Let's call it 38-27 Tech.
Overall Bowl Record: 8-4
Frazier: Ugh, this bowl picking thing has been a disaster for me. Partially because these are random games, partially because bowl season always has surprises in terms of which teams show up, and which ones shit the bed. Also, we've been picking in a format different than the one I am used to, and I think it's been fucking with me. Still, no excuses, it's time to turn it on.
Clemson -11 over Kentucky
Clemson is far and away the better team here. Kentucky is a nice story, but they aren't actually any good. I know it was awhile ago, but they got pasted 49-0 against LSU. While they may have hung tough with an injured Tennessee team, they finished their season against an uber-soft schedule. I just don't like it. Clemson has to get it going, and although they haven't been killing people, I think Spiller sends a message. 28-14.
Oregon State -4 over Missouri
Picking against Mizzou has been very, very, very good to me, and may be exactly what I need to get off the shneid. Oregon St. has been playing well. Mizzou started hot but has been pretty poor of late. Also, they failed to do anything in a very weak Big 12 this year. I just don't like it. Oregon St. rolls this team, 38-20.
South Carolina -7 over Houston
It's all about Steve Spurrier. This is a man who is not exactly used to playing close games against the Houston's of the world. And he ain't about to start now. I love Houston, I really do, but the SEC is a whole other ballgame. The Gamecocks defense was actually good at times this year, and their offense is going to enjoy playing against a defense that isn't exactly SEC-caliber. They are scoring plenty of points, and will be winning handily. Let's call it 34-18.
Maryland -4 over Purdue
As much as I don't love this Terrapin team, I really don't love the Boilermakers. If Maryland avoids the costly turnovers that submarined their final two games, I think they should be fine. The Fridge is a good offensive coach, and he'll find a way to make things happen on that side of the ball. The Maryland defense has been pretty stingy, except when their offense has put them in terrible situations. That doesn't happen this time, and Maryland gets it done, in a completely boring and meaningless game, 24-17.
Minnesota +7 over Texas Tech
The Golden Gophers have rounded into form recently. They have the ability to score points, and Texas Tech ain't exactly stopping anyone, at any time, anywhere, under any circumstances. Now, the Red Raiders will get their points, but so will Minnesota. This game is going to be fun to watch, and I think it will be close. Any time the teams involved will be scoring over 70 combined points, I like to take the numbers. Too many things could happen to give the Gophers a big lead, or keep them in it with garbage touchdowns. I think Tech wins, but not by enough, 38-34.
Overall Bowl Record: 5-7