Sean Powers ’15
As break is now upon us and as Christmas rolls around, college bowl season begins this Saturday December 21st with the kickoff of the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. Now I know many if you are not counting down to this bowl game which features Washington State (6-6) and Colorado State (7-6), but here are some of the bowls that you may want to tune in to over break.
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl- #20 Fresno State (11-1) vs. #25 USC (9-4) 12/21/13
Fresno State finished the season with one loss costing them the opportunity at a BCS bowl so this bowl almost seems like a disappointment after such a successful season. USC came into the season with mixed expectations especially with the firing of ex-coach Lane Kiffin early in the season. USC surprised many as interim coach Ed Orgeron led the Trojans to a key win over PAC 12 champion Stanford. Unfortunately Orgeron resigned and will not coach this bowl game. This bowl will test and see if Fresno State can compete with a powerhouse school in USC. Also what is really uncertain is which USC team will actually show up to this game, the won that beat Stanford 20-17 or the one that lost to Washington State 10-7. Expect a tight game with a lot of scoring with Fresno State’s high powered offense.
Chick-fil-A Bowl- #21 Texas A&M (8-4) vs. #24 Duke (10-3)
If you had to pick a bowl just to watch one player then this may be the bowl for you. Johnny Manziel, last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, had better stats than his freshman season. Duke has won 10 games for the first time in school history so many teams are not giving Duke much of a chance in this game. This is most likely Manziel’s last game as a collegiate athlete so expect him to be playing at his best. Duke will be playing inspired by the fact that they have not won a bowl game since 1961, a 52 year drought. The SEC has some of the nation’s best football teams but don’t underestimate the Blue Devils. This will be a closer than expected game so be sure to make time for this one.
Capital One Bowl- #9 South Carolina (10-2) vs. #19 Wisconsin (9-3)
The Wisconsin offensive line will have their hands full with South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. Wisconsin loves to run the football and then run it some more. This is the mentality of the number 8 rushing team in the nation and they will not go into this game any differently. Expect a lot of running, low scoring, and most importantly big hits throughout this game. This is probably the best non-BCS bowl game to watch during break.
Rose Bowl- #4 Michigan State (12-1) vs. #5 Stanford (11-2)
The 100th edition of the granddaddy of them all, the Rose Bowl will once again not disappoint, unless you are not a fan of defense that is. Arguably the nation’s top 2 defenses will face off in Pasadena, California. Both teams are nearly identical on offense and defense so it is really a matter of which team falters first. Look for a low scoring game between these two and also look for special teams, not defense, to be the major deciding factor. All American Punter Mike Sadler is a weapon that Michigan State has while Stanford has a weapon in All American returner Ty Montgomery. Whoever wins in special teams will win this game.
Discover Orange Bowl- #7 Ohio State (12-1) vs. #12 Clemson (10-2)
If you like offense and high scoring then this is the game for you. Ohio State has 3rd best rushing offense in running back Carlos Hyde and quarterback Braxton Miller. Florida State has the 12th best passing offense led by quarterback Tajh Boyd. Both teams do have respectable defenses but their offenses will both be hard to contain. The Tigers hope to exploit the Buckeyes secondary that showed weakness in the Big Ten Championship Game against Michigan State. Both teams are coming off of losses and would like to finish the season on a high note. Look for a competitive game between the Buckeyes and Tigers and oh maybe a touchdown or two, or eight.
Vizio BCS National Championship- #1 Florida State (13-0) vs. #2 Auburn (12-1)
The last BCS national championship game ever to be played and this one will not disappoint. Auburn’s season could be described as destined or even magical but Auburn believes they are just the best team in the country. Florida State has been the best team in the country so far and they have shown it by finishing with zero losses. Their games have not been close either, every game they have played was won by double digits; Florida State is the real deal this year regardless of what conference they play in. Touchdowns will not be the question at hand but rather how many? This game is guaranteed to have a lot of offense so get ready for a fast paced and thrilling climax to another college football season.
Merry Christmas and Happy Bowling!