Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Bowl Previews: This Week's Bowls*

We're finally in the home stretch of Bowl Season. The last week before the national championship, when we curse the BCS, the bowls, and the Big Ten for preventing us from enjoying a playoff system, then "punish" the bowls by watching them, allowing them to generate ridiculous revenue from TV ratings.

Tonight - 8:30 PM - ESPN
Allstate Sugar Bowl - New Orleans, LA
#13 Michigan Wolverines (-3) vs. #11 Virginia Tech Hokies
This game sums up why the BCS is a lousy, rigged, slimy system. Teams like Kansas State and Boise State were ranked higher in the BCS. But Michigan and Va-Tech are established powerhouses with big fanbases that will fill hotel rooms, buy tickets and merchandise, and also watch in huge numbers on TV.

Both these teams have excellent defenses. Then again, neither has faced overly impressive opposition. It might just be wishful thinking, because I hate Michigan, but I think Tech wins this game.

VT +3

Wednesday - 8:30 PM - ESPN
Discover Orange Bowl - Miami, FL
#23 West Virginia Mountaineers vs. #15 Clemson Tigers (-3)
WVU is the best the Big East could muster. More BCS BS as the Big East gets an automatic BCS bid (and an automatic check) no matter how much their conference stinks.

Uncharacteristically, WVU struggled to run the ball, and had a bad defense. Clemson was a pleasant surprise for the ACC. They have some head-shaking losses on their schedule, but also have some impressive wins. They beat Virginia Tech twice. I really can't pick against them. I doubted this Tigers team all year long but they've made me a believer.

Clemson -3

Friday - 8:00 PM - Fox
AT&T Cotton Bowl - Dallas, TX
#8 Kansas State Wildcats vs. #6 Arkansas Razorbacks (-8.5)
And yet another example of BCS shenanigans. The Cotton Bowl is one of the most historic and was once one of the most important bowl games in college football. But somehow a much younger bowl game in Arizona was included in the BCS. The Cotton Bowl gets a small measure of revenge as it's now played in Jerry Jones' mega-stadium, and this year they have one of the most attractive matchups.

K-State lost to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Their biggest win was over Baylor. Arkansas lost to Bama and LSU. Their biggest win was over South Carolina. I think Arkansas is slightly overhyped, and K-State can win this one in Big XII territory. Or at least keep it close.

Wildcats +8.5

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