Bowl Week, and I say “week” loosely, is here. Though it is exciting and we have some great matchups on our hands, it means the end of the season is near. But what a season it has been.
My first season in college brought with it one of the most exciting falls I can remember. I spent most Saturdays in the stands, not in front of a TV, and this had its pros and cons. I saw a lot more football last season, but I got to spend 9 Saturdays cheering for my favorite team in person. Lucky for me, Sports Center and ESPN.com exist for all the games I couldn’t see live. There are still 35 games left, two of which I would love to be at, all of which I will preview.
Thank you so much to everyone who reads this blog! I have had a great time writing it and sharing my thoughts with you. I have learned so much this season about my favorite game. I look forward to next season when a new era of college football will begin. But before that, let’s appreciate the last season of the BCS and the games that are left to play.
*Point Spread (from ESPN.com) in parentheses after my pick
-Gildan New Mexico Bowl: Washington State vs. Colorado State; The first game of the 2013 bowl season is an interesting one. On paper, or if you just look at numbers, it seems to be an even match, but going 6-6 with a Pac 12 schedule is a lot different than going 7-5 with a MWC schedule. Washington State played 5 teams currently ranked in the top 25 while Colorado State only played 1. The Cougars only lost to Auburn by a TD in the opening week of the season. The Rams played ‘Bama closer than expected, but it was never close. I think it will be close until the fourth quarter. I am picking Washington State by at least a TD. (WSU -4)
-Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl: 20Fresno State vs. 25USC; For the first time since 2009, the Las Vegas Bowl will not feature Boise State. I’m sure the Bulldogs are not too happy about that fact. They were one game away from going to a BCS bowl. Fresno State was a victim of the crazy final week of the regular season. San Jose State pulled off the upset and knocked Fresno State from the BCS to the first day of the bowl season. Their opponent in this game will be the USC Trojans. USC has had an interesting season, firing Lane Kiffin after starting 3-2, then finished the season 6-2 and going 6-3 in the Pac 12 with Ed Orgeron as interim head coach. But now Orgeron is gone and the Trojans have a new coach in Steve Sarkisian, but the bowl game will be coached by interim coach #2 Clay Helton. This USC team has improved so much this year, but I think the coaching situation might be a strain on the players. Fresno State can score. A lot. I think QB Derek Carr will have another big game and will end the Fresno State season with a victory. I do think it will be a pretty close game though. I am picking Fresno State by a TD or less. (USC -4.5)
-Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Buffalo vs. San Diego State; I have had the chance to see San Diego State play a few times this season, and I have been very impressed. This Aztec team took Fresno State and Boise State to OT and beat Boise State. They are a great comeback team that is fun to watch. Buffalo I have not had a chance to see play. They played a very easy MAC schedule and did not have to face Ball State or Northern Illinois. The majority of their wins were not close, but their losses weren’t close either. I think the Aztecs will get this win, but in their comeback fashion. It is very possible this could end in OT like 4 of the SDSU games this season. They were 3-1 in those games. As long as it doesn’t come down to kicking, I think SDSU can end the season with a win. I am picking San Diego State by about a TD. (BUFF -1)
-R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Tulane vs. Louisiana-Lafayette; For the 3rd straight year the Ragin’ Cajuns will play in the New Orleans Bowl. Only 118 miles separate these two schools and Tulane plays its home games in the Superdome (next year they move to an on campus stadium). In my opinion, bowl season is a chance for teams to go somewhere new and play a team from a different part of the country. It might be good for the fans, but I don’t really like it. It is very hard to pick this game. One reason is that Tulane has home field advantage, but ULL doesn’t have to go too far. So, my decision comes down to me seeing ULL play in person. They came to Fayetteville for the first game of the season. I was impressed by QB Terrence Broadway and the ULL offense. I haven’t seen Tulane but they seem to be a good team. This should be a good game. I am picking Louisiana-Lafayette by a TD. (TULN -1)
-Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl: Ohio vs. East Carolina; This East Carolina team has only lost 3 games this season. Two of which were very close, the other, not so much. Ohio has had an inconsistent season. Each team played Marshall this year. ECU was blown out and Ohio beat them by 3. Even knowing that, I am leaning strongly toward ECU. The Pirates have had a good season and I think they will be able to redeem their big loss and leave a good taste in their mouth. This will be the 5th year in a row Ohio will go to a bowl game. They are 2-2 in the last 4 years. Bobcat QB Tyler Tettleton is a great player to watch. If he has a great game, it might be hard for ECU to win. But I think ECU has the better overall team. I am picking East Carolina by a TD. (ECU -14.5)
-Sheraton Hawaii Bowl: Oregon State vs. Boise State; This is a very interesting game. Oregon State started off the season with a loss to an FCS team, then won 6 in a row, then ended the season will 5 losses. The last one was a one-point loss to Oregon. Boise State’s biggest loss came off the field when head coach Chris Petersen decided to take the Washington job. Even with this distraction, I think the Broncos will be able to get the win. Oregon State’s QB Sean Mannion has not lived up to the preseason hype and I think that will continue. I just have a feeling Boise State will be able to go to Hawaii win. It might be a shootout. I am picking Boise State by a TD. (ORST -4)
-Little Caesers Pizza Bowl: Bowling Green vs. Pittsburgh; Even though Pittsburgh beat Notre Dame and Duke, my gut tells me Bowling Green is going to win easily. It probably has something to do with the way the Falcons beat Northern Illinois. I think they will continue on their five-game winning streak. I just can’t see the Panthers upsetting this very good Bowling Green team. This would be a big win over an AQ school if they can pull it off. The MAC champs need to get this win to give some credibility to the conference. A win would also show there is more to the MAC than just Northern Illinois. I am picking Bowling Green by a TD. (BGSU -7)
-San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl: 23Northern Illinois vs. Utah State; Let me start by saying there is a reason I only assigned 1 confidence point to this game. Northern Illinois was one game shy of a second straight BCS bowl, but lost in the MAC Championship to Bowling Green. The combination of that loss and where this bowl game is being played make me lean towards the Aggies. Utah State came very close to winning the MWC and I think they will continue their level of play. The outcome will come down to how well NIU QB Jordan Lynch plays. He will have to have a strong rushing performance for the Huskies to win this game. He will also have to limit turnovers. I believe Utah State is coming into this game with more momentum. This game might come down to a defensive or special teams play. I am picking Utah State by a TD. (USU -2)
-Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman: Marshall vs. Maryland; Maryland started the season strong but once they got into conference play, it was a whole different team. The Terps only won 3 games in an ACC conference that isn’t very strong this season. They beat one bowl eligible team, Virginia Tech, in OT. Marshall did lose to Virginia Tech in 3OT, but Virginia Tech was very inconsistent this season. Marshall is coming off a heartbreaking loss to Rice in the C-USA Championship. I think they will come into this game angry and Maryland won’t be able to stop them. I would be very surprised if the Terps were able to get a win in this game. Marshall can score a lot and I think that will happen in this game. I am picking Marshall by 2TDs. (MRSH -2.5)
-Texas Bowl: Syracuse vs. Minnesota; This is an interesting matchup. Neither team was projected to do well in their conferences, but both ended up 4-4 in conference play. Minnesota is coming off two tough losses to Wisconsin and Michigan State. Syracuse had to win their last game to become bowl eligible. I think Minnesota is the better team in this game. I think it will be a very close, relatively low scoring game. I think it will come down to a FG or special teams play. I am picking Minnesota by less than a TD. (MINN -3.5)
-Fight Hunger Bowl: BYU vs. Washington; The Huskies will go into this game without their head coach, Steve Sarkisian, who took the job at USC. I don’t think this will make much of a difference in how the game will go. BYU’s signature win came over a pretty good Texas team, but they lost to Wisconsin and Notre Dame late in the season. All four of Washington’s losses came to teams currently ranked in the top 17. Washington’s body of work shows they are a stronger team than BYU. I don’t see BYU staying in this game for very long. I think senior QB Keith Price will keep the team focused, even with all coaching distractions in Washington. I am picking Washington by a TD or more. (WASH -5.5)
-New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Rutgers vs. Notre Dame; Rutgers was barely bowl eligible this season. After losing to Fresno State by 1 in OT in one of the very first games, Rutgers won 4 in a row, but only won 2 more games the rest of the season. Notre Dame didn’t have that great of a season, but they did have some pretty good wins. Notre Dame is a much better team than Rutgers this season. Rutgers also fired multiple members of the coaching staff following their regular season finale. QB Gary Nova has been benched and things are not looking good for the Scarlet Knights. Maybe they will be able to get some sort of momentum because they are playing Notre Dame, but I doubt it. I am picking Notre Dame by more than a TD. (ND -14.5)
-Belk Bowl: Cincinnati vs. North Carolina; North Carolina won 5 of their last 6 games to become bowl eligible. This streak included an 80-20 win over Old Dominion. While that is very impressive, so was Cincinnati in their loss to Louisville. This is a very good Bearcat team and I think they have a pretty good chance to win this game. North Carolina might be able to ride their recent success to a win in this game as well. I think this will be a pretty high scoring game that will go back and forth. Whoever has the ball last will win this game. A win would get Cincinnati to 10 wins on the season. I am picking Cincinnati by a TD. (UNC -2.5)
-Russell Athletic Bowl: Miami(FL) vs. 18Louisville; Somehow Miami was able to make it to 9 wins. They never lived up to their ranking or hype during the season. Looking back at the Florida game, it shows that they are not as good as anyone thought. Louisville also underachieved in the eyes of the media. The Cardinals were a lock to win the American and go back to another BCS game. But it was not to be. It turned out the team to beat in the American was UCF, and no one could beat them, except South Carolina. Teddy Bridgewater didn’t have the Heisman season everyone thought he would. This Louisville team is still pretty good. I think they are definitely better than Miami. This should be a relatively close game for a while, but then Louisville will pull away. I am picking Louisville by about a TD. (LOU -5.5)
-Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Michigan vs. Kansas State; Kansas State went from an 11-2 season to a 7-5 season. This is the second year in a row Michigan has not been all that great. But these teams are traveling in different directions. Kansas State won 5 of its last 6 games while Michigan won 1 of its last 5. I think Kansas State should be able to take care of Michigan. The Wolverine’s heartbreaking one-point loss to Ohio State might still be in the players’ minds. I don’t know if they will be able to overcome that before this bowl game. QB Devin Gardner is a great player and will be the reason this game will be close. But it won’t be close enough for the Wolverines. I think the Wildcats finish their season with a win and Michigan will have to figure out what went wrong. I am picking Kansas State by a TD. (KSU -7)
-Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl: Middle Tennessee vs. Navy; This is another interesting matchup. Don’t expect to see too much passing in this game. Navy is the 2nd best rush offense in the country and Middle Tennessee is the 25th best. The teams are also ranked 85th and 86th in rush defense allowing about 185 rush yards per game. For Middle Tennessee to win, they will have to use their receivers. I don’t think this MTU team will be able to hold the Navy run game. I do think the deciding play will come through the air, though. This should be a very good game. I am picking Navy by a TD. (NAVY -7)
-Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Ole Miss vs. Georgia Tech; This Ole Miss team went from pretty good to average over the course of the season. The Rebels won their first three games, including a big win over Texas, but then lost games at Alabama, Auburn, and vs Texas A&M. The next week, they upset LSU and everything seemed to be getting better. The only ranked team left on the schedule was Missouri. They loss that game as well as losing the Egg Bowl to Mississippi State. Georgia Tech ended their season on a tough OT loss in a rivalry game. Both of these teams are looking to end their season a high note in Nashville. Georgia Tech is known for their rush game, and this could be a big problem for Ole Miss. I think this will be a close game. Ole Miss does have the ability to throw the ball well and they will need both of their QBs to be on target to win this game. I am picking Ole Miss by a TD or less. (MISS -2.5)
-Valero Alamo Bowl: 10Oregon vs. Texas; This game is going to come down to Texas. How much has the Mack Brown situation affected the team? Texas ended up having a more successful season than I thought they would, but they lost two of their last 3 games. Texas has had a tough time with teams who can score a lot of points. Oregon can score a lot of points. But the Ducks have had their troubles too. The last four games of the season saw 2 losses and a close win over Oregon State. Will they be able to mentally prepare for this not-so-big bowl game. I think this Oregon team will play more like they did in the beginning of the season, and show they are deserving of their top 10 ranking. Texas will stay close for a while, but won’t be able to hang for all 60 minutes. I am picking Oregon by more than a TD. (ORE -14.5)
-National University Holiday Bowl: Texas Tech vs. 14Arizona State; I don’t think this will be a close game. Well, that is if Marion Grice is able to play for the Sun Devils after missing the last two games due to a leg injury. QB Taylor Kelly has been having a good year as well for ASU, and I think that will continue in this game. The Red Raiders are on a 5 game losing skid and I don’t think they will get this win. Arizona State is a very good team with an explosive offense. TE Jace Amaro is the player to watch for TTU. Arizona State’s defense should be able to stop this Texas Tech team but I don’t think the Red Raider defense will be able to hold the Sun Devils. I am picking Arizona State by 2TDs. (ASU -17)
-AdvoCare V100 Bowl: Boston College vs. Arizona; I’m picking the upset in this game. I think both of these teams will come in with chips on their shoulders. This game will feature two of the top RBs in the country with Heisman Finalist Andre Williams from BC and Ka’Deem Carey from Arizona. Look for both of them to have a good game. I think there will be a lot of points scored in this game. I think this could be one of the more exciting games of the bowl season. Boston College was the only team that even came close with Florida State this year, and I feel like that says a lot about this team. If the Eagles want to win this game, they will have to score more than 30 points. It might be difficult, but I think it will happen. I am picking Boston College by about a TD. (ARIZ -7)
-Hyundai Sun Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. 17UCLA; Virginia Tech has been a hard team to read this year. They had two definitive wins over Western Carolina and then 11th ranked Miami. I have yet to see a game that makes me feel confident in picking them to win. UCLA, on the other hand, is a good team with great players. They have 3 tough losses this season, but overall, they are good. They shouldn’t have a problem with this Virginia Tech team. I think QB Brett Hundley will have a good game as will his receivers and RBs. I don’t think the Hokies match up with this Bruins team. The only concern I have is that UCLA won’t be motivated because they are not playing in a bigger bowl game. Hopefully they will be able to do better than the Pac 12 team that played in this bowl last year (USC). I am picking UCLA by more than a TD. (UCLA -7)
-AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Rice vs. Mississippi State; Both of these teams are coming off big wins. Rice beat Marshall in the C-USA Championship and Mississippi State beat Ole Miss in OT to win the Egg Bowl and get to 6-6. I saw MSST play and beat Arkansas in OT, and while they looked good, they didn’t look great. Rice also beat a stronger quality opponent. Rice has one of the best rushing attacks in the country and that will wear down the Bulldog defense in the end. I think this might be another overtime game, and I think the Owls will end up with the win. It might come down to a FG, and I think that favors Rice. I am picking Rice by less than a TD. (MSST -7)
-Chick-fil-A Bowl: 24Duke vs. 21Texas A&M; This is the last college football game of 2013. And I think it will be a good one. This Duke team has been one of the biggest surprises of the season. The team made history as the first Duke team to win 10 games and the first to go to the ACC Championship game. This Texas A&M, on the other hand, underachieved. The Aggies set the bar high after last year and were not able to match it. That is mostly because of their lack of defense. Their scoring potential was still there and Johnny Manziel had a great year as well, but they couldn’t stop anyone. The defense allowed more than 30 points per game this year, but JM and his offense scored on average more than 43 points per game. And that’s why I think the Aggies will win this game. There are too many weapons on this team. Duke will score, but not enough. I think it would be hard to underestimate the Blue Devils after their season, but Duke is looking for a signature win and would love to ruin everyone’s bowl mania. I am picking Texas A&M by a TD. (TA&M -13.5)
-TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl: Nebraska vs. 22Georgia; Neither of these teams had the seasons they had hoped for. Injuries plagued both of these teams. This will be a battle of the backup QBs. This is also a rematch of last year’s Capital One bowl. It could be an exciting game because it features two great RBs in Ameer Abdullah for Nebraska and Todd Gurley from Georgia. These backs have been the most consistent parts of their teams. I think Georgia will use the momentum from their huge comeback win against Georgia Tech to start this game off strong. I expect a relatively close game where neither team gets too far ahead of the other. I am picking Georgia by about a TD. (UGA -9.5)
-Heart of Dallas Bowl: UNLV vs. North Texas; You did indeed read that correctly. UNLV is playing in a bowl game, and a January 1st bowl game at that. Now, I am a Las Vegas native, so I am slightly biased. The last time UNLV played in a bowl game, I was 5 years old. They beat Arkansas in the Las Vegas Bowl in 2000. I believe the reason for the turnaround was hiring head coach Bobby Hauck in December of 2009. The team won two games each of the first 3 seasons, leading many to call for his firing. But in this, his 4th season, the Rebels went 7-5, and snapped a 23-game road losing streak. This team has a 1,000 yard RB in Tim Cornett, a 1,000 yard WR in Devante Davis and QB Caleb Herring threw for 2,500 yards. I think UNLV has a chance against this very good North Texas team, but it is a slim one. The Rebel’s defense is not their strong point, and UNT has shown they can put up a lot of points. But, win or lose, this season is a huge success for UNLV, and I am extremely proud of my Rebels. (Who beat Reno 27-22, in case you forgot.) I am picking UNLV (Go Fight Win!) by a TD or less. (UNT -5.5)
-Capital One Bowl: 19Wisconsin vs. 9South Carolina; Now this game should be very interesting. I wonder how Kirk’s favorite team will do in this game. The last time South Carolina played on New Year’s Day, we got one of the most amazing plays I’ve ever seen. Will Jadaveon Clowney have a big game and improve his draft stock? He hasn’t had the greatest year so far. He seemed unmotivated. I think he will be more of a factor in this game, though. This should be a battle. I don’t expect it to be very high scoring, but I do expect there to be at least one defensive or special teams score in the game. Wisconsin is coming off a loss to Penn State and will be looking to get a big win over an SEC team. SCAR is riding a 5 game winning streak that started will a 2OT win over 5th ranked Missouri and ended with a big win over 6th ranked Clemson. I think the Gamecock’s momentum will carry them to a win in this game. I am picking South Carolina by a TD. (WIS -1.5)
-Outback Bowl: Iowa vs. 16LSU; I don’t think LSU is too happy about being in this bowl game. But after their game against Arkansas, I don’t know if they deserve a better one. Yes, LSU is the only team to beat Auburn, but they lost to an average Ole Miss team and were a miraculous play away from losing to Arkansas. The Tigers will be going into this game without their starting QB, Zach Mettenberger, who tore his ACL against Arkansas. True freshman Anthony Jennings will be at the helm for this game. He did just fine against the Hogs and I expect him to do well against Iowa. I’m interested to see how he will fare in a full game. Iowa had a very good season and 3 of their 4 losses came to teams playing in bowl games on January 1st or later (2 are in BCS games), and the other was to Northern Illinois. I don’t think the Hawkeyes will go down easy, but I think they will go down. This one will be closer than it should be. I am picking LSU by at least a TD. (LSU -7.5)
-Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO: 4Michigan State vs. 5Stanford; The beginning of the end for the BCS bowls. The first BCS bowl of the season will be the 100th installment of the Rose Bowl. This game has the possibility of being the best out of all 35. Two of the best defenses in the country will face off in the “Granddaddy of them All”. Michigan State is coming off a huge win over Ohio State to take the Big 10 title and knock the Buckeyes out of the championship game. Stanford is also coming off a big win in their conference title game. But Stanford did not have to face Arizona State’s star RB Marion Grice. I’ve seen both of these teams play a few times and I am giving the edge to the Spartans. Though Stanford is a great team with great players, I think Michigan State is better. Stanford does have more “big play” guys than MSU. Ty Montgomery and Tyler Gaffney will each need a few big plays if Stanford is going to win. I think it will be a relatively low scoring game, a tough defensive battle. I am picking Michigan State by a TD or less. (STAN -6.5)
-Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: 6Baylor vs. 15UCF; Unlike the Rose Bowl, this game is not a very good matchup on paper. This should be a blowout. But, when have we known college football to be what we expect? That being said, I think it will be a blowout. Though Baylor didn’t end the season the way they started, the firepower this offense has is unbelievable. UCF has not shown that same explosiveness. In the last few weeks, the Knights have had close wins over SMU, USF and Temple. The combined win total of these three teams is 9 and five of them came from SMU. Blake Bortles is a great QB, but he won’t be enough to beat the Bears. Baylor has too many playmakers on both sides of the ball for UCF to handle. I am picking Baylor by at least 2TDs. (BAY -17)
-Allstate Sugar Bowl: 3Alabama vs. 11Oklahoma; It seems no one thinks the Sooners will be able to stay with the Tide. On paper, I think this is warranted. But the game comes down to the players on the field. The biggest concern I have is that Alabama won’t be mentally prepared for the game. Up until November 30, Alabama was almost definitely going to the National Championship, but Auburn had other plans. Having watched Alabama play over the last few years, I’m pretty sure they will show up. Oklahoma might have a little extra fight in them though. They are coming off a huge win over Oklahoma State in the final seconds. Everyone is also telling them they have no chance against the dominant Tide. I think they will have a chance for the first half. But I think Alabama is just too good. I think AJ McCarron will end his amazing college career with a win, and probably a big one. I am picking Alabama by about 2TDs. (ALA -17)
-Discover Orange Bowl: 12Clemson vs. 7Ohio State; The mighty Buckeyes were finally beaten. They were 24-0, but it wouldn’t matter if they had been 32-0. To play for the National Championship they needed to be 1-0 in the 2013 Big 10 Championship game. And unfortunately for them, they were 0-1. So, does this mean the season was a failure? If the players think so, it might lead to two losses to end the season. Clemson also underachieved. Well, “underachieved” is a strong word. Both of these teams are in a BCS bowl game, but each lost their final game. Ohio State to Michigan State and Clemson to South Carolina. Clemson seemed to be under the radar all season, except for when they got beat. They were always in the top, but they were rarely talked about, even with Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins. The Tigers can get back in the news if they can win this game. Which team will be able to finish their season on a high note? I am picking Ohio State by a TD. (OSU -2.5)
-AT&T Cotton Bowl: 13Oklahoma State vs. 8Missouri; Missouri was not supposed to be this good. I don’t know how many people predicted them to win the SEC East, but I don’t think there were too many. Oklahoma State was supposed to win the Big 12, but pesky Oklahoma got in the way at the last second. Each of these teams had the chance to win their conference, but neither did. Both had amazing seasons, but I think Missouri will prevail. This should be a high scoring game. Both QBs will have good games. Defense was optional in the SEC Championship game, but that won’t be the case here. I think the Missouri defense that was one of the best in the SEC will show up for this game and Oklahoma State’s will as well. I am looking forward to an exciting game as these old Big 12 rivals face off again. I am picking Missouri by a TD. (OKST -3)
-BBVA Compass Bowl: Vanderbilt vs. Houston; Two years ago, Houston’s hopes of being a BCS buster were busted by C-USA rival Southern Miss. Last year the Cougars didn’t go bowling and Southern Miss was winless. This year, Houston moved to the American Athletic Conference and is headed back to a bowl. Their 3 conference losses came to UCF, Louisville and Cincinnati, by 5, 7 and 7 points respectively. They are a good team and have a very good chance to win this game. But, I don’t like to pick against Vanderbilt. I think if they played in another conference, they would get more recognition, but since they are in the SEC, they tend to be at the bottom. I think this will be a close game. It won’t be very high scoring, but there won’t be a lack of offense. I think it will come down to the end. I am picking Vanderbilt by less than a TD. (VAN -1.5)
-GoDaddy Bowl: Arkansas State vs. Ball State; I go to the University of Arkansas, but I didn’t grow up in the state. So, I’m not really a part of whatever you want to call the interaction between the fans of the schools. From what I’ve seen, there is a lot of trash talk, but that’s about it since the schools don’t (can’t) play each other. This poor ASU team had to play the two SEC division winners this season. They also lost to ULL (who Arkansas beat), Memphis, and WKU. But I am going to stick with the Red Wolves in this game. Ball State is a very good team from the MAC and might overlook this Sun Belt team. I think this will come down to a miracle play by ASU. Maybe some magic rubbed off on them when they went to Auburn to see their old HC. Once again, ASU’s coach spent a year then headed off to another school as Bryan Harsin accepted the Boise State job. Last year’s coach, Gus Malzahn, will be coaching Auburn in the National Championship this year. I am picking Arkansas State by a TD. (BALL -6.5)
-VIZIO BCS National Championship: 1Florida State vs. 2Auburn; If you had told me at the beginning of the season that a team from Alabama would be playing in the National Championship, I would not have been surprised. If you said a team from the SEC West would be playing for the National Championship, I would have said “thank you, captain obvious.” If you told me that the SEC West team from Alabama was Auburn, I would have laughed. Auburn’s turnaround is the most amazing I can remember. The Tigers were 3-9 overall and 0-8 in the SEC last season (remind you of another SEC West team that starts with an A?). With first year head coach Gus Malzahn at the helm, Auburn went from barely beating Mississippi State and losing to LSU to beating Alabama. Not only did they improve exponentially from last year, but also they improved greatly in the course of this year. There is another team playing for the title this year. The Florida State Seminoles have pulled of one of the most dominant seasons that I can remember. Not only did they go undefeated, but their closest win was by 14 points over Boston College. The Seminoles outscored their opponents by a total of 550 points. None of their games were ever that close. I think that will change. I think the Auburn defense, though not the greatest, will present a hurdle much higher than any FSU has faced this season. Tre Mason is also a problem no one has been able to solve. Like I mentioned, the biggest threat to FSU this season was Boston College. They also had a pretty good RB. Andre Williams rushed for 149 yards on the Seminoles, and this is the reason I am looking for the Tigers to extend the SEC streak to 8. The combination of Nick Marshall and Tre Mason will wear out the FSU defense and Auburn will pull away in the end. I also think the Auburn D-Line will get to Winston a few times, they might not sack him every time, but they will make him think just a little more than usual. I hope we get a good game and not a blowout. Maybe Auburn will be granted one more last second miracle. I am picking Auburn by a TD or less. (FSU -10.5)
GREAT SEASON KATIE!!!!
Another great year! Thanks for guiding us through the wild swings. You covered every angle and your enthusiasm really shines through. Great job!