We have the championship game everyone was expecting after last night’s debacle with both the #1 and #2 teams collapsing yesterday — LSU playing what probably will be a virtual home game in the Superdome against Ohio State, but it’s the other match-ups and the bowls that merit some talk. If you’re asking in advance, yes, I’m picking LSU, and the spread right now is -6.
- BCS Title Game: OSU (11-1) vs. LSU (11-2)
- Rose Bowl: USC (10-2) vs. Illinois (9-3)
- Sugar Bowl: Hawai’i (12-0) vs. Georgia (10-2)
- Fiesta Bowl: West Virginia (10-2) vs. Oklahoma (11-2)
- Orange Bowl: Kansas (11-1) vs. Virginia Tech (11-2)
Missouri got completely jobbed here, beating Kansas to make the conference championship game and then losing out on the BCS at-large. Hawai’i also got semi-screwed — I’m not one of the people who believes that just because a team is undefeated, that they’re better than everyone else. Strength of conference and schedule has to matter, and I’m not insane to push the Warriors for a BCS title game. But Hawai’i is victimized by its location because teams refuse to go there to play — they have to schedule 1-for-2 agreements with teams rather than home-and-away series, and even then, teams will back out.
Title Game: Again, give me LSU in this game. Better offensive talent, although its vaunted defense isn’t the same one that shut out Mississippi State and held Virginia Tech to a touchdown. OSU’s D hasn’t seen a team comparable in offensive skill to LSU at all. It will be closer than we all think, but expect LSU to cover barring major injury.
Rose: Stupid Pac-10/Big Ten commissioners. Despite the success of Illinois, there is a precedent for deviating from the “traditional” match-up, and it happened back in 2005 when USC had to go play Oklahoma for the national title — the Rose Bowl brought in Vince Young and Texas to play Michigan, and that game was pretty damn good, if I recall. Bringing Georgia to Pasadena would have been a much better game to watch. Not to knock Illinois, but they’re young and new to this BCS thing. USC by two touchdowns is being charitable.
Sugar: The Rose Bowl’s stupidity is the Sugar Bowl’s gain. I think if Hawai’i needed a top match-up and test of their skills, then UGA is not a bad way to go. This is a good one to watch, and might wind up being the most exciting of the big bowls in the end.
Fiesta: Why do I think Oklahoma will just trample WVU? I get the sense their defense and Sam Bradford’s improvement will just beat down a Mountaineer defense that wasn’t much to begin with when the season started.
Orange: Defensive battle, anyone? Kansas shouldn’t even be here, frankly, and Virginia Tech makes a habit of being in BCS bowls. Tech by a touchdown, at least.
Other Bowls I’m Looking Forward to Watching:
- Poinsettia Bowl, Utah vs. Navy — I’m actually getting a kick out of watching Navy run the triple option, and while Utah is not quite what it used to be under Urban Meyer, they still managed 8-4 somehow.
- Holiday Bowl, Arizona State vs. Texas — Pac-10 2nd place vs. runners-up in the Big 12 South. Two good offenses run up against one another.
- Independence Bowl, Colorado vs. Alabama — Solely to see if Dan Hawkins can knock Nick Saban with an under-500 record for his first season. Go, Buffs.
- Music City Bowl, Florida State vs. Kentucky — Don’t ask me why; I just like watching Andre Woodson play.
- Gator Bowl, Virginia vs. Texas Tech – The Lubbock Pirate Academy goes against the balls-out Wahoo defense. What’s not to like?
- Cotton Bowl, Mizzou vs. Arkansas — Chase Daniel’s passing attack vs. the rushing force of Darren McFadden and Felix Jones.