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Archive for December, 2010

Friday’s Bowl Forecasts

December 31st, 2010 No comments

Have a Safe and Happy New Year!!!!

MEINEKE CAR CARE BOWL
12:00 PM ESPN
Click on the bowl logo for MORE info!!!!

USF (7-5) VS CLEMSON (6-6)

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
A.O.R
USF 123
138
14
1.8
-
99.6
CLEMSON
148
198
22
2.1
•••
101.3
First meeting between these two schools. USF is making its 6th straight bowl appearance but its 1st under HC Holtz and this is USF’s 2nd trip to the Car Care Bowl losing 14-0 to NCSt in their 1st ever bowl in ‘05. This is also Clemson’s 6th straight bowl and 1st Car Care Bowl. The Car Care Bowl targeted CU due to their fans’ reputation for traveling well and the Tigers should certainly have the crowd edge here as CU is just 130 miles away. Both teams faced Miami (FL) with CU losing 30-21 (outgained 376-311) and USF winning 23-20 in OT despite being outgained 353-294 (3-1 TO edge).

There was great anticipation at USF after Holtz took over in January. The Bulls played 6 games decided by a TD or less (3 wins incl 2 in OT) and captured their 1st ever win over Miami. One sore spot all year was the erratic play of QB Daniels. He has suffered numerous injuries TY (missed finale) but is probable here. Daniels threw 7 of his 12 int vs FL and WV, both games that were closer than the final suggests. Overall USF is #89 on offense and #41 on defense. LB Williams leads the team in tackles and tfl. USF is #55 in my pass D rankings all’g 188 ypg (59%) with a 16-13 ratio vs a very soft slate of opposing QB’s. USF is #60 in my ST rankings with a low net punt avg (34.4, last in BE) but strong ret specialists with KR Lindsey #2 in the BE in avg and PR Mitchell #4. PK Bonani ret’d from a severe inj TY and was nearly perfect inside the 50 (16-17).

Clemson began the season 3-3 for the 9th time S/’95 and 3rd year in a row. After two easy wins, they faced their toughest test in the entire month of Sept when they traveled to Auburn. After punching the Tigers in the mouth, CU all’d a comeback and fell in OT, which started a streak of 3 straight losses. The offense comes in rated #64. Colorado Rockies #1 DC QB Parker struggled with int TY but mended his rift with Swinney after being benched vs South Carolina and will start the last gm of his career here. The DL (6’4” 290) totaled 25.5 of the tm’s 28 sks, led by ACC DPY/Nagurski winner Bowers (15.5). The secondary ranks #20 all’g 192 ypg (52%) with a 16-14 ratio. The D is ranked #13 overall while the ST’s come in at #9 led by Ray Guy semifinalist P Zimmerman (only ACC P in final 10).

Read more…

Thursday’s Bowl Forecasts

December 30th, 2010 No comments
ARMED FORCES BOWL
12:00 ESPN
Click on the bowl logo for MORE info!!!!

ARMY (6-6) VS SMU (7-6)

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
A.O.R
ARMY 213
65
22
1.1
91.7
SMU
122
280
26
2.5
-
96.8
The Black Knights accomplished a major goal as they are back in a bowl for the 1st time S/’96 (lost to Aub in the Independence Bowl). The Mustangs were also lacking in the postseason until LY’s trip to the Hawaii Bowl where they destroyed Nevada and prior to LY the Mustangs had not been in a bowl S/’84. They had 2 common opponents this year (Tulane and Navy) with the Knights and Mustangs both beating Tulane: Army 41-23 and SMU 31-17. Both lost to Navy: SMU blew a 14-0 HT lead in a 28-21 loss while Army lost 31-17 despite a 337-325 yd edge as they all’d a 98 yd FR TD just before HT (14 pt turnaround).
Army’s option hit its stride in the 2nd season under Ellerson. They scored their most points in a season S/’96 when they last went to a bowl. LY QB Steelman became the 1st frosh QB to start the opener for Army in the modern era. He was the team’s leading rusher in ‘09 but is #2 TY as they added FB Hassin (originally at AF) who has a shot at breaking the 1,000 yd barrier here. HC Ellerson invented the “Desert Swarm” defense when he was DC at Arizona and brings the same attacking philosophy here that takes advantage of Army’s small but fast players. Army has my #55 special teams but they avg just 7.1 on PR’s and 19.5 on KR’s.
The Mustangs’ Run n’ Shoot offense has been more balanced in each of the L/2Y as they avg’d 27 ppg and 415 ypg and have my #68 ranking. After starting the L/6 (‘09), QB Padron finished his 1st full season as the starter in solid form leading SMU to the CUSA West Title. A year after the speedy Shawnbrey McNeal became HC Jones’ first 1,000 yd rusher, Line became the 2nd RB to accomplish that feat. The Mustang D has my #52 ranking, all’g 26 ppg and 362 ypg but the Mustangs have just my #95 ST ranking led by K/P Szymanski who did miss some time at the EOY (leg) but should be a full go here.
June Jones has taken the Mustangs from back-to-back one win seasons to 8 wins last year and playing for the CUSA Championship this year. This is a great matchup for them as they played Navy each of the L/3Y and have improved vs the option having only all’d 337 yds this year. It is fantastic to see Army in a bowl game but, truth be told, it was vs a very watered-down sked this year. They have not seen this type of offensive fire power and the extra prep time won’t help them in this matchup. Read more…

Military/Texas/Alamo Bowl Forecasts!

December 29th, 2010 No comments
MILITARY BOWL
2:30 PM ESPN
Click on the bowl logo for MORE info!!!!

EAST CAROLINA (6-6) VS MARYLAND (8-4)

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
A.O.R
EAST CAROLINA 97
305
29
2.5
-
98.0
MARYLAND
198
240
44
1.5
••••
99.0
First meeting between these two teams and this will be the final game for Maryland HC Ralph Friedgen as he was fired a couple of weeks ago despite winning the ACC COY award. East Carolina dropped the final 2 games of the regular season by a 107-76 mark finishing at 6-6 and narrowly reaching the postseason while Maryland is very disappointed as they went from a 2-10 tm, to 8-4 but were relegated to the 8th seeded ACC bowl. These two both played Navy and NC State with EC going 1-1 as they knocked off NCSt in OT before being blasted at home vs Navy 76-35 (all’d 521 rush yds). MD went 2-0 stopping Navy twice at the GL to preserve a 3 pt win in the opener and they fought off an NC State comeback bid in the finale.

East Carolina’s success TY can be solely credited to their offense (#26) led by JC transfer Davis who broke Jeff Blake’s school TD pass record with 36 as EC avg’d 38 ppg and 445 ypg. The defense is ranked #119 all’g 43 ppg and an FBS worst 479 ypg on the year including dismal performances vs Navy (76 pts, 521 rush) and Rice (62 pts, 639 yds). The secondary all’d 258 ypg (60%) with a 30-9 ratio placing them #102 in my pass D rankings. EC also has my #98 ST unit.

Many MD fans were up in arms when backup QB O’Brien saw the field vs Navy (fmbl’d his 1st college att). Now those same fans are singing his praise. O’Brien was thrust into the spotlight vs FIU and remained the starter even after option runner Robinson ret’d from injury. The top receiver, Smith, is the first 1,000 yd receiver here S/’92. The Terps have scored 6 non-off TD’s TY and 4 have come by the #44 rated D. MD ranks #24 in my pass eff D all’g 221 ypg (53%) with a 15-17 ratio and MD has my #5 ST’s unit with PR Logan finishing #3 NCAA and avg nearly as much as the top KR. MD is also +4 in the punt block department.

EC has been one-dimensional as they have my #119 D and have allowed 40+ pts 9 of 12 games but MD is not an offense that sustains long drives. EC’s offense has been dynamic and they have topped 32 pts in their L/8 gms and this game should feature a lot of points but the Terps might have the emotional edge sending their coach off with a win in his final game after a pretty successful tenure. Read more…

Champs Sports and Insight Bowl Forecasts!

December 28th, 2010 No comments
CHAMPS SPORTS BOWL
6:30PM ESPN
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NC STATE (8-4) VS WEST VIRGINIA (9-3)

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
A.O.R
NC STATE 54
240
20
2.6
-
99.5
WEST VIRGINIA
146
225
25
2.1
98.5
WV and NCSt meet for the 10th time and 3rd time overall in the bowls but this is the first meeting S/’79. Both tms faced Cincinnati and Maryland with WV winning both by an avg score of 34-14 while NCSt was 1-1 losing to MD in the finale, a game they needed to win to earn an ACC Title berth. WV fans are known for travelling well and the Champs Bowl bypassed a chance to get ND to take the Mountaineers TY but they may be regretting that decision now as ticket sales have been very poor.
On the other side the Pack’s #47 offense is led by prolific Jr Wilson, who may be playing in his final gm here (MLB). He enters this gm leading the ACC in pass ypg and ttl off and has put up 12 300 yd pass gms in his career. The #44 D is led by NCSt’s outstanding group of LB’s. Nate Irving, who DNP LY after a horrific car accident, has rebounded to be #2 in the ACC in tfl including setting a schl rec’d with 8 tfl vs WF surpassing #1 DC Mario Williams record of 6 (‘05). The ST’s (#103) seemed to take a hit when PK Czajkowski was declared OFY in early Nov. He came back vs rival UNC and hit a 47 yd FG in the 4 pt gm. The PR unit avg 9.3 ypr but has recorded an outstanding 3 PR TD’s while the Pack gives up 21.9 with 2 TD on KR.

WV’s season has been a little rocky and ultimately disappointing as they narrowly missed out on a BCS Bowl due to B2B losses to Syr and a 16-13 loss in OT to Connecticut. After those 2 losses fans were calling for HC Stewart to be ousted, but the Mountaineers were able to regroup on their bye week and won their L/4 gms. However that was not good enough as they introduced former Ok St OC Dana Holgorsen as their new HC (will take over in 2012) just a few days ago but he was not part of the bowl preparations. QB Smith had great stats overall in his 1st year as a st’r but had some rough outings in the tm’s 2 losses with a 1-3 ratio vs Syr and Conn (WV -6 TO’s in those 2 gms). Star RB Devine was hampered by a foot inj all yr and his production fell drastically (-581 yds) but he managed to play in every gm. WV’s (#4) defense is vastly underrated as they are #2 in the nation in rush D allowing just 85 ypg and have only all’d 3 rush TD’s (#1 in NCAA). WV is #59 in my ST rankings finishing #3 in the BE in net punting (37.4) but having just avg numbers on returns.
West Virginia imploded with a couple poor mid-season performances but since then have demonstrated just how talented they are beating 3 of their L/4 opps by 21+ pts. The D has not all’d any opp to top 21 pts (only team in the NCAA) while the offense has topped 35 in 3 of the L/4 gms. NCSt has trailed at HT in 4 of their L/6 gms and have been fortunate in several of their wins. Offenses are almost even, but a huge defensive edge to WV.

Read more…

Indpendence Bowl Forecast!

December 27th, 2010 No comments
INDEPENDENCE BOWL
5:00 PM ESPN2
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GEORGIA TECH (6-6) VS AIR FORCE (8-4)

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
A.O.R
GEORGIA TECH 347
60
27
2.4
-
99.2
AIR FORCE
308
120
27
2.3
••••
96.4
If you are wanting to watch this bowl game tonight make sure you tune in right at 5:00 PM as this bowl matches up two option offenses and it could be the shortest bowl game in actual time length this season. A couple of interesting notes in this game will be GT HC Johnson facing his former rival (Johnson former Navy HC) as he won his final 5 games against the Falcons from ’03-’07. Another important recent development is that Johnson suspended 3 defensive players for the 1H for violating curfew as well.

While GT is likely disappointed with the season as a whole, as after winning the ACC Title LY, they’ve fallen to 6-6. AF, however is thrilled, after going 8-4 TY beating BYU and winning the CIC Trophy for the 1st time since 2002. The Jackets have taken on the tougher sked (#58-81) but remember that AF travelled to Oklahoma and gave them a scare, only losing by 3. This is a long distance from both schools but AF has the edge with military bases located nearby and the Bowl offering up a Military Ticket Initiative to donate to local bases. While AF ended its season earlier (11/18, GT done 11/27), this is the offense each team takes on daily, so extra prep time weighs no benefit to either.

GT comes in with my #51 offense but there is a question at QB. Against VA Tech, st’r Nesbitt broke his arm while trying to make a tkl. He was aiming to return here, but currently is doubtful. His bkup Washington has thrown for 97 ypg (63%) with a 2-1 ratio while adding 289 rush (4.4) in his 3 starts. HC Johnson called out RB Allen at times throughout the season and he responded by earning 1st Tm ACC and finished #2 in the conference in rushing. Johnson had some issues with the OL and was forced to alter the rotation due to injuries throughout the season (5 different starting combos used). Their #65 defense has not had the same inj issues as they’ve missed 1 start due to inj this entire year. The special teams come in with just my #105 ranking and this could be a problem area for the Jackets tonight.

On the other side Air Force’s #43 offense is led by QB Jefferson. While AF is definitely a run first offense (699 rush att, 145 pass TY), Jefferson went over 100 yds pass 7x’s incl a ssn high 201 vs Utah. Three of AF’s top 5 rushers are underclassmen led by Jr Clark. AF was thin at FB after losing Tew vs SDSt but Walker stepped up and rushed for 264 (5.0) in the L/3. Tew is expected to return and that should bolster AF’s run offense that ranks #2 in the NCAA and the Falcons are 20-4 when a player goes over 100 rush yds in a gm. AF’s D has been known for TO’s under HC Calhoun as into TY they were +46 in his tenure! While they’ve forced 20 fmbl’s TY, they’ve only recovered 7 and on the season they’re just +1 TO. LY the run D all’d zero 200 yd rush gm, but TY 6 have gone over that number (incl 377 all’d to TCU). They do rank #21 in my pass eff D all’g 157 ypg (56%) with a 10-11 ratio. The #12 ST’s unit is led by KR Warzeka who had a 100 yd KR TD. The unit has blk’d at least 1 kick every year since ‘90 and has 3 TY.

Air Force, as all service academies do, prepares well for the bowls and this year they see a new venue after having been to the Armed Forces Bowl three straight years. Georgia Tech, with 6 wins, is disappointed at being here but, of course, does not have to spend the time most teams do prepping for this opponent. The Yellow Jackets have dropped 4 of their last 5 gms, all by a TD plus and I feel that it’ll be tough for them to be motivated plus Johnson’s bowl performances the past two years have left a lot to be desired. Read more…

Little Caesar’s Forecast Plus Contest Standings

December 26th, 2010 No comments
LITTLE CAESARS PIZZA BOWL
8:30PM ESPN
Click on the bowl logo for MORE info!!!!

FIU (6-6) VS TOLEDO (8-4)

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
A.O.R
FIU 151
230
28
2.7
-
93.3
TOLEDO
184
225
31
1.7
94.9

This is the Rockets and Golden Panthers third meeting in the past three seasons. The series is tied at 1-1 with the road team winning both matchups. In 2008 FIU won 35-16 despite Toledo having 20-12 FD and 302-239 yd edges as FIU was +4 TO’s. Last year UT had a 566-372 yd edge but gave up a TD with :03 left and only won 41-31. FIU won its first ever SBC Title and this is also its first ever bowl. While the SBC Champion has usually gone to the New Orleans Bowl, the Panthers avg’d just 16,545 fans this year while a huge turnout from nearby Toledo is expected (UT campus just 60 miles from Detroit) to fill Ford Field.

FIU has 5 players with 278+ rush yds who all avg at least 4.0 ypc. That includes WR Hilton who avg 157 all-purp ypg. FIU’s #82 defense is the reason they are here as they led the SBC in both scoring and total def despite having 7 underclassmen starters in the lineup. The Golden Panthers have my #36 pass eff D led by Sr DB Gaitor and is all’g 206 ypg (54%) with an 18-12 ratio.

On the other side UT lost starting QB Dantin to a shoulder injury early vs Eastern Michigan causing him basically miss the L/4 games of the regular season. He clearly is not 100% but would like to see some action tonight because of his experience. Backup Owens took over and surprisingly, after the Rockets avg’d 318 ypg in the first 8 games under Dantin, they avg 443 ypg in the L/4 under Owens. Owens avg 237 (62%) with an 11-2 ratio in those 4. 1st Tm All-MAC WR Page posted more receptions than the next 5 Rocket receivers combined and leads the conference in all-purp yds (159 ypg). While UT’s D was #3 in the FBS in takeaways with 33 (T-#3 TO margin, +14) and they have my #61 pass eff def allowing 239 ypg (63%) with an outstanding 15-19 ratio.

Toledo, again, has a winning record for the 1st time in 5 seasons while FIU has reached 6 wins for the 1st time since they started a football program in 2002. FIU started impressively playing 4 BCS schools and were only outgained by 18 ypg. They finished the ssn winning 4 straight and had clinched the SBC Title prior to their loss to Middle Tennessee. Toledo did knock off Purdue on the road and then later finished the season winning 5 of 6 gms but they did get mauled vs Northern Illinois in what was a quazi-MAC West Title gm. While the tms are even on paper, the deciding factor is FIU being +6.8 ypg vs bowl elig tms while UT was -174 ypg vs the same. Read more…

Hawaii Bowl Forecast Plus Week 16 Pro Selections

December 24th, 2010 No comments

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

HAWAII BOWL
Friday, December 24th @ 8:00p.m.
Click on the bowl logo for MORE info!!!!

TULSA (9-3) VS HAWAII (10-3)

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
A.O.R
TULSA 178
250
32
2.7
•••
92.4
HAWAII
112
440
41
2.9
-
94.0
These two are former WAC foes (‘96-’04) and the Warriors won the most recent gm 44-16 in Honolulu where they are 3-1 vs the Hurricane. This will also be UH’s 8th appearance in bowls on the Island where they are 4-3. Both teams have lethal offenses as Tulsa (#17) is led by QB Kinne who improved his play throughout the year and actually ended up leading the tm in rush yds making him an even more valuable threat. Their utility man is WR Johnson who for the 2nd year in a row led the NCAA in all-purpose yds. Johnson also broke Western Michigan’s West’s 4 yr NCAA career KR record (3,118) which is remarkable considering he’s just a Jr. Hawaii meanwhile has a high-octane offense themselves (#16) and still utilizes the “Hawaii-Five-O” WR set while the run game has flourished and produced a 1,000 yd rusher for the first time S/’99 in RB Green (schl record 327 yds vs NMSt). QB Moniz, the NCAA’s leader in total offense (362 ypg), etched his name into the UH record books this year setting a school record with 560 pass yds vs San Jose St. Slot WR Salas (UH’s all-time leading rec) has 272 career receptions for 4,131 yds and is #2 in the NCAA in rec ypg and #3 in rec per gm. On defense Hawaii actually has the edge as their #55 D is led by LB Paredes (144 tkl) and S Silva who has 8 INT’s this year. Tulsa meanwhile has my #91 D and struggled in the pass game allowing 306 ypg (61%) with a 30-19 ratio. On special teams, the Hurricane have a huge edge with my #11 unit led by Johnson while Hawaii is just #84. Overall, the Warriors have used their home edge to maul teams outscoring them 53-23 and outgaining them 623-352! But with the added time prior to the bowl it negates some of that advantage. From game 4 on, the Tulsa offense has clicked and that includes outright upsets at both Notre Dame and Houston. Tulsa HC Graham is treating this as a business trip and I’ll call for them to keep this closer than what many people predict. Read more…

Poinsettia Bowl Forecast/Bowl Contest Update

December 23rd, 2010 No comments

Each day during bowl season in my daily blog, I will give you my forecasts on the bowl games taking place that day. My forecasts will include a detailed write-up with my computer’s projected box score including rushing and passing yards, points and turnovers along with a detailed write-up on each game.

Please make sure to check PhilSteele.com everyday for complete information and coverage on all the bowl matchups. On the homepage click on the Bowl matchups link, where you will find all 35 bowl games. Click on the bowl logo for each game to get all the information you need to become an expert!

Also I just put up my 2011 NFL Draft Preview with the top 10 prospects at each of the positions. Take a look now to see where your favorite player is ranked and get a sneak peek at who will be taken in the early rounds next April. Read more…

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Forecast Plus NCAA Stats for Players in Bowls

December 21st, 2010 No comments

Each and every day at PhilSteele.com I will be giving you more information and stats on all 35 bowl games so you can become an expert on each bowl matchup. Today’s blog will break down NCAA Statistics for Players participating in bowls.

Also each day during bowl season in my daily blog, I will give you my forecasts on the bowl games taking place that day. My forecasts will include a detailed write-up with my computer’s projected box score including rushing and passing yards, points and turnovers along with a detailed write-up on each game.

Please make sure to check PhilSteele.com everyday for complete information and coverage on all the bowl matchups. On the homepage click on the Bowl matchups link, where you will find all 35 bowl games. Click on the bowl logo for each game to get all the information you need to become an expert!

BEEF ‘O’ BRADY’S BOWL
(Click the Logo For More Info)

LOUISVILLE (6-6) vs SOUTHERN MISS (8-4)

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
LOUISVILLE 155
205
30
1.9
••
SOUTHERN MISSS
170
200
26
1.7
-

Louisville should be excited to play in this game as it is their first bowl trip S/’06 Orange Bowl. These two were former Ex-CUSA rivals and Southern Miss holds an 18-9-1 edge in the series. UL HC Strong will coach his 2nd bowl as he was the interim coach of Florida for their 27-10 loss to Miami (FL) in the ‘04 Peach Bowl while Southern Miss HC Fedora is 1-1 in bowls but has faced 2 Sun Belt foes and now jumps up to a BCS foe. Strong (DC) and Fedora (OC) did coach together at FL from ‘03-’04. Offensively, I have to give the edge to Southern Miss as they have avg 47 ppg the L/5 contests but the Cards do feature All-American RB Powell who ran for 1,330 yds (6.3) despite missing a couple of games to due to injury. He should be healthier here and UL has the defensive edge thanks in large part to Strong as they field one of the most improved D’s in the country this year including my #31 pass eff D. UL has won the L/4 vs SM with the most recent meeting being a 25-23 contest LY and makes it a 5th straight here in what should be an entertaining game. Read more…

Bowl Contest Update w/Leaderboards and Game Percentages

December 20th, 2010 No comments

The Bowl confidence contest is under way and Congratulations to the top four players who all have perfect scores thru the first three games with a perfect 102 pts. However many times the players that rank in the top early are those that wagered the most pts and if you are not on the top leaderboard right now, naturally you still have plenty of opportunities to rise up/fall down the standings in the coming weeks.

Last year we expanded the contest to nearly 1200 contestants, which was double from any other previous season and this year we more than doubled the number of contestants with nearly 3000 entries!

So far thru 3 games a lot of people already have one loss as 64.5% of you picked Fresno St and they were beaten by Northern Illinois. Also only 56.6% of you had Troy winning so the remaining 43.4% of you who picked Ohio in the New Orleans bowl also lost. Most of you (92%) had BYU winning and that came as no surprise as they rolled over UTEP. Here are the top 10 picksheets so far after the first 3 bowl games.

Top 10 Overall Standings Read more…