Home > Bowl Projections, College Football Forecasts > Friday’s Bowl Forecasts

Friday’s Bowl Forecasts

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).

If Clemson’s offense comes to play, this could become a blowout. USF will have either a young QB or the inconsistent Daniels under center and either could possibly implode vs this front 7. USF had a pair of impressive bowl games but those were vs MAC and CUSA teams. This year against the two quality D’s of Florida and WV, they were outscored 58-20 and Clemson gets the win.

PHIL’S FORECAST: CLEMSON 24 USF 16

sun SUN BOWL
2:00 PM CBS
Click on the bowl logo for MORE info!!!!
sun

NOTRE DAME (7-5) VS MIAMI FL (7-5)

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
A.O.R
NOTRE DAME 129 180 18
3.0
-
103.8
MIAMI FL
151
235 23
3.2
-
102.7
These ‘80’s era rivals both make their first trip to El Paso to face each other for the first time since 1990 which resulted in the quickest sellout in Sun Bowl history (21 hrs). ND leads the all-time series 15-7-1 but UM has won 6 of the L/8, many with Title implications. ND ended its 9 game bowl losing streak in their last postseason game, a 49-21 win over Hawaii in the ‘08 Hawaii Bowl. Even though Miami hired Al Golden several weeks ago, OL coach Stoutland will coach this game with the rest of the staff intact. ND should have a solid crowd edge with 80% of he El Paso population being Catholic although UM sold its allotment of 8,000. Both teams played Pitt TY as UM won 31-3 on the road while ND won 23-17 at home.

ND went into the year with just 1 non-true Frosh scholarship QB in Crist. After Crist tore his patella vs Tulsa, Rees was forced into the lineup leading ND to 3 straight wins. This is the 1st time S/’71 that the ND RB’s haven’t had a 100 yard game as leading rusher Wood became the starter after Allen underwent career ending surgery as ND lost its #1 QB and #1 RB for the 1st time in a season S/’66 (won National Title that year). To make matters worse top TE Rudolph only played in the 1st 6 before being KO’d. ND finished with my #46 offense and #18 D. Despite losing their top player NT Ian Williams (knee, CS), ND allowed 2 TD in their L/4 and held B2B opp (Utah & Army) without a TD for the 1st time since the ‘88 National Champ season. The 22 pts allowed in the L/3 is the fewest in a 3 game stretch S/’93. Kelly’s L/2 Cincy teams finished #1 and #8 in our ST rankings but surprisingly, ND struggled to find a KR until true Fr Jackson emerged and the unit finished #47 but the star unquestionably was Groza finalist Ruffer who hit all 15 of his FG attempts.

Former HC Shannon spent much of the season defending his QB, Jacory Harris and criticizing his WR’s. Harris suffered a shoulder injury vs Pitt, then admitted he was also playing with a groin injury later in the season (missed 3). Vs UVA he took a nasty hit and was KO’d for the MD game. Fourth string true Fr QB Morris led the Canes to a couple of wins and remained the st’r despite Harris being cleared. However, Morris suffered an injury in practice earlier this week and Harris will be the starter. Overall UM finished with my #22 offense and #5 D and the Canes lead the NCAA in tfl. UM has my #7 pass eff D all’g 146 ypg (49%) with a 7-16 ratio. 1st Tm ACC P Bosher handles all K duties and boomed 17 punts of 50+ while also nailing a 51 yd FG at Ohio St (set UM rec’d for consec FG’s).

If you mention Miami, Notre Dame or Brian Kelly, you think of offense. However, times have changed and both teams have been led by defensive units which rank in our top 18. Injuries have plagued Miami and now they expect to be led by their OL coach, which would favor a more conservative game plan. ND has not topped 28 points in their L/5 games but their D finished on an incredible run holding Utah, Army and USC to 22 total points and an avg of 234 ypg. I expect a tight low scoring game with the Canes getting a late score to pull out the win.

PHIL’S FORECAST: MIAMI 24 NOTRE DAME 17

LIBERTY BOWL
3:30 PM ESPN
Click on the bowl logo for MORE info!!!!

UCF (10-3) VS GEORGIA (6-6)

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
A.O.R
UCF 129
140
20
2.0
91.8
GEORGIA
176
245
34
1.9
-
101.2
These 2 met one time previously (‘99), a game in which UCF nearly pulled the upset (24-23) in Athens vs a #11 ranked Georgia squad. This is UCF’s 3rd bowl in 4 seasons (2nd Liberty Bowl). UCF was clearly the most dominant CUSA tm TY going 8-1 including a win over Memphis in this very stadium less than a month ago. Georgia (14th consec bowl) has played B2B non-BCS/non-NYD bowls after a string of 7 straight prestigious bowls. Overall UGA HC Richt has gone 7-2 in bowls winning the L/4.

UCF’s #69 offense avg’d 34 ppg and 384 ypg. The biggest story early on however was at QB as true Fr Godfrey took over the starting reins in week 3 from Calabrese. Godfrey had an All-Conf ssn while Calabrese was still used as a change of pace Wildcat before an ACL inj in Oct. The Knight defense (#39) led CUSA in total defense as they surrendered 18 ppg and 318 ypg. In fact, the group didn’t allow more than 326 yds over the 1st 7. UCF’s secondary all’d 208 ypg (54%) with a 21-15 ratio finishing with my #13 pass D ranking. The premier player on the unit is CB Robinson who has now earned All-Conf honors in 3 consecutive seasons. The kicker position was a pain in O’Leary’s side all year as they hit just 10-20 FG’s forcing the Knights to go for it on 4th down a few more times than they wanted. McDuffie finished 2nd in the nation in KR’s while Robinson bolstered the tm’s PR unit finishing #10 in the NCAA. All together UCF finished with our #1 ST ranking.

This hasn’t been the typical season for UGA as they are used to playing on NY’s Day or in BCS bowls and they were lucky to escape with a 42-34 win over rival GT in the finale to land here. RFr QB Murray played surprisingly well finishing #3 in the SEC in pass ypg and #4 in pass eff finishing ahead of veteran QB’s like SC’s Garcia and Ole Miss’ Masoli. The largest problem on off was that WR Green was susp the 1st 4 gms (sold a jersey) and the team went 1-3 without him. With Green healthy, GA went 5-2 to finish the yr and he is #2 in the SEC in rec ypg (96.4) and is expected to leave early and be the 1st WR taken in the ‘11 draft. The #27 D adjusted to new DC Grantham’s 3-4 as the seasin went on but all’d 400+ yds off in 4 of their L/5 gms. AA LB Houston leads the SEC in sacks and is #2 in tfl per gm. The #7 ST unit boasts ‘09 Ray Guy winning P Butler and strong-legged K Walsh with solid return units.

At 6-6 Georgia has 2 options: either a positive finish or a losing season, which would put added pressure on HC Richt. There is a big talent disparity between these teams and while UCF’s D can potentially slow GA, they will not stop them. UCF’s offense has looked impressive but that was vs CUSA opps and on the year they faced 5 defenses in the bottom 20 and found their success without having to face a D rated in our Top 50. Georgia should win rather impressively here.

PHIL’S FORECAST: GEORGIA 34 UCF 17

CHICK-FIL-A BOWL
7:30 PM ESPN
Click on the bowl logo for MORE info!!!!

FLORIDA ST (9-4) VS SOUTH CAROLINA (9-4)

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
A.O.R
FLORIDA ST 119
240
26
2.14
••
103.3
SOUTH CAROLINA
146
255
27
2.0
-
105.1
The Chick-fil-A Bowl will pit the runners-up of the SEC and ACC Championship games for the 1st time ever. This is the 19th meeting between these two (1st S/’91, FSU 15-3), but the first time they’ve met in a bowl game. Although they weren’t the ACC’s top pick in the preseason, big things were exp from FSU TY. They lost two close games (on a fmbl and a “wide right”) however and had to rely on a MD win over NC State to get to the ACC Title gm, where they lost to VT. The Chick-fil-A Bowl has had its eye on FSU for awhile, since FSU’s last trip to this bowl was in ‘83 (still playing it outside). SC played its last game in this building, which was an embarrassing blowout loss to Auburn in the SEC Title gm (56-17) so this is their chance for redemption. The Chick-fil-A is expecting its 14th consecutive sellout and both teams should be well represented as it’s just a 5 hour drive from Tallahassee and 3.5 hour drive from Columbia.

For the first time since ‘00 (Chris Weinke), FSU began the season touting a Heisman candidate in Ponder. He bruised a tricep vs Oklahoma, then ended up needing fluid drained from his elbow and only topped 250 pass yds in a game once TY. He DNP the ACC Title game, but should play here although he may not get the start. FSU’s #20 D leads the NCAA in sks with 46. The DL all’s 128 ypg (3.3) totaling 33.5 of the tm’s sks led by 1st Tm ACC Jenkins’ 13 (T-#3 NCAA). FSU’s #23 ST’s has provided highs (walk-off 55 yd FG vs Clem) and some lows (“wide right” vs NC).

South Carolina earned its 1st berth in the SEC Title game since joining the league in ‘92 and several major improvements on offense made that possible. First, QB Garcia finally had a more mature attitude and settled down in the pocket making fewer mistakes. Probably the most important improvement was at RB where PS#1 RB Lattimore took over and changed SC’s whole gameplan taking pressure off of Garcia. Soph WR Alshon Jeffery had an outstanding season finishing in the top 3 for the Biletnikoff Award as the NCAA’s top receiver. Overall the offense is #27 and the defense is #24 in my rankings. The DL only all’d 104 rush ypg (3.2) which was #1 in the SEC. SC also leads the SEC in sks with 39 (+11 from LY) but they are just #93 in my pass D rankings all’g 254 ypg (63%) with a 22-9 ratio and was forced to go to a walk-on at times at the other CB spot after ‘09 All-SEC Culliver was lost for the year in game 8. The special teams are #62 with K/P Lanning solid in both areas but the returns teams are below avg.

Fisher has done as expected, bringing the Noles back onto the national stage. They have, however, lost 3 of their L/6 but have to be pleased with a 9 win season including a convincing win over rival Fla while also beating Miami by 28. Spurrier almost saw his dream realized but they were beaten by a better team in the SEC Champ Game. Instead of expecting a letdown, I feel they’ll bounce back convincingly after being out of that game early. Rankings-wise, these teams are fairly even but in a close game, I’ll go with the SEC team almost everyday.

PHIL’S FORECAST: SOUTH CAROLINA 31 FLORIDA ST 26

Be Sociable, Share!