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Archive for December, 2011

New Year’s Eve Bowl Forecasts

December 31st, 2011 No comments
MEINEKE CAR CARE BOWL
Saturday, December 31st @ 12:00 p.m.
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TEXAS A&M (6-6) VS NORTHWESTERN (6-6)

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
A.O.R
TEXAS A&M 205
290
37
2.5
•••
100.6
NORTHWESTERN
102
270
26
2.1
-
96.9
In the 1st meeting between these programs one long postssn losing streak will end as A&M has lost their L/5 with their lone win S/’95 (1-9) coming in the defunct Galleryfurniture.com Bowl which was played in the Astrodome. The Ags are 1-4 vs B10 tms in bowls. NW is in its 4th str bowl under Fitzgerald where they are 0-3 but all have been by a TD or less. He has made it a primary goal to get the program’s 2nd ever bowl win as they’ve lost their L/8 S/’48. The Ags are cch’d here by DC DeRuyter after HC Sherman got the ax. College Station is less than a 2 hr drive from Houston so Maroon should flood the stands but Fitzgerald is familiar with the terrain making an estimated 100 recruiting trips over the yrs to the area as 5 Cats are from Houston. A&M was 1-4 on the road TY but were only outscored by 1 ppg while outgaining foes 498-386. NW was 3-3 on the road outscoring foes 32-30 and outgaining them 440-433. A&M went 3-6 vs bowl tms outscoring them 37-32 and outgaining them 509-414. NW was 1-5 vs bowl squads getting outscored 35-27 and outgained 429-418. The Aggies have 7 Sr st’r among 17 upperclassmen while the Cats have 10 Sr’s and 16. At first glance clearly the Aggies have the better personnel on offense, defense and ST’s but I do think NW’s QB Persa will make things interesting in what should be a high scoring and entertaining bowl.

PHIL’S FORECAST: TEXAS A&M 40 NORTHWESTERN 31

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Today’s Bowl Forecasts

December 30th, 2011 No comments
ARMED FORCES BOWL
Friday, December 30th @ 12:00 p.m.
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TULSA (8-4) VS BYU (9-3)

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
A.O.R
TULSA 168
230
29
2.9
-
90.4
BYU
142
270
31
2.8
96.1
Tulsa is 1-6 vs BYU but won the last gm in ‘07, 55-47. This will be the 1st meeting in a bowl/neutral site. TU HC Blankenship has guided the Hurricane to a bowl in his 1st ssn at the helm but has been on staff for the L/3 bowls (3-0). BYU HC Mendenhall has led the Cougars to a 7th str bowl in his 7th yr (4-2). Tulsa was 2-4 vs bowl tms being outscored 37-30 and outgained 480-440. BYU was 1-3 vs bowl squads also being outscored 33-20 and outgained 365-349 and beat only one schl with a winning record. Both ply’d UCF TY and ironically won by the same exact 24-17 score but BYU was outgained 399-260 while Tulsa outgained UCF 454-381. On the road TY BYU was 3-2 while Tulsa went 4-2. BYU has 9 Sr st’rs among their 16 upperclassmen. TU has 9 Sr st’rs but 18 upperclassmen. Tulsa is the smallest school that competes in DI but should have the crowd edge as the are just 260 miles away. BYU is 1,225 and was hoping that Houston would fall to this bowl after their CUSA Champ loss, so fans may be disappointed but Cougs normally travel well. TU also has played in this venue every other yr S/’96 (CUSA started) but is 1-7 while BYU won their last and only trip in ‘97. LY BYU rolled down the stretch winning their final 4 regular season games and then put up 52 in the bowl. This year they’ve won final 6 games, and in that stretch have avg’d 41 ppg, I’ll take the Cougars here in what should be a great bowl game.

PHIL’S FORECAST: BYU 31 TULSA 28

 

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Champs/Alamo Bowl Forecasts

December 29th, 2011 No comments
CHAMPS SPORTS BOWL
Thursday, December 29th @ 5:30 p.m.
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NOTRE DAME (8-4) VS FLORIDA ST (8-4)

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
A.O.R
NOTRE DAME 107
200
19
2.7
-
100.6
FLORIDA ST
68
200
19
1.4
•••
100.9
This will be the 7th meeting for these 2 storied programs with FSU winning 4 of 6 incl 37-0 in ‘03 at South Bend. In ‘93 #1 FSU met #2 ND in the “Game of the Century” with the Irish pulling the 31-24 upset but the Noles went on to win the Nat’l Title as both finished with 1 loss. Their last bowl meeting was in ‘95 as FSU defeated ND 31-26 in the Orange Bowl. After an NCAA rec’d 9 gm bowl losing streak, ND has won their L/2 postssn appearances by a comb 44 pts and Kelly is 3-1 in bowls. The Noles have been to 30 consec bowls (FBS best) and this is Fisher’s 2nd bowl game winning the Chick-fil-A LY 26-17 over SC. The Irish went 5-3 vs bowl opp outscoring them 29-22 and outgaining them 402-386. FSU went 3-4 vs 7 bowl tms but outscored them 23-19 and outgained 317-313. ND played an ACC stretch of Wake, MD and BC going 3-0 outscoring them 28-17 and outgaining them 422-304. FSU went 2-1 vs same 3 opp’s with 23-16 score and 404-310 yardage edges. FSU went 2-2 on the road while ND was 4-2 away from South Bend. The Irish have 10 Sr st’rs and 17 upperclassmen while the Noles have 6 Sr’s among 16 upperclassmen. By looking at the teams, few gms besides the Nat’l Champ gm can match the talent on the field. The advantage FSU has is that they have a dominant Top 5 defense and is capable of shutting down even this ND offense. FSU’s offensive numbers are lower than expected but remember QB Manuel missed a few gms. ND has yet to face this type of spd on D and with the Noles having a big ST’s edge I’ll call for them to get the win here.

PHIL’S FORECAST: FLORIDA ST 27 NOTRE DAME 20

 

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Military and Holiday Bowl Forecasts!

December 28th, 2011 1 comment
MILITARY BOWL
Wednesday, December 28th @ 4:30 p.m.
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TOLEDO (8-4) VS AIR FORCE (7-5)

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
A.O.R
TOLEDO 247
215
39
2.3
-
91.8
AIR FORCE
268
190
37
2.5
•••
93.9
First meeting. Toledo is 2-6 vs current MW tms incl a 40-15 loss to Boise at home TY. AF hasn’t played a MAC tm since the late ‘70’s. This is the Rockets 12th all-time bowl (7-4) and while it is their 6th since ‘01 it is just their 2nd since ‘06. LY the Rockets blew a 24-7 lead and lost 34-32 to FIU in what was HC Beckman’s 1st and only bowl as a HC. AF had lofty expectations to start the ssn, but after a rough Oct, needed a win over CSU in the finale to land a bowl. With that win, they’ve won 7 or more in 5 str yrs, a schl rec’d. Falcons are 2-2 in bowls under Calhoun but 2-0 the L/2Y and he is the only cch in AF hist to lead his tm to bowls in his 1st 5Y with the prog. Toledo went 2-3 vs bowl tms but 2 losses were by a comb 8 pts. Falcons went 0-5 vs bowl tms being outscored 39-24 and outgained 431-424. UT tied for the MAC West but missed the Champ gm due to a head-to-head loss to NI, but should be excited here, while AF in the Military Bowl is a no brainer. I like the stability of the coaching staff at AF in this and I’ll take the Falcons in a tight high scoring affair.

PHIL’S FORECAST: AIR FORCE 38 TOLEDO 35

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Little Caesars/Belk Bowl Forecasts!

December 27th, 2011 No comments
LITTLE CASESARS BOWL
Tuesday, December 27th @ 4:30 p.m.
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WESTERN MICHIGAN (7-5) VS PURDUE (6-6)

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
A.O.R
WESTERN MICHIGAN 115
340
36
2.6
87.0
PURDUE
225
220
32
2.4
-
99.0
PU leads the series 2-0 winning both at home incl a 28-24 win in the last meeting in ‘02. WM is 6-31 all-time vs B10 tms but has 2 of those wins (Iowa ‘07 and Ill ‘08) under HC Cubit and came up just short vs UI earlier this ssn (23-20). Purdue is 38-9-1 vs MAC tms but lost to Tol 31-20. This is WM’s 5th all-time bowl, but their 3rd under Cubit (0-2). They are 0-4 incl a 38-14 loss to Rice in the ‘08 Texas Bowl. PU is in the postssn for the 1st time S/’07 and this is their 1st time bowling under HC Hope. Under ex-HC Tiller, who Hope served under as an asst in 2 diff stints, the Boilers went 4-6 in bowls usually spotting tms the lead (fell behind 98-0 in L/7). Of the 70 bowl tms, WM is last being outgained by an avg 168 ypg vs the 4 bowl tms they faced but went 1-3 in those gms losing 2 by 3 pts each. PU and bowl officials are hoping for a decent contingent in Black and Gold but keep in mind that PU avg’d just 45,225 fans per home gm TY (72% of stadium capacity) and failed to sell out any of its 7 gms in Ross-Ade Stadium. When you match a B10 vs a MAC team you expect significant edges to the BCS conference. This doesn’t hold true as Western has many players that actually rate higher than Purdue and it’s very obvious by looking at the offensive skill position players. Western showed they can clearly matchup with BCS teams as they were 17-17 FD’s at Michigan, only lost at Illinois 23-20 and beat Conn 38-31. Purdue meanwhile has had losses to MAC teams Toledo and Northern Illinois in recent years.

PHIL’S FORECAST: WESTERN MICHIGAN 34 PURDUE 31

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Independence Bowl Forecast!

December 26th, 2011 No comments
INDEPENDENCE BOWL
Monday, December 26th @ 5:00 p.m.
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NORTH CAROLINA (7-5) VS MISSOURI (7-5)

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
A.O.R
NORTH CAROLINA 120
225
22
2.6
-
106.8
MISSOURI
165
245
24
2.9
..
111.1
These 2 have met twice before with MO taking both incl their last matchup 24-3 in ‘76. This is NC’s 4th str bowl (1-2) and 29th overall. LY NC defeated Tenn 30-27 after a controversial call in regulation cost the Vols the win (NC kicked the GW FG in the 2nd OT) in the Music City Bowl. This is Withers’ 1st bowl as a HC but he has been DC the L/3 bowls here under Davis. The Tigers head to their 8th bowl under Pinkel (3-4) and their 3rd Independence (1-1) with their 38-31 ‘05 win over SC the biggest bowl comeback win in school history (trailed 21-0 after 1Q). MO was snubbed by the B12’s bowl tie-ins but were helped by their outgoing conf to find a home in Shreveport. It’s put up or shut up time for Tiger fans who have been stereotyped as poor travelers. NC is 5-4 vs 9 bowl caliber tms being outscored 26-25 and outgained 370-356 (outFD’d in 7 out of 9). MO went 3-5 S vs bowl opp outscoring foes 31-30 and outgaining them 474-460. NC was 1-4 on the road while MO was 1-4. NC has 8 Sr’s among 14 upperclassmen while MO has 11 Sr’s and 18 upperclassmen. These tms are very similar but North Carolina’s DL has reaped praise from many opposing coaches and their disruptiveness can actually be a difference in the gm. The Heels also will have the edge with the skill players on the field but I will go with the more exp’d HC and staff in this one.

PHIL’S FORECAST: MISSOURI 27 NORTH CAROLINA 26

News and Notes From Early Bowl Games!

December 26th, 2011 No comments

LAS VEGAS BOWL Boise St  56 Arizona St 24 – Kellen Moore finished his final game with 50 career wins in the NCAA, a record that we cannot foresee being broken. He hit 26-34-293 yds. BS did get a couple of big plays to turn this into a blowout. Many questioned the attitude of ASU coming in as they had fired their HC Erickson and anointed Todd Graham as the HC. Any notions of ASU giving a huge performance for their outgoing coach probably went away on the opening KO when BS deflated ASU with a 100 yd KR TD. The next 3 poss were punts then BSU went 54/8pl for a TD. BS was int’d at the ASU25 but on their next drive went 80/8pl and got a 2 yd TD pass with 12:03 left 2Q, 21-0. 2 punts. ASU went 66/12pl but settled for a 32 yd FG. BS went 72/12pl and converted on 4&5 for a FD to the ASU5 and brought Moore out and their bkp QB handed off to Miller who threw a 5 yd TD pass with :43 left 1H, 28-3. At half BSU had a 269-111 yd edge. ASU threatened to get into it. They got a 98 yd KR by Ross to open the 3Q for a TD, 28-10. They got an int but on 4th & 4 Erickson sent the punt team in. Osweiler waved them off and went for it but his pass fell incomplete from the BS39. BSU fmbl’d and ASU went 49/7pl. They had a 1st & gl at the 5. They had 2 shotgun runs from the 1 which were both stopped and then with Erickson trying to call time-out for at least :05, the refs did not call time-out and Osweiler’s pass into the EZ which would have made it 28-17 was int’d and ret’d 105 yds for a TD and blew open what would have been an 11 pt game to a 35-10 lead. BSU took their next poss 80/10pl for a TD, 42-10 then got a 26 yd FR TD 2pl later, 49-10. ASU went 54/3pl for a 21 yd TD pass, 49-17 and then went 60/6pl but was SOD at the BSU26. BSU went 74/12pl for a TD with 2:24 left then ASU went 75/7pl getting a TD with :28 left on a 30 yd pass. Boise finished with a 460-384 yd edge.

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Hawaii Bowl Forecast and Week 16 Pro Selections!

December 24th, 2011 No comments

HAWAII BOWL
Saturday, December 24th @ 8:00 p.m.
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NEVADA (7-5) VS SOUTHERN MISS (11-2)

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
A.O.R
NEVADA 208
260
25
2.7
-
91.8
SOUTHERN MISS
177
265
31
2.7
…. 89.5
SM is 2-0 vs UN winning a pair of gms in ‘97 and ‘98. The Pack is making its 12th bowl appearance (4-7) and is 2-6 in bowls under Ault. UN is playing in a bowl for a 6th consec ssn (2-4) but did end a 4 gm bowl losing streak LY. The Pack is playing in Honolulu for the 4th straight yr (at UH twice, ‘09 Hawaii Bowl) but the trip to paradise has been anything but as they’ve lost their L/7 gms to UH here (incl LY’s only loss of the ssn) and they were embarrassed by SMU 45-10 in the ‘09 Hawaii Bowl. UN did beat UCF 49-48 in OT in the ‘05 Hawaii Bowl. Normally the CUSA Champ would play in the Liberty Bowl but due to contract issues and bowl obligations, SM will be making its first appearance in the Hawaii Bowl. SM is bowling for a 10th str ssn (1-2 under Fedora who is coaching his last game here) but unlike the L/2Y is off a win. They pulled the upset over Houston (49-28) to earn their 1st CUSA Champ. SM started 1-1 with a conf loss but played as well as any tm in the country for the next 8 wks (8-0 avg win by 21 ppg +122 ypg) and finished the reg ssn with a school record 11 wins (11-2). I think Southern Miss clearly has the better personnel but the Pack will be motivated after recent poor bowl performances. I do like the fact that Fedora is coaching here and I’ll call for the Eagles to notch their 12th win in another Christmas Eve shootout.

PHIL’S FORECAST: SOUTHERN MISS 37 NEVADA 30

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Best 2011-12 Coaching Hires to Date!

December 23rd, 2011 1 comment

Terry Bowden, Akron-At first I wondered why the Zips would fire a coach after only 2 years unless they had a big name coach in hand and obviously Terry Bowden is a big name. He had the undefeated season at Auburn, has had some recent success at Div II North Alabama and is the biggest name here since Gerry Faust and will have more success than what Faust had here.

Rich Rodriguez, Arizona-At each of Rodriguez’ last two stops he did not have a mobile QB in place when he took over and naturally was under intense pressure from the outset at Michigan. He will have no such problem here as Matt Scott has plenty of experience, is a mobile QB that can also throw and former HC Stoops did him a favor by redshirting him this past season. Read more…

Tonight’s Las Vegas Bowl Forecast!

December 22nd, 2011 No comments
2 LAS VEGAS BOWL
Thursday, December 22nd @ 8:00 p.m.
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1

ARIZONA ST (6-6) VS BOISE ST (11-1)

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
A.O.R
ARIZONA ST 79
295
27
2.6
-
104.9
BOISE ST
151
340
42
2.3
-
91.5
The last and only ASU/BSU gm was in ‘96, a 56-7 ASU win. This will be the last hurrah for ASU HC Erickson as he was fired foll’g the loss to Cal. Once controlling their own destiny in the P12 South, ASU dropped 4 consec to end the yr backing into this bowl where they’ve never played. BSU is no doubt disappointed to be here as a missed FG vs TCU cost them not only the MW Title, but also the BCS bid. ASU has the sked edge (#29-70). ASU went 3-4 vs bowl caliber tms despite score (32-29) and yd (435-414) edges. BSU went 7-1 vs bowl tms outscoring them 38-22 and outgaining them 453-345. The Sun Devils also struggled on the road going 1-4 while BSU ply’d here earlier TY and accounted for much of the crowd in that contest. On paper, the Broncos would clearly be the better team, but the game is played on the field. LY Maryland rallied behind a departing Fridge and I expect the same fever here. With that being said, Boise St has Kellen Moore who is going for an amazing 50th win as the starter and gets it here.

PHIL’S FORECAST: BOISE ST 38 ARIZONA ST 28