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2012-13 Bowl Games Kick Today!

December 15th, 2012 No comments

By Phil Steele

The wait is finally over -  post season FBS football officially kicks off today! Each day there is a bowl I will have a breakdown of the game here on my blog. But if you can’t wait for the actual writeup, make sure you download my FREE Bowl Guide which gives you a glimpse of each game being played this bowl season. The Bowl Guide includes Stat Leaders, Past Meetings, Bowl Records, Game By Game Stats and Previous Bowl Game Results. Everything you need for this post season at your fingertips! Alright, let’s get this bowl season started – here are the forecasts for the New Mexico and Famous Idaho Potato Bowls. Make sure you check back on Thursday, December 20th for the Poinsettia Bowl and download that Bowl Guide today! Read more…

Total Conference Bowl Wins

December 13th, 2012 No comments

By Phil Steele

Think you’re already an expert on this year’s bowl matchups? How about a quick pop quiz relating to the expectations of each conference this year according to the experts in Las Vegas:

First question, which conference is favored to win more bowl games….the Sun Belt or the ACC and the Big Ten combined?

Next, what two conferences are favored to win all of their bowl games?

Finally which two conferences despite having seven teams each, find themselves an underdog in each game?

Answers: Read more…

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National Championship Forecast!

January 9th, 2012 1 comment
BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Monday, January 9th @ 8:30 p.m.
Click on the bowl logo for MORE info!!!!

ALABAMA (11-1) VS LSU (13-0)

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
A.O.R
ALABAMA 142
145
21
2.0
-
100.2
LSU
158
80
25
1.3
•••
101.6

The 1st Nat’l Title gm rematch S/’96 and the 1st time in the BCS era 2 tms from the same conf will meet for the title. LSU won the earlier meeting 9-6 in OT in Tuscaloosa thanks to 4 missed Bama FG’s (7 trips inside LSU35) and were also outgained 295-239. The Tigers are 3-2 vs Bama since former LSU HC Saban took over and Miles is 5-2 vs the Tide (only LSU HC ever to beat Bama 5x’s). There are 6 common opp’s with Bama going 6-0 outscoring foes 39-10 (+265 ypg) while LSU was 6-0 outscoring foes 39-9 (+200 ypg). Bama is gunning for its 2nd BCS Title in 3 yrs and makes just its 2nd appearance in NO (lost to Utah ‘08) since winning the ‘92 Nat’l Title here. Saban is 6-6 overall in bowls including 3-1 at Bama. LSU has won their L/2 Nat’l Titles (‘03, ‘07) in the Superdome and this is their 5th NO postssn appearance S/’01 (4-0). Overall Miles is 6-3 in bowls but is 5-1 at LSU. Bama was 6-1 vs bowl tms outscoring them on avg 30-9 and outgaining them 375-200 while LSU was 9-0 vs bowl tms TY outscoring them 36-13 despite only outgaining those foes 366-288. Bama has 9 Sr st’rs among 19 upperclassmen while LSU has 8 Sr st’rs among 13 upperclassmen.

The Tide started the yr with a QB controversy between Sims/McCarron. After a 5 TO perf by the off vs Kent St, soph McCarron settled in as the st’r and at one pt had a streak of 152 passes w/out an int (3rd longest in schl hist). RB Richardson who many felt was more talented than 2009 Heisman winner Ingram had arguably a better ssn than Ingram’s Heisman campaign incl nine 100 yd gms despite having to face 5 D’s that ranked in the top 20! Doak Walker winner Richardson had a knack for coming up with his best perf in big gms incl 169 of Bama’s 295 ttl yds vs LSU. If there is one weakness on the Bama off it would be the WR’s as they have struggled to find a deep-threat replacement for #1DC Jones. Maze has great spd and versatility but lacks height and they often use two TE sets with Smelley/Williams. The OL avg 6’4” 313 with 1 Sr st’r and are led by Outland winner LT Jones who can play every pos which helped the Tide avg a Saban-era high 220 rush ypg (5.6) while all’g just 15 sks (4.6%). Overall they have my #9 off. The D is clearly #1 as they are the first tm in 25 yrs to lead the NCAA in the 4 major categories (rush, pass, ttl and scoring D). The Tide’s 3 man DL avg 6’2” 305 with 1 Sr st’r. They have 2 AA at LB in Hightower who finally ret’d to his ‘08 form (knee inj early ‘09) and Upshaw who led the tm in sks and tfl for a 2nd yr in a row. The secondary features at least 5 future early round NFL draft picks and are led by 3x AA S Barron and rank #7 in my pass D all’g just 116 ypg (48%) with a 6-12 ratio. The ST’s rank #65 as both K’s have struggled hitting only 2-11 from 40+ incl the 4 misses vs LSU but PR/KR Maze is #10 FBS PR and would lead the SEC in KR if he had enough att to qualify.

The Tigers were able to overcome several off-field issues incl the susp of many of their leaders on off/def throughout the yr to achieve their first 13-0 ssn in schl hist while winning their 11th SEC Title. QB Lee (Jefferson susp’d 1st 4) was solid in the 1st 8 gms avg 156 ypg (63%) with a 13-1 ratio. After he threw 2 int’s vs Bama, Lee was pulled for Jefferson who has played every meaningful snap since. The talented group of RB’s combine spd (Ford/Blue) and power (Ware/Hilliard). Each RB has 7 or more TD’s and will be used in a variety of formations. The WR’s are led by deep threat Randle while true frosh Beckham has been the surprise. The OL avg 6’5” 315 with 2 Sr st’rs led by OG’s Blackwell and Hebert and paved the way for a Miles-era high 215 rush ypg (5.0) while all’g 14 sks (5.3%). Overall the Tigers have my #13 off. The #2 D’s ability to pressure the QB (37 sks) is a big reason why LSU is #1 in the country in TO margin (+22). The DL features the best group of young DL in the country avg 6’5” 273 with 1 Sr st’r and incl AA DE Montgomery (#5 SEC sks). LB Baker leads a corps that often gets overlooked as the def stars are in the secondary. Bednarik winner CB Mathieu is the nation’s biggest playmaker on D (6 FF, 5 FR, 2 TD’s) while fellow CB and Thorpe winner Claiborne may be the 1st DB taken in the upcoming draft and S Reid made the big int at the GL vs Bama. The Tigers rank #3 in my pass D all’g 167 ypg (51%) with a 7-18 ratio. ST’s are #2 thanks to efficient K Alleman (3-3 vs Bama), All-SEC P Wing’s directional punting is a big reason why the Tigers are all’g 13 inches per PR (#1) and Mathieu who has had 2 momentum changing PR TD’s in the L/2 gms.

We’re in for a treat and the BCS system got it right, matching up the top 2 teams. I think the difference in this game will be the adjustments Saban will make from the first game and I think Bama will capatilize on their trips inside LSU territory unlike the first game. I think Richardson is the best player on the field will have a very big game. I picked Alabama to win the national title in my magazine 8 months ago and will stick with my pick here. Roll Tide!

PHIL’S FORECAST: ALABAMA 21 LSU 17

GoDaddy Bowl and NFL Wildcard Forecasts

January 8th, 2012 No comments
NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS: 2-0 YESTERDAY!
136-74 65% REGULAR SEASON

 

NFC WILDCARD
SUNDAY JANUARY 8TH
1:00 PM ET FOX

ATLANTA (10-6) VS NY GIANTS (9-7)

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
A.O.R
ATLANTA 110
265
23
1.6
#19
98.2
NY GIANTS
91
295
30
1.8
#23
99.5
These teams haven’t met since mid-2009 w/the Giants winning 34-31 in OT. The Giants went 4-4 at home TY w/a +30 yd edge (+3 TO’s) for a 23.3-23.1 avg score. ATL went 4-4 on the road w/a +47 ypg differential (+1 TO’s) getting outscored 23-20. ATL went 2-3 vs the common foes of PHI, SEA, GB, and NO getting outgained by 28 ypg (+2 TO’s) and outscored 31-24 on avg. The Giants earned a 1-4 record w/a -46 ypg margin (-1 TO’s) and was outscored 31-25 on avg. Over the last four weeks, the Giants have the #8 and #16 units (+3 TO’s) vs a good Dallas offense, a tougher than advertised Washington team and a physical Jets defense. Atlanta has the #4 and #17 units (+9 TO’s) but has faced a weak Carolina def, a depleted Jacksonville team, was hammered by New Orleans and beat a Tampa Bay team that quit at Thanksgiving. We now have a dome team in cold weather vs a Giants team playing with confidence with a brutal DL and home crowd. I’m going with the more physical team at home here.

PHIL’S FORECAST: NY GIANTS 27 ATLANTA 20

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Compass Bowl/FCS Champ/NFL Wildcard Forecasts!

January 7th, 2012 1 comment
FCS National Championship
Pizza Hut Park Frisco, TX
Saturday, January 7th @ 1:00 p.m.

#2 NORTH DAKOTA ST (13-1) VS #1 SAM HOUSTON ST (14-0)

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
NORTH DAKOTA ST 139
130
23
1.7
SAM HOUSTON ST
151
190
22
1.7
This is how the playoffs are supposed to work, with all 4 Top seeds playing in the semi-finals and the #1 & #2 seed playing for the Championship. This is just the third meeting between these teams. The series is tied with the home team winning both by 3. NDSU 41-38 in 2007 despite being outgained 495-414 and giving up a TD with :26 left as they scored their own TD with :07 left for the win. SHSU won 48-45 in 2009 with a 620-419 yd edge winning with a 24yd FG with :26 left. This meeting will be much closer to home for the Bearkats who are playing under 200 miles from home while the Bison must migrate over 1000 miles from the cold North and the comforts of the Fargo Dome, where they hosted all 3 of their playoff wins. Both teams defeated an FBS team this year with NDSU beating Minnesota 37-24 and SHSU beating New Mexico 48-45. Both teams faced Western Illinois. SHSU won 20-6 in the season opener with a 313-216 yd edge but that includes allowing a 92 yd TD pass late 4Q with a 20-0 lead. NDSU won 37-21 with a 363-292 yd edge but did lead 37-7 in the 3Q. The Bison are off a 35-7 win over Georgia Southern with a 451-333 yd edge as the Eagles were forced to abandon their running game after falling behind 20-7 and NDSU score their final TD with just :39 left. The Bearkats faced a Montana team that looked to be peaking in the playoffs with big wins over Central Arkansas (41-14) and Northern Iowa (48-10). SHSU won 31-28 with a 496-380 yd edge. They led 31-14 in the 3Q, before allowing Montana to make the comeback but after a stop, SHSU ran out the final 6 min driving to the UM 15 before taking a knee. NDSU is led by QB Brock Jenson, who is avg 172 ypg (68%) with a 13-3 ratio while rushing for 166 yds (2.5, 8 TD). They feature two RB’s in Sam Ojuri (1078, 6.1, 11 TD) and DJ McNorton (981, 5.1, 13 TD). While top WR Warren Holloway leads with 988 (13.2, 8 TD). NDSU defense is allowing just 13.2 ppg and 324 ypg including 3.6 ypc on the ground. SHSU is led by QB Brian Bell, who is avg 150 ypg (61.8%) with a 20-5 ratio while rushing for 274 (3.5, 6 TD). They also feature 2 RB’s in Tim Flanders (1560, 5.6, 22 TD) and Richard Sincere (965, 8.0, 9 TD). Sincere leads the team in rec yds with 449 (18.0, 4 TD), with Flanders adding 404 (14.4, 2 TD). While top WR Torrance Williams leads with 30 rec (397, 13.2, 3 TD) but also had 269 rush (14.9, 3 TD). SHSU defense is allowing 14.8 ppg and just 283 ypg including just 2.6 ypc on the ground.Both teams have had 3 weeks off and how well the Bison will enjoy the break from the cold in what should be almost 60 degree weather is yet to be seen. The Computer calls for NDSU to pull out a 1 pt despite being outgained 70+ yds. We will go with SHSU to remain the only undefeated team in the FCS.

PHIL’S FORECAST: SAM HOUSTON ST 24 NORTH DAKOTA ST 23

 

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Cotton Bowl Forecast!

January 6th, 2012 1 comment
COTTON BOWL
Friday, January 6th @ 8:00 p.m.
Click on the bowl logo for MORE info!!!!

KANSAS ST (10-2) VS ARKANSAS (10-2)

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
A.O.R
KANSAS ST 178
143
28
1.7
-
98.1
ARKANSAS
128
318
39
2.3
-
100.6
The Cotton Bowl gets its 1st matchup of Top 10 tms S/‘94 featuring the 2 of the 3 highest rated tms who were left out of the BCS party. This is the 1st meeting between these programs S/’67 (KSU leads 3-1) and it will be played in front of a sellout crowd as both tms easily sold their allotments and the ticket demand for this gm is #2 of all the bowls trailing just the Nat’l Title gm. This is KSU’s 1st Cotton Bowl matchup S/‘00 and 3rd overall (1-1) while it’s the Hogs 12th appearance (3-7-1) and 1st S/‘07. Snyder is 6-6 in bowls while Petrino is 3-3. They had a common opp in A&M and both rallied from DD deficits to beat the Aggies, KSU 53-50 in 4OT while Ark won 42-38 in this stadium. The Cats went 6-2 vs bowl caliber opp despite being outscored 34-31 and outgained 449-335 as their 6 wins were by a comb 26 pts while the 2 losses were by 48. UA was 5-2 vs bowl foes outscoring 33-29 and outgaining them 409-399. KSU was 4-1 on the road TY while Ark was 3-2 outside of their home state. The Wildcats have numerous wins this ssn pulling upsets at Miami, vs Baylor, vs Missouri, at TT, vs A&M and at Texas. There’s no question that HC Snyder has done one of the best jobs in the country this year but I do think Ark just has too many weapons on off in what should be an entertaining Cotton Bowl.

PHIL’S FORECAST: ARKANSAS 37 KANSAS ST 30

Bowl News and Notes Part 2!

January 5th, 2012 No comments

HAWAII BOWL S Mississippi 24 Nevada 17 – Larry Fedora had accepted the job at N Carolina but opted to still coach this one. Fedora said about QB Davis “It wasn’t his best game. Davis hit 18-41-165 and was off most of the night but did lead a game winning TD drive in the 4Q. NV was without its top WR Rishard Matthews who was a late scratch and the game featured a Hawaii Bowl record 17 punts with the 41 combined points being the fewest in the bowl’s history. SM got a 19 yd PR to the NV31 but settled for a 50 yd FG and missed it. 2 punts. NV went 62/5pl but on 3&4 from the 13 was int’d in the EZ. 3 punts. SM blk’d a punt and rec’d it for a TD with 14:06 2Q. NV went 81/13pl and got a 5 yd TD run, 7-7. NV went 68/4pl and got a 45 yd TD run by Mark, 14-7. SM ret’ the KO to the NV36 but fmbl’d. NV was SOD on 4&1 at their own 44 but SM would settle for a 48 yd FG, 14-10 (1:21). NV fmbl’d the KO at their own 24 and SM got a 2 yd TD pass with :12 left in the half to lead 17-14. At the half NV had a 235-109 yd edge. 3Q 2 punts. SM got 1 FD and missed a 48 yd FG. 1 punt. SM went 33/8pl but was SOD on 4&6 at the NV39. SM fmbl’d the punt at their own 14 but NV settled for a 37 yd FG, 17-17 (2:44). Three 3&outs. NV got 2 FD’s to midfield and punted. SM got 1 FD to the NV44 and punted. NV went 3&out and SM went 68/7pl and got a 4 yd TD pass with 5:48 left, 24-17. NV got 1 FD and was SOD at the 50 with 3:56 left and SM would get 3 FD’s to the 16 and took a knee 3x. Read more…

Orange Bowl Forecast

January 4th, 2012 1 comment
ORANGE BOWL
Wednesday, January 4th @ 8:30 p.m.
Click on the bowl logo for MORE info!!!!

WEST VIRGINIA (9-3) VS CLEMSON (10-3)

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
A.O.R
WEST VIRGINIA 125
310
34
2.5
-
96.0
CLEMSON
165
285
36
2.1
99.1
One prior meeting, in the ‘89 Gator Bowl (27-7 CU win). This marks the 10th consec bowl gm for WV (1st ever trip to Orange Bowl) and 2nd BCS gm over the L/5Y as they knocked off Okla in the ‘07 Fiesta. WV earned this bid by virtue of a higher BCS ranking as they actually finished in a 3-way tie with Cincy and L’ville for the BE crown. Holgorsen has been part of many postssn gms as an asst but this will be his 1st as HC for WV. This is CU’s 1st appearance in the Orange since their ‘81 Nat’l Champ ssn and CU’s 7th consec bowl (2-4) while Swinney, in his 4th yr, is a finalist for COY. The Tigers rose to 8-0 but lost to GT, which started another “Clemson Collapse” as they lost 3 of the L/4. CU stunned VT 38-10 winning their 1st ACC Title S/‘91 to land here. WV and CU shared 1 common opp TY in MD as both put up wins. WV went 4-2 vs bowl tms TY with 29-28 score and 424-332 yd edges (outgained LSU 533-366, double LSU’s ssn avg all’d). CU has faced 9 bowl tms going 6-3 outscoring those opp’s 30-26 and outgaining them 412-376. WV also fared well in AG’s going 4-1 while CU was 3-3. WV has 7 Sr st’rs among 13 upperclassmen and CU has 9 Sr’s w/17 upperclassmen. WV has been as fortunate as any tm and now matched up vs a battle tested Clemson unit, their weaknesses will get exposed. Clemson has the better offense, better defense, better special tms and has played a tougher sked and the Tigers get my call here.

PHIL’S FORECAST: CLEMSON 37 WEST VIRGINIA 30

Sugar Bowl Forecast!

January 3rd, 2012 No comments
SUGAR BOWL
Tuesday, January 3rd @ 8:30 p.m.
Click on the bowl logo for MORE info!!!!

MICHIGAN (10-2) VS VIRGINIA TECH (11-2)

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
A.O.R
MICHIGAN 205
175
29
2.3
-
100.9
VIRGINIA TECH
130
205
21
1.9
95.7
First meeting. UM makes its 2nd appearance in the Sugar Bowl with a previous 9-7 loss to Aub in 1983. They return to the BCS lineup for the 1st time since the ‘06 Rose Bowl and overall UM is 1-3 in the big bowls since the BCS was instituted in 1998. Hoke has been the HC in just 2 bowls in his career, going 1-1 losing the ‘07 International Bowl to Rutgers while at Ball St while beating Navy in LY’s Poinsettia Bowl with SDSt. The Wolves players will want to erase any lingering memories of LY’s 52-14 bowl thrashing by Miss St, the worst postssn perf in schl hist which proved to be Rich Rodriguez’s swan song. VT surprisingly received the at-large bid trumping Boise, K-St and Baylor to make their 4th trip to the Sugar Bowl (1-2) to face Mich, despite being dominated by Clemson 38-10 in the ACC Title game, the only team they lost to… twice! VT is the only team in the FBS to have 8 str 10 win ssns and has a chance to go for win #12 for the 1st time in schl history. Beamer is 8-10 in bowls. UM went 2-2 on the road TY outgaining foes by 49 ypg. VT went 6-1 with a 22 ypg edge. UM went 8-2 vs bowl tms outgaining them by 63 ypg. The Hokies faced 8 bowl caliber tms going 7-2 but being outscored 27-20 and outgained 404-342 (Clem 2x). Hokies fans travel well which is the reason they were able to nab the bid but they actually trailed UM in ticket sales here. Michigan is certainly excited to be in their 1st BCS bowl since 2006, but VT has not lost their final 2 gms of the season S/’03.

PHIL’S FORECAST: VIRGINIA TECH 26 MICHIGAN 24

 

January 2nd Bowl Forecasts!!!

January 2nd, 2012 1 comment

TICKETCITY BOWL
Monday, January 2nd @ 12:00 p.m.
Click on the bowl logo for MORE info!!!!

PENN ST (9-3) VS HOUSTON (12-1)

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
A.O.R
PENN ST 182
150
21
2.4
-
99.2
HOUSTON
98
390
34
2.1
-
91.3
PSU is 2-0 vs UH but the last gm was in ‘77. It’s hard to believe that PSU headed into their bye the B10’s highest ranked tm with a league best 8-1 rec’d (loss to #2 Bama), their BCS destiny in their own hands and the NCAA’s all-time winning HC on the sidelines. The Lions now head into uncharted waters playing in a new bowl for an interim HC for the 1st time in schl hist. Bradley will remain the HC for the bowl. UH, like PSU, controlled its own destiny for bigger and better things. Sumlin was 1-1 in bowls with both being in Dallas but new HC Tony Levine will cch the the Cougs here (was an asst). PSU has played in the Cotton Bowl venue 3x’s (2-0-1) most recently in ‘74. Due to the scandal PSU fell precipitously down the B10 bowl ladder being passed over the players expressed anger at not playing in a more prestigious bowl. UH should draw a nice crowd playing in their home state. PSU is 6-3 vs bowl tms being outscored 18-16 and outgained 324-317 while UH was 5-1 outscored foes 42-28 and outgaining them 506-432. PSU was 4-1 on the road and UH was a perfect 6-0. PSU has a very Sr laden club with 13 among their 20 upperclassmen. UH has 11 Sr st’rs with 15 upperclassmen. If you weight the intangibles section it pretty much sums up this gm. The Cougars may have looked past SM and after thinking BCS for the last month, are now in this bowl. The Lions players gave an initial reaction of disappointment, but fiery interim HC Bradley will turn that around as PSU is an underdog to a CUSA tm.

PHIL’S FORECAST: PENN ST 28 HOUSTON 27

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