College football games of the week: Let's Go Bowling
I love bowl season. I hear the Andy Williams Christmas song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of Year” and it does not bring memories of Christmas. Instead I see the ESPN bowl promo running, with a running back from BYU making a cut, a receiver from Michigan State making a great catch and a Big 12 quarterback doing a fist pump… I can’t wait. And they start this weekend.
More coaching changes in the news and they hit close to home with Bryan Harsin leaving Texasand Major Applewhite now taking over and rumors persist about Manny Diaz. Also, Tommy Tubberville literally ran away. Oklahoma State lost Todd Monken, which means Mike Gundy can go back to ignoring his defense as he focuses on the offense again.
(Anyone remember that? 2008 vs. Missouri, Oklahoma State had a defender injured and Gundy was back on the phone to his coaches in the booth, diagramming something with his back to the field. I would love a video of that if someone has it.)
Who gets that Tech job: Chad Morris or Kliff Kingsbury? I think it has to be Morris, the Texas high school football legend, but what do I know? I know this: If I am a Tech fan, I'm glad we are moving on. You are better off, Raiders.
Congratulations to Johnny Manziel for becoming the first ever freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, and more importantly, congratulations to me for climbing all the way out on the obvious tree and predicting not only that who would win, but who would finish second and third. Man, Collin Klein can’t catch a break. Not only did he finish third in the Heisman, he likely isn’t even getting invited to the Senior Bowl.
It’s your world, Ags, and we are just customer service. I think my head will explode when they play oklahoma, though. What a big bowl of yuck that is going to be. For another week, though.
Like I said, it's bowl week — and it starts now! So, many of you are in bowl pools, and many of you probably have no idea who you need to pick. Let me help. There are two ways to take this information: First, listen to me. People pay me to write about football and I nailed the Heisman… Or, do the exact opposite of what I say, because I have somehow conned people into paying to write about football. Your choice. Let’s jump into this week’s games.
GILDEN NEW MEXICO BOWL
Nevada Wolfpack (7-5/4-4) vs. Arizona Wildcats (7-5/4-5): 12 p.m. on ESPN
We get it started with a really good game. Both offenses can light it up with Rich Rodriguez’s spread attack for Zona and Chris Ault’s Pistol formation with Nevada.
How good is Ault at the Pistol? The best, since he invented it. Wolfpack tailback Stephon Jefferson has 1,703 yards rushing and 22 touchdowns on the season, and he should find success against the 88th best rush defense in the nation. But Arizona will pass and throw at will against the 87th best defense in the country.
Whatever happens, it’s going to be an offensive show and fun to watch. It’s all about who is more excited to be there in bowl games… and talent. I think Nevada is more excited, but there is too much talent on the Arizona side. Wildcats 38, Wolfpack 34.
FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL
Toledo Rockets (9-3/6-2) vs. No. 22 Utah State Aggies (10-2/6-0): 3:30 p.m. on ESPN
You don’t often get a ranked, 10-win team playing in a bowl game on the first day of bowl season, much less another team with a shot at 10 wins on the other side of the field. If not for some injuries late in the year, the Rockets come into this game ranked as well.
What do we know about them? Utah State has a terrific defense, ranking No. 15 in total defense and No. 8 in scoring defense in the nation. Toledo’s quarterback might not play and their tailback is not 100 percent, so that is not good. On other side of the ball, the Rockets are the 106th best defense/117th best pass defense in the land while Aggie qb Chuckie Keaton is 17th nationally in total yards per game and 14th in pass efficiency with a 156.7 rating. Yikes.
I think the Ags are going to make short, ugly work of Toledo. Quick, name the most famous alumnus from Utah State? I’ll go with Dick Motta, former Mavericks coach. Or Merlin Olsen, former NFL great and Father Murphy. What about Toledo? I’ll go with this guy the library cop from Seinfeld. Top-notch analysis, folks. Aggies 44, Rockets 20.
That’s it for this week. See you next week with even more bowl stuff!
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