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09/10 Bowls: Jan 1

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Northwestern vs Auburn, Outback Bowl (Jan 1, 11am, Tampa, FL)
Mike: If Texas owns NYE, Florida owns New Years Day. 3 of the 5 today in Florida. I’ve always liked the Outback Bowl for some reason. I think it’s the corporate sponsorship that somewhat fits as sounding like a real bowl. It’s also been that way for so long that I don’t remember what it was called before. As for the matchup. Really? The Big 10 nosedives after the top 4 (and to be fair and so Evan doesn’t get angry, the Big 10 top 2 aren’t in the same league as the SEC). Auburn could have had a solid season but stumbled in the middle of the year with 3 straight losses and then finished up with losses to Georgia and Bama. Still, it’s Northwestern. Pick: Auburn
Ahad: I show no love the SEC. Pick: Northwestern
Matt: I think Northwestern will have something to say in this ballgame. It will be closer than expected, but for Northwestern to win their first bowl game in 60 years, they will have to step up on defense. The defense will play better, but Auburn is just better. Pick: Auburn
Evan: Auburn

Penn State vs LSU, Capital One Bowl (Jan 1, 1pm, Orlando, FL)
Mike: Obviously I’ve thought about this one the most and don’t have a clue. What scares me is the LSU defense and how PSU reacts after getting knocked in the teeth early. Way too many games this year for PSU were close at the half until the other team wore down in the second half. That didn’t happen in the Iowa and OSU games when they played a competent opponent. I’m not sure how LSU is going to score if PSU doesn’t give them the chances. With Boone I think PSU can win the field position battle and the offense has had enough time to prepare. The offense was not a problem with over a month to prepare for USC last year, and that was a very good USC defense. Pick: Penn State
Ahad: PSU has come up small in big games this year. I don’t know too much about this LSU team, except that they are battling injuries at the running back position and the QB play has not been strong. The biggest question for me is if the PSU offense will show up, namely Clark and the offensive line. If they can protect the qb, the offense should be ok. Pick: PSU
Matt: The key to the game will be the PSU offensive line. They need to step up and run block and protect Clark. I am nervous about the speed on defense for LSU. I think lots of misdirection and screen passes will help slow them down. The defense will have to play better than in last year’s bowl game where they were absolutely exploited. LSU struggled on offense throughout the season, so it shouldn’t be as much of an issue this year. I expect a low scoring game, so turnovers will be a big player in the outcome. The PSU defense makes a big play late to seal the victory. Pick: Penn State
Evan: Boys, boys, boys…. nothing would give me greater pleasure than to tell you that Penn State has a chance in this game. You know they’re my second favorite team. Unfortunately, LSU is a good team that looked average in an above average league (this is the part where Ahad vomits). While both LSU and PSU are historically well-prepared for bowl games, LSU has more talent and is kind of honked that Bama is the new top dog in the west. They will play angry. Pick: LSU

West Virginia vs Florida State, Gator Bowl (Jan 1, 1pm, Jacksonville, FL)
Mike: Bowden’s last game. I think if this was the original scheduled exit for him I’d give a little more to the team rallying behind their leader theory. The way he is going out gives me more of a program in disarray feeling. I think this is a tight game but FSU is really a mediocre team that someone blew out BYU and got everyone (including me) thinking big. Pick: West Virginia
Ahad: Obviously the only story in this game is Bowden. FSU has been too inconsistent this year. Pick: WVU
Matt: Florida State shouldn’t even be in this bowl game. I am with Mike. I don’t buy into the rallying behind the leader theory at all. Florida State has been far too inconsistent all season. West Virginia will run all over them with Devine having a huge game. FSU will keep it close for a half, but West Virginia will run away late. Pick: West Virginia
Evan: What is funny is that Noel Devine went to high school in Fort Myers and was mentored by Deion Sanders, and now he will run wild all over Deion’s coach’s farewell game. Pick: West Virginia

Oregon vs Ohio State, Rose Bowl Game (Jan 1, 4:30pm, Pasadena, CA)
Mike: I’ve always enjoyed how they specify this as the Rose Bowl Game, as to not confuse it with the parade? Also, they classy it up and do the ‘Presented by’ for the sponsor. Now, I don’t want to get in too deep about this game. It’s the Ducks, and I always pick them wrong. It’s Ohio State, and they rarely win BCS games. Pick: Oregon
Ahad: No Big 10 love this time. Pick: Oregon
Matt: This game will not go in Ohio State’s favor if it turns into a shootout. Oregon has playmakers all over the field on offense. Oregon must pressure Pryor and have someone spying him because he will want to run. I actually like Ohio State’s chances in this game, but I don’t like Ohio State. I think Masoli will outplay Pryor. Pick: Oregon
Evan: I’m so used to Ohio State sucking in BCS games that it is like muscle memory when picking their games. Pick: Oregon

Cincinnati vs Florida, Allstate Sugar Bowl (Jan 1, 8:30pm, New Orleans, LA)
Mike: The only concern is that UF was distracted over the past week. It actually may have focused them on the game that no one in the UF community cares about after things settled down. I would have expected great things from Cincy if Brian Kelly were staying. Oh well. Pick: Florida
Ahad: All the talk of this game has been about the coaching situations at both schools. I think Florida rebounds from the SEC championship game and Tebow goes out with a win. Pick: Florida
Matt: I think this game is a slam dunk for Florida (watch, I will get burned for saying that). Both teams have issues with their head coach coming in, so there are lot of distractions out there. What this game really comes down to is defense. Both offenses can put up some points, but Florida’s defense is far superior to Cincy’s. Tebow goes out with a big game as Florida rolls. Pick: Florida
Evan: I’m usually nervous about picking Florida in big games, thinking I might jinx them, that is not the case here. I think UF whips Cincinnati up and down the field, eats their New Year’s Day Goose, and then makes love to the Bearcats cheerleaders. Pick: UF

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