2010-11 Pre-Season College Football Top 25

The EJSIC Top 25: NCAA FOOTBALL

It’s that time of the year again. The smell of bratwursts, beer, and BCS is in the air, as the College Football season is set to begin this weekend. With that in mind, the time has come to release the first EJSIC Top 25 of the season.

So, without further ado, here it is. All the information you need to make your own minds up. As always, we’re interested in your thoughts, what you would do differently and maybe a quick justification for why. Presented below are the rankings, team, record, (votes – first place votes).

1. Alabama 0-0 (150 – 5)
Next Opponent: San Jose State
2. Boise State 0-0 (135)
Next Opponent: #8 Virginia Tech
3. Florida 0-0 (131)
Next Opponent: Miami of Ohio
4. Ohio State 0-0 (119)
Next Opponent: Marshall
5. Oklahoma 0-0 (107)
Next Opponent: Utah State

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2010 or Bust: Al’s last prediction post for 2009

It's about time a bowl game had an appropriate sponsor name!

As I write this, I realize that I will probably not be online again until January 4. So, I’d like to start out this post by wishing everyone a happy and prosperous 2010. May all your celebrations be DWI-free and be sure to eat lots of collards, pork and black-eyed peas tomorrow for money, health (I love how pork signifies health in the South), and luck.

Okay, enough of the niceties. I have a lot of ground to cover because I’m going to predict the winners for all bowl games that have at least one Top 25 team and all Top 25 basketball games from today until Sunday.

Today’s bowl games

Chik-fil-A Bible Study Bowl: No 11 Virginia Tech vs. Tennessee. Yes, I’m still seething about the change of name from the Peach Bowl to a bowl named for a company that is so religious that their restaurants aren’t open on Sunday. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was written in the contract somewhere that this bowl game can’t be played on Sunday. This game is a match up between two teams that rarely live up to their hype. In fact, I was shocked to learn that Virginia Tech actually won their bowl game last year; that’s rare for them. If they win this one, it’ll be the first time in team history that they will have won two consecutive bowls. On paper, it looks like the Hokies should win, but I just don’t feel good about them, so I’m going for the underdog.

Brut Sun Bowl: Oklahoma vs. No. 21 Stanford. With this bowl, we finally have a bowl sponsor that seems appropriate for a football game. Both of these teams surprised their fans this year, but for different reasons. Oklahoma was a complete disappointment, starting out highly ranked and then descending into mediocrity as the season wore on. Stanford, on the other hand, surprised everyone by beating Oregon. (Their win against USC did not surprise me one bit.) Despite injuries to some key players, I think that Oklahoma will prevail, mainly because I think they’re a tougher team than Stanford.

Today’s basketball games

Penn's basketball team is so terrible that the most recent official photographs they offer are from the 2007-2008 season.

Pennsylvania at No. 7 Duke. Quite frankly, Penn is horrible. Only in my fantasies could they beat Duke.

St. John’s at No. 13 Georgetown. This should be another great Big East game. Both teams have an inexplicable loss (Georgetown to ODU and St. John’s to Cornell), but both beat Temple. Despite their Big 10-like 46 points against Temple, Georgetown’s scoring is better than St. John’s. I think the Hoyas will pull this one out.

No. 14 Tennessee at Memphis. I know I’m going against history here, but I think that Memphis’s losses to Tennessee in the last couple of seasons were more due to Calipari’s coaching than Pearl’s dominance over Memphis. Memphis is playing at home with a new coach and Tennessee should not be ranked. So, I’m going with Memphis.

No. 15 Ohio State at Wisconsin. I think Wisconsin’s better than Ohio State. Plus they’re playing at home. Note to Mr. Sensei: If your team proves me wrong, I’m never listening to anything you say about sports ever again–which should be easy, because I rarely do anyway.

Oregon State at No. 16 Washington. Personally, I’ll never understand the Washington hype, but tonight they’re playing at home against an Oregon State team that barely has a winning record.

Oklahoma at No. 22 Gonzaga. Dammit, no matter who I pick, it’ll be wrong because Gonzaga’s playing. Shoot, because Gonzaga’s involved, the first coin I tossed fell and rolled too far under the sofa for me to retrieve it. The second coin told me to pick Oklahoma.

Green Bay at No. 23 Butler. I’ve been really mean to Butler this year, so I’m giving them this game against a Green Bay team that’s better than I expected.

Alabama A&M at No. 25 Florida State. Wow, Alabama A&M has only played 6 games and they’ve lost three of them. Florida State, who does not deserve their ranking (they only got it because they beat an overrated Georgia Tech team) should be able to win this one. Should is the operative word here.

Tomorrow’s bowl games

The Big Easy: Hosting the latest victim of tBCS Conspiracy and the SEC's biggest drama queen

Allstate Sugar Bowl: No. 3 Cincinnati vs. No. 5 Florida. I can’t help but feel that Cincinnati was set up here. They finally have a chance to prove that teams not in the SEC, Big 12, Pac 10, and Big 10 should be taken seriously and what happens? Their coach is lured away by Notre Dame, conveniently before he can coach in this bowl game. Meanwhile, Urban Meyer, never satisfied unless he’s in the media as regularly as Brett Favre and Tim Tebow, can’t even decide what to do after this game. Sadly, I think the absence of Kelly will hurt Cincinnati more than Meyer’s drama queen antics will hurt Florida.

Rose Bowl: No. 8 Oregon vs. No. 7 Ohio State. Oh, geez, why is it that “the Granddaddy of them all” is exempt from having a sponsor’s name tacked to the front of it? Talk about elitist–this bowl says it all. However, the two teams playing in this one are not elite in the slightest. Ohio State played no one and lost to Purdue but they’re ranked no. 7. Why? Because they’re Ohio State. However, based on Ohio State’s performance in its last three bowl games, this should be an easy victory for the Ducks.

Capital One Bowl: No. 13 Penn State vs. No. 12 LSU. This is a great match-up between an old time powerhouse and a new one. I’m giving the game to LSU based solely on emotion, since they basically have no offense and will have to rely heavily on their defense to win this one. I like the Nittany Lions and Paterno, so if they win, I won’t be all that disappointed.

Konica Minolta Gator Bowl: No. 16 West Virginia vs. Florida State. Florida State was given this bowl because of Bowden’s retirement and no other reason. West Virginia will probably pound them because they’re much better.

Tomorrow’s basketball games

No. 6 West Virginia at No. 4 Purdue: A week or so ago, I would have said that West Virginia should win this one easily. But this week, West Virginia’s had some close calls. If it were just Seton Hall, I’d write it off as Big East parity, but they barely beat Cleveland State. However, I still feel that they’re better than Purdue, so I’m taking a risk and picking them.

Dayton at No. 17 New Mexico. This one’s a tough one to call. Both teams have dominated mediocre competition but they’ve also folded at weird times. I’m picking New Mexico simply because they’re playing at home and, judging by how they played against Texas Tech, the Oral Roberts loss was a wake-up call of sorts.

McNeese State at No. 24 Texas Tech. I know that this is a wacky season and Texas Tech is a wacky team, but surely they can handle McNeese State.

Saturday’s bowl game

AT&T Cotton Bowl: No. 19 Oklahoma State vs. Mississippi. Oklahoma State was overrated for the early part of the season based on their defeat of even more overrated Georgia. However, they’re a solid team and less flaky than Mississippi.

Saturday’s basketball games

No. 1 Kansas at No. 19 Temple. It’s interesting that this is Kansas’s first real test since the Memphis game back in November. There are many that think there’s an upset brewing in this one, but I think the Jayhawks will pull it out–if they stay focused and don’t sleepwalk through most of the game.

Texas A&M-CC at No. 2 Texas. Where does Texas find these opponents? On the back of matchbook covers or in Facebook ads?

Louisville at No. 3 Kentucky. What’s the deal with Louisville? They’ve lost some clunkers that should have been easy victories for them. Based on the records of both teams, this should be an easy win for Kentucky, but I think it’ll be a battle until the end, when Kentucky wins by a few points only.

Pittsburgh vs. No. 5 Syracuse. WTF, Pittsburgh? You lost to Indiana. Geez.

No. 8 Villanova at Marquette. This should be another great Big East battle and I think it’ll go down to the wire, mainly because Marquette’s playing at home, they’re not as bad as their loss to N.C. State would indicate, and Villanova really hasn’t beaten any heavy hitters yet.

Notre Dame at No. 10. Connecticut. When I look at some of the ranked teams (cough: New Mexico, Tennessee, Washington, Butler, Florida State: cough, cough), I have to wonder why Notre Dame, with only two losses, isn’t ranked. No matter. I think the Huskies will pull this one out.

No. 11 Michigan State at Northwestern. I still can’t believe that Northwestern lost to Illinois. It seems surreal to me.

Oregon at No. 16 Washington. I feel a Washington sweep of the entire state of Oregon is highly possible this week, despite my lack of faith in Washington’s true abilities.

No. 20 Georgia Tech at Charlotte. As usual, Georgia Tech is ranked too high. Meanwhile, Charlotte beat Louisville. This should be a close game and my gut says an upset is brewing.

No. 22 Gonzaga at Illinois.  Not Gonzaga again!!! I wish they’d fall out of the Top 25 so that I’m not stuck with their busting up my predictions like they do my NCAA brackets each year. I’d also like my lost coin back.

Milwaukee at No. 23 Butler. I’m sick of Butler, too.

Sunday bowl games

None.

Sunday’s basketball games

No. 18 Clemson at No. 7 Duke. Clemson doesn’t stand a chance against Duke, especially at Cameron. Actually, no one stands a chance against Duke at home until February.

South Dakota at No. 12 Kansas State. While I’m still on the fence about Kansas State’s ranking, I don’t see an upset here.

No. 13 Georgetown at DePaul. I’m old enough to remember when this might have been a good game. Alas, the 2009-2010 Blue Demons are nothing like their predecessors and are now considered among the Big East’s worst. If Georgetown can’t beat them (even in enemy territory), then they’re seriously bad.

No. 15 Ohio State at Michigan. While I don’t think Ohio State’s that good, I do think they can beat Michigan.

UTEP at No. 24 Texas Tech. This should be a great game. Both teams have only lost two games. I still can’t quite get a handle on Texas Tech long enough to decide how good they are and I don’t think this game will help. UTEP with the upset.

Happy New Year, one and all!

I’m late, I’m late…for a very light prediction slate

I wonder if anyone in or at this sold out bowl has Pacific Life Insurance.

Okay, I have exactly 37 minutes to get these predictions out. That’s when three of the four Top 25 basketball games being played tonight begin. The Pacific Life Holiday Bowl begins at 8:00, so I need to get started.

Tonight’s bowl game: Pacific Life Holiday Bowl

No. 20 Arizona vs. No. 22 Nebraska. This is a really tough one to predict. Both teams did pretty well in historically tough conferences and Nebraska almost eliminated Texas from the No. 1 vs. No. 2 game (I’m refusing to call it the National Championship game because that would be an insult to the real national championship games played each year).  Both teams also had some inexplicable losses. For Arizona it was Washington and for Nebraska it was Iowa State. (I also think that their loss to Virginia Tech is questionable.) Given that how teams play in bowl games rarely reflects their season of play because the bowl games are usually a month after their last game of the season, I tossed a coin for this one. Nebraska won.

Tonight’s basketball games

Albany at No. 9 North Carolina. Historically, UNC plays horribly on Wednesdays (and Sundays in February). Historically, Wednesday is a really bad day for me–the kind of day where I stub my toe on my desk chair, find that I forgot to pay my gas bill and they’ve cut it off,  and my daughter announces she got a speeding ticket for going 83 in a 65. The only ways to ensure that UNC wins is for me to watch the game in China or Australia where it’s already Thursday or wait and check the scores on Thursday. Since I can’t travel to China or Australia (see how Wednesdays suck?), I’ll check the score in the morning.

No. 10 Connecticut at Cincinnati. I think Connecticut is a good team this

Al's sniffed out an upset for the Huskies.

year, despite their drubbing at the hands of Duke–a win that Duke will ride all the way to their undeserved 2nd seed in the East. However, because of real or imagined (I vote for real) parity in the Big East, I’m sensing an upset here. Some will say a shocking upset, but Cincinnati is also pretty good–and they’re playing at home.

Texas-Arlington at No. 11 Michigan State. Kudos to Michigan State for playing a really tough schedule. They hung tight against Texas and for a while there, they looked like they might win. Fortunately, they have a breather tonight. And for all those people wondering why they’re ranked and predicting that they’ll end up in third place in the Big 10, I’m warning you now: this team will only get better as the season progresses.

No. 19 Temple at Northern Illinois. Kudos to Temple for traveling to the home of the Northern Illinois Huskies. Unfortunately, playing at home will not help the poor Huskies, who have only won two games this year. Temple’s doing really well this season and it’s nice to see them back in the Top 25. I always think they’re in the Big East though; it’s always a shock to realize they’re in the Atlantic 10.

Okay, I now have 11 minutes to add some photos to this post, so I’m signing off until tomorrow.

The fridge is empty. Time to work for food.

The Many Names Bowl is being played in Orlando tonight.

I hope everyone had as enjoyable a Christmas holiday as I did. The only damper for me was UNC’s predictable loss in the “I Can’t Beat N.C. State Bowl.” The loss depressed me so much that I couldn’t even turn on my laptop until this morning.

Okay, not really. My mother and sister were in town for the holidays and I took a few days off. Also, I’m finally getting used to UNC being a huge disappointment in every bowl they play (you have to remember that I was at UNC when  Lawrence Taylor was there and we beat teams like Michigan back when they were good). I still hold out hope that if we lose to N.C. State again next year, then we, like State, will have nothing to look forward to but Spring Practice at the end of the season. What’s the point of going to a bowl if you can’t ever win them?

Tonight we have a bowl game featuring two ranked teams and quite a few basketball teams in the Top 25 are playing tonight. As usual, Georgia Tech, whose players apparently have to be in bed by 8 p.m., caught me napping and have already played and beaten the Winston-Salem State Rams. So, I’ll stop rambling before another game comes on and roll out some predictions.

Tonight’s Bowl Game: Champs Sports Bowl

No. 15 Miami vs. No. 25 Wisconsin. Okay, I decided to look up this bowl because I don’t remember much about it and here’s what I found:

The Champs Sports Bowl features a Big Ten Conference representative against a representative from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Held at Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida, the Champs Sports Bowl has had many different names and title sponsors over the years. Former names include the Blockbuster Bowl, Carquest Bowl, MicronPC.com Bowl and more.

I couldn’t think of a more fitting bowl for two teams that have had all kinds of ups and downs this season. At one point, each looked like they could easily be ranked in the top 10, but they both had disappointing losses toward the end of the season–Miami to UNC and Wisconsin to Northwestern.  I thought about picking Wisconsin because of my respect for Mr. Sensei, but I realized that every time I’ve picked them to win, they haven’t. So, Mr. Sensei, the Badgers will probably win to spite me and dash my feelings that Miami is just a tiny bit better than Wisconsin.

Tonight’s basketball games

Belmont at No. 1 Kansas. Now that they’re not unanimous no. 1s any more, this would be a good time for Kansas to blow a team off the court. Belmont’s only lost four games, but they haven’t played anybody, so this should be a no brainer.

The Running Bulldogs won't be much of a match for the Longhorns.

Gardner Webb at No. 2 Texas. Everybody’s favorite cupcake is about to wrap up their December nightmare of a schedule. Having been tasted by UNC and devoured by Duke, they now find themselves at the mercy of Texas. Expect no crumbs, folks.

Hartford at No. 3 Kentucky. Of all the cupcakes that Kentucky’s played, Hartford is the cupcakiest. They’ve only won two games and they’ve lost to teams like the Quinnipiac Bobcats. They did beat Marist, though. If Kentucky doesn’t win by 30 points or more, I’ll be shocked.

No. 4 Purdue at Iowa. I’m slightly suspicious of any highly-ranked Big 10 team that’s not MSU in late February with good reason (tOSU anyone?), but Purdue seems to be the real deal. They should have no trouble with the hapless hawkeyes.

No. 5 Syracuse at Seton Hall. It’s time for me to come clean. I’m an ACC fan who enjoys watching Big East basketball. The Big East is my second favorite basketball conference. For me, watching them play is like watching gangster movies–even though the life is foreign to me, it’s fascinating. Thus, I’m looking forward to watching this game. Syracuse continues to play some of the best basketball in the land, but Seton Hall is spunky and have their eyes on a big win. I don’t think they can do it, though.

Marquette at No. 6 West Virginia. I almost smell an upset here. Marquette isn’t quite as bad as their performance OOC indicates. However, because they lost to N.C. State, I think they’ll run out of steam before they can put a 1 in West Virginia’s loss column.

T. J. Robinson & Co. are among a long line of Duke's December and January victims.

Long Beach State at No. 7 Duke. How great would it be if Long Beach State, the team that gave Kentucky a game, upset Duke? Unfortunately, Duke is now on its inexorable annual march to a five-or six-week period without a loss, which is long enough for ESPN to start talking about how “Duke is back,” before they lose to Boston College in Boston on February 6. So, sorry, LBSU, no upset for you.

Cleveland State at No. 12 Kansas State. Cleveland State has been dying to upset somebody and played it close with West Virginia. I think they might actually pull it off against Kansas State. Of course I picked Alabama to upset Kansas State and look how well that worked out for me.

No. 24 Texas Tech at No. 17 New Mexico. This is my game of the day. First, I’d like to thank New Mexico for proving to me that their appearance in the Top 25 was a joke and losing to Oral Roberts. Texas Tech was also upset by Wichita State, but Wichita State is a more respectable loss, seeing as they only have one loss. For that reason, I’m giving the game to Texas Tech.

South Carolina State at No. 18 Clemson. Talk about teams that don’t deserve their rankings and Clemson is another one that comes to mind. They’re going to hover around No. 16 – No. 20 until they start embarrassing themselves sometime in early February, like so many ACC teams (UNC included) tend to do. But tonight, they get the win.

Well, that’s it for today’s games. I’ll be back tomorrow. I know, I know, try to keep down the loud cheers–you’re in your mom’s basement and she’s going to wonder what you’re doing.

Meyer Chooses Health, Family Over Football

Geez… You spend one day away shopping for bedroom furniture and all Hell breaks loose.

The most successful college football coach in the country, in recent years at least, has decided to call it quits.

Citing concerns for his health and family, University of Florida Head Football Coach Urban Meyer has resigned. The Gators’ Sugar Bowl match-up with Cincinnati will be Meyers last game at the helm. Wow.

After reading statements from both Meyer and those around him, it seems there’s not a hint of ulterior motives in his reasoning. Assuming he is prioritizing his health and family above personal success and career fulfillment, you can’t help but admire the coach’s decision to part ways with the Gators at the peak of his reign over college football.

At 45, Meyer’s .841 winning percentage leads all  active coaches with at least 5 years experience. A head coach leaving the game at his age and with his credentials has to be unprecedented in big time athletics.

TCU Coach Gary Patterson was equal parts stunned and proud in his interview with The Quad.

“You’ve got to give the guy a lot of credit, I think, for making this kind of decision because for us as football coaches, it’s always been about the game,” Patterson said. “For him to make a decision to decide at this point in time to hang it up and do it for his health and his family, I think shows the strength of him as a man.

“He’s 45 years old and wants to get a chance to see his family grow up and do things. Some of us haven’t made those decisions in our lives. He’s as strong as he is because he put family and health in front of something that he truly loves to do.”

Even as an admitted “Gator-Hater”, I can’t help but echo Patterson’s sentiments. For a man in Meyer’s position to make this decision at this point in his career, you have to believe that he truly has his life perspective in order.

In a coaching landscape where “succession plans” and “forced retirements” have become common place, it’s refreshing to see a coach decide he’s had enough long before everyone else decides he’s had enough.

As far as a possible replacement for Meyer goes, names like Stoops, Petrino, Peterson, Shanahan, Mullen and Strong have all been thrown around.

Regardless of who succeeds Meyer at Florida, it’s hard to imagine anyone leading the Gators to more success than he has over the past 5 seasons.

It’s even harder to imagine any of those coaches stepping away from it all afterwards.

Note from Al: Eat, drink and be merry, one and all.

I know that you all* have been waiting anxiously for my prediction post today. Well, between some final work stuff and hours of wrapping presents, I ran out of time. So, I’m just going to make my football and basketball predictions without any commentary today. Kentucky, of course, has already played; they were trying to make sure they beat Long Beach State by forcing them to play in the morning–Pacific coast time. It worked. Georgetown has also played. I don’t know what their evil plan was exactly.

Tonight’s Bowl Game

No. 23 Utah vs. California.

Tonight’s Basketball Games

No. 21 Mississippi at No. 6 West Virginia.

Delaware at No. 8 Villanova.

No. 12 New Mexico at Oral Roberts.

North Carolina A & T at No. 14 Tennessee.

No. 20 UNLV at Hawaii.

By the way, Florida, you lost and you will be taunted from here on out.

Other than that, I hope everyone enjoys their time off and for those who celebrate Christmas, I wish you a merry one.

*Hi, Mom and Daddy!

What’s with these early bowl games? And why is Georgia Tech playing basketball right now? Al ponders some tough questions and makes some predictions

Si, Al puede hablar dos lenguas: basquetbol y futbol Americano.

Well, the college football bowl season really caught me napping. I had no idea that so many bowl games were played before Christmas day. There used to be just one or two, back in the day. Fortunately, I just noticed that the three bowl games that have been played did not feature ranked teams, so I can breathe a sigh of relief, because my plan was only to predict games with ranked teams. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I also ran out of time yesterday and didn’t have a chance to predict the two men’s college basketball games that were played last night, not that anyone should have needed a crystal ball to predict those outcomes. A big congratulations to Kentucky for their 2000th win, by the way. As a Tar Heel fan, I’m seething with jealousy and can only hope that we reach 3000 before Kentucky does.

So, today I have my first ever “bilingual” predictions post. By “bilingual,” I don’t mean that I’ll be providing a Spanish version (sorry, Jose) but that I’ll be predicting basketball games and football games in this post. By the way, what the heck is Georgia Tech doing playing basketball right now? They need to realize that sometimes I can’t write until after lunch. Needless to say, by the time I finish this post, their game with Kennesaw State will be over, dammit. So, I won’t be calling that one.

With this slighly dissatisfying state of affairs, I’ll get right down to business.

The Broken Down Car Bowl is tonight in Las Vegas

Tonight’s Bowl Game: Maaco Bowl, Los Vegas

No. 18 Oregon State vs. No. 14 Brigham Young. I just want to go on record that I think naming bowls after their sponsors is one of the worst ideas ever. Who wants to play in a bowl named after spark plugs or a tire? And, sorry Chik-Fil-A, but there were peaches in Georgia years before you opened your fundamentalist churches restaurants in Atlanta. Anyway, I digress.

If you compare records, it would look like Oregon State, with four losses, doesn’t have a chance. However, this is one of those rare times when I have to go with the Pac 10 team because they’re a Pac 10 team. Sure, Brigham Young beat Oklahoma and Utah, but Oklahoma turned out to be way overrated. Brigham Young also lost to Florida State and, frankly, I don’t see where Oregon State would ever have done that.

Tonight’s Men’s Basketball Games

California at No. 1 Kansas. This could be a very good game. Although I’m

This Marshall is the stuff of Al's UNC basketball nightmares

still a believer that Kansas deserves its No. 1 ranking in the weakest college basketball year ever*, they aren’t infallible. I think California can hang with them for about 35 minutes, but then Kansas will put it away.

No. 9 Michigan State at No. 2 Texas. I’m hoping to participate in the live blog for this one, so everyone will have a chance to make me eat these words, but I just don’t think this game will be that close or that exciting. The top 2 teams in the Big 12 are just way better than the top 2 teams in the Big 10 this year. Sorry, Mr. Sensei, but that’s how I see it.

SIU-Edwardsville vs. No. 4 Purdue. It’s amazing to me, a native of North Carolina, that SIU needs two campuses. To me, that would be like ECU-New Bern or WCU-Blowing Rock. Anyway, the Boilermakers will win this one easily.

Marshall at No. 10 North Carolina. I had a nightmare last night that a team called Crenshaw beat UNC. Yes, my mind is just full of really weird associations. I just hope that it was nothing but a bad dream.

Maine at No. 11 Connecticut. The Black Bears vs. the Huskies–now there’s a nice wintry mascot match up. However, I think that the Huskies are a little faster than the Black Bears and this should be an easy one for them.

No. 16 Butler at UAB. Sorry, ESPN, but I just can’t jump on your Butler bandwagon. You pimp them every year and it’s getting tiresome. I’m picking UAB for the “upset” here.

Cleveland State at No 17 Ohio State. Saturday, Cleveland State surprised me by only losing to WVU by 2 points. It still doesn’t stop me from picking Ohio State, though.

South Alabama at No. 18 Florida. Dammit Florida, you couldn’t “chomp” the Spiders? Jose was right about you. I’m giving you one more chance by predicting that you’ll beat the Jaguars and after that, if you don’t win, I’m going to taunt you mercilessly for the rest of the season.

Texas A&M at No. 19 Washington. This is anybody’s game. The teams are pretty evenly matched. My deal is that I’ve yet to see Washington play more than one or two great games a year. Most of the time, they seem to show up and go through the motions. I think this will be one of those games.

Southern Methodist vs. No. 20 UNLV. It’s interesting that they scheduled a UNLV basketball game on the same day the Las Vegas Maaco Bowl is being played. Good thing it’s not being played there. SMU is doing pretty well this year, but so is UNLV. I think they’ll take this one over in the second half and win.

Western Carolina at No. 23 Clemson. Wow, WCU has won a lot more games than I thought they had. I don’t think they’re a match for Clemson at home, though.

Well, there you have my first bilingual post. As one of the basketball fans I admire most in the world would say, “Some great action tonight. T.T.Y.L.”

*This statement does not necessarily reflect Al’s opinion but rather those who remember what young, silly KU fans said about 2008-2009.

The Best of the non-BCS Bowl Games

Although college football desperately needs a playoff, the bowl system still provides a unique series of games that I find pretty entertaining. Inter-conference games are much more interesting in college football as opposed to college basketball because you only get a few big time (non rivalry) games a season. The Bowl season solves this problem, forcing teams like Florida and Penn State to actually play a half respectable team outside of their respective conferences and states.

Obviously the biggest games are those of the BCS, but I think there are some great games going down in the “lesser bowls.” I’ll be ranking the top 5 most enticing non-BCS contests.

ON_CAMPUS_Pitt_Preview_Dion_Lewis5) Pittsburgh/UNC, Meineke Car Care Bowl: Both teams are looking to rebound after huge disappointments to end the regular season. Pittsburgh found itself within a hair of winning the Big East’s automatic BCS bid, while North Carolina took yet an other one on the chin from Tom O’Brien as Butch Davis dropped to 0-3 against the Wolf Pack. Pitt Freshman Dion Lewis put up some extremely impressive numbers, but his number of carries (297) stands out the most. Does he have enough left in the tank to produce against one of the stoutest run defenses in the country? Carolina has really been a tale of two halves this season. With an 0-3 start to their ACC season, the Heels looked like they were stumbling their way to a disappointing season in which they started just inside the AP top 25. However, Carolina bounced back and won their next 4 conference games, including @ Virginia Tech and vs. Miami. Veteran QB T.J. Yates regressed from last season, although much of that could be blamed on the loss of now NFLers Hakeem Nicks and Brandon Tate. With a running game lacking a true horse, the Heels relied on their stout defense to come up with big stops and timely turnovers. It will have to do its best to bottle up Pitt’s dynamic offense (23 passing TD’s, 24 rushing TD’s) to give UNC a chance to win.

Eric Berry anchors a defense headed by guru Monte Kiffin

Eric Berry anchors a defense headed by guru Monte Kiffin

4) Virginia Tech/Tennessee, Chick-fil-A Bowl: Lane Kiffin doing anything is entertaining to me. Bottom line is he’s turning things around at Tennessee. The Vols took advantage of a weak SEC East this season going 4-0 vs. teams not named Florida. While much Kiffin’s talent is extremely young, Safety Eric Berry may be the best player in the country. I’m also interested to see what happens when Monte Kiffin gets a month to scheme for a single offense. On the other hand, the Hokies are probably disappointed to not be in a BCS game this year. VT running back Ryan Williams put up one of the best freshman seasons in recent memory with 20 total touchdowns and over 1500 rushing yards. Tyrod Taylor is as dynamic a player as you will see and has really come into his own this season. Throw in the possibility of Beamer Ball producing some highlight reel special teams plays, and this game a must see. Continue reading