My Christmas wish of a playoff in Division 1A football did not come true this year, and the new year approaches, so it’s time to start thinking about the BCS games starting next week.
Note: All times listed are for the Eastern Time Zone.
January 1st, 4:30pm, Pasadena, California
#6 Penn State (11-1) vs. #5 USC (11-1)
Matchup: Take the top two teams in a pair of down conferences and what do you get? The Rose Bowl. Penn State was shown the blueprint for beating USC in the Oregon State game, which I expect they have memorized by now. But knowing how to do something, and actually doing it are two different things, especially against USC’s athletes.
Who I want to win: I have a great deal of respect for Joe Pa, and few things give me more pleasure than watching the University of Spoiled Children lose, so I’ll be rooting for the Nittany Lions.
Who I think will win: Even a team that travels as poorly as USC is able to drive across town, so the Trojans will have a significant home field advantage. Add to that a solid defense (albeit not as strong as ESPN would like us to believe) and a good offense (albeit weak for USC standards), and we’re looking at a three touchdown beat down.
Rose Bowl Prediction: USC 30, Penn State 9
January 1st, 8:30pm, Miami, Florida
#21 Virginia Tech (9-4) vs. #12 Cincinnati (11-2)
Matchup: If anyone tells you that there’s not something fundamentally wrong with the BCS, simply point them at this year’s four loss participant in one of the “top” bowl games.
Who I want to win: I’m not sure I want either to win. I can only hope to not see such match-ups in the future.
Who I think will win: These two are fairly evenly matched in their mediocrity, but I think Cincinnati’s ten seniors on defense lead them to a victory.
Orange Bowl Prediction: Cincinnati 21, Virginia Tech 17
January 2nd, 8:00pm, New Orleans, Louisiana
#6 Utah (12-0) vs. #4 Alabama (12-1)
Matchup: This year’s BCS buster is Utah, who ran the table, but has only played one decent team (TCU). They certainly haven’t faced anything like Alabama, a very strong team that simply drew Florida at the wrong time.
Who I want to win: It’s hard not to pull for plucky little non-BCS teams, and Nick Saban makes it easy to root against the Crimson Tide, whom I generally like. Add to this the problems an undefeated Utah would cause the BCS, and I’ll be yelling for the Utes to pull off the upset.
Who I think will win: By any logical measure, Alabama is the better team, and should roll Utah. I wouldn’t be surprised if they won by more than two touchdowns. However, something tells me this could be the big upset of the year. Perhaps it’s the heart overriding the head, but then, no one thought Boise State had a chance against Oklahoma either.
Sugar Bowl Prediction: Utah 28, Alabama 24
January 5th, 8:00pm, Glendale, Arizona
#3 Texas (11-1) vs. #10 Ohio State (10-2)
Matchup: They’ve played twice and each have a victory. They meet in Glendale for the tie-breaker in a game that Ohio State got into on reputation, not achievement.
Who I want to win: Hmmm… This is a hard call given my lifelong devotion to the Longhorns. Oh wait, Hook’em Horns!
Who I think will win: This is the Longhorns game to lose, and if they come in flat, that might in fact be the result. I think the Horns will use the series of snubs they’ve received over the last few weeks to drive them to a dominating win.
Fiesta Bowl Prediction, Texas 42, Ohio State 17
January 8th, 8pm, Miami, Florida
#1 Oklahoma (12-1) vs. #2 Florida (12-1)
Matchup: Oklahoma got into the championship game because the Big 12 Conference doesn’t know how to create a proper tie-breaking system. Florida made it into the game even after they lost to an unranked team. At home.
Who I want to win: All things stupid and evil come from Oklahoma, who shouldn’t be in this game in the first place, so go Gators!
Who I think will win: Between the Heisman Curse and the fact that Oklahoma will be playing with refs who actually believe in the holding call for the first time since September, the extremely powerful, but overrated offense of the Sooners will falter on occasion. On the other side of the ball, I don’t see the incompetent Oklahoma defense slowing down an angry Tim Tebow very often. Look for lots of offense, but an easy win by the Gators.
BCS Championship Prediction: Florida 45, Oklahoma 21