NCAA Football Report (Bowl Week 3)

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The Bowl Season is almost done and that can only mean one thing as the BCS Bowls are on the horizon. The BCS Bowls feature the best of the best as they invite the teams they see as the best in the NCAA. There is always the controversy of picking the teams for the BCS Bowls as some teams could have been the better choice. Although there may be this controversy the fact remains that the bowls have been decided and there is no changing them at this point. So with the bowls created it is time to look at the premiere bowls in the season with a preview of the BCS Bowls, a National Championship preview will come later.

 

Rose Bowl:

#10 Wisconsin Badgers vs. #5 Oregon Ducks (January 2nd; 5:00 pm ET)

The Rose Bowl is the most prestigious of all the Bowls in the BCS as it kicks off the New Year with the biggest pageantry of them all. Starting with the Tournament of Roses Parade the Rose Bowl is the most traditional of all bowls as they continue traditions from 1902 into today. This is the reason the Rose Bowl remains a part of the BCS. This bowl is not made up of a traditional selection process as the Big Ten Champion takes on the Pac-12 Champion every year, unless one of them makes the National Championship. This year these two champions will face off in what promises to be a lights out offensive battle between two teams that do not slow down on offence. The Oregon Ducks are ranked #5 in the BCS as they have leaned on some major playmakers. LaMichael James finished 10th in the Heisman voting this year thanks to a brief injury period that saw him miss a few games. Widely considered the second best running back in the NCAA James, along with QB Darron Thomas, leads the Oregon Ducks and their fast paced offence. They have been known for this for the past few years as head coach Chip Kelly established an offence that continues to hold a rapid pace known for making defences fake injuries just to get a break. Meanwhile the Wisconsin Badgers will bring their own offence to the table as they try to keep up with Oregon. The Badgers were known for their slow paced, yet powerful, running game behind the best offensive line in the NCAA. They will still lean on this line and the ability of RB Montee Ball, who finished 4th in Heisman voting, for their running game but the addition of Russell Wilson, who finished 9th in Heisman voting, has added a second aspect to their game. The combination of Wilson and Ball has created a very powerful offence that could be able to keep up with the 6th ranked Oregon offence. Both defences are not considered some of the best in the NCAA but the game will come down to them. The offences will be the focus of this game but the defences will determine who wins as it will come down to who can slow down the opposing offence more.

 

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl:

#4 Stanford Cardinal vs. #3 Oklahoma State Cowboys (January 2nd; 8:30 pm ET)

The Fiesta Bowl is not as prestigious as the Rose Bowl but it is still has a great history as one of the BCS Bowls. The Fiesta Bowl was established in 1971 when the Western Athletic Conference became so frustrated at being passed over for major bowl bids they decided to create their own bowl. Now the Fiesta Bowl sits as one of the BCS Bowls and this year it is built as what could be the best bowl in the bunch. The Stanford Cardinal boast the 11th ranked offence led by Heisman runner up and potential #1 NFL draft pick Andrew Luck. Luck is the main cog in this offence as he has the freedom to call plays at the line and control the offence. He does this with a balanced approach as the Cardinal are not afraid to run the ball with Stepfan Taylor if they see fit to. Luck does most of his work in the air of course and does it with a group of receivers that do not have many standout players. The biggest target for Luck is his Tight Ends led by Coby Fleener as the Cardinal like to work their way down the field and not depend on the big play. The Cowboys are almost the exact opposite as they lean on QB Brandon Weeden who has 34 TDs this year, Luck has 35, and leads the NCAA’s 2nd ranked passing offence. Weeden sees most of his yardage go to the best wide receiver in the NCAA in Justin Blackmon as both have matched up to create a very explosive offence. The Cowboys will be playing a bit for pride as well after finishing 3rd even though many believed they should be in the National Championship against LSU. This talk mainly came after they beat the Oklahoma Sooners 44-10 in a game that showcased the powerful offence but also the ability of the Cowboy’s defence to limit a very good team to only 10 points. This game again will come down to the defences as two very good offences are seemingly on the path to break records in the bowl game and the defences will be trying to stop it. Another game that will feature two very good offences with two of the best QBs in the league will definitely be a thrilling affair as this bowl has become one of most exciting prospects in the Bowl Season.

 

Allstate Sugar Bowl:

#13 Michigan Wolverines vs. #11 Virginia Tech Hokies (January 3rd; 8:30 pm ET)

The Sugar Bowl has had the most controversy surrounding it as the Virginia Tech Hokies and Michigan Wolverines are considered two teams that may not deserve this berth. The Sugar Bowl has rarely seen this much controversy since it first began in 1935 but this year it has faced a lot of issues. Neither the Wolverines nor Hokies are champions of either of their conferences as Michigan did not make the Big Ten Championship game and Virginia Tech lost to Clemson in the ACC championship. This means that neither were guaranteed a spot in a BCS Bowl and many believed the #7 Boise State Broncos or #11 Kansas State Wildcats deserved a spot in a BCS Bowl ahead of these two teams. The controversy has continued throughout their lead up to the game as teams have struggled to sell their tickets even though they expected a much bigger draw. Although they are surrounded by controversy they both preparing for the Sugar Bowl as they try to finish off surprising seasons. The Michigan Wolverines will be in their first BCS Bowl game since 2007, when they played in the Rose Bowl, as they look to continue a comeback from some disappointing seasons. The Wolverine comeback has surrounded one player known as Shoelace, because he does not tie his shoes, as Denard Robinson has been one of the most explosive players in the NCAA. He has also been known to show up on some days while not showing up, at least to his level, in others. As a great running QB a Robinson has the ability to break out for a big game and take over the Sugar Bowl. Meanwhile Virginia Tech will hope that David Wilson can take over the game as they will lean on their RB to lead their offence. The offences may not be the focus of this game though as both defences average 17.2 points per game and are ranked 7th, Michigan, and 8th, Virginia Tech, and will look to shut down the opposing offences. The Sugar Bowl should be one of the few defensive battles in the BCS as the game will come down to which offence can break through one more time than the other team.

 

Discover Orange Bowl:

#23 West Virginia Mountaineers vs. #15 Clemson Tigers (January 4th; 8:30 pm ET)

As Florida’s answer to the Rose Bowl, the Orange Bowl was created in 1935 to showcase the sunshine state. The Orange Bowl features the champion of the ACC and Big East Conferences and was the first ever bowl to be broadcast in primetime. This year they will feature the Big East champion Virginia Mountaineers and the ACC champion Clemson Tigers. The matchup will feature two teams that may not look the best with just the rankings to look at but they both earned their spots by surprising a lot of people and winning their conferences. The Clemson Tigers began shooting up the rankings in the middle of the season as they proved to be a force and a potential National Championship team but three losses to Georgia Tech, North Carolina State, and South Carolina knocked them out of the picture. They will still get their BCS bid after beating Virginia Tech in the ACC championship game by a score of 38-10. They did this behind an explosive offence led by QB Tajh Boyd who helped the team break school records for passing yards, scoring, and total yards. The Tigers seemingly came out of nowhere as they won their first ACC title since 1991 and earned their BCS Bowl bid. Boyd threw to a number of different receivers as he used the committee but one of the standouts was their big Tight End  Dwayne Allen who seemingly always made the big catches when they were needed. Meanwhile the West Virginia Mountaineers are led by Geno Smith who also broke school records. Smith led the 7th ranked passing offence in the NCAA along with his two great receivers Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin. Both offences will depend on the pass but the running game could be important and Clemson wins this battle in a big way as the Mountaineers are ranked 100th in the NCAA while Clemson is 61st. Both teams do not have much of a running game which could mean a lot of yard and a lot of airing it out. Another offensive battle will see the defences play an important role and with both allowing just over 26points per game it could be another lights out offensive game just before the big defensive battle in the National Championship.

 

Scores:

AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl:

Missouri Tigers 41 – 24 North Carolina Tarheels

-Mizzou was out to prove that they belong in the SEC, where they will go next year, as they dominated the Tarheels from the start with QB James Franklin leading his offence to a 31 point first half

 

Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl:

Purdue Boilermakers 37 – 32 Western Michigan Broncos

– With a risky strategy against The Broncos head coach Danny Hope decided to kick two onside kicks in the first half and both paid off as the Boilermakers took advantage of the 7 turnovers by Western Michigan for the win

 

Belk Bowl:

NC State Wolfpack 31 – 24 Louisville Cardinals

– In a matchup of two unknown but great QBs Mike Glennon was just better than the True Freshman Teddy Bridgewater as both Qbs took over the game with Glennon throwing for 264 yards and 3 TDs

 

Military Bowl:

Toledo Rockets 42 – 41 Air Force Falcons

– New head coach Matt Campbell led the Rockets in his first game at the helm and took advantage of some unconventional play by the Falcons who scored three times on 4th down but lost the game after they missed a 2 point conversion instead of going for the tie by kicking the ball

 

Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl:

#24 Texas Longhorns 21 – 10 California Golden Bears

– The Longhorns were looking to the future in this bowl as they decided to go with Freshman QB David Ash who proved that he is the future of Texas football who threw one TD and caught another in an impressive performance

 

Champs Sports Bowl:

Florida State Seminoles 18 – 14 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

– Two of the most storied NCAA Football programs faced off in a very defensive battle that saw Notre Dame back to their usual problems as they turned the ball over twice in the red zone giving the Noles a chance to comeback from a 14 point deficit

 

Valero Alamo Bowl:

Baylor Bears 67 – 56 Washington Huskies

– The Alamo Bowl was a record breaker as Heisman Trophy Winner Robert Griffin II and Keith Price combined for an NCAA Bowl record 123 points and an NCAA Bowl record 1,397 yards in a game that saw no defence and the Heisman winner taking the win

 

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl:

BYU Cougars 24 – 21 Tulsa Golden Hurricane

– The BYU offence seemed to be in trouble at the start of the game with Riley Nelson not being able to get into a groove but it didn’t last long as Nelson matched up with Cody Hoffman for three TD passes including the winning TD with 11 seconds left in the game

 

New Era Pinstripe Bowl:

Rutgers Scarlett Knights 27 – 13 Iowa State Cyclones

– Rutgers played in their backyard as they took on Iowa State in New Yankee Stadium as they held off the Cyclones to win the Pinstripe bowl to complete a season that was dedicated to Eric LeGrand who was paralyzed making a tackle over a year ago

 

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl:

Mississippi State Bulldogs 23 – 17 Wake Forest Demon Deacons

– Mississippi State had a disappointing season in their first year in the SEC but capped it off with a bowl win thanks to RB Vick Ballard who ran for 180 yards and 2 TDs to fend off the Demon Deacons in what amounted to a good defensive battle

 

Insight Bowl:

#14 Oklahoma Sooners 31 – 14 Iowa Hawkeyes

– The Sooners went from the #1 ranked team in the NCAA to the Insight Bowl but made sure they salvaged a disappointing season beating the Hawkeyes by shutting down Iowa’s offence until the fourth quarter when they scored 2 TDs

 

Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas:

Texas A&M Aggies 33 – 22 Northwestern Wildcats

– In a back and forth game Texas A&M looked to QB Ryan Tannehill to lead them to the win as they went down 7-3 and then scored 27 unanswered points to take the lead before stopping a late Northwestern comeback

 

Hyundai Sun Bowl:

Utah Utes 30 – 27 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (OT)

– The Georgia Tech Triple Option seemed to be too much for the Utes but they got a hang of it to shutout the Yellow Jackets in the fourth quarter giving their offence an opportunity to score 14 points to force overtime and then running the ball in for a TD in OT

 

Autozone Liberty Bowl:

Cincinnati Bearcats 31 – 24 Vanderbilt Commodores

– Isaiah Pead was the star on a banged up Bearcats team as he ran for 149 yards and a TD leading the Bearcats to a win as Vandy’s offence struggled under two different QBs that ended with a 4th quarter INT that set up the last Bearcat TD

 

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl:

Illinois Fighting Illini 20 – 14 UCLA Bruins

– In a game that saw two interim head coaches and a number of suspensions due to academic ineligibility the Illini pulled off a hard fought win that saw their defence score the first TD in the 3rd quarter

 

Chick-Fil-A Bowl:

#25 Auburn Tigers 43 – 24 Virginia Cavaliers

– Auburn had gone from the defending national champions to a disappointing season and with the suspension of start RB Michale Dyer things did not look good but Onterio McCalebb stepped up scoring two TDs to lead Auburn to the win with a season high 43 points

 

Upcoming Bowls:

Ticket City Bowl:

#19 Houston Cougars vs. #22 Penn State Nittany Lions (January 2nd; 12:00 pm)

– After Houston’s loss to Southern Miss. Knocked them out of BCS contention while the Penn State controversy kept them out but both teams will still face off in a bowl as Case Keenum leads the top ranked pass offence against the 5th ranked pass defence

 

Outback Bowl:

#17 Michigan State Spartans vs. #16 Georgia Bulldogs (January 2nd; 1:00 pm)

– The Spartans and Bulldogs both lost their conference title games missing out on opportunities to make a BCS Bowl but will try to make good on a bad end to the season behind their top 5 defences with both averaging under 20 points a game

 

Capital One Bowl:

#20 Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. #9 South Carolina Gamecocks (January 2nd; 1:00 pm)

– South Carolina had National Title hopes at the beginning of the year but could not fully match the hype they did end up in the top 10 thanks to their #4 ranked defence that will take on the 14th ranked running offence of Nebraska

 

Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl:

Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Florida Gators (January 2nd; 1:00 pm)

– Both teams had disappointing seasons this year with the scandal at Ohio State and the Florida let down after years of greatness but the main focus will be Urban Meyer as the bowl will see his last team, Florida, taking on his future team, Ohio State, although he will not be on the sideline for the game

 

AT&T Cotton Bowl:

#8 Kansas State Wildcats vs. #6 Arkansas Razorbacks (January 6th; 8:00 pm)

– Both teams were close to the National Championship as the Wildcats surprised many big teams and started the season 7-0 while the Razorbacks had a late surge but both fell short and were forced out of a BCS Bowl

 

BBVA Compass Bowl:

SMU Mustangs vs. Pittsburgh Panthers (January 7th; 1:00 pm)

– The SMU Mustangs continue their resurgence after the first and only “Death Penalty” ended their 1987 and 88 seasons as they will be in their 3rd straight bowl after almost 20 years without one and will take on the Pitt Panthers to try and get their second win in three years

 

GoDaddy.com Bowl:

Arkansas State Red Wolves vs. Northern Illinois Huskies (January 8th; 9:00 pm)

– A match up of the Sun Belt, Arkansas State, and MAC, NIU, will be the last bowl until the National Championship as NIU looks to take their momentum from a 20-point comeback in the MAC Championship game to beat the Red Wolves

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