In twenty-four days there will be thirty-five different bowl games played. The OKTC is here to cover them all. Whether you watch the games for the joy, the thrill, or because you have your kid’s college tuition on the line, this is where you can get a leg up.
Here we go.
Gildan New Mexico Bowl – Temple (8-4) vs Wyoming (8-4)
Saturday December 17th at 1 pm CT on ESPN
Line: Temple -6 1/2
Your first taste of the bowl season highlights a thousand yard rusher and a freshman quarterback.
Temple will look to control this game with a ‘ground and pound’ mentality. Leading the way for the Owls is running back Bernard Pierce and his 1,381 rushing yards and 25 TDs. Pierce, a junior, surpassed the 100 yard rushing mark seven times this season and the four games that Pierce did not exceed 100 yards toting the rock, the Owls lost. With three separate starting quarterbacks getting considerable playing time throughout the year, Temple will have its problems throwing the football. Temple is 7th in the nation in rushing but an atrocious 117th in passing. The one thing that stood out from the Owls schedule this season, was how easy it was. Temple only played three teams with a record above .500 and lost all three (Penn State, Toledo, Ohio).
Biggest Win: Ball State (6-6)
Worst Loss: Bowling Green (5-7)
Side Note: No talk about Temple would be complete without showing former basketball coach, John Chaney, go crazy on a young John Calipari during a 1994 press conference.
Wyoming, who has won three out of their last four games, is riding a hot streak on the shoulders of freshman quarterback Brett Smith. Smith is a duel threat who has near 2,500 yards passing and leads his team in rushing touchdowns with ten. The two-time Mountain West player of the week will be the difference in this game. One reason the Cowboys look to have the upper hand, is their strength of schedule compared to Temple. Wyoming faced a 7-5 Utah State team, bowl bound San Diego State, TCU, Boise State, and Nebraska. The Cowboys got a win over Air Force this season who are scheme in the nation in rushing. The same defensive scheme should be applied to Temple to slow down the Owls run game.
With a win against Temple, Wyoming will record a nine win season for the first time since 1996 and notch its second New Mexico Bowl victory in the last three years.
Biggest Win: San Diego State (8-4)
Worst Loss: Utah State (7-5)
Side Note: The one thing that looks to slow down Wyoming is their uniforms. Gross. The brown and yellow just doesn’t do it for me.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl – Ohio (9-4) vs Utah State (7-5)
Saturday December 17th at 4:30 CT pm on ESPN
Line: Utah State -2
Bad part about the Potato Bowl is it’s played in Boise on the Blue Turf
Ohio is coming off of a huge game against Northern Illinois for the MAC championship and unfortunately after sacrificing a twenty point lead and a late field goal, the Bobcats fell short. They will try to bounce back with hopes of getting sophomore quarterback Tyler Tettleton going early. Ohio is no doubt a passing team that has a thousand yard receiver on their hands. Senior LaVon Brazill is the go-to-guy for big plays and Tettleton’s favorite target. Brazill caught ten touchdowns this year, with four consecutive games in the middle of the season with 100 plus yards receiving. 6-2 in the MAC, the Bobcats will be a tough opponent for Utah State.
Biggest Win: Temple (8-4)
Worst Loss: Buffalo (3-9)
Random Ohio fact that will make you sick: Drew Carey’s net worth is $165 Million Dollars.
Utah State rebounded from a heartbreaking opening game loss to Auburn. SEC fans saw the Aggies wide open offense that day. The speed of running back Robert Turbin and quarterback Chuckie Keeton’s ability to punch the ball in the end zone are a nasty combo. Utah State’s season was filled will missed opportunities. Crazy as it may sound, Utah State is 6th in the nation in rushing, averaging 277.5 yards per game. With a little over 1,400 yards on the ground, Robert Turbin, will be the X-Factor in this bowl game. The junior running back had a touchdown in every single game this season except the Aggies final two. Utah State’s main issue this season was losing to lesser opponents, falling to Colorado State (3-9) and Fresno State (4-9).
Biggest Win: Nevada (7-5)
Worst Loss: Colorado State (3-9)
After three crushing early season losses — seriously, Utah State could easily be 10-2 — the Aggies won their final five games to get bowl eligible.
R +L Carriers New Orleans Bowl – San Diego State (8-4) vs Louisiana Lafayette (8-4)
Saturday December 17th at 8pm CT on ESPN
Line: San Diego St. -5
This will be like a home game for the Ragin’ Cajuns, traveling a little over two hours to the Super Dome in New Orleans.
San Diego State comes into this bowl game fourth in the Mountain West Conference but winning four out of their last five games to end the season. The Aztecs did hang tough with TCU early in the season but four turnovers sealed San Diego State’s fate late in that game. Quarterback Ryan Lindley poses a threat with his arm and running back Ronnie Hilman, only a sophomore, has gone over 1,500 yards for the second consecutive season. Hilman is your guy to watch on Saturday. In 12 games played this year, Hilman has rushed for over 100 yards nine times and six of those were over 150 yards. With San Diego State heading to the Big East in 2013, this will be a good litmus test for national viewers to see what they can expect in the future from the new attendee.
Biggest Win: Air Force (7-5)
Worst Loss: Wyoming (8-4)
Random fact: The two best players to come out of sunny San Diego State University. Tony Gwynn and Marshall Faulk.
Louisiana Lafayette is 83rd in the nation in points allowed, giving up 29.8 per game. In nine of their twelve games, the Ragin’ Cajuns have allowed opponents to score twenty or more points. If I was a betting man, I would take the over on this one. Scoring 32.3 points per game themselves, this New Orleans based showdown has the makings of a shootout. Louisiana native, quarterback Blaine Gautier, is their playmaker. Almost 2,500 yards passing and 20 touchdowns on the season, Gautier will be the deciding factor on whether Louisiana Lafayette wins this ball game.
Biggest Win: FIU (8-4)
Worst Loss: Western Kentucky (7-5)
Side Note: A few words from the the Ragin’ Cajun himself James Carville.
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl – Florida International (8-4) vs Marshall (6-6)
December 20th at 7pm CT on ESPN
Line: FIU -4
Out of all of the horrendous bowl game titles, this is the worst.
FIU caught some bad breaks this season, as three out of four of their losses were within five points. A defensively sound football team, the Panthers were 19th in the country in points allowed, only giving up 19.4. Wide out T.Y. Hilton is a receiving threat for the Panthers and will be one to watch in this bowl game. Hilton hauled in 950 yards and seven TDs this season, plus was a honorable mention in SI.com’s end of the season All-American list. FIU’s kicker Jack Griffin could also make a big difference in this game. Named to the All-Sun Belt Conference first team, Griffin is seventh in nation in field goals made with 21. A last second finish could be just what FIU wants with Griffin’s abilities.
Biggest Win: Louisville (7-5)
Worst Loss: Duke (3-9)
Side Note: One reason the Panthers made it to a bowl game this season. Isiah Thomas was not in charge of football operations.
Marshall barely made it into bowl contention this year with only six wins. The Thundering Herd have faced some pretty stiff competition this season, opening the year with #23 West Virginia, then #21 Southern Miss, Ohio, #11 Virginia Tech, Louisville, and #19 Houston. It took overtime in the last game of the year against East Carolina for Marshall to get to a bowl. Nonetheless, they are in. The Herd had a tough time this year finding their identity and seemed to have multiple players contributing in key roles. Running backs Tron Martinez and Travon Van split carries all season long as Marshall elected to use a dual back system. Overall, Marshall’s record still exemplifies what kind of team they are, middle of the road.
Biggest Win: #21 Southern Miss (11-2)
Worst Loss: Central Florida (5-7)
S.D. County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl – #18 TCU (10-2) vs Louisiana Tech (8-4)
December 21st at 7pm CT on ESPN
Line: TCU -10 1/2
Now we start to get in to some better match ups.
The Horned Frogs definitely finished the season strong, winning their last seven games of the year. Coming off of a Rose Bowl victory and undefeated season in 2010, TCU bounced back from its opening day loss to Heisman winner RG3 and the Baylor Bears. 18th in the nation and first in the Mountain West Conference, TCU will be a heavy favorite for the Poinsettia Bowl. Knocking off Boise State late in the year gave the Horn Frogs some credibility in the polls. With great play from quarterback Casey Pachall, Louisiana Tech shouldn’t be much of a test. Pachall’s completion percentage is nearing 70% and throwing twenty-four touchdowns with only six interceptions on the year, mistakes are at a minimum. This is definitely a lopsided matchup in favor of TCU.
Biggest Win: #7 Boise State (11-1)
Worst Loss: SMU (7-5)
Louisiana Tech does not play very well against superior opponents and unfortunately for the Bulldogs, TCU is just that. La Tech had a rocky start, losing four out of their first five games, but caught stride and reeled off seven straight victories to close the season. Number one in the WAC, the Bulldogs are led by their star receiver Quinton Patton. Patton has over a thousand yards receiving, ten touchdowns, and averaged fifteen yards per catch. The junior wide out, in the second game of the year, had 211 yards and two scores against Central Arkansas and has been productive ever since. La Tech’s offense will have to deal with TCU linebacker Tank Carder though, who is synonymous for playing out of his mind in big time games.
Biggest Win: Nevada (7-5)
Worst Loss: Hawaii (6-7)
That’s Part 1 of the OKTCs Bowl Season Preview. Hope you double your children’s college fund with your bets. Good Luck and Part 2 is right around the corner.