College Bowl Preview: Picks By A Real Expert, The Finale

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The college football bowl season is here, and it's become such a confusing mess of odd-sounding games played in smallish towns with mediocre teams that you need an expert to figure it out. And nothing says "expert" more than a teen-aged kid, whether the subject is football, driving, or how inutterably lame Dad's musical tastes are. So here are the first of three sets of bowl-game capsules by noted college football expert Patrick Connelly, who somehow doesn't think Charlie Weis needs to be fired RIGHT NOW. -- Richard Connelly

Rose Bowl: PennState vs. USC, January 1

ESPN is doing more than enough coverage on the 'granddaddy of them all' so I'll keep my analysis succinct: UPSET! PSU 21-17

Orange Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech, January1

Both teams have showed resiliency throughout the season with UC having to play five different quarterbacks and Virginia Tech starting out with a loss to East Carolina and losing three ACC games. Virginia Tech went to the Orange Bowl last year (and lost) and this will be their third BCS bowl in the past five years. Cincinnati on the other hand could only dream of winning a Big East title. Then Brian Kelly came along. He's built a tough team and will continue to establish a winning tradition for the Bearcats. That is, until Notre Dame calls. UC 27-24

Cotton Bowl: Ole Miss vs. Texas Tech

It would be really great if the mascots for these teams could battle it out against each other, but one can only hope. Ole Miss was the only team to beat Florida and Graham Harrell is still recovering from finger surgery, so this will be closer than you think, even though the Red Raiders were only 45 points away from being undefeated. I say Tech's offense eventually overpowers the Rebel's secondary. TTU 38-28

Liberty Bowl: Kentucky vs. ECU, January 2

ECU opened the season by upsetting eventual ACC champs Virginia Tech on a blocked punt, and then beat No. 8 West Virginia 24-3, then they would lose to NC State...Houston...Virginia...Southern Miss. You'd think out of the teams with Virginia in their name, the Cavaliers would be the easiest to beat, but hey the Pirates just do things a little differently. They did manage to win the C-USA and will probably outlast a Kentucky team with their starting quarterback out. ECU 35-28

Sugar Bowl: Utah vs. Alabama, January 2

I think Utah, unlike Hawaii last year, absolutely deserved to get in, going undefeated with a relatively tough schedule; the question is, can their offense even move the ball against the Crimson Tide giants like Hightower and Cody, or can they even get beyond the massive Bama o-line to stop the rushing attack of Glen Coffee? Utah just has to stay within 13 points to not be embarrassed, and I think that's exactly what they'll do. MORAL VICTORY! Bama 35-24

International Bowl: Buffalo vs. Connecticut, January 3

This is a game between two good coaches, Randy Edsall and Turner Gill. Gill almost became head coach of Auburn, until Auburn found out that not only Gill was black, but that he won football games, which apparently disqualifies you from being in contention. Now while Buffalo has an underrated quarterback, they'll be too overmatched with Connecticut's athleticism and the likes of Donald Brown, who has rushed for over 1800 yards this season. UCONN 31-28

Fiesta Bowl: OhioState vs. Texas, January 5

Yes, we know Texas, 45-35, but then Texas Tech will start yelling 39-33, and Oklahoma will trump that with 65-21. It's a vicious system, so does this mean there should be a playoff system? HELL NO. The BCS got it exactly right this time. Texas probably wouldn't beat the Sooners if they played today. The Longhorns still have a lot to play for, like their first BCS win without Vince Young. Also it would look pretty strange if they blow out the Buckeyes and Oklahoma barely beats Florida. Then you'd have Oklahoma ranked first and Texas second. As for tOSU, I know getting blown out in BCS games is a trend lately, but if Texas wins, they will have officially usurped Notre Dame for the second most wins in college football. So come on, Buckeyes, win one for the gipper for once. UT 38-24

GMAC Bowl: BallState vs. Tulsa, January 6

Hey this counts as January bowl game right? It's just as important as the Rose Bowl, right? Maybe the Gator Bowl? No it's not, but it is an offensive match-up, and both teams are looking to avenge losses in their respective conference championship games. When Nate Davis doesn't have the flu, he's unstoppable. BSU 31-24

BCS National Championship: Florida vs. Oklahoma, January 8

This is it, this is what you've been waiting five months to see, and here it is: No 1 vs. No. 2, two Heisman winners at quarterback and both coaches looking for their second BCS championship. I'm not God, I don't have all the answers, I'm not even sure if God himself knows the outcome, but maybe there's a divine spirit that will guide my hands as I make my prediction. I'll just close my eyes and let it take control...That didn't make sense, I'll just guess the old fashioned way. UF 38-31

-- Patrick Connelly

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