College Bowl Season: Previews By A Real Expert

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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

EagleBank Bowl: Wake Forest vs. Navy, December 20
In case you thought the bowl system was feeling a little less patriotic these days, fear no longer. This will be the first (but definitely not last) EagleBank Bowl, which pits a service academy against a middling ACC team. They also apparently have to already play each other in the same season, as Navy downed Wake Forest 24-17 three months ago. While the Navy overachieved in that game, their option offense can keep the stagnant Deacon offense the field. Navy 20-17

New Mexico Bowl: Fresno State vs. Colorado State, December 20
Yes, it was a disappointing year for Pat Hill and his Bulldogs, but they can rest assured that their bowl game will be the biggest event in the state that night. New Mexicans also get to see Californians who don't just come to Santa Fe to feel "closer to nature." Fresno State has the more talented offense yet both teams lack of defense may provide an offense-powered game. FSU 34-20

MagicJack St. Petersburg Bowl: South Florida vs. Memphis, December 20
Really? You're actually reading this? This is pretty much a home game for South Florida. USF 27-13

Las Vegas Bowl: Arizona vs. BYU, December 20
Arizona had to forfeit their usual November upset to get into a bowl, and get into a bowl they did, for the first time in a decade. As for BYU, they were hoping to be a BCS-buster, but now are looking to win their fourth consecutive Las Vegas Bowl. Will they finally give in to the temptation of Sin City the night before? Only time will tell. High-scoring offenses and soft defenses make this a basketball score. The Cougars are more clutch, so I'll give them the W. BYU 45-41

New Orleans Bowl: Troy vs. Southern Miss, December 21
Troy is a respectable powerhouse in the Sun Belt conference, which is also like having a respectable dynasty in Denmark. (Yeah, I'm calling you out, House of Glucksberg.) Southern Miss barely achieved bowl eligibility and are much better at home. Troy 38-21

Poinsettia Bowl: TCU vs. Boise State, December 23
When the Poinsettia Bowl was a young bowl in 2007, everyone said it was too fruity and gay for any good teams to hang out with it. Well look at it now bitches, two teams in the Top 15. Granted the only thing they'll be playing for is proof that they shouldn't have been subjected to the Poinsettia Bowl, but hey, that doesn't matter. While TCU has had a tougher schedule, and arguably a much better defense, the Broncos have been almost unstoppable on offense lately and I think they still have some Fiesta magic left in them. Excuse me, make that Poinsettia magic. Boise 31-28

Hawaii Bowl: Notre Dame vs. Hawaii, December 24
Charlie Weis was rewarded for his admirable 6-6 season with a paid trip to Hawaii -- on one condition, he has to coach football. This could prove difficult, as it would be bucking the trend from what he's been doing the past few games of the year. Hawaii, you won a couple games in your conference last year, got to the Sugar Bowl, and got absolutely dominated, as you and your sexual-assaulting quarterback deserved. Yet, if you can win this game, you'll get a glimmer of that national spotlight that only comes to your state with the Pro Bowl, and that one other thing that happened like 67 years ago. Of course the Fighting Irish have lost nine consecutive bowl games, but if Jesus would just get his lazy ass off that manger this Christmas Eve and work his magic, that might change. True, three of Hawaii's losses were to BCS Conference champions and another was to Oregon State, but Michael Floyd makes Jimmy Clausen look good. ND 24-17

Motor City Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Florida Atlantic, December 26
I've got a fever and the only prescription is for the prolific LeFevour, who's playing his last game against a very underachieving FAU team. CMU 42-14

Meineke Car Care Bowl: West Virginia vs. North Carolina, December 27
This a slightly interesting match-up with an extremely embarrassing name. Apparently Noel Devine might be academically ineligible to play in this game, which would really put the physical stress on Pat White, and as every West Virginia crackhead knows, as Pat White goes, so go the Mountaineers. UNC 20-13

Champs Sports Bowl: Florida State vs. Wisconsin, December 27
Wisconsin had a bit of down year, but still had a weak-enough schedule to get to a bowl. The Badgers are led by [insert white quarterback who's kind of consistent, doesn't make a lot of mistakes, but ultimately is average at best.] and they might win, seeing as how Florida State is just filled with a bunch of Rhodes scholar nerds. FSU 21-10

Emerald Bowl: California vs. Miami, December 27
Is this Miami season the lull before the storm? The Hurricane storm that is! This game won't signify much, as Miami is playing without their starting quarterback. Not that they've had a decent quarterback this decade but they are playing a Cal team 7-0 this season at home in San Francisco . Cal 28-20

Independence Bowl: Northern Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech, December 28
This game is a lot like overseas poverty, in that it's slightly depressing, but at the same time, I'm ultimately apathetic about it. LT 38-35

PapaJohns.com Bowl: Rutgers vs. NC State, Decmber 29
These two teams had fairly dismal starts, but at the end got hot. Hot like Papa John's pizza. Order by the phone or online at PapaJohns.com. Rutgers 35-28

Alamo Bowl: Missouri vs. Northwestern, December 29
Oh Northwestern, you think you can win a couple games here and there in that uppity conference you like to call the "Big" 10 and then come down here and expect to go toe-to-toe against a team like Mizzou? Oh! I see your running back got over 700 yards and your Mr. Bacher passed for more than 20 touchdowns, well isn't that nice! Wait, not in a game, that was the season? Oh, Wildcats, why don't you go do some book-learnin' and leave the football to the Tigers. Mizzou 41-31

-- Patrick Connelly

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