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BCS (Bob's College Summary)
Bob Cunningham
December 15, 2005

It’s that time of year again, Friends… time to go Bowlin’.

Yes, yes… there really is more to football life than the NFL. Not much more, I grant you. But how can you disparage the pageantry and tradition of the college bowl season? Nothing to get the juices flowing like a pair of 6-5 teams clashing in a game with no ramifications whatsoever.

Is that the cue for me to go into my diatribe about how a playoff would be so much more interesting and that I’ve come up with a system that would utilize the BCS and the bowls in a playoff structure which makes sense? Yeah, but I’m going turn the other cheek on that can’t-win battle for now.

As for prognosticating the games, we’ve been fairly productive the last two seasons, going a combined 35-20 straight-up. That means that whether the bowl actually does means something – there must be six or seven in that category out of the 28 total – or not, I’m here to give it my best shot.

Let’s get to it…


New Orleans Bowl at Lafayette, La. – Tuesday, Dec. 20

SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI vs. ARKANSAS STATE – Man, talk about a bowl game that no one cares about… isn’t Arkansas State in Division II? The Eagles get the nod because their program is more established and they’ve been bowling several times in recent years. Southern Miss 27, Arkansas State (+17) 17

GMAC Bowl at Mobile, Ala. – Wednesday, Dec. 21

TOLEDO vs. UTEP – The Miners finished the season on a downer after winning seven of their first eight games. The Rockets are superior on offense, and the Mid-American Conference plays some pretty high-level football. Those two distinctively different factors push the pendulum toward the boys from Ohio. Toledo (-3) 34, UTEP 20

Las Vegas Bowl at Las Vegas, Nev. – Thursday, Dec. 22

CALIFORNIA vs. BRIGHAM YOUNG – BYU is bowl-eligible, sure, but the Cougar didn’t really have much of a season compared to many of its past squads. Early on this season, Cal seemed for real. Then they waned a bit before trashing Stanford in their finale. California (-7) 37, BYU 21

Poinsettia Bowl at San Diego, Ca. – Thursday, Dec. 22

NAVY vs. COLORADO STATE – The Midshipmen and their option attack lead the nation in rushing, and they seem to get up for big games while the Rams have been wholly unpredictable this season and in recent years as well. In all likelihood, Navy’s defense will be the difference. Navy (-2½) 23, Colorado State 17

Texas Bowl at Fort Worth, Tex. – Friday, Dec. 23

KANSAS vs. HOUSTON – Both teams are most likely thrilled to be there. KU knocked off Iowa State to prevent the Cyclones from reaching the Big-12 Title Game. But Houston is engaging in a long-term rally of a once-proud program. Houston (+3) 27, Kansas 23

Hawai’I Bowl at Honolulu, Hi. – Saturday, Dec. 24

NEVADA vs. CENTRAL FLORIDA – The big emotional letdown aside, I think it’s relevant that Nevada hammered Fresno State not long after the Bulldogs put a major scare into USC. Meanwhile, UCF lost a conference title game to friggin’ Tulsa. Nevada (-2) 35, Central Florida 16

Motor City Bowl at Detroit, Mich. – Monday, Dec. 26

MEMPHIS vs. AKRON – Ya just gotta like a team nicknamed the Zips. And emerging as a representative from the MAC is worthy. But Memphis is bowl-tested, so that’s the pick here. Memphis (-5½) 28, Akron 18

Champ Sports Bowl at Orlando, Fla. – Tuesday, Dec. 27

COLORADO vs. CLEMSON – My first true upset pick. On paper, Clemson seems to be a much better team. The Buffaloes were trashed by Texas, 70-3, in the Big 12 Title Game. They have something to prove, and I believe they will play hard for beleaguered coach Gary Barnett. Colorado (+8½) 24, Clemson 23

Insight Bowl at Phoenix, Ariz. – Tuesday, Dec. 27

ARIZONA STATE vs. RUTGERS – The Sun Devils should find a way to win what is essentially a home game, although Rutgers has been solid all season and is probably more excited about the game. An upset is certainly possible, but I can’t justify predicting it. ASU 30, Rutgers (+11 ½) 23

MPC Computers Bowl at Boise, Id. – Wednesday, Dec. 28

BOSTON COLLEGE vs. BOISE STATE – The Broncos are at home for the holidays again… and they’re lethal on that blue turf. The Eagles are arguably deeper, especially defensively, but I really like the Broncos as home underdogs, with yet another chance to beat a recognized big-time foe. Boise State (+1) 34, Boston College 28

Alamo Bowl at San Antonio, Tex. – Wednesday, Dec. 28

MICHIGAN vs. NEBRASKA – The Wolverines are arguably the better team, sporting a superior record and coming from a much tougher conference this season. The Cornhuskers played well down the stretch, however, and there’s an aura about this game pitting two perennial powers. Michigan 20, Nebraska (+11½) 16

Emerald Bowl at San Francisco, Ca. – Thursday, Dec. 29

GEORGIA TECH vs. UTAH – Don’t confuse this Utes team with last season’s. Bottom line… I can’t envision a Georgia Tech squad which beat Miami on the road less than a month ago stumbling against a watered-down Mountain West squad. Georgia Tech (-8) 27, Utah 14

Holiday Bowl at San Diego, Ca. – Thursday, Dec. 29

OREGON vs. OKLAHOMA – The Ducks don’t want to follow in the cleat-steps of Cal, who played in this game last year after being snubbed by the BCS and getting shellacked. Oregon is 10-1 but out of the BCS picture… that’s disrespect, man. OU hasn’t been that good for much of the season. Oregon (-3) 38, Oklahoma 20

Music City Bowl at Nashville, Ten. – Friday, Dec. 30

VIRGINIA vs. MINNESOTA – The Cavaliers may be among the nation’s most unpredictable teams in 2005, but Minnesota isn’t very reliable either. Statistically, this contest is pretty much a toss-up so I’ll go ahead and take the field goal’s worth of points on my side. Virginia (+3) 24, Minnesota 21

Sun Bowl at El Paso, Tex. – Friday, Dec. 30

UCLA vs. NORTHWESTERN – Honestly, I believe the Bruins’ had their will to live to sapped by the huge loss to USC. For some inexplicable reason, they entered that game truly believing they could win. That defense never had a chance, and while Northwestern’s offense isn’t SC’s, it’s pretty good. Northwestern (+3½) 42, UCLA 31

Independence Bowl at Shreveport, La. – Friday, Dec. 30

SOUTH CAROLINA vs. MISSOURI – Steve Spurrier’s first taste of a bowl with the Gamecocks, and he got them there in style – by beating some high-profile foes like Florida and Tennessee down the stretch. Missouri is a decent team with one very good player. South Carolina (-3½) 33, Missouri 13

Peach Bowl at Atlanta, Ga. – Friday, Dec. 30

LSU vs. MIAMI – A peach of a matchup, indeed. Easily the most fascinating bowl played before New Year’s Day. Defense will likely rule the day, and it will be decided late. Not so long ago, that description would favor the Hurricanes. But this version has found ways to screw up. LSU 16, Miami 13

Meineke Bowl at Charlotte, NC – Saturday, Dec. 31

NORTH CAROLINA STATE vs. SOUTH FLORIDA – How did this game get pitted amid all the other semi-worthy ones? Ugh. I’ll take the Wolfpack… but I have no legitimate idea why. NC State (-5½) 26, South Florida 10

Liberty Bowl at Memphis, Ten. – Saturday, Dec. 31

FRESNO STATE vs. TULSA – The Bulldogs finished with three straight losses? No way! Well, yes, they did because their defense took an early vacation. Tulsa is outclassed against a Bulldogs team that will be taking out some late-season frustrations and proving their legitimacy. Fresno State (-7) 49, Tulsa 24

Houston Bowl at Houston, Tex. – Saturday, Dec. 31

TCU vs. IOWA STATE – Another one-loss team getting no respect. But then, TCU is accustomed to that. Iowa State choked in its season finale against Kansas, and it’s difficult to gauge how it will react. Overall, I like TCU playing in its home state. TCU (-4) 31, Iowa State 23

Cotton Bowl at Dallas, Tex. – Monday, Jan. 2, 2006

ALABAMA vs. TEXAS TECH – What happens when a great offense meets a great defense? Usually, the D prevails. That’s my logic here in going with The Crimson Tide. This is one bowl matchup I’m truly interested in because in the vast contrast of styles. Alabama (+2½) 24, Texas Tech 17

Outback Bowl at Tampa, Fla. – Monday, Jan. 2, 2006

FLORIDA vs. IOWA – An interesting matchup between two big-time programs that have endured sub-par campaigns on their standards. On a hunch – and because Iowa has had a decent bowl record in recent years save for an Orange Bowl loss to USC three years ago -- I’m picking the ‘dog. Iowa (+3) 23, Florida 20

Capital One Bowl at Orlando, Fla. – Monday, Jan. 2, 2006

AUBURN vs. WISCONSIN – I like Auburn a lot, but not as much as the oddsmakers, who have installed the Tigers as double-digit favorites. They should win because of the superiority on defense, but this may be Barry Alvarez’s last game for UW. They will be motivated to send him out a winner. Auburn 27, Wisconsin (+11) 21

Gator Bowl at Jacksonville, Fla. – Monday, Jan. 2, 2006

VIRGINIA TECH vs. LOUISVILLE – I’ve been bashing the Hokies since they played so pathetically in a loss to Miami that sidetracked their season. QB Marcus Vick is impressive but so, too, is the Louisville attack. I believe there will be some pressure on the Hokies in this game. An upset pick: Louisville (+7½) 34, Virginia Tech 24

Fiesta Bowl at Tempe, Ariz. – Monday, Jan. 2, 2006

NOTRE DAME vs. OHIO STATE – A great clash, even if it should be Oregon and TCU in this game. Sorry, I just don’t like that popularity of matchup takes precedence over what’s fair. Anyway, both teams can score in bunches, but OSU’s defense is far superior statistically. Ohio State (-3½) 35, Notre Dame 23

Sugar Bowl at Atlanta, Ga. – Monday, Jan. 2, 2006

GEORGIA vs. WEST VIRGINIA – The Mountaineers are highly underrated, but it’s true that they didn’t face much in the way of stiff competition. Georgia certainly did. In fact, I’ll go so far as to state that had QB D.J. Shockley not gotten injured, the BCS might not be so “clean” this time around. Georgia (-8) 30, West Virginia 16

Orange Bowl at Miami, Fla. – Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2006

PENN STATE vs. FLORIDA STATE – It seems like it’s been a year since Penn State played. All the hype about ancient Joe Paterno bringing the program back into prominence… the late Michigan TD away from being unbeaten… I sense a letdown here. I believe FSU found itself in the ACC Title Game, and will be playing in a familiar setting. I’m picking the upset. Florida State (+8) 22, Penn State 17

And… drum-roll, please……………….

Rose Bowl at Pasadena, Ca. – Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2006

USC vs. TEXAS – Every time people begin to doubt USC – there were rumblings about the Trojans’ lack of defense after they yielded 43 points to Fresno State -- they set us all straight with a performance like their 66-19 demolition of arch-rival UCLA. The Trojans are not merely a talented team. They’re seasoned… they plays their best in the clutch, when the circumstances are at their most difficult. Texas is an awesome team, without question. They can run up the score on you in a hurry, and their defense is scary-fast. But while the Longhorns have Vince Young, the Trojans have Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush and LenDale White and Dwight Jarrett… The deciding factor for me, however, is that the Longhorns haven’t faced this level of competition. When you have two ultra-talented, explosive squads like these it’s the intangibles that usually decide it. Experience should and will win out… and the Trojans will make history and get the desired “Three-peat.” USC (-7) 41, Texas 28