Saturday, December 29, 2007

Matchup Comparison Rating: the blue & white edition

Call Saturday's games the bowls of dashed hopes; most of these teams come in with three or four loses and most had higher aspirations starting the year off (not you Connecticut, congrats for being the overachiever of the group). Most had visions of major bowls dancing in their heads but alas it was not to be and here they are playing three days away from a New Year's Day bowl. But before we begin, as always, we give you our visual aid version of the MCR:

Meineke Car Care Bowl
Connecticut (9-3) vs. Wake Forest (8-4)
Dec. 29, 1:00 PM – ESPN

UConn has a total of one bowl game under their belt and this marks the first time in school history that Wake Forest will play in back to back bowls. Coming off a breakout year where the Demon Deacons won an ACC title and a BCS bowl berth things didn't start out as planned when Wake lost its first two games. This was for UConn what last season was for Wake: a breakout year. Connecticut started out 5-0 before losing to Virginia but then beat Louisville, South Florida and Rutgers to earn their first national ranking. Connecticut is lead by quarterback Tyler Lorenzen who has thrown for 2269 yards with 13 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions and the tailback tandem of Andre Dixon and Donald Brown who have combined for 1558 and 11 touchdowns. The Huskies also boast an opportunistic defense something Wake Forest can understand as their defense has a nation-best eight defensive touchdowns. In the end it may come down to Wake QB Riley Skinner who completes a whopping 71 percent of his passes but has 12 interceptions. If Skinner can hold onto the ball Wake should win

+1 two opportunistic defenses
+1 pinpoint accurate QB when he's not throwing to the other team
+1 matchup of two former perennial losers – gotta love rooting for the underdogs

MCR 3 (Jessica Simpson Sex Tape)

Liberty Bowl
UCF (10-3) vs. Mississippi St (7-5)
Dec. 29, 4:30 PM – ESPN

Mississippi coach Sylvester Croom has worked miracles in turning around a program that was once an SEC doormat and George O'Leary has done similar things with Central Florida after losing the job at Notre Dame for not being an offensive genius. But forget about all of that the real reason to watch this game is UCF running back Kevin Smith. Smith needs 181 yards to break Barry Sanders' record of 2,628 yards. On the season, Smith has 2448 yards (you already did the math didn't you) and 29 touchdown averaging 5.9 yards per carry. I know what you're thinking, it's UCF and it was against inferior competition right? Wrong – against Texas he had 149 yards and two touchdowns. He's legit. Smith has scored from 80 yards or more 3 times this season and has yet to fumble the ball. Taking advantage of Smith's gaudy numbers is UCF quarterback Kyle Israel who has thrown for a respectable 2085 yards tossing 15 touchdowns and 8 picks. But that won't be why people tune in Saturday it will be to see Smith.

+1 two underdog teams on the rise
+1 major Conference vs. minor Conference
+1 possibility of rushing record falling
+1 rushing leader

MCR 4 (Viper/Shelby Cobra)

Alamo Bowl
Penn St (8-4) vs. Texas A&M (7-5)
Dec. 29, 8:00 PM – ESPN

Do I really need to cover this game? Both teams had high expectations coming into the season but they ended up here. A&M is a coaching staff in flux as head coach Dennis Franchione resigned on Nov. 23 and interim coach Gary Darnell will be gone after the game as Mike Sherman takes over the program and is expected to hire all new assistants. The two programs had completely different endings to the season with Penn State's defense unable to stop a plastic shopping bag blowing in the wind against Michigan State and Texas A&M beating rival Texas. Lost in all the hoopla is the fact that Anthony Morelli needs 172 yards on Saturday to break Kerry Collins' single-season record of 2,679. Yeah I just threw up a little in mouth too. If the Penn State defense can play up to their potential Penn State wins easily but which team shows up is anyone's guess.

+2 unabashed Penn State loyalty
+1 chance to see Paterno's 500th game

-1 apathy after two crappy seasons

MCR 2 (Microwave Dinner)

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