Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Matchup Comparison Rating: the Happy New Year edition

Happy New year from all of us at TNL! Hopefully you celebrated appropriately and by appropriately I mean you are just now waking up with a massive hangover like me*. Anyhoo, continuing with our scientifically derived Matchup Comparison Rating, we take a look at the New Year's Day games. Before we take a look at the games, as always, here is our rating system.

Gator Bowl
Texas Tech (8-4) vs. Virginia (9-3)
1:00 PM, CBS

Virginia is coming into the Gator Bowl an underdog against a favored and unranked Texas Tech team. After a season opening road loss to Wyoming, the Cavaliers bounced back with seven straight wins including a win over Wake Forest. Virginia has actually given up more points than they've scored but they've managed to do just enough to win. It's safe to say that Virginia hasn't faced an explosive offense like Texas Tech all season. While they don't need to worry about the run, containing the pass attack of the Red Raiders won't be easy. Quarterback Graham Harrell has thrown for 5298 yards and 45 touchdowns. Texas Tech has two receivers with 1000 yards receiving or more and they're led by Michael Crabtree who has 1861 yards and 21 touchdowns. Virginia has does have one of the best defensive lineman in the country in Chris Long but they'll need more than that to stop this offense.

+1 pass-happy offense
+1 QB with eye-popping statistics
+1 2nd best offense in the NCAA
+1 shootout possibility
-1 blowout possibility

MCR 3 (Jessica Simpson Sex Tape)

Capital One Bowl
Michigan (8-4) vs. Florida (9-3)
1:00 PM, ABC

Michigan and Florida met one other time with the Wolverines winning in the Outback bowl back in 2002. That was the last bowl victory for Michigan and that Florida team doesn't resemble this Florida team at all. Michigan has all kinds of problems with the spread offense and a quarterback that can run the ball – don't look now Wolverines but you get to face the Heisman Trophy winner in Tim Tebow. Tebow has 22 touchdowns running and 29 passing and leads the team in both categories. Michigan has plenty of motivation for this game; it's the last game coached by Lloyd Carr and it will be the last game for Chad Henne and Mike Hart who have been starting for Michigan all four years of their college career but it's going to be tough for a Wolverine defense that has been average all year.

-1 blowout potential
+1 last game for longtime coach
+1 Heisman Trophy winner
+1 4th best scoring offense
+1 Big Ten vs. SEC

MCR 3 (Jessica Simpson Sex Tape)

The Rose Bowl
Illinois (9-3) vs. USC (10-2)
5:30 PM, ABC

Of the 32 bowl games played this year Illinois is the biggest underdog at 13 ½ points. USC is finally healthy and once again in the Rose Bowl despite national championship preseason aspirations. The amazing stat of this game is the fact that Illinois actually has a slightly more potent offensive attack when you look at total yards (Illinois is 45th and USC is 47th), but that won't mean a thing when the two teams step on the field tonight. Illinois has the 5th best rushing attack and boast elusive quarterback Juice Williams but USC has the speed on defense to contain both. Look for John David Booty to have a big game and while Williams is a fantastic runner his throwing ability leaves a little to be desired, USC will probably try to keep Juice in the pocket and make him beat them with his arm; we'll see if he can.

+1 two athletic offenses
+1 feel-good story of the year
+1 David vs. Goliath

-1 possible blowout

MCR 2 (Microwave Dinner)

Sugar Bowl
Hawaii (12-0) vs. Georgia (10-2)
8:30 PM, FOX

The Sugar Bowl has probably the most intriguing matchup between two teams royal screwed by the BCS. Hawaii is the only undefeated team in College football and Georgia sat and watched LSU leapfrog them to get into the championship game. Hawaii is dying to prove their season wasn't a fluke and Georgia is widely believed to be the hottest team in football right now. After a three touchdown loss to Tennessee, Georgia reeled off six straight wins including victories over Florida, Auburn, and Kentucky.

On the field Georgia will use its running back tandem of Knowshon Moreno and Thomas Brown to keep Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan off the field. The two have combined to run for 1979 yards and 21 touchdowns. Hawaii doesn't even care about running the ball, they'll rely on the accuracy of Brennan's arm and their run-and-shoot offense which is unlike anything Georgia has seen all season.

+1 two teams desperate to prove they belonged in the BCS title game
+1 run-and-shoot offense
+1 hottest team in college football
+1 only undefeated team in football
+1 chance to see the Polynesian war dance

MCR 5 (Super Atomic Hot Wings)

*sorry I got up too late and missed the early games: my bad!

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