Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Matchup Comparison Rating: the New Year’s Day edition

Moving right along to the New Year's day bowl games we finally get to see our beloved Nittany Lions. Roll out the MCR:

Outback Bowl
11:00 AM – ESPN
South Carolina (7-5) vs. Iowa (8-4)
It's strange to see a New Year's Day bowl with two teams that have neither 8 wins or a national ranking but here we are. South Carolina had a lot of trouble scoring during the year and they come in ranking 99th in points. Iowa on the other hand is 34th with the 29th best rushing attack behind Shonn Greene. The two defenses are good the Cocks are 11th nationally in total defense and the Hawkeyes are one spot behind. Both these teams are going in opposite directions as Iowa has surged to end the season while South Carolina is trying to avoid a 3rd straight loss. Like all Spurrier coached teams of the past South Carolina comes into the game with a quarterback controversy. After throwing four interceptions that were turned into touchdowns, Chris Smelley was benched for freshman Stephen Garcia. Iowa has no such problems as Ricky Stanzi took over the starting role and hasn't looked back. Of course it helps to have the Big Ten Offensive player and Doak Walker Award winner at running back. This is probably the only bowl game for the Big Ten where the Big Ten team is favored.
+1 Big Ten team
+1 the possibility of seeing a Smelley Cock (sorry couldn't resist).
+1 chance to see Spurrier throw the visor
+1 Shonn Greene
MCR 4 (Viper/Shelby Cobra)

Capital One Bowl
1:00 PM – ABC
15) Georgia (9-3) vs. 18) Michigan St (9-3)
Call this one the battle of the team that really overachieved vs. the team that really underachieved. No one expected Michigan State to make it to a New Year's Day bowl game but they made it behind the running of Javon Ringer. No one thought Georgia with its preseason #1 ranking would end up here either but after three crushing losses here they are. This really comes down to the battle of Ringer vs. Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno who rushed for 1,338 yards but was under 100 in each of their three losses. Stop Moreno and you stop Georgia, but the same can be said for Ringer and Michigan State. Both backs are in the top 16 nationally in rushing average.
+1 two awesome running backs
+1 SEC vs. Big Ten – chance to shut the press up about "SEC speed"
+1 two Doak Walker finalists
MCR 3 (Jessica Simpson Sex Tape)

Gator Bowl
(8-4) vs. Clemson (7-5)
1:00 PM – CBS
Another team with high expectations, Clemson underachieved so much that they needed a coaching change. Both teams are coming in on winning streaks, Clemson was victorious in four of its last five while Nebraska was won five of its final six. On paper Nebraska leads Clemson a lot in every statistical category. The Cornhuskers are 12th in total yards, 15th in passing, and 17th in points scored. But as we know games aren't played on paper and it's unlikely that Nebraska has seen a tailback tandem like James Davis and C.J. Spiller. Neither was productive earlier in the season but they Clemson averaged 347.0 yards during their last three victories.
+1 good tailback tandem
+1 one of the best offenses in the country
+1 rushing team vs. passing team

MCR 3 (Jessica Simpson Sex Tape)

The Rose Bowl
8) The Good Guys (11-1) vs. 5) Pete Carroll's flawless hair
4:30 PM – ABC
This game has been broken down from just about every single angle possible so I'm not going to say much about it we're all sick of hearing about it. Let's just say that on paper these two teams are as evenly matched as any of the bowl games. I think this one comes down to special teams and I think Derrick Williams is the difference.
+1 it's Penn State
+1 chance to once again see PSU as the big underdog
+1 granddaddy of them all
+1 Old School vs. New School

MCR 4 (Viper/Shelby Cobra)

FedEx Orange Bowl
12) Cincinnati (11-2) vs. 19) Virginia Tech (9-4)
8:30 PM – FOX
This will easily be the biggest game in the Bearcats history as it's their first Big East title and first BCS bowl game. There's plenty for Virginia Tech to play for if they win they would join Southern California and Texas as the only major college teams to win 10 games in each of the past five seasons, plus end the ACC's eight-game losing streak in BCS matchups. Tech has the 7th best defense in yards allowed and the 13th best scoring defense but they have one of the worst offenses in all of college football. They do have a decent rushing attack (42nd) but they are 100th in points scored. Cincinnati, on the other hand, ranks 25th nationally in passing despite having to use five quarterbacks this season because of injury. The Hokies are very good in special teams just what you would expect out of a Frank Beamer-coached team.
+1 good defense vs. good offense
+1 decent running back
+1 chance to see Big East team get flattened.

-1 one of the worst New Year's day matchups I can remember
MCR 2 (Microwave Dinner)

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