LITTLE CAESARS BOWL
Marshall (6-6) vs. Ohio (9-4)
Dec. 26, 1:00 PM - ESPN
A word from our sponsor: Of course this bowl should be called the "Pizza, Pizza" bowl because of the title sponsor but this bowl is also sponsored by a wide range of companies, everything from the United Auto Workers, to AT&T, to Blue Cross and Blue Shield, to the Detroit Lions. The closer we get to New Year's day, the more the sponsors pile on
On the field: Ok, stick with me here this is going to get messy. After a stretch of losing three of four games to end the season Mark Snyder resigned as coach of the Thundering Herd and Marshal hired West Virginia assistant John "Doc" Holliday and gave him a five year contract. He's not at the bowl though, erstwhile defensive coordinator and interim coach Rick Minter will coach the team for one game. Sounds ugly doesn't it? It could get that way. Marshall is led by… Marshall. Running back Darius Marshall who is returning from an ankle injury was a second-team all-conference selection and rushed for 1054 yards and 11 TD's. Ohio's run defense is quite porous so it could play right into the hands of Marshall (both the running back and the team). Ohio is led by QB Theo Scott who completed just over 58% of his passes for 2258 yards and 19 TD's. Scott's favorite target is WR Taylor Price who has 52 receptions on the season. They also have Tight End Cody Slate who made 50 receptions for 607 yards, that was good enough to make him a Mackey Award finalist.
+1 strong passing attack vs. strong rushing attack
-1 Lame-duck coach
-1 barely bowl eligible team
MCR 0 (Rosie O'Donnell Talk Show)
MEINEKE CAR CARE BOWL
Pittsburgh (9-3) vs. UNC (8-4)
Dec. 26, 4:30 PM - ESPN
A word from our sponsor: Meineke has turned simple jobs like flushing an AC system and changing brake pads into a Million dollar company. They're so successful at it that they can be the title sponsor of a bowl game. All that and yet they can't pay someone to come up with a better slogan than "At Meineke, you're always the Driver." I have no idea what that means.
On the field: This should be renamed the disappointment bowl. Pitt has to try and get past two straight last-minute losses including a heartbreaker against Cincy that cost Pitt the Big East title. UNC has been tough to figure out this year, they beat Virginia Tech and Miami, but lost to Virginia and NC State.
Pitt's offense is quite formidable with quarterback Bill Stull who has thrown for 2470 yards, 21 TD's and only 8 picks. Pitt is well balanced with super freshman Dion Lewis who finished third nationally in rushing yards per game and is 46 yards shy of Tony Dorsett's 36-year-old Pitt freshman record of 1,686 rushing yards. On the other side of the ball the Tar Heels rank sixth nationally in total defense and ninth against the run. Pitt's bread and butter on defense is their line which is largely responsible for the Panthers FBS best 45 sacks. That could spell doom for North Carolina's T.J. Yates who is the ACC's 10th rated passer.
+1 strong offense
+1 strong rushing attack vs. good rushing defense
+1 record breaking freshman running back
-1 strong blowout possibility
MCR 2(Microwave Dinner)
USC (8-4) vs. BC (8-4)
Dec. 26, 8:00 PM – ESPN
A word from our sponsor: Who knew that selling something as mundane as nuts could be so profitable? Diamond Foods, that's who. From their website (which I think was created by the makers of Monte Python) Emerald, the nut brand of Diamond Foods was first made public on July 21, 2005 and has the simple goal of being "a branded food company that specializes in everything NUTS." Awesome, a company that's proud to be nuts!
On the field: BC was picked to finish last in the ACC's Atlantic Division (aren't college football reporters smart?) but will play in a bowl for the 11th straight year. USC isn't used to playing this early in bowl season, the Trojans have been in the Rose Bowl or the Orange Bowl for seven straight years. USC could be without the services of star running back Joe McKnight who didn't initially travel with the team because he had to do some "paperwork" as coach Pete Carroll said. No telling if that "paperwork" had anything to do with the SUV McKnight was seen driving around LA.
If USC is without McKnight's services they will have to rely heavily on Matt Barkley who was inconsistent all season long and finished with a Pac-10 leading 12 interceptions and only 13 TD's. BC had their own freshman QB woes as Dave Shinskie was last in the conference completing only 52.8 percent of his passes. BC has relied more on running back Montel Harris, who set school records with 264 rushing yards and five touchdowns in a 52-20 win over North Carolina State on Oct. 17.
+1 strong running game
+1 schadenfreude – seeing USC in a crappy bowl a day after Christmas.
-1 bad mismatch possibility
MCR 1 (Woman's Heart)
GAYLORD HOTELS MUSIC CITY BOWL
Kentucky (7-5) vs. Clemson (8-5)
A word from our sponsor: From the bowl's website here's how it's described. The Bowl is played in a world-class city known for incredible entertainment and southern hospitality. A post-season college football game played in late December in Nashville, TN. A 501(c)3 non-profit organization, the Bowl is an NCAA sanctioned event that currently features the two top football conferences in the country, the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Who knew that Nashville was so awesome and the ACC was one of the top two football conferences in the country?
On the field: The Wildcats will be making their 3rd trip to the Music City bowl in the last four years. They will be looking to win their fourth consecutive postseason game. Both teams encountered close late-season losses to land in the Music City Bowl. The player to watch in this game is versatile running back C.J. Spiller the ACC player of the year. Spiller scored TD's five different ways: 11 rushing, 4 receiving, 4 on kickoff returns, 1 on a punt return and 1 on a pass. He ended up sixth on the Heisman Trophy voting. Oh by the way, Kentucky will be without its best defensive player linebacker Sam Maxwel who had shoulder surgery. That's not the only injury for Kentucky, they have been without QB Mike Hartline and have had to rely on freshman Morgan Newton. They do have some offensive firepower, tailback Derrick Locke and all-purpose WR Randall Cobb have combined for 1,381 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns, with Cobb averaging 6.4 yards per carry.
+1 Heisman finalist
+1 two strong running attacks
-1 mismatch probability
MCR 1 (Woman's Heart)