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2015 NCAA Tournament: The Madness Begins

Georgetown v Kentucky

First and foremost, I would like to say that there are many things that are so wrong with this bracket. However, I am not going to spend time talking about how they screwed up several seeds. There were several questionable calls along the way and a lot of head scratches.With that being said, here are my ten bold predictions for the first weekend of the NCAA tourney:

  • Kansas will be eliminated on Sunday. The Jayhawks have not been impressive at all, and should have been on the three seed line or even four. They have absolutely no business being a 2 seed. Cliff Alexander will be out for the entire NCAA tournament as well, due to the pending investigation. Wichita State and Indiana are both capable of beating Kansas and I fully expect one of them too. Kansas is solid, but they have been overrated all year.

 

  • Purdue will give Kentucky fits. For the record, Kentucky very well may not lose a game all year. I do not think they will lose to Purdue, but I really think that the Boilermakers can give the Wildcats a run for their money for most of the game. Purdue plays nice defense, and they have two solid 7 footers in Isaac Haas and AJ Hammons who are very talented. The big problem for Purdue is that I do not think they will be able to score on Kentucky’s defense. Matt Painter is a good coach and I think that the Boilers will give Kentucky a tough test on Saturday, but will ultimately fall.

 

  • We will see at least two upsets in the 14/3, 13/4 seed pairings. When you look at the 3 and 4 seeds altogether, you see some decent teams, but no great teams. Notre Dame and Iowa State are the only safe bets for the first weekend, and they will both be tested in the second round. As for the opening round games, Oklahoma, Baylor, Georgetown, Maryland, and UNC better all be careful. If I was a betting man I would say watch out to Baylor and Georgetown the most. We will see upsets here as several of these teams should have been lower seeded. Yes, I am looking at you Georgetown. What. A. Joke. A four seed? You have got to be kidding me.

 

  • Xavier and Providence will lose to both play in game teams. I just have not been impressed with either Big East team. Both have trouble consistently scoring the ball. Dayton is a tough out along with Boise State and will give Providence all it can handle. BYU should beat Ole Miss and they are easily capable of taking out Xavier.

 

  • Virginia will lose to Michigan State. This is all assuming Justin Anderson can no longer return to full form. The Cavaliers are having major trouble scoring the basketball at the current moment. Akil Mitchell and Joe Harris are not walking through that door either. As strong as the Wahoos defense is, Michigan State matches up very well against them. The Spartans have some solid down low players in Branden Dawson, Matt Costello, and Marvin Clark Jr. Also, you can never count out Tom Izzo in March.

 

  • Wofford and Stephen F. Austin will pull the upset bid. Arkansas is just severely overrated, and SFA has been here before. Utah is also extremely shaky as of late.

 

  • Duke will cruise to Houston. Having arguably the easiest bracket, and by far the easiest path to the sweet 16, look for Duke to roll both opponents they play in the first weekend. There are still a lot of question marks about this team, including quality bench play. Teams like Wisconsin and Kentucky are nightmare matchups for Duke. Yes, I know Duke beat Wiscy in December, but I think the emergence of Bronson Koening has made the Badgers a much better team.

 

  • Butler will make another run. This is a much different Bulldogs team, but they are certainly able to win several tourney games. Chris Holtmann has done a spectacular job with this team, and is an underrated coach. Kellen Dunham will need to shoot well, as Roosevelt Jones and Kameron Woods will need to be solid down low. I do not think that a Final Four is in the making, but the Dawgs could make some noise and get to the sweet 16.

 

  • Northern Iowa will knock out Louisville. The Cardinals just have no offense and the Panthers are red hot. Seth Tuttle will give trouble to the Cardinals front court. Louisville’s offense is way too inconsistent to even consider putting them deep into the tournament.

 

  • Villanova will prove that they are worthy of being a national champion. The Wildcats are being looked down as overrated, despite having a 32-2 record and one of the best if not the best backcourt in college hoops. Jay Wright has done a terrific job with the Wildcat bunch, and they will show just how good they really are on Thursday and Saturday.

Bracketology: My predicted 2015 NCAA Tournament Field

Midwest (Cleveland) 

1.) Kentucky  vs. 16) Texas Southern/ Lafayette

8.) Ohio State vs. 9.) Cincinnati

5.) West Virginia vs. 12) Iona

4.) Louisville vs. 13.) Valparaiso

6.) Providence vs. 11) Purdue

3.) Notre Dame vs  14.) Central Michigan

7.) Oregon vs. 10.) Texas

2.) Maryland vs. 15.) North Carolina Central

 

West (Los Angeles) 

1.) Wisconsin vs. 16) St. Francis

8.) St. Johns vs. 9.) Georgia

5.) Utah vs. 12) Indiana/ Temple

4.) Wichita State vs.  13.) Louisiana Tech

6.) Georgetown vs. 11.) Miami Fl.

3.) Kansas vs. 14.) South Dakota State

7.) San Diego State vs 10.) LSU

2.) Arizona vs. 15.) Belmont

 

 

East (Syracuse) 

1.) Villanova vs. 16.) Coastal Carolina

8.) Davidson vs. 9.) NC State

5.) Butler  vs. 12.) Wofford

4.) Baylor vs. 13,) Georgia State

6.) North Carolina vs. 11.) Colorado State

3.) Oklahoma vs. 14.) New Mexico State

7.) Iowa vs. 10.) VCU

2.) Duke vs. 15.) Albany

 

South (Houston) 

1.) Virginia vs. 16.) North Florida

8.) Dayton vs. 9.) BYU

5.) Arkansas vs. 12.) Stephen F. Austin

4.) Northern Iowa vs. 13.) UC Davis

6.) SMU vs. 11.) Boise State/Oklahoma State

3.) Iowa State vs. 14.) Harvard

7.) Michigan State vs. 10.) Xavier

2.) Gonzaga vs. 15.) NorthEastern

 

 

 

Will Kentucky ever lose? College hoops update

So we have nearly been talking about this for just about the entire college hoops season, but this is a legitimate question; will the Wildcats ever actually lose a game? To be honest, I really think that this team could go 40-0. They have all the tools, and talent to achieve this goal. Despite having several close calls so far, no team out there in America has a better bench than the Wildcats. The only thing that will potentially hurt Kentucky come NCAA tournament time will be getting in foul trouble.

This does not really even happen too often, but it could definitely be a disadvantage lurking down at Calipari’s Cats. If you really look at it through and through, you can see that Kentucky will not lose a game until at least the NCAA tourney. The SEC is an awful conference overall, and the average teams are grossly overrated. I am looking at you Texas A&M, LSU, and Arkansas. I do not care that the Razorbacks are ranked 18th, I mean seriously, who have they beaten? Exactly.

This Kentucky team is so much more different than past Wildcat’s teams. There is not a true star, elite player on this squad, but a bunch of balanced and disciplined players who seem to know their roles on the team. Karl Anthony Towns has the most potential out of this current bunch, but you cannot forget about Cauley-Stein, Devin Booker, or even Aaron Harrison.

There are so many different options on this team that they are extremely difficult to defend. Teams like Arizona, Duke, Virginia, and Villanova have a great starting five, but after that they just do not have the depth overall. This is what makes Kentucky so great. In fact, you could make a strong case as to why several teams ranked in the top ten have just as good or even a better starting five than Kentucky.

Ultimately, it will not matter unless you can force Kentucky to get into foul trouble and also hope that their offense goes completely down the toilet in a game. This is a possibility, because during the NCAA tournament, anything can happen.

However, it will be very shocking if Kentucky does not at least make the Elite 8 during this year’s tourney run. This team is just too good overall to have a slip up early on, but once again, who knows, we have all seen strange things happen in March.

College Hoops Update

Early Top 25 for 2015-2016

1.) Ohio State – The Buckeyes will have just about everyone back on both sides of the ball. The biggest storyline over the offseason will be who starts next year. Does Braxton Miller transfer? Can Cardale Jones keep his momentum or will J.T. Barrett get back what he started? It will be interesting to say the least.

 

2.) TCU- Trevone Boykin is back along with Aaron Green and B.J. Catalon. The Horned Frogs will be primed for a title run assuming they get in the playoff.

 

3.) Georgia- Nick Chubb was sensational and Malcolm Mitchell will return to Athens next year as well. The Dawgs will be the favorites in the SEC East next year.

 

4.) Michigan State- Connor Cook returns along with a boatload of talented players. The Spartans lose Jeremy Langford and defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, but MSU will be among the nation’s elite next year.

 

5.) Georgia Tech- Justin Thomas has given Paul Johnson’s offense a new look with Thomas being a legitimate passing threat. The Yellow Jackets will lose some key players but should compete for the ACC crown.

 

6.) USC- The Trojans will have all of the talent, but will they get it done on the field?

 

7.) Alabama- The best recruiting class in America comes to Tuscaloosa. Despite some key losses across the field, the Tide should reload with Saban at the helm.

 

8.) Florida State- The Seminoles will also benefit with an easy schedule along with stellar recruiting class in Tallahassee. Now we will see how the Seminoles are without Jameis Winston.

 

9.) Clemson- DeShaun Watson will be a force for the Tigers next year as long as he can stay healthy. The defense will need to rebuild but the Tigers will remain among the nation’s contenders for next year’s college football playoff.

 

10.) Mississippi State- Dak Prescott will be back and the Bulldogs will be talented. Can they win the big games though?

 

11.) Oregon- The Ducks have a solid system, but they have yet to win a championship. It will be even tougher without Marcus Mariota,

 

12.) Notre Dame- Malik Zaire will provide a new look for the Irish. Everett Golson is expected to transfer. Notre Dame will compete for a title, but will need to win out, since they are not in a conference.

 

13.) Arizona  State- Taylor Kelly and the Sun Devils will look to build off their 10 win season.

 

14.) Baylor- No more Bryce Petty, but the Bears have a perfect offensive system under Art Briles. Next man up.

 

15.) Boise State- The Broncos will continue to use momentum of their Fiesta Bowl victory headed into next year.

 

16.) Arizona- The Wildcats have a lot of potential with young talent on both sides of the ball.

 

17.) UCLA- Brett Hundley is gone, but UCLA will still be a solid team next year.

 

18.) LSU- The quarterback situation in Baton Rogue is rough, but Leonard Fournette returning at running back will keep the Tigers afloat.

 

19.) Arkansas- The Razorbacks will be tough to deal with next year, but will need to improve on their passing game.

 

20.) Wisconsin- The Badgers have a better coach in Paul Chyrst and should be in the hunt for a Big Ten division title again.

 

21.) Missouri- The Tigers have been under appreciated in the SEC so far, and will still be good under Gary Pinkel. The Tigers will be right there again for the SEC East title.

 

22.) Tennessee- The Vols will be much improved with Josh Dobbs at quarterback. Butch Jones has this thing turned around in Knoxville.

 

23.) Auburn- The Tigers will rebuild, but should still be competitive next year.

 

24.) Oklahoma- A lot of question marks are surrounding Bob Stoops and his program, but they have the talent to be a solid team next season.

 

25.) Ole Miss- Dr. Bo has left Oxford, but Hugh Freeze is building a competitive contender in the SEC.

 

Next 5: Utah, Louisville, Oklahoma State, Penn State, Kansas State

Urban Meyer: The New College Football King

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Urban Meyer has put himself on the platform with some of the greatest coaches in college football history. Meyer has lost just three games in his three years at Ohio State and has become just the second coach besides Nick Saban to win multiple titles at FBS schools. Meyer has given Ohio State an excellent chance to repeat as national champions next year as well.

The excellence and winning culture that Meyer has produced at Ohio State is astonishing. Ohio State is solid in every way. Their offensive line was among the best in football and they have one of the most talented running backs in Ezekiel Elliot, who set a record for the most rushing yards in national championship game history. This is one of the biggest reasons for the success that Ohio State had at the quarterback position.

Urban Meyer has also done a fabulous job of developing an elite defense. The Buckeyes had the best defensive line in all of college football this year. This was fairly obvious in the title game against Oregon.

One of the bigger story lines heading into next year will be who will start at quarterback for the Buckeyes next year. Cardale Jones played incredible in his three starts, and J.T. Barrett was unstoppable up until his injury. Braxton Miller is expected to transfer to either LSU, Florida State, or Duke. It is unlikely that he will return to Ohio State with the rising surge of Barrett and Jones.

Meyer has shown that he is right there at the upper echelon of college football with Nick Saban. Each have 3 championships, and Meyer is out to get more. I personally think that he will, and the Buckeyes very well could win the national championship again next year. With most of the skill players returning, the Buckeyes will be very dangerous on offense and defense. The biggest point of note, is that Urban Meyer has yet to lose a Big Ten regular season game in his 3 years in Columbus.

Oregon-Ohio State : Oregon is tough, but do not count out Urban Meyer and his resilient Buckeyes

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The national championship game is on Monday night in Dallas. I would have never guessed that Ohio State would have been in the national title at the beginning of the year. Not to mention, I think that most people counted them out of everything after losing star quarterback Braxton Miller to a season-ending injury.

How foolish of us. How can you possibly forget about the Urban Meyer factor. Meyer has only lost 3 games in his three years at OSU. J.T. Barrett was incredible as a red-shirt freshmen before getting hurt in the Michigan game. Once again, after Barrett’s injury, everyone counted the Buckeyes out of everything again.

The Buckeyes were set to take on Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game in Indianapolis with a third string quarterback in Cardale Jones. You know the story. Everyone counted the Buckeyes out of it, including myself, and thought that there was no way possible that they would be Wisconsin. Silly us, little did we know that Cardale Jones would take off right where J.T. Barrett would have. The Bucks dominated Wiscy 59-0.

On to the college playoff now, and it is starting to get really old in Columbus. All the naysayers once again shouted that Ohio State did not even belong on the same field with Alabama, let alone even making the inaugural college football playoff. How could Ohio State honestly defeat the great Nick Saban and the SEC champs who have dominated college football the past five seasons?

Wrong. Once again, the Buckeyes proved that they have the tenacity and toughness needed for a championship football team. And it all starts with Urban Meyer. Most people, including several analysts, thought that the Buckeyes were one year away from truly being able to compete at an elite level and national championship.

As we all know, they are wrong as well. Ohio State continues to do what they do best; proving everyone wrong, and turning naysayers into believers. The system that Urban Meyer has stabilized in Columbus is truly astonishing. Meyer has developed a winning culture that all of his players have bought into. Meyer has fixed many of the key problems to the past Buckeye teams. Defense, and especially the secondary, which were both awful last year.

Ohio State now boasts one of the best defensive lines in America, lead by star Joey Bosa. Don’t forget about that secondary either. Even though it is not dominate by any means, it is much improved. The Buckeyes offense is still their bread and butter, and they have developed one of the best passing and running attacks in the country. Ohio State has the best offensive line in college football, which is another reason why each quarterback who has played under Meyer here has had tremendous success. Not to mention, the Buckeyes have some elite skill players as well.

Cardale Jones has proven that he can most certainly take Ohio State to the promised land. A national title is much sought after in Columbus. It can most certainly happen, but the Bucks better find a way to slow down Marcus Mariota, or that national championship trophy is headed out west to Eugene.

Winners and Losers of Bowl Season

Winners:

1.) The Big Ten-

How about the B1G? The core of the conference did its job and got some impressive victories. Wisconsin was able to get a huge win over an SEC West Auburn team, who many predicted the Tigers to roll over the Badgers. Melvin Gordon was incredible as always, and only ended up being 40-something yards short of Barry Sanders career rushing totals.

Michigan State got another huge win for the conference by rallying from a 20 point deficit to knock off the Big 12 co-champs Baylor. This was a great game overall, and one of the best bowl games of the entire bowl season. Connor Cook probably had one of his worst games of his career, but was still able to make huge plays when necessary. The Spartans proved to the rest of the country that the Big Ten is tough and physical. A great win for the conference and MSU.

By far the best win was Ohio State. Just about everybody counted them out of even having a chance to knock off Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Cardale Jones played as best as he possibly could have, and Ezekiel Elliot was able to establish the run on the great Bama rush defense. Ohio State’s defense showed that up front they are just as physical and tough as everyone else. The secondary bent at times, but never broke. Urban Meyer has one special group of resilient Buckeyes. This is great for the Big Ten to have a team in the national championship game, and it will be interesting to see how the Buckeyes handle the explosive Oregon Ducks.

2.) Notre Dame-

The Irish picked up a huge win over LSU in Nashville to finish the season on a much needed positive note. Notre Dame played two quarterbacks all game as Malik Zaire played outstanding in his first ever start. Everett Golson struggled much of the game, but was incredible when it mattered most. Golson lead a late drive down the field in the fourth quarter to set up the Irish for a short field goal as time expired. As bad as Notre Dame’s second half of the season was, this was a good way to end the season on a positive note.

3.) TCU-

The Horned Frogs showed why they probably should have been left in the playoff pool, as they absolutely dismantled Ole Miss 42-3. Trevone Boykin played his best game of his TCU career, and Aaron Green was phenomenal on the ground for the Horned Frogs. TCU will be ranked in the pre-season top three next year, and quite possibly could be ranked number one. I do not think that too many people would argue this.

4.) SEC East-

Who would have ever thought that the SEC East would have gotten the conference 5 of their 7 conference wins? In fact every team in the east won their bowl game giving them a 5-0 record. The main reason that this is so startling is because the SEC East was an absolute anomaly all year. Outside of Georgia, nobody really was an elite team. No, Missouri is not as good as their ranking. Tennessee was electric in their thrashing of Iowa. The Vols could be a sleeper team to win the East next year. South Carolina won, because the Ole ball coach does not do losing seasons. Florida’s defense was awesome yesterday, but their offense is so bad that they still had to hold on for dear life.

5.) Boise State-

The Broncos showed once again that they can compete with some of the nations best teams. A huge win for Boise State heading into next year, as they could be seen as a team that could potentially make the college football playoff.

 

Losers:

1.) SEC West-

For being called the greatest division of all time, they were pretty awful during the bowl season. LSU lost to an average Notre Dame team, Ole Miss got absolutely hammered to TCU. Ole Miss proved that over the course of the year that they were the most overrated team in the nation. Another team who was right there with them was Mississippi State. The Bulldogs could not stop the run all night against a good Georgia Tech team in the Orange Bowl. Auburn proved that they were an average team as well, finishing 8-5 on the year. As good as Auburn’s offense was, their defense was equally atrocious. Alabama’s loss to Ohio State does not show that the Tide were overrated, but it does show that they were not the best team in the country, and had no business being ranked number one in the nation.

2.) Florida State-

Yes, Florida State got absolutely destroyed by Oregon in the Rose Bowl, but the Seminoles did not help themselves with all of the turnovers they had. Dalvin Cook, Travis Rudoolph, and Bobo Wilson were all responsible for fumbling the ball and giving it over to the Ducks. Oregon capitalized on all four of FSU’s fumbles. Still, as bad as Florida State’s loss was, the Seminoles had an accomplished season. Florida State continued to put their streak all the way to 29 games, and capped off another ACC championship. I certainly think that Jameis is gone, but we will see what he ultimately decides.

3.) Baylor-

Yikes. The Bears had the ultimate downfall in the span of one quarter. The Bears lead 41-21 over Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl, and the completely fell apart. You have to credit the Spartans for never giving up and showing character, but you also have to question Baylor’s coaching staff, as they made several head-scratching decisions late in the game. Overall, this game showed that Baylor did not belong in the college football playoff.

4.) Oklahoma-

The Sooners were a pre-season top five team in the nation, and finished the year 8-5. The Sooners got absolutely destroyed by Clemson 40-6 in the Russell Athletic Bowl. This is bad for OU, because they definitely regressed over the year. Bob Stoops may be on the hot seat. This is a bad football team.

5.) North Carolina-

The Tar Heels continued to show that they were an absolute awful football team yet again. UNC got hosed by a horrible Rutgers team.

New Year’s Six Bowl Games Predictions

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6.) Boise State vs. Arizona (Fiesta Bowl) 

Line: Arizona (-3) – Take Boise State on the line as it is much safer. The Wildcats have a young team and are coming off an absolute thrashing against Oregon in the PAC 12 Championship game. Boise has been solid all year for the most part.

O/U: 68- Take the over on this. Arizona has an explosive offense and Boise State has the number nine scoring offense in the nation. Expect a lot of points in this game.

Prediction: Boise State 45, Arizona 41- Anu Solomon has been prone to make mistakes in big situations as freshmen quarterback. Nick Wilson has been an important key running the ball for the Wildcats as well. This game will be decided by which defense shows up and makes plays.

 

5.) Ole Miss vs. TCU (Peach Bowl)

Line: TCU (-3)- Take TCU and the points if you are looking at this line. The Horned Frogs have a legitimate reason to believe that they should be in the college football playoff, while Ole Miss has been reeling late in the season.

O/U: 56.5- You are going to want to take the over on this one as well. One thing that can be said about the majority of college football teams is that there really is no elite defense out there this year. Ole Miss has been pretty weak in the secondary, and TCU loves to pass the ball. Ole Miss should still be able to move the ball with Bo Wallace playing his final game of his career.

Prediction: TCU 42, Ole Miss 28- Too much TCU in this one. Trevone Boykin is having a phenomenal year, and B.J. Catalon and Aaron Green have combined for 18 of TCU’s rushing touchdowns this season. The loss of Laquon Treadwell hurts the Rebels, because he was Bo Wallace’s go to receiver. The Rebels will need to be able to run the ball effectively.

 

4.) Mississippi State vs. Georgia Tech (Orange Bowl) 

Line: MSU (-7)-  I personally think that this line is way too large in favor of Mississippi State. Take Georgia Tech even if you do not think the Yellow Jackets will win the game.

O/U: 62- This is a tricky one, but take the under, due Georgia Tech’s ability to burn game clock on long drives. This will limit possessions from both teams, making each drive that much more important. Dak Prescott and the Bulldogs do not move at a fast pace either, and usually draw out long drives themselves.

Prediction: Georgia Tech 27, Mississippi State 24- Mississippi State will have trouble with Georgia Tech’s option offense. Tech has already beaten some solid teams this year, including Georgia, and nearly beating Florida State. Georgia Tech’s defense will need to play well, but if Justin Thomas and the offense can successfully establish the run, look for Georgia Tech to take a few shots down field as well, because Thomas is a legitimate passing threat.

 

3.) Michigan State vs. Baylor (Cotton Bowl)  

Line: Baylor (-2.5)- This is obviously a close line, and it will pretty much come down to who you think will win the game. I think Michigan State is the safer bet.

O/U: 71.5- Take the over and do not look back. Both of these offenses are very good, and should be able to score a lot of points as well, despite the defenses being pretty good too.

Prediction: Michigan State 44, Baylor 37- I think that the Spartans defense will be able to make some plays in crunch time, which will be enough for Michigan State to get out of Dallas with a victory. Look for Connor Cook to connect with Tony Lippett as much as possible. Jeremy Langford is also key for the Spartans, as he has rushed for over 100 yards in every game so far this year. Bryce Petty has many weapons on offense as well. The Spartans secondary has struggled against every legitimate passing threat they have played so far. It will be interesting to see how the Spartans’ secondary responds in this game.

 

2.) Ohio State vs. Alabama (Sugar Bowl/ CFP Semi-Final)

Line: Alabama (-9)- Take Ohio State in this one. I think that the winner of this game will win by a touchdown or less, so it will be safer to go with the Buckeyes.

O/U:  58.5- Take the over. Seriously, this is a bad line one. I am not impressed with either secondary, and both teams can pass the ball efficiently. Like I stated earlier, there is no dominant defense in college football this year. As good as Ohio State and Alabama are up front, they have had trouble against good passing teams.

Prediction: Ohio State 31, Alabama 27- I really like the way that Cardale Jones and the Ohio State offense played against Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game. Even though Alabama is a completely different monster than Wisconsin, the Buckeyes have threats all over the field. Alabama is great as we know, but Blake Sims might have trouble playing away from Tuscaloosa, where his stats are not nearly as impressive. T.J Yeldon and of course Amari Cooper are the biggest keys for the Tide on offense. Urban Meyer has beaten Nick Saban before, and I think that he will have his team ready, so that they do not get embarrassed on national television.

 

1.) Oregon vs. Florida State (Rose Bowl/ CFP Semi-Final)

Line: Oregon (-9)- This is yet another surprising large line. Not only has Florida State not lost in two years, but if they do lose this game, it will be by a field goal or less. Take the ‘Noles even if you are a Ducks fan.

O/U: 71.5- I think it would be wise to take the under on this one. Vegas made this line so that everyone would immediately figure to go over with how explosive Oregon’s offense can be. That being said, if Florida State’s defense is able to make plays and slow down the Ducks on offense, I think we will see a lower scoring game than expected. Remember, neither team has played in nearly a month heading into this game.

Prediction: Florida State 35, Oregon 33- They are the defending national champions, they have not lost in 29 games, so until you beat them, I am not going to go against them. Oregon does have the talent and speed on offense to give the Seminoles hell. With Marcus Mariota, Rocye Freeman, and Byron Marshall, the Ducks will look to go fast. Do not be surprised if Oregon is not as effective as you would expect. Florida State has some speed on defense that could surprise Oregon. For the Seminoles it will obviously come down to Jameis Winston, who has yet to lose a start in his collegiate career. With Oregon’s top cornerback out of this game, I do not know if they have anyone who will be able to cover Rashad Greene. Nick O’ Leary will also be a matchup nightmare for the Ducks’ defense, who just about never go up against a big physical tight end. If Dalvin Cook can run the ball efficiently, then Oregon could be in for a surprise. I think that this has potential to be an excellent game.

More Bowl Mania Predictions

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I hope you saw the ending to the Central Michigan-Western Kentucky game in the Bahamas bowl, because it was absolutely fantastic. This was even a better finish than the Miami Beach bowl game. Anyways, the bowl games are really starting to heat up. Some of the big name schools will hit the field this coming weekend and especially all of next week. Here are my predictions for the rest of the bowl season disregarding the New Year’s six bowl games, which will all be in a separate article soon.

Liberty Bowl: Texas A&M (7-5) vs. West Virginia (7-5) 

Texas A&M was once a top ten team earlier in the year before everything fell apart for the Aggies. A&M started off 5-0, but finished just a measly 7-5. West Virginia spent this year rebounding from an awful 4-8 campaign in 2013. Clint Trickett has been a big help towards the offense, which really struggled to move the ball consistently last season. Trickett has shown consistency and should be able to light up the weak Aggies secondary with his star receiver Kevin White. Ever since the Aggies suffered several blowout losses, Kenny Hill got benched, and their season has gone down the toilet.

Prediction: West Virginia 42,  Texas A&M 34

 

Russell Athletic Bowl: Oklahoma (8-4) vs. Clemson (9-3)

For Oklahoma, this season has been an ultimate failure. The Sooners fully expected to be playing the college football playoff, especially since they had an incredible load of confidence after beating Alabama in the Sugar Bowl last year. Unfortunately, things did not go according to plan. Trevor Knight was inconsistent again at quarterback, and also suffered an injury and was sidelined the last couple of games. Even worse for Clemson, their star Freshmen quarterback, Deshaun Watson, tore his ACL late in the year, and will not play in this game. Offensive coordinator Chad Morris is going to Dallas to coach SMU as well. So now the Tigers will look to Cole Stoudt, who had a pretty awful season when his name was called. As much talent that Clemson has, it will tough to beat the Sooners without Watson.

Prediction: Oklahoma 33,  Clemson 21

 

Texas Bowl: Arkansas (6-6) vs. Texas (6-6)

Two old rivals from the SWC meet up in this one in Houston. The Razorbacks finally got to a bowl game this year, but their offense remains completely one-dimensional. The Razorbacks still have all kinds of trouble with Brandon Allen playing consistent football at quarterback. Luckily, they usually do not need him to make too many plays through the air, because Arkansas has been able to beat several good teams from the SEC West this season by pounding the ball on the ground. Texas has a really nice defense. Vance Bedford has done a solid job overall with a talented Longhorn bunch. Texas thrives against the pass, but their rush defense is not too shabby either. Their are so many talented stars on this defense. Malcolm Brown, who is an All-American on the defensive line, Jordan Hicks and Steve Edmond at linebacker, and Quandre Diggs as a lockdown cornerback. The biggest key for Texas will be their offense as usual. Quarterback Tyrone Swoopes is jekyll and hyde, and you never know what you will get from him. If Texas can establish the run, they should be able to make some plays through the air. Ultimately, this one will be close to call.

Prediction: Texas 24 , Arkansas 21

 

Music City Bowl: LSU (8-4) vs. Notre Dame (7-5) 

The Irish come into this one losing four out of their last five ball games. Ever since they lost to Florida State they have been a different team. The defense has struggled, and Everett Golson has become the complete turnover machine. That is not the formula you want heading into a matchup with a strong and physical LSU defense. I fully expect John Chavis to throw all kinds of different schemes at Golson, and it should confuse him. After all, LSU’s only real problems are on the offensive end. Moving the ball has been an issue for the Tigers. Notre Dame’s defense is fully capable of slowing down LSU on offense, but it will be a matter of if the Irish show up or not. This could be a great game, but I do not expect a whole lot of points from either side.

Prediction: LSU 17, Notre Dame 14

 

Belk Bowl: Louisville (8-4) vs. Georgia (9-3)

This should be an excellent game, but for Louisville they will need Kyle Bolin to continue off his successful day against Kentucky that he had in the final game of the regular season. Georgia has gotten used to life without Todd Gurley, and have gotten tremendous help and success from Nick Chubb. Hutson Mason has still not developed into anything more than a game manager, but if Georgia can pound away on Louisville’s defense with Chubb, they will be just fine. After all, it might be more difficult since they are going up against their former defensive coordinator, Todd Grantham. Georgia’s defense will need to focus on shutting down the Cardinals running game, and force Bolin to make tough plays through the air. Louisville running back Michael Dyer has been suspended for this game due to being academically ineligible.

Prediction: Georgia 35, Louisville 28 

 

Foster Farms Bowl: Maryland (7-5) vs. Stanford (7-5)

After getting to watch those two good match-ups, we get to finish the night with this garbage bowl. Woo-hoo! Seriously, Foster Farms? I guess this is just another bowl game that they made up. Here is the bottom line for this game. Stanford is coming off a very impressive performance over UCLA in the final week of the year, and their defense is still dominant and elite. Kevin Hogan and the offense have had a down year. Luckily for the Cardinal, they get to play Maryland. Maryland is a bad football team and got their wins against even worse Big Ten inferior opponents. C,J Brown might be the worst passer in the nation. This one will be ugly.

Prediction: Stanford 34, Maryland 10

 

Outback Bowl: Auburn (8-4) vs. Wisconsin (10-3)

Auburn put up 43 points on Alabama’s defense, and now will get to light it up even more on Wisconsin in the Outback. Badgers coach Gary Andersen left for Corvallis, so Barry Alvarez will coach the Badgers in the bowl game. It will ultimately come down to Melvin Gordon. If he is shut down, they have no chance whatsoever. However, Auburn’s defense is nowhere near as good as Ohio State’s front seven, so expect Gordon to have a solid game on the ground. Joel Stave will have to make plays through the air though if Wisconsin wants to even stand a chance in this game. Nick Marshall should be able to light up the Badgers secondary with Sammie Coates, or Duke Williams. Cameron Artis-Payne also had an impressive year, leading the SEC in rushing yards. Expect a lot of points in this game.

Prediction: Auburn 52, Wisconsin 42

 

Citrus Bowl: Minnesota (8-4) vs. Missouri (10-3) 

The Golden Gophers had a nice season, and will get the chance to take out a decent SEC team. Missouri has a solid ball team, but they are not as good as their record says. They racked up all kinds of wins against the pathetic SEC East, and even got blown out to Georgia at home 34-0. Also just to remind everyone how bad the SEC East is, Indiana beat the Tigers in Columbia as well. Minnesota has a great running back in David Cobb, and it will be interesting to see how the Tigers try and slow him down on defense. Matty Mauk will have his hands full against an underrated defense in Minnesota. This one should be close and could really go either way.

Prediction: Minnesota 31, Missouri 27

 

Alright, for these last few games I am going to summarize them up quickly, cause you know, most of these bowls are not worth watching. 

Armed Forces Bowl: Houston (7-5) vs. Pitt (6-6)

James Connor will be an absolute force to be reckoned with, and the Cougars might not be able to stop him. Luckily, Pitt’s defense is not very good, so Houston should be able to make this a game.

Prediction: Pitt 30, Houston 28

 

TaxSlayer Bowl: Iowa (7-5) vs. Tennessee (6-6)

It has been a while since the Vols have gone bowling. Expect them to be ready, with their new offense lead by Josh Dobbs. Iowa has an inconsistent offense, but Jake Rudock has been able to convert plays at times. This should be a close, physical game.

Prediction: Tennessee 20, Iowa 14

 

Alamo Bowl: Kansas State (9-3) vs. UCLA (9-3)

This should actually be a great game. Brett Hundley has been up and down, but overall pretty successful this season. Kansas State has struggled to beat teams that are built to their competition and speed. I definitely have to give the edge to the Bruins here.

Prediction: UCLA 38, Kansas State 34

 

Cactus Bowl: Washington (8-5) vs. Oklahoma State (6-6)

The Huskies defense should be able to stop Oklahoma State on offense. This game has potential to be good, but it really depends on if Oklahoma State can move the ball on offense ,which is something that has been a major problem this year against good opponents. It definitely does not help that Tyreek Hill will not be in this game for the Cowboys either.

Prediction: Washington 28, Oklahoma State 17

 

Birmingham Bowl: East Carolina (8-4) vs.Florida (6-5) 

With Will Muschamp out at Florida, there might be a lack of motivation for the Gators in this game. Shane Carden and East Carolina have a pretty good offense despite being overrated in the rankings all year. The Gators defense is good, but Treon Harris and the offense are a major concern.

Prediction: East Carolina 23, Florida 20

 

GoDaddy.com Bowl: Toledo (8-4) vs. Arkansas State (7-5)

Honestly, I do not even care enough to write about this game. By this time of the year, I am so done with these no name bowls.

Prediction: Arkansas State 24, Toledo 17