The NCAA football season is sadly coming to a close considering it is my favorite season in all major sports. I am a proud owner of Playstation 2 where the only game I own is NCAA football from the years 2002 with Chris Wienke on the cover to 2011 with Tim Tebow (so mad they discontinued the game for the 2012 season, I was 1 year away from the complete decade). Nonetheless, Bowl Season is upon us as well as the Heisman Trophy presentation with the five finalists named Monday. It is a nice crop of players that the committee has assembled including Monte Ball Wisconsin, Tyrann Mathieu LSU, Trent Richardson Alabama, Andrew Luck Stanford, and Robert Griffin III Baylor. Despite leading their teams to the National Championship I think we can discount Mattieu and Richardson due to the fact that Mattieu was a defensive special teamer who came out of no where this season (even though he is a fascinating talent) and Richardson who’s inferior stats would make it difficult to justify giving him the trophy over Ball. That leaves a three-way race between Ball, Griffin III, and Andrew Luck. Ball and Griffin III both led their teams to historic seasons despite losing more than 2 games with their respective teams. Griffin III led the three loss Baylor Bears to their first 9 win season and hopes to become the first player from Baylor to hold up the coveted stiff-arm trophy. He put up just shy of 4000 passing yards with 26 touchdown through the air and 9 on the ground totaling 35 on the year. That total is still 3 short of Ball who leads the FBS with 38 touchdowns 1 short of Barry Sanders’ record. Ball led a 2 loss Wisconsin team to the first Big Ten conference championship game title after expansion forced the conference into 2 divisions, Leaders and Legends, and a birth in the Rose Bowl against Oregon (a Bowl Game breakdown is coming up at the end of the article). Finally, Andrew Luck who threw for 3170 yards and 25 touchdowns on the season leading Stanford to an 11-1 record with their only loss coming at the hands of the Oregon Ducks. Luck is the consensus number 1 projected pick in the upcoming NFL Draft and put up another season’s worth of outrageous numbers despite losing his head coach Jim Harbough to the San Francisco 49ers (who is having a pretty good season himself in the pro’s). That leaves Mathieu and Richardson who will square off for the National Championship game. Mathieu had 4 touchdowns on the season (2 off INT’s and 2 off Punt Returns) as well as 6 forced fumbles. Richardson put up 1583 yards and 23 touchdowns for head coach Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide of Alabama. Right now you have to say the front-runner is Griffin III but call it Big Ten bias, my vote would go for Monte Ball. Now we are going to take a quick look at the Bowl games on the slate for the upcoming month starting off with the BCS bowls.
BCS National Championship: Number 1 LSU vs. Number 2 Alabama- The rematch that we have all been waiting for. The first game was a defensive struggle ending 9-6 in favor of LSU. A lot of fans were upset with the final score and didn’t want to see another rematch between two subpar offenses. But expect this game to be higher scoring. I like Trent Richardson to score a touchdown or 2 but expect LSU to come out strong between QB Jordan Jefferson and Tyrann Matheiu. As Nick Saban said on College Gameday last week, “if LSU scores a non offensive touchdown, its all over.”
I like LSU in this one 17-14.
Rose Bowl: Wisconsin V Oregon- Pasadena, I hope you like offense. Wisconsin has been known to hang 80 on certain opponents and Oregon features one of the best running backs in the nation in LaMichael James. Expect a back and forth battle here with Russell Wilson and Monte Ball leading the way for the Badgers
I like Wisconsin 38-35 over the Ducks
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma St. V Stanford- The match up here between the #3 and #4 teams in the nation is another perfect example as to why the BCS doesn’t work. These two teams form a perfect argument for a plus-1 system where we can take the final four teams and let them duke it out tournament style to see who deserves the National Championship. Despite the fantastic season OK St. put together I still like Stanford in another high scoring game.
Stanford 41-34 over the Big 12 Champs
Sugar Bowl: Michigan V Virginia Tech- Probably the biggest surprise here in the game between the two at large teams. Michigan comes into the game despite finishing behind Michigan St. in the Leaders division of the Big Ten and Virginia Tech gets the nod over Kansas St., Arkansas, or 5th ranked Boise St. Still I like VT to come out on top of this.
21-17 Hokies in a ground and pound game similar to which we will see in the National Championship game
Orange Bowl: West Virginia V Clemson- The toilet bowl of the BCS featuring the winners of the two worst BCS automatic qualifying conferences. Do you even care what I have to say about this game?
West Virginia wins 31-17 in a sleeper
Other Notable Bowl Games:
Illinois v UCLA: Okay so you thought that WV-Clemson game was the toilet bowl? I spoke too soon. Illinois is coming into this game on crutches going on a 6 game losing streak after starting 6-0. UCLA just fired their coach and is 6-7. Yes, I said 6-7. A team under .500 is in a bowl game! Need I say more?
Arkansas V Kansas St: This game should be a doozie. Both teams are ranked in the top 10 in the BCS standings and are sporting 10-2 records. Arkansas only losses came to LSU and Alabama. Kansas St. only lost to #3 ranked Oklahoma St and Oklahoma the preseason #1 overall.
Notre Dame V Florida St: You never know what to expect with these two teams. Both experienced glory in the 90’s but since then they have been in permanent rebuilding mode.
Northern Illinois V Arkansas St: These two teams will square off January 8th in the GoDaddy.com Bowl. NIU is coming off their first MAC Conference Championship led by Senior’s Chandler Harnish on offence and Pat Schiller on defense. NIU looks to wrap up this successful season with a bowl win after an impressive regular season.
Florida V Ohio St: The Urban Meyer Bowl. This game matches up his old team versus his new team. Both sides struggled this year Florida mopping its way through the SEC to a 6-6 record and Ohio St. dealing with early season suspensions on their way to a 6-6 season. The topic of conversation surrounding this game will focus on one man, Urban Meyer.
-Thomas “Grandpa” Kuebel