2003 College Football
Bowl Notes [Part I]
Now that the bowl matchups have been set, SCS.com takes a look at the best of the best and the worst of the worst of this year's matchups....
Prepare to Be Blown Away
Each year, you can always expect a few of these bowl games to get out of hand, especially now that almost half (47.9% to be exact) of all D-I teams participate in postseason play. Take a look at the one game I think will get nasty very early....
Tangerine Bowl - NC State vs Kansas   The Wolfpack has to be a little ticked that their season, Philip Rivers' last, didn't go as expected. Not only did they not get a big bowl, but they got stuck playing Kansas, whom many people probably won't even realize is in a bowl game until they check out that day's TV schedule. Rivers, McLendon, Cotchery, and Co. lay it on the Jayhawks.
Nothing Like a Little U-G-L-Y Football
You can always find those bowl games out there that are just nasty to watch. Whether it's the lack of offense, the horrendous weather, or just two undeserving teams doing battle, beware of the following that could put you to sleep....
New Orleans Bowl - North Texas vs Memphis   North Texas won the Sun Belt but was handled by every good opponent they played (OU by 34, AF by 13, ARK by 24). The Tigers have looked impressive at times, but when RB DeAngelo Williams went down a few weeks ago, so did the whole Memphis offense. If you're looking for a good start to the bowl season, skip this one.
Motor City Bowl - Bowling Green vs Northwestern   I've never thought it was very cool to play a college bowl game in a stadium that you know will be less than half-full. That will be the case in Detroit this year. Bowling Green has looked good this season but came up short in the MAC, so how will they perform? The Wildcats are 6-6, but with the exception of Wisconsin, they haven't won a game against a good opponent.
Music City Bowl - Auburn vs Wisconsin   So much to play for that was lost. That's the theme of both the Tigers' and Badgers' seasons. AU was projected as a national title contender in preseason polls; instead it is LSU who represents the SEC West there. Wisconsin was riding high with the return of Lee Evans and their big win over Ohio State but never capitalized. Do these teams care about the Music City Bowl?
Get the Scoreboard Ready
If it weren't for guys like B.J. Symons and their teams like Texas Tech, the nation wouldn't get to see football when it's played with tons of offense and no defense whatsoever. Though the Red Raiders aren't in this category, these score totals could easily eclipse 100....
GMAC Bowl - Miami (OH) vs Louisville   The Cardinals don't have a choice but to score points in this one because the Redhawks and QB Ben Roethlisberger will definitely put their share on the board. Miami's defense hasn't been all that great, and UL's offense has had their moments (i.e. vs Houston). Louisville should put their share on the board, but I doubt they'll keep up with Roethlisberger and Co.
Hawaii Bowl - Hawaii vs Houston   There's nothing like getting to play a bowl game in your own home stadium, at least to the world outside of Hawaii and Boise. For the second year in a row, the Warriors gets that opportunity. The Houston offense is led by a freshman QB that has led his team to a fabulous season, especially by UH standards. Match the Cougars' firepower with the weekly point-fest Hawaii has, and a four-hour Christmas evening special is very likely.
Sun Bowl - Oregon vs Minnesota   The Golden Gophers have one of the best offenses in the Big Ten, if not the best. However, it was Minnesota's lack of defensive prowess that cost the Gophers a shot at a bigger bowl. Oregon's two-headed QB (Clemens and Fife) will surely take advantage of that factor, but it is tough to stop to Minnesota attack of Khaliq, Barber, Marooney, Utecht, etc. Points won't be at a premium in El Paso this year.
San Francisco Bowl - Colorado State vs Boston College   CSU QB Bradlee Van Pelt is completing his ninth season in green and gold (or so it seems). All the while, he has paced the Rams' offense, both throwing and running for touchdowns. Boston College was expected to fall off some this season, but the Eagles refused to do so. Led by RB Derrick Knight, one of the best in the Big East, BC has let several teams on their schedule know they have some defensive improvements to take care of.
Points at a Premium
Just the opposite of the thrillers listed above, the lack of scoring here can put even the most fanatic of fan to sleep. Unlike the total snoozers listed at the very top, though, these games promise to be extremely competitive. Some like to call these "good ol' fashioned football"....
Liberty Bowl - Southern Miss vs Utah   Both of these teams have had their ups and downs in the scoring column this season, though both have consistently found a way win. Speaking of winning, the Utes' final regular season victory came at BYU by a score of 3-0. Although they didn't win either game, USM scored just two points against Cal and three at Alabama. The first team to three touchdowns could win this one.
Humanitarian Bowl - Tulsa vs Georgia Tech   With the high temperature in Boise usually around the freezing mark and percipitation a possibility, Mother Nature won't help the offenses here. The Jackets have scored 17 points or less in eight of their twelve games this season. In the three games Tulsa played against quality competition (Arkansas, Minnesota, and Boise State), they scored 10, 13, and 20 points, respectively. First one to 21?
Move on to Part II of the SCS.com Bowl Notes....