2003 College Football
Bowl Notes [Part II]
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....
Big Name, Small Talk
All of the big name schools from the big name conferences go into each season hoping for a BCS bowl berth. Needless to say, they don't all succeed in their efforts. Below is a game of two such teams who now meet up in lower-tier postseason play....
Alamo Bowl - Michigan State vs Nebraska   The Spartans have to be given some credit; not much was expected from MSU this season after last year's debacle with QB Jeff Smoker and the new hiring of coach John L. Smith. Even though the Huskers had a decent year, it was not good enough to meet NU's standards. That's why the university will be looking for a new head coach for the next fall's games.
The bowl game matchups are always interesting because it seems there are always one or two games that match up two teams that couldn't be more different from each other. This bowl season is no different from any other. Check out the comparison of Texas Tech and Navy below....
Houston Bowl - Texas Tech vs Navy   The Red Raider offense is led by senior QB B.J. Symons. He leads the nation with more than 5,300 yards through the air and 48 TD passes. The Navy offense is second in the country with almost 60 rushing attempts per game. The Midshipmen have scored 42 rushing touchdowns this season and lead the country with 3,900 yards on the ground in 2003. Points will go to both teams, but in different fashions.
Best of the Bowl Games
Now that we've waded through the bizarre categories that twenty-eight different bowls fit themselves in to, here's a look at the top matchups of the postseason. These are the games you'll want to watch, even if it requires calling in sick to work....
Insight Bowl - Virginia Tech vs California   California has improved in the past two years but hasn't quite reached the top of the PAC 10. Virginia Tech was supposed to be a major contender in the Big East but flopped at midseason. With the game being in close-by Phoenix, this is a chance for the Bears to make a statement for not only themselves but also for the West Coast by knocking off Kevin Jones and the Hokies. Jeff Tedford's Bears will be ready.
Continental Tire Bowl - Virginia vs Pittsburgh   Virginia was supposed to be a contender in the ACC this season, but QB Matt Schaub's early-season injury got the Cavs off to a bad start. The Panthers took their Big East hopes right into the final weekend of their regular season but came up short. Depending on other circumstances, this could be WR Larry Fitzgerald's last game in college. It is definitely Schaub's, which means a close game with plenty of points should be expected.
Holiday Bowl - Washington State vs Texas   Along with the GMAC Bowl in Mobile, this game is one of two that seems to always end up in a close, down-to-the-wire type of contest. Whether it is supposed to be or not, you can always expect a thriller in San Diego. After all, who wouldn't be happy spending an extra week basking in the sun of southern Cal? Washington State, a close 2nd to USC in the PAC 10, and Texas, just behind OU in the Big XII South, should make this one a dandy.
Outback Bowl - Iowa vs Florida   And if you can't go to San Diego, why not Tampa? Many projected both of these teams to fall off drastically this season after the loss of fabulous QBs. The Hawkeyes' Brad Banks led Iowa to the BCS last year, while UF's Rex Grossman led the Gators to successful seasons in each of his years in Gainesville. Both teams rode out the storm but would have a liked to get another win or two this year. Here's a chance for each to add to their total.
Gator Bowl - Maryland vs West Virginia   At first glance, you might not think much about this game. Neither of these teams is known for their football prowess, but when you look at their 2003 accomplishments, this is one of the best postseason matchups. The Terps finished second in the ACC this year, only one game behind Florida State. West Virginia nearly pulled a Big East title out of the hat; if not for Kellen Winslow's miracle catch in Miami, WVU would be in the BCS.
Best of the Best of the Bowl Games
If you thought the games above were good, wait to you get a chance to look at the matchups listed below. Three of the BCS matchups are listed, with the exception of that rematch of Miami and Florida State. Three awesome games in four days....
Rose Bowl - Michigan vs Southern Cal   Oh, do the Trojans want this one! What a matchup this game is as it pits the winner of the Big Ten against the PAC 10's champ. USC, of course, feels they have a point to prove after being left out of the Sugar Bowl. But the Wolverines are most definitely not going to roll over and let USC run away with this one. UM sees it as a chance to knock off a national title contender and give a jumpstart to the 2004 season.
Fiesta Bowl - Ohio State vs Kansas State   The Buckeyes make their second straight trip to Tempe, but this time their opponent is a Big XII team, the Kansas State Wildcats. After KSU's trouncing of Oklahoma in the Big XII title game, this team looks as if they themselves have a point to prove. With Ohio State missing out on a chance to go to the national title game thanks to their loss at Michigan, who knows how the Buckeyes will play in this one?
Sugar Bowl - National Championship - LSU vs Oklahoma   Enough of the arguments about who should and who should not be playing in this game. The matchup is set, and the game should be a doozy. LSU fans, notorious for their rowdiness, will certainly attempt to take over the city of New Orleans. But the game will be won on the field, and that's where OU has a statement to make after getting spanked by Kansas State. With all the marbles on the line and two once-beaten teams, with my apologies to USC fans, could it get any better?
Go back to Part I of the SCS.com Bowl Notes....