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December 14, 2004

Part I   |   Part II   |   Part III


THE MATCHUP: North Texas vs Southern Miss MATCHUP RANKING: #24 of 28

WHY TO WATCH: Southern Miss has been one of the conference powers throughout the life of CUSA but has slipped in recent years. North Texas, meanwhile, has been the definition of steady. The Mean Green has played in the New Orleans Bowl each of the last three years.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: North Texas was excellent in the Sun Belt but unable to get the job done against top-flight opponents, losing to Texas by 65 and Colorado by 31. USM showed they've still got life by hanging right with Cal, and the Eagles will over-power UNT down in The Big Easy.

THE EDITOR SAYS: Southern Miss 27 - North Texas 13


THE MATCHUP: Georgia Tech vs Syracuse MATCHUP RANKING: #18 of 28

WHY TO WATCH: Two 6-5 teams get together in what should be a pleasant-weather bowl in Orlando. Both are playing as well as they have all season. SU is coming off an upset victory over Boston College, while GT gave rival Georgia all they wanted in Athens to end the season.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: Syracuse took advantage of what was an over-achieving BC team and made themselves look very good. The Yellow Jackets held opponents to under 20 points a game this season and will be able to contain Orange RB Walter Reyes on the way to a win.

THE EDITOR SAYS: Georgia Tech 31 - Syracuse 21


THE MATCHUP: Bowling Green vs Memphis MATCHUP RANKING: #14 of 28

WHY TO WATCH: If you like offense, you don't want to miss this one. BGSU averages over 43 points a contest, while the Tigers score over 35 a game, both averages good for top ten rankings nationally. Also watch two overlooked stars, BGSU QB Omar Jacobs and UM RB DeAngelo Williams.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: There's a good chance the last team with the ball will come out on top in this one. The Falcon defense, ranked second in the MAC with only 22 points per game allowed, will be the difference. Omar Jacobs runs and throws for plenty of scores.

THE EDITOR SAYS: Bowling Green 56 - Memphis 52


THE MATCHUP: Cincinnati vs Marshall MATCHUP RANKING: #22 of 28

WHY TO WATCH: This is yet another game that has the potential to turn into a shootout, though on a smaller scale than the above BGSU/UM matchup. It's also another battle of teams sitting at 6-5. Both teams have had disappointing seasons but could end on a good note here.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: The Marshall defense has given up an average of 36 points a game over the last three contests, two of them against the powerful offenses of Akron and Bowling Green. Look for QB Gino Guidugli to take advantage and for the Cat defense to make a play or two.

THE EDITOR SAYS: Cincinnati 35 - Marshall 20



WHY TO WATCH: As many of these early-season bowl games seem to be, the Las Vegas Bowl is another matchup of two 6-5 teams. Both have proven they can hang with the big boys this season. UW knocked off the SEC's Mississippi, while UCLA lost by just five to USC in the season finale.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: The Bruins are a much better team from a much tougher conference. The Cowboys have lost four of their last six after starting the season 4-1. UCLA RB Maurice Drew's is one of the PAC 10's best and will have a big day against the MWC's sixth-best rushing defense.

THE EDITOR SAYS: UCLA 28 - Wyoming 17



WHY TO WATCH: Another opportunity to see a shootout. Hawaii QB Timmy Chang has thrown for 3800 yards and 34 TDs this season (both second-best in the nation). UAB QB Darnell Hackney's favorite target is WR Roddy White, who has 1339 receiving yards this season (also 2nd best nationally).

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: Timmy Chang has had a tendency to throw interceptions throughout his career. This year has been no different as the senior threw 13 in 2004. Darnell Hackney has thrown just seven all season, so expect UAB to be careful with the ball and score early and often.

THE EDITOR SAYS: UAB 45 - Hawaii 35


THE MATCHUP: Fresno State vs Virginia MATCHUP RANKING: #20 of 28

WHY TO WATCH: Though both of these teams were disappointments in 2004, this matchup should be fun to watch thanks to three great RBs. FSU's Bryson Sumlin passed the 1000 yard mark this season, while UVA has two guys, Alvin Pearman and Wali Lundy, with more than 800 yards this fall.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: UVA QB Marques Hagans has the ability to be a playmaker but is not much of a threat through the air. FSU should be able to guard against the run of both the backs and Hagans, while the combo of Sumlin on the ground and Pinnegar through the air just gets it done.

THE EDITOR SAYS: Fresno State 31 - Virginia 28


THE MATCHUP: Connecticut vs Toledo MATCHUP RANKING: #21 of 28

WHY TO WATCH: This is Connecticut's first ever bowl appearance. Coach Randy Edsall has turned a D-IAA team into a Big East contender in just six years and will now take on one of the MAC's annual powers. The Rockets won the MAC West and then the overall title by beating Miami (Ohio).

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: Toledo is not great at stopping the run, and slowing UConn's Cornell Brockington will not by easy. The Huskies, however, have been slowed by the best teams on their schedule this season (BC, WVU, SYR, GT), so expect Toledo, a more experienced club, to come out on top.

THE EDITOR SAYS: Toledo 34 - Connecticut 27


THE MATCHUP: Iowa State vs Miami (Ohio) MATCHUP RANKING: #25 of 28

WHY TO WATCH: With the SEC failing to fill their slot, Miami was offered the chance to go bowling. Post-Roethlisberger, the Hawks have been just fine, winning the MAC East title this year. How will ISU react after a devestating loss to Colorado to end their regular season?

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: Iowa State got plenty of publicity towards the end of the season, but the truth is the Cyclones are just an average team from a bad division in the Big XII. Miami (Ohio) has much more talent and has played in big games like this in past seasons.

THE EDITOR SAYS: Miami (Ohio) 30 - Iowa State 21


THE MATCHUP: Notre Dame vs Oregon State MATCHUP RANKING: #12 of 28

WHY TO WATCH: This is a rematch of the Fiesta Bowl just a few years ago, but both teams have fallen since that date. The turn-around of the Beavers is a captivating story. Including their season-opening loss at LSU, OSU started 1-4. How will the Irish play without Ty Willingham on the sideline?

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: While the Irish are reeling from recent losses to Pittsburgh and Southern Cal (not to mention the loss of their coach), Oregon State has won five of their last six, the most recent being a 29-point blowout of rival Oregon. QB Derek Anderson leads OSU to victory.

THE EDITOR SAYS: Oregon State 42 - Notre Dame 24

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