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December 23, 2004

Part I   |   Part II   |   Part III



WHY TO WATCH: Mike Price was given an opportunity to coach again and has taken UTEP to great success in his first season. The Miners have one of the WAC's top RBs in Howard Jackson. The senior ran for 1150 yards this season and averaged almost 105 yards per contest on the ground.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: The Buffaloes were allowed to appear in the Big XII title game, but a second OU / Texas showdown would have been much more entertaining. Gary Barnett has helped his team avoid the distractions this season, but the better team and coach is on the opposite sideline.

THE EDITOR SAYS: UTEP 24 - Colorado 23


THE MATCHUP: Ohio State vs Oklahoma State MATCHUP RANKING: #10 of 28

WHY TO WATCH: Both of these teams hoped to be in better bowls when they came into the season, but that wasn't the case. This matchup of OSU's is still a very interesting one, however. The nation's second-best true freshman, Ohio State's Ted Ginn, Jr., shows his stuff in the Lone Star state.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: Ohio State came around toward the end of the season, winning four of their final five games. QB Troy Smith, however, was recently suspended for "team and NCAA violations." The Cowboys, meanwhile, struggled late, losing four of their last six. In a close one...

THE EDITOR SAYS: Ohio State 27 - Oklahoma State 24


THE MATCHUP: Boston College vs North Carolina MATCHUP RANKING: #26 of 28

WHY TO WATCH: North Carolina can be one of the more exciting teams in the country to watch when they're hitting on all cylinders. If you saw the Heels' upset of Miami earlier this year, you know what I mean. UNC QB Darian Durant has thrown for 2000 yards and run for 200 more this year.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: The Eagles are coming off a heart-breaking loss to Syracuse in their final regular season game. Had they won that contest, BC would be playing in Tempe, AZ in January. North Carolina was a decent team in a powerful ACC league and shows how bad the Big East really is.

THE EDITOR SAYS: North Carolina 28 - Boston College 21


THE MATCHUP: Navy vs New Mexico MATCHUP RANKING: #27 of 28

WHY TO WATCH: This doesn't appear to be one of the more thrilling bowl matchups on the schedule, but it should be a very interesting contest. Both teams love to run the ball. Navy is the nation's third-best rushing offense, while New Mexico's running attack is third-best in the Mountain West.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: Navy is a quality team but has struggled against top competition. The Midshipmen lost to Texas Tech in last year's bowl game by 24 points and to Notre Dame this season by 18. New Mexico RB DonTrell Moore, one of the nation's most underrated, gets it done.

THE EDITOR SAYS: New Mexico 34 - Navy 27


THE MATCHUP: (5) California vs Texas Tech MATCHUP RANKING: #9 of 28

WHY TO WATCH: It's the Holiday Bowl. Year in and year out, this game is consitently one of the bowl season's best. The last six matchups in San Diego have been decided by a TD or less. It will be interesting to see how Cal, disappointed about missing the BCS, reacts in their home state.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: The Texas Tech offense is a hard one to stop, but if the Cal defense can just slow the Red Raiders' attack down, they'll have a great shot at winning. Expect Golden Bear RB J.J. Arrington to make history by running for 100 yards in every game he played this season.

THE EDITOR SAYS: California 48 - Texas Tech 35


THE MATCHUP: Northern Illinois vs Troy MATCHUP RANKING: #28 of 28

WHY TO WATCH: This has got to be one of the least-intriguing bowl matchups in recent college football history. While both teams have had recent success, neither lived up to potential this season. If you're looking for a reason to watch: NIU RB Garrett Wolfe (1572 yds, 17 TDs, 157 YPG).

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: The Trojans got plenty of publicity for an early-season upset of Missouri but followed that performance up with losses to New Mexico State and Arkansas State later in the season. NIU has been tested and fared better in those tests throughout the season.

THE EDITOR SAYS: Northern Illinois 37 - Troy 20


THE MATCHUP: Alabama vs Minnesota MATCHUP RANKING: #13 of 28

WHY TO WATCH: This is one of those matchups that, while not a showdown between two great teams, is a game that should be fun to watch. The Crimson Tide defense is ranked number ten in the country, while the Gophers' rushing offense is the country's seventh best. Power vs power.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: Alabama was hampered by key injuries all season. UA scored at least 27 points in every game they won but did not score more than 13 in any of their five losses. Four TDs is the magic number, and the Tide "D" will hold Maroney, Barber, and Co. to one less than that.

THE EDITOR SAYS: Alabama 28 - Minnesota 27


THE MATCHUP: Arizona State vs Purdue MATCHUP RANKING: #16 of 28

WHY TO WATCH: These are two similar teams in that both had high expectations for the 2004 season, but both fell short of those goals. The Devils and Boilers have something to prove, and each would certainly like to end a disappointing season on a good note in El Paso.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: ASU QB Andrew Walter is out with a shoulder injury, so that hurts the Sun Devil offensive attack in a big way. After a mid-season crash, Purdue rebounded to win their last two and now has regained some confidence. Senior QB Kyle Orton goes out with a bang.

THE EDITOR SAYS: Purdue 38 - Arizona State 23


THE MATCHUP: (14) Boise State vs (7) Louisville MATCHUP RANKING: #4 of 28

WHY TO WATCH: I have had my eye on this matchup since Utah's trip to the BCS became more and more likely over the last month of the season. These two offenses are ranked numbers one and two in the land. UL averages 50.3 points a contest, the Broncos "only" 49.7.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: Boise State has yet to lose this season, but the Broncos have not been tested as much as UofL. The Cardinals nearly won at Miami earlier this year and did beat UNC and Memphis. Louisville's defense, ranked 20th nationally, is the difference in this one.

THE EDITOR SAYS: Louisville 52 - Boise State 24


THE MATCHUP: Florida vs (13) Miami MATCHUP RANKING: #6 of 28

WHY TO WATCH: This is another matchup many people had their eye on in the final few weeks of the season. This will mark the fourth time in the last five seasons the Gators and 'Canes have met on the field, with UM winning all three. An in-state showdown in bowl season is pretty special.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: The Gators had a sub-par season according to UF expectations and lost Coach Ron Zook after a mid-season loss at Mississippi State, angering some Gator players. UF responded with a win at Florida State to end the year, but Miami is better than FSU.

THE EDITOR SAYS: Miami 31 - Florida 21

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