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December 21, 2005

Memphis vs Akron

SCS.comThe battle of Detroit brings us an interesting bowl matchup this season. Akron won the MAC title game in the dome a couple weeks ago, while Memphis struggled to get bowl eligible and give their NFL caliber running back a bowl send-off. Akron is in their first-ever bowl game, which should make up for them being the only bowl-eligible team to not go to make a postsesaon appearance last season. It should be very loud in Detroit, and I suspect the football will be a lot of better football than that of the pro team that calls Ford Field home.

When Memphis has the ball, there is no question what the game plan is: handoff to DeAngelo Williams bunches of times. Memphis ranks 115th in the nation in passing and 6th in rushing, and the vast majority of their offense runs through Williams, who has 1750 yards and 15 TD this season. The Memphis quarterbacks are not highly efficient, which has spelled trouble against teams who can stack eight guys in the defensive front and hold their own in the backfield. Akron is not great against the run, but their defense may have a shot considering how one-dimensional Memphis is. If Memphis gets out to a lead, then Akron is in trouble, with the defense getting more and more tired with every Williams carry.

Akron is the flip side of Memphis, as their mediocre offense is driven by their passing game instead of the running game. Luke Getsy has shined this season, throwing for exactly 3000 yards. WR Domenik Hixon makes most of the big yardage plays, but Jason Montgomery has just as many touchdowns this year and cannot be ignored. Their running game is not terrible, but the offensive line will have trouble opening holes as they have all year. Memphis has a good defensive backfield, but they will be tested by the high-powered passing offense. This could come down to whoever has the ball last because it will probably be a high scoring game.

Staff Predictions:
Jonathan David Reed Cortney Jeff
Memphis Memphis Memphis Akron Memphis

Clemson vs Colorado

SCS.comAnd now we give you the Buffaloes! These amazing boys from Boulder tried in every way to give Iowa State the Big XII North Title, but they backed in with a 30-3 loss to Nebraska and then were rewarded with a second pounding from the Longhorns 70-3. All jokes aside, Colorado has some serious issues despite winning the weak Big XII North four of the last five seasons, and Gary Barnett has been axed already. Is there any way Colorado can bounce back from the end of the season, or will the no-show Buffaloes strike again? Before they are forgotten, there is that other team in the bowl, and Clemson was a couple overtimes and close games from 10-1 or 11-0. Even if Colorado shows up to play, this will be a tough test.

Charlie Whitehurst leads a good Clemson passing attack into this game, assuming he can get over his injury. The backup QB Will Proctor is competent, and Clemson will still be fine with him running the offense. The Tigers are a show of balance between run and pass, and their rushing attack is a close split between fantastic freshman James Davis and his co-rusher Reggie Merriweather. These guys bring a nice one-two punch to the Clemson offense, and Colorado will have to be ready for different running styles depending on who is in the game. Clemson might not put up huge numbers, but Colorado will have trouble stopping their balanced attack.

For Colorado, the balanced attack is led by QB Joel Klatt and RB Hugh Charles. These guys put up some good numbers early in the season, but as mentioned previously, the offense has not seen a touchdown in a month and a half. Clemson has a strong defense which has not been picked apart by any of the great ACC teams this season, and Colorado should not be much of a challenge. Sometimes a cornered team or offensive unit puts up a huge surprise when everything is falling apart around them, so you cannot count out Colorado until they lose on the field. One thing Colorado has going for them is Mason Crosby, arguably the best kicker in the country, and in a close game, the special teams advantage will help the Buffaloes.

Staff Predictions:
Jonathan David Reed Cortney Jeff
Clemson Clemson Clemson Clemson Clemson

Arizona State vs Rutgers

SCS.comRutgers gets their first bowl bid in 30 years, and they are rewarded with a road game essentially. Arizona State may not have huge motivation considering they do not leave home for the bowl game, but the familiarity with the home field does have its advantages. This game has some of the best freshmen performers in the country all on one field. The question will be who will step up and lead their team to victory in what appears to be a game too close to call.

Arizona State lost a good starter in QB Sam Keller at midseason, but they found a future crown jewel in freshman Rudy Carpenter. Keegan Herring, another freshman, leads the Sun Devil rushing attack. These guys will keep Arizona State in Pac-10 contention for years to come, and their experienced offensive linemen help lead the unit. We also cannot forget about Derek Hagan, the great ASU receiver ending his career at home in this bowl game. The Sun Devils have the third best offense in the country, and Rutgers will be on their heels all day trying to stop this attack.

What Rutgers gives up on defense, they more than make up for on offense. Rutgers freshman RB Ray Rice will carry most of the weight in this game, but he has a capable backup in Brian Leonard and a decent passing attack to complement his game. The Arizona State defense has given up tons of points in the Pac-10 this year, so Rutgers may surprise with a lot of offense in this game. If the Scarlet Knights can dominate the time of possession and keep ASU's offense off the field, they have a good chance to bring back the victory to chilly New Jersey.

Staff Predictions:
Jonathan David Reed Cortney Jeff
Arizona State Arizona State Arizona State Arizona State Arizona State

Boise State vs Boston College

SCS.comFrom one home game to another, Boise State will defend the blue turf for another season in this bowl game. The Broncos had some rough spots this year, but Boston College gives them an opportunity to knock off a team at home who really wishes they were bowling somewhere else. BC was a couple mistakes away from winning the ACC's Atlantic division, and it has to hurt watching Florida State go to a BCS bowl game when they are arguably better. Boise State has won 31 straight at home, and BC has quite a challenge on their hands despite being the best team in this bowl in a few seasons.

Boise State scores a lot of points, and it all starts with their strong rushing attack of Lee Marks and Ian Johnson. Despite throwing a lot of interceptions in big games, QB Jared Zabransky is a solid starter who leads the high powered Bronco offense. Zabransky has some tall receivers to throw to, and Boston College will have trouble covering them. I expect Boston College to bring a lot of pressure to try and disrupt the passing game, so this is another game where the quick passes will be important to success.

Boston College is led by two signal-callers who split time, senior Quinton Porter and sophomore Matt Ryan. Both have been about as effective as the other, but Ryan led BC to a couple of late-season wins when they desperately needed them. L.V. Whitworth and Andre Callender split time rushing the ball, so Boise State has a few weapons to prepare for. The key to this game will be the battle in the trenches. Boise State has only lost games when they were knocked around by more athletic and bigger offensive and defensive lines (see Georgia game, for example), and BC has the right personnel to win that battle and perhaps the game.

Staff Predictions:
Jonathan David Reed Cortney Jeff
Boston College Boise State Boise State Boston College Boston College

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