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December 28, 2007

2007 Bowl Preview Series

The bowl season kicks into high gear with some intriguing New Year’s Eve bowl games. Six BCS teams square off. The bowl game that will get the most publicity is the Music City Bowl, due to the cheating scandal that will leave Florida State with a very short bench. Indiana and Oklahoma State will play in a very evenly matched Insight Bowl. Lastly, Clemson and Auburn play in one of the best non-BCS bowls. How is Clemson’s high powered offense going to do against Auburn’s shut down defense that ranks 5th in scoring defense? That question and more will soon be answered.

Music City | Insight | Chick-Fil-A

SCS.comMUSIC CITY BOWL - Kentucky vs Florida State
December 31 - 3:00 PM CST ESPN - Nashville, TN

The matchup...

Florida State will travel without 36 players, mostly due to a cheating scandal that broke a few weeks ago. The players cheated while taking an online course. 13 of the players not making the trip to Nashville started a game this year. Bobby Bowden, who might be coaching his last game, will only have 43 scholarship players to work with.
Kentucky is going to have stay focused and on task. They can‘t get overconfident or cocky. They need to put FSU away early. Kentucky needs this win to end the season on a high note. Their last game was a crushing 3 OT loss to rival Tennessee.

When Kentucky has the ball...

Kentucky’s NFL bound Andre Woodson leads a potent passing attack. He threw for over 3300 yards and 36 touchdowns this year. He has thrown 6 interceptions in his last 4 games, three of which were losses. WR Steve Johnson has come up with several clutch catches and performances this season. His coming out party was against LSU when he had 7 catches for 134 yards and 1 touchdown. Keenan Burton and Dicky Lyons are also stellar receivers. Jacob Tamme is a reliable TE who caught 9 passes for 104 yards and 1 touchdown in the season finale loss to Tennessee. RB Rafael Little is a great receiver out of the backfield. In just eight games, Little has ran and caught for 1158 total yards.
Let me “try” to break down FSU’s defense, or whatever is left of it. FSU will be without Dekoda Watson, a starting LB. Patrick Watson also will be M.I.A., the teams leader in interceptions. They will also be missing some d-line starters. So, what does it all mean? It means that the 36th ranked defense is probably not good enough to hold Kentucky under 30 points. It would be one of the most amazing feats in college football history if they held Woodson and the Wildcats to under 30 points (Sorry Appalachian State).

When Florida State has the ball...

FSU will be missing several important offensive linemen, but they will have most of their important skill players available. QB Drew Weatherford will be making the trip. However, Xavier Lee, who started three games this year, will not make the trip. Oddly enough, this bodes well for FSU. Weatherford plays the best when Lee is not lurking on the sideline, like when he threw for over 300 yards in a win over Boston College. RB Antone Smith is going to play a big role in the offense against Kentucky if FSU plans to win the game. The longer FSU has the ball the better. De’Cody Fagg and Greg Carr, the Seminoles top two receivers, have struggled with dropped balls this year. They need to play flawlessly for FSU to win.
Kentucky‘s rush defense ranks 92nd in the nation. The Wildcats only managed to hold one team under 100 yards rushing this year. If FSU can give Smith more than 20 carries, which only happened three times this year, they should be successful on offense. Kentucky, who usually stops the pass well, gave up 7 touchdowns to Erik Ainge in the season finale loss to UT. LB Wesley Woodyard leads the team in tackles and is 2nd in tackles for loss. This senior is the leader of the defense and will make sure his team is focused although FSU is undermanned.

Star watch...

Andre Woodson was the Heisman frontrunner after Kentucky beat LSU. A week later, He had a good game in a loss to Florida. After that, Woodson was not the same QB he was at the start of the season. He did play fairly well against Tennessee. Woodson should have his best game of the season against the depleted FSU defense. This game could catapult him into a top 10-20 pick in next year‘s draft.

Deciding factor...

Kentucky has to remained focused. The FSU players that do make the trip will be pumped and excited to prove the skeptics wrong. The Seminoles are not going to roll over. Coach Bobby Bowden will have the troops ready. Kentucky needs to be ready for a battle. Otherwise, we might have the biggest upset of the bowl season.

The staff says...

- - - - - F o o t b a l l   S t a f f - - - - - - - - O t h e r   S t a f f - - -
David Gregg Joey Jonathan Matt Ben Daniel Eddie Larry
177-97 169-105 175-99 179-95 165-109 - S e a s o n   R e c o r d s -

SCS.comINSIGHT BOWL - Oklahoma State vs Indiana
December 31 - 5:00 PM CST NFL Network - Tempe, AZ

The matchup...

Some people only know Oklahoma State for this youtube phenomenon. ( However, there is more to them than the famous online video. Oklahoma State, who was ranked in most preseason polls, had a disappointing year. They managed a 4-4 in conference record, which is not to bad. However, their blowout losses to Georgia and Troy were very disappointing. OSU failed to beat a top 25 team, just like their opponent Indiana.
The Hoosiers had a great season, even though their record was just 7-5. Terry Hoepner, their head coach since 2005, passed away June 19th, 2007. Indiana, motivated like no other team in America, won seven games for the first time since 1994. They beat Purdue on a last second field goal to lock up a bowl bid, the first since 1993 for Indiana. Bill Lynch gets my vote for coach of the year.

When Oklahoma State has the ball...

Oklahoma State has one of the best offenses in college football. They have the 7th ranked rushing offense. They have three players who ran for over 600 yards. RB Dantrell Savage ran for over 100 yards in all the games he started except the season opener. QB Zac Robinson scored 27 total touchdowns. He is a better passer than people give him credit for. His main target is Adarius Bowman. The senior caught 61 passes for 932 yards and 7 touchdowns. Oklahoma State, who averages 34 points per game, will be tough to stop.
Indiana‘s defense is good, at times. They were dominated a few times this year, like when Michigan State scored 52 points against them. The defense has improved in their final 3 or 4 games. The Hoosiers do a good job at getting after the quarterback. DE Greg Middleton leads the nation in sacks. The sophomore brought down the QB 16 times this year. Cornerback Tracy Porter leads the team with six interceptions. The Hoosiers have scored three defensive touchdowns this season.

When Indiana has the ball...

James Hardy is in a class all by himself when it comes to catching the ball. The junior from Fort Wayne, Indiana is arguably the best WR in college football. He is 6‘7“ 220 lbs. He is Indiana‘s all time leader in receiving touchdowns, yards, and receptions. He reeled in 16 touchdowns this year. He only failed to catch a touchdown against one team, Wisconsin. Kellen Lewis is the QB passing him the ball. Lewis is a blossoming star. He is the team‘s leading paser and rusher. The offense can be just as powerful as the Cowboy‘s offense. If Hardy comes back next year, they should be able to make a run at a nine or ten win season.
How is Oklahoma State‘s defense? “It‘s garbage!.” Gundy would know, he is the coach. OSU has the 103rd ranked defense in the nation. They allow over 445 yards per game. Only three teams are worse at stopping the pass than the Cowboys. OSU gave up over 35 points eight times this year. Cornerback Jacob Lacey has 5 interceptions and has recorded 62 tackles. He is the main playmaker on this struggling defense.

Star watch...

Kellen Lewis is what makes this Indiana team tick. He, like Juice Williams from Illinois, have had impressive sophomore years. Lewis runs like a running back and throws like a Big Ten QB that is only a year away from being 1st or 2nd team Big Ten All-American. Lewis threw for 14 touchdowns and 7 interceptions in 2006. This year he threw 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The sky is the limit for this budding QB.

Deciding factor...

Special teams is going to play a huge role in this game. OSU‘s Perrish Cox has one punt and one kickoff return for a touchdown this year. For Indiana, James Bailey has returned one kickoff for a touchdown. Tracy Porter is a dangerous punt returner who is just begging to take one to the house. Punters and special teamers beware, these are some of the best returners in college football.

The staff says...

- - - - - F o o t b a l l   S t a f f - - - - - - - - O t h e r   S t a f f - - -
David Gregg Joey Jonathan Matt Ben Daniel Eddie Larry
177-97 169-105 175-99 179-95 165-109 - S e a s o n   R e c o r d s -

SCS.comCHICK-FIL-A BOWL - Auburn vs Clemson
December 31 - 6:30 PM CST ESPN - Atlanta, GA

The matchup...

Auburn was one of the best teams in the SEC mainly due to their amazing defense. Their offense is hit and miss, but their defense is always strong. 3 of Auburn‘s 4 losses were to ranked teams. They ended the season with a 17-10 win over rival Alabama. That win was their 6th straight Iron Bowl victory.
Clemson also has a great defense, which ranks 10th in scoring defense. Their offense has the ability to put up over 40 points, something they did five times this year. Clemson just missed going to the ACC championship game. However, they are a young team that put together a very impressive nine win season. Clemson‘s young QB will be put to the test against a scaryAuburn defense. My money is on the “Tigers.”

When Auburn has the ball...

Auburn is a great team, but they might have the worst offense in the SEC. Senior QB Brandon Cox is up and down. Some games he is a solid QB and a great team leader. At other times, he turns the ball over and is a statue in the pocket. Kodi Burns is a freshman who can run, but he is not a proven passer. He might lead a series or two, but Cox will be the go to guy. Auburn will play three running backs. Ben Tate is the leading rusher with over 800 yards. Brad Lester and Mario Fannin will get a few carries through out the game. Auburn’s offesnive playmaker is WR Rodgeriqus Smith who caught 48 passes for 660 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Clemson‘s defense is balanced. They rank 6th at stopping the run and 14th at stopping the pass. Michael Hamlin and Chris Chancellor both have four interceptions. Clemson will be without senior LB Nick Watkins, who leads the team in tackles. He was suspended due to academic reasons. Starting linebacker Tramaine Billie and offensive tackle Christian Capote have also been suspended. Only one team has scored more than 26 points on Clemson‘s defense. I have a hard time believing that Auburn will score 27 points unless they score a few defensive touchdowns, even with the suspensions.

When Clemson has the ball...

Clemson has two tremendous running backs, C.J. Spiller and James Davis. Davis, the elder, ran for 992 yards and 9 touchdowns this year. Spiller ran for 656 yards. Spiller is very good at catching the ball from out of the backfield. QB Cullen Harper is one of the best freshman in the country, along with Sam Bradford of Oklahoma and Michael Crabtree of Texas Tech. Harper threw for 27 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions in his first year. Aaron Kelly caught an impressive 84 passes for 1045 yards and 11 touchdowns. Clemson will be dangerous next year with their main skill players returning.
Auburn’s defense is just plain nasty. They shut down opposing offenses like Wal-Mart shuts down Mom and Pop stores. Only three teams scored more than 20 points on the Tigers this year. One of those games was an overtime loss to South Florida. Auburn has the 6th ranked pass defense. CB Jerraud Powers, who had a dog bite his hand against Georgia (, is the main reason Auburn stops the pass so well. He leads the team in tackles and is tied for the lead in interceptions. DE Antonio Coleman is a force off the end. He leads the team in sacks and tackles for loss. He is Quentin Groves’ successor. Clemson has a powerful offense. Auburn has a stout defense. This game is going to be fun!

Star watch...

Junior receiver Aaron Kelly only caught 30 balls last year. That is because most passes were being thrown to and caught by standout Chansi Stuckey. Kelly responded impressively to the pressure of being the number one receiver. His 1045 yards and 11 touchdowns lead the ACC. He will face a serious challenge when he attacks an Auburn secondary that is one of the best in the country.

Deciding factor...

Clemson‘s defense will be without two starting linebackers, who also happen to be fifth year seniors. Lucky for them, Auburn is not the strongest offensive team. If Clemson can still manage to keep Auburn under 20 points, they should be in good shape to win the game. Clemson‘s offense is likely to score between over 20 points, something they have done in ten games this year.

The staff says...

- - - - - F o o t b a l l   S t a f f - - - - - - - - O t h e r   S t a f f - - -
David Gregg Joey Jonathan Matt Ben Daniel Eddie Larry
177-97 169-105 175-99 179-95 165-109 - S e a s o n   R e c o r d s -

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