Breaking news, rankings, predictions and analysis all in one place.

College Bowl Picks (Dec. 31st)

Advocare V100 Bowl: Boston College vs. Arizona
Two of the nation's best running backs hope to lead their team to victory in this matchup of 7-5 teams. Arizona's junior back Ka'Deem Carey had 1,716 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns, while leading Arizona to a strong season and a win over Oregon. Meanwhile, Boston College used senior bruiser Andre Williams to receive their first bowl bid since 2010 when they lost in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl to Nevada. The Wildcats' defense has been exposed at times this year and few teams have proven they can tame Williams. Williams had 2,102 yards and 17 touchdowns, recording 6.4 yards a carry. Boston College doesn't have a balanced offense but they can throw the ball occasionally. Senior quarterback Chase Rettig had a solid year with 17 touchdowns, completing over 61% of his throws. Much of those touchdowns were to senior receiver Alex Amidon, who had 67 receptions and 903 yards. Not only is Amidon Rettig's top target, he is really his only target. Other than Amidon, the second-leading receiver was senior tight end Mike Naples who had just 9 receptions. Boston College and linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis won't just have to worry about the Walker finalist Carey. They will have to deal with dual threat QB B.J. Denker who has been great this year after replacing Matt Scott who was extremely impressive in 2012. Denker has a good arm he had 2,241 passing yards and also had 898 yards on the ground. His speed and carrying ability is a necessity in Arizona's offense, which relies heavily on the read-option. Both of these teams are going to want to run the ball and both defenses have to prove they can stop the run. It could come down to turnovers where I think the Wildcats can make some plays.
Arizona, 28 Boston College, 19

Sun Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. UCLA
A Virginia Tech team accustomed to winning bowl games square off in an interesting Sun Bowl
Brett Hundley
against UCLA, who has yet to find continual bowl success. The Hokies will say goodbye to senior quarterback Logan Thomas who had a rollercoaster of a career with them. I've always felt that Thomas had the potential to be a star but once more he struggled with turnovers and had just a 57% completion percentage. Thomas has some help around him, including sophomore receiver Demitri Knowles and freshman back Trey Edmunds, who ran for 675 yards this year. The Hokies have payed some tough defenses in the ACC, but the Bruins' defense might be the toughest they see all year. Senior linebacker Anthony Barr is a sack machine and will constantly be disrupting Thomas. Even when Barr doesn't get sacks he can still make the quarterback uneasy in the pocket. UCLA, meanwhile, will lean on sophomore Brett Hundley and Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Myles Jack to move the ball against a tough Virginia Tech defense. Hundley, a dual threat, with an accurate arm can also extend plays with his speed and agility. Jack, who will also see significant time at linebacker, is a powerful back who can run over people but can also mix in some speed. Virginia Tech's defense has some studs like Jack Tyler at linebacker who is a good pass rusher and two interception machines in Kendall Fuller and Brandon Facyson. Hundley must make sure he is making smart decisions with the ball against this ball-hawking secondary, which will capitalize on mistakes. Virginia Tech will slow down UCLA's offense but can they get enough from Thomas and Edmunds to score enough of their own?
UCLA, 31 Virginia Tech, 27

Liberty Bowl: Rice vs. Mississippi State
Mississippi State waited until the last possible second to sneak into bowl eligibility, escaping rival Ole Miss in overtime in the Egg Bowl. Now, they get quite a challenge in the Liberty Bowl against a Rice team who is 10-3 and just won the Conference USA. The Owls success this year has been thanks to their dominant rushing attack that is led by senior back Charles Ross who had 1,252 yards in his final year with Rice. Senior quarterback Taylor McHargue has struggled to make the throws he made last year at times but still finished with 17 touchdowns and 2,261 yards. McHargue also proved that he could make plays with his legs as well, recording 466 yards on the year. McHargue is bound to make mistakes like any quarterback and Mississippi State is going to take advantage when he does. For years the Bulldogs have had a great secondary with guys like Jonathan Banks and that has not changed this year. Nickoe Whitley is a shutdown defensive back who had five picks this year and will look for some big plays. Mississippi State managed to still keep their season alive even when senior QB Tyler Russell went out for the year with a torn labrum. Sophomore Dak Prescott is likely to be healthy and start. Prescott is the Bulldogs' leading rusher and thrower combining for 2,408 on both this year. Junior receiver Jameon Lewis will be another playmaker for the Bulldogs and another threat Rice has to watch out for. Lewis is small standing at just 5'9" but has deep speed which helped him rack together 703 yards this season. If Mississippi State is up to the task of stopping Ross and they get some big plays on offense they could win this one. The more likely case scenario is that Rice escapes.
Rice, 24 Mississippi State, 14

Chick-fil-A Bowl: Duke vs. Texas A&M
It could be a sad day for Aggies fans as they could be watching the last games of both Mike Evans and Johnny Manziel, who have had two incredible years. Manziel had yet another historical season, recording 3,732 passing yards and 686 rushing yards. His connection with Evans has burned more than a few defensive backs this year. The junior has 1,322 yards this year, averaging 20 yards every catch. Duke hopes they have the cornerback that can stop him in senior Ross Cockrell who could be playing on Sundays. Duke offense hinges on a two quarterback system in juniors Anthony Boone and Brandon Connette. Boone has a big arm and is mobile but David Cutcliffe has given Connette the reigns of the offense at times because Boone is prone to mistakes. Boone had 10 touchdowns with 11 interceptions to go along with it, while Connette had 13 touchdowns to just 6 picks. No matter who is at quarterback we know their primary target. Junior receiver Jamison Crowder has 96 receptions and 1,197 yards this year, proving to be a deep threat. The ground attack is also split between Jela Duncan and junior Josh Snead. Both have great vision and are reliable for a couple of yards. They combined for over 1,000 yards this year. The Aggies' defense has been the issue for them this season, practically costing them games against Auburn and Alabama. The pass defense has been absolutely terrible and they lack a consistent pass rusher which they had in 2012 in Damontre Moore. Manziel, Evans and speedy back Ben Malena can put up a ton of points but Texas A&M isn't going to win this one unless the defense steps up.
Texas A&M, 38 Duke, 33

No comments:

Theme images by LUGO. Powered by Blogger.