Professor’s Bowl Picks

2010-11 College Football Bowls

Happy Holidays and welcome back to The Campus Game.

Below is the lineup for all 2010-2011 college football bowl games (listing courtesy of the Rivals website).

Professor’s Picks will be posted before the bowl is played.

For those interested in taking part in a bowl prediction contest, let me recommend Phil Steele’s site … it’s great.

Enjoy!

* All times Eastern

NEW MEXICO BOWL
BYU (6-6) vs. UTEP (6-6)
WHEN: Dec. 18, 2 p.m., ESPN
WHERE: Albuquerque
COMMENT: BYU fans and players are probably happy to be at a new bowl venue after five straight seasons in Las Vegas. Albuquerque may not be able to match the strip for excitement, but the change suits the Cougars fine.
PROFESSOR’S PICK:  BYU

HUMANITARIAN BOWL
Fresno State (8-4) vs. Northern Illinois (10-3)
WHEN: Dec. 18, 5:30 p.m., ESPN
WHERE: Boise, Idaho
COMMENT: NIU enters the game after losing head coach Jerry Kill to Minnesota (a good hire for the Gophers by the way), and play the always tough Bulldogs of Fresno. Advantage to Pat Hill’s boys from the Valley.
PROFESSOR”S PICK: FRESNO STATE

NEW ORLEANS BOWL
Ohio (8-4) vs. Troy (7-5)
WHEN: Dec. 18, 8 p.m., ESPN
WHERE: New Orleans
COMMENT: The Ohio Bobcats let a MAC Championship slip away at the end of the season, but a trip to the Big Easy is quite a consolation.
PROFESSOR’S PICK: OHIO

BEEF O’BRADY’S BOWL
Louisville (6-6) vs. Southern Miss (8-4)
WHEN: Dec. 21, 8 p.m., ESPN
WHERE: St. Petersburg, Fla.
COMMENT: Louisville earned a bowl bid in Charlie Strong’s first season at the helm, and should finish the season with a winning record after grounding the Golden Eagles.
PROFESSOR’S PICK: LOUISVILLE

MAACO LAS VEGAS BOWL
Boise State (11-1) vs. Utah (10-2)
WHEN: Dec. 22, 8 p.m., ESPN
WHERE: Las Vegas
COMMENT: If not for an overtime loss on the road at Nevada to end the regular season the Broncos would be spending New Year’s Day at the Rose Bowl. Still, a trip to the strip makes for a nice consolation prize. At one point this season, Utah ranked with Boise and TCU as the most prominent BCS buster threats, but back-to-back blowout losses to the Horned Frogs and Notre Dame sent the Utes tumbling down the polls (they rank 19th versus Boise’s #10). This is one of the better early bowls and emotions could get a little testy (the teams sparred in a pre-bowl social and at least on Ute tittered about Boise on Twitter). The hunch here is that Boise sends Utah off to the PAC-10 with a close loss.
PROFESSOR’S PICK: BOISE STATE

POINSETTIA BOWL
Navy (9-3) at San Diego State (8-4)
WHEN: Dec. 23, 8 p.m., ESPN
WHERE: San Diego
COMMENT: Brady Hoke takes the SDS Aztecs to a hometown bowl in his second season, but will gain little advantage because of the huge Navy presence in San Diego. The Middies may really feel at home … the field has been under water most of the week. Nice game, but going with the Academy.
PROFESSOR’S PICK: NAVY

HAWAII BOWL
Tulsa (9-3) at Hawaii (10-3)
WHEN: Dec. 24, 8 p.m., ESPN
WHERE: Honolulu
COMMENT: Santa should watch out as he passes the 50th state on Christmas Eve because footballs and aerial fireworks might light up the Honolulu sky. Hawaii and Tulsa rank 9th and 10th respectively in scoring offense, and the home state Warriors are the nation’s top-rated passing team. Have a nice family dinner then settle in and enjoy the last college football game for a few days … oh, leave Santa a cookie too.
PROFESSOR’S PICK: HAWAII

LITTLE CAESARS PIZZA BOWL
Florida International (6-6) vs. Toledo (8-4)
WHEN: Dec. 26, 8:30 p.m., ESPN
WHERE: Detroit
COMMENT: Toledo has the better record and plays in a tougher conference, but FIU (playing its first bowl game) faced a much more challenging non-conference schedule. Slight edge to the Rockets.
PROFESSOR’S PICK: TOLEDO

INDEPENDENCE BOWL
Air Force (8-4) vs. Georgia Tech (6-6)
WHEN: Dec. 27, 5 p.m., ESPN
WHERE: Shreveport, La.
COMMENT: Don’t blink because the Independence Bowl might be the quickest game of the holiday season. This pairing of the nation’s top two rushing teams makes must see television viewing for option football aficianados (like me!).
PROFESSOR’S PICK: AIR FORCE

CHAMPS SPORTS BOWL
NC State (8-4) vs. West Virginia (9-3)
WHEN: Dec. 28, 6:30 p.m., ESPN
WHERE: Orlando
COMMENT: WVU plays its first game since the odd decision of AD Oliver Luck to announce that coach Bill Stewart would return for only one more season before being replaced by newly named “coach in waiting” Dana Holgorsen of Oklahoma State.  The coach in waiting plan didn’t work too well at Texas or Maryland. so this bowl and the whole 2011 season will be interesting in Morgantown. At NC State, the Wolfpack looked like the top team in the ACC Atlantic for most of the year, but a final game loss to Maryland kept the Pack out of the conference title game. Pretty good early bowl week matchup, and I like the Mountaineers if their heads are on straight after the pushing out of Stewart.
PROFESSOR’S PICK: WEST VIRGINIA

INSIGHT BOWL
Iowa (7-5) vs. Missouri (10-2)
WHEN: Dec. 28, 10 p.m., ESPN
WHERE: Tempe, Ariz.
COMMENT: Iowa looked like a national title contender to start the year, but dropped dramatically as the season unfolded. The Hawkeyes arrive in the desert on a three-game losing skid. Iowa will also be without leading receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos and leading rusher Adam Robinson due to suspension. Mizzou’s season finished up on a more positive note. Not expected to contend for a conference crown to begin the year, the Tigers were in the Big 12 North race to the end and can cap off an eleven-win season with a victory. Let’s go with Mizzou as too much turmoil may doom the Hawkeyes.
PROFESSOR’S PICK: MIZZOU

MILITARY BOWL
East Carolina (6-6) vs. Maryland (8-4)
WHEN: Dec. 29, 2:30 p.m., ESPN
WHERE: Washington, D.C.
COMMENT: Ralph Friedgen coaches his last game for Maryland, as the Terps forced him out. On the other sideline, Ruffin McNeil is just getting started with ECU, taking the Pirates to a bowl game in his first year at the helm. Go with the Fridge.
PROFESSOR’S PICK: MARYLAND

TEXAS BOWL
Baylor (7-5) vs. Illinois (6-6)
WHEN: Dec. 29, 6 p.m., ESPN
WHERE: Houston
COMMENT: A couple of mid-level teams from power conferences meet in Houston. Neither team excites me much, but I do like head coach Art Briles of the Bears.
PROFESSOR’S PICK: BAYLOR

ALAMO BOWL
Arizona (7-5) vs. Oklahoma State (10-2)
WHEN: Dec. 29, 9:15 p.m., ESPN
WHERE: San Antonio
COMMENT: One of the top pre-New Year’s Day bowls with OK State’s prolific offense facing a typically sturdy Mike Stoops Wildcats D. Cowboys looked pretty strong this year and should get the win.
PROFESSOR’S PICK: OK STATE

ARMED FORCES BOWL
Army (6-6) at SMU (7-6)
WHEN: Dec. 30, noon, ESPN
WHERE: Dallas
COMMENT: Nice contrast between the pass-happy Mustangs of SMU and the infantry-style ground assault of the Army Cadets. While it would be nice to see the long, gray line pull out the win in a bowl named partially for them, I expect June Jones and SMU to win.
PROFESSOR’S PICK: SMU

PINSTRIPE BOWL
Kansas State (7-5) vs. Syracuse (7-5)
WHEN: Dec. 30, 3:15 p.m., ESPN
WHERE: New York
COMMMENT: Who said the weather in NYC wouldn’t be bowl worthy? Snow halfway up the Empire State Building should not dampen the majesty of football at Yankee Stadium. Doug Marrone has done a nice job with the Orange, students at the Cuse are used to the white stuff, (and I have a student intern on his staff), so that’s the pick.
PROFESSOR’S PICK: SYRACUSE

MUSIC CITY BOWL
North Carolina (7-5) vs. Tennessee (6-6)
WHEN: Dec. 30, 6:45 p.m., ESPN
WHERE: Nashville
COMMENT: Typically solid November rebound for the Vols (soft schedule doesn’t hurt) landed them in a home-state bowl. UNC may be more talented, but UT is grittier and will have a big crowd advantage.
PROFESSOR’S PICK: TENNESSEE

HOLIDAY BOWL
Nebraska (10-3) vs. Washington (6-6)
WHEN: Dec. 30, 10 p.m., ESPN
WHERE: San Diego
COMMENT: Tough to pick against Nebraska since the Huskers steamrolled the Huskies earlier this season.
PROFESSOR’S PICK: NEBRASKA

MEINEKE CAR CARE BOWL
Clemson (6-6) vs. USF (8-4)
WHEN: Dec. 31, noon, ESPN
WHERE: Charlotte
COMMENT: South Florida may be a rising program in the Big East (the conference certainly needs one), while Clemson underachieved in 2010.
PROFESSOR’S PICK: USF

SUN BOWL
Miami (7-5) vs. Notre Dame (7-5)
WHEN: Dec. 31, 2 p.m., CBS
WHERE: El Paso, Texas
COMMENT: Echoes of the great old “Catholics vs Convicts” series of the late 80s and early 90s … ND is still Catholic, the U features fewer criminals, and neither is nearly as good as those fabulous teams. Irish probably a bit hungrier as Canes await arrival of new coach Al Golden.
PROFESSOR’S PICK: NOTRE DAME

LIBERTY BOWL
Georgia (6-6) vs. UCF (10-3)
WHEN: Dec. 31, 3:30 p.m., ESPN
WHERE: Memphis
COMMENT: On paper, the game should be one of the bigger talent mismatches of the bowl season. UCF may keep it competitive, but Georgia should win this game as Dogs begin quest for dramatic improvement in 2011.
PROFESSOR’S PICK: GEORGIA

CHICK-FIL-A BOWL
Florida State (9-3) vs. South Carolina (9-4)
WHEN: Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
WHERE: Atlanta
COMMENT: Traditionally one of the closest, most exciting bowl games each year and this one should be no exception. SC fans are among the nation’s most loyal and FSU followers are excited to see Noles back in a nice post-season game.
PROFESSOR’S PICK: SOUTH CAROLINA

TICKETYCITY BOWL
Northwestern (7-5) vs. Texas Tech (7-5)
WHEN: Jan. 1, noon, ESPNU
WHERE: Dallas
COMMENT: The real Cotton Bowl hosts T-Tech and Northwestern. Home state Red Raiders offensive attack should be too much for Wildcats.
PROFESSOR’S PICK: TEXAS TECH

OUTBACK BOWL
Florida (7-5) vs. Penn State (7-5)
WHEN: Jan. 1, 1 p.m., ABC
WHERE: Tampa
COMMENT: The Urban Meyer era at Florida ends against the endless regime of Joe Paterno at Penn State. The college game will miss Meyer (and I’m not convinced he will ever coach again), while fans should enjoy the national treasure that is Joe Pa while we have him. Tough call, but Gators rise up and win one for their departing coach.
PROFESSOR’S PICK: FLORIDA

CAPITAL ONE BOWL
Alabama (9-3) vs. Michigan State (11-1)
WHEN: Jan. 1, 1 p.m., ESPN
WHERE: Orlando
COMMENT: The Spartans feel disrespected that they dropped this far in the bowl pecking order with only one loss, and seem irritated about the attention Alabama is getting too. Tide should be playing a later game for higher stakes. They whip State.
PROFESSOR’S PICK: ALABAMA

GATOR BOWL
Michigan (7-5) vs. Mississippi State (8-4)
WHEN: Jan. 1, 1:30 p.m., ESPN2
WHERE: Jacksonville
COMMENT: Michigan AD Dave Brandon will not complete his evaluation of head coach Rich Rodriquez until after this game (the fact that Rich Rod’s buyout dropped by $1.5 Million today is surely a mere coincidence). A Wolverine win will make it tough to pull the fire and hire (of Jim Harbaugh) move that Brandon wants. I think Michigan wins, but fires Rich Rod anyway. Ah, college football today.
PROFESSOR’S PICK: MICHIGAN

ROSE BOWL
TCU (12-0) vs. Wisconsin (11-1)
WHEN: Jan. 1, 4:30 p.m., ESPN
WHERE: Pasadena, Calif.
COMMENT: Outstanding matchup of traditional, big, powerful Big Ten running attack of Badgers versus speedy, aggressive, attacking style of Horned Frogs. Enjoy the granddaddy and color me a traditionalist.
PROFESSOR’S PICK: WISCONSIN

FIESTA BOWL
Connecticut (8-4) vs. Oklahoma (11-2)
WHEN: Jan. 1, 8 p.m., ESPN
WHERE: Glendale, Ariz.
COMMENT: Why does Oklahoma always seem to play the BCS afterthoughts (Boise, West Virginia … now U Conn)? The Huskies were fortunate to get here, and while they play a fundamentally sound brand of ball, the Sooners should win (of course that’s been said before).
PROFESSOR’S PICK: OKLAHOMA

ORANGE BOWL
Stanford (11-1) vs. Virginia Tech (11-2)
WHEN: Jan. 3, 8 p.m., ESPN
WHERE: Miami
COMMENT: Will this be Jim Harbaugh’s last game before moving on to Michigan (or the 49ers … or the Raiders)? Perennial BCS participant Virginia Tech provides a nice challenge.
PROFESSOR’S PICK: VIRGINIA TECH

SUGAR BOWL
Arkansas (10-2) vs. Ohio State (11-1)
WHEN: Jan. 4, 8 p.m., ESPN
WHERE: New Orleans
COMMENT: Call me old-fashioned but I prefer more games on New Year’s Day instead of spreading these major bowls out over several nights. This is one of my favorite matchups. Typically, I’d pick Ohio State to beat Arkansas, but after watching what the SEC did to the Big Ten on Saturday … let’s go with the Hogs.
PROFESSOR’S PICK: ARKANSAS

GODADDY.COM BOWL
Miami of Ohio (9-4) vs. Middle Tennessee (6-6)
WHEN: Jan. 6, 8 p.m., ESPN
WHERE: Mobile, Ala.
COMMENT: OK, explain why this bowl is being played the Thursday after New Years. Yes, I’ll watch. A Cinderella season for Miami (Ohio) turned ugly when coach Mike Haywood departed for Pitt, then got arrested and fired.
PROFESSOR’S PICK: MTSU

COTTON BOWL
LSU (10-2) vs. Texas A&M (9-3)
WHEN: Jan. 7, 8 p.m., Fox
WHERE: Arlington, Texas
COMMENT: The Cotton Bowl moves to Jerry world and this is a pretty good Friday night lights pairing. LSU Tigers can establish themselves as 2011 SEC West favorites (in my opinion) with a victory. They get one.
PROFESSOR’S PICK: LSU

BBVA COMPASS BOWL
Kentucky (6-6) vs. Pittsburgh (7-5)
WHEN: Jan. 8, noon, ESPN
WHERE: Birmingham, Ala.
COMMENT: Pitt should have fired AD Steve Pederson (he may be gone by the time you read this anyway) instead of solid coach Dave Wannstedt. Wanny will not coach in this game (his choice), but I think the Panthers handle the Wildcats.
PROFESSOR’S PICK: PITT

KRAFT FIGHT HUNGER BOWL
Boston College (7-5) vs. Nevada (12-1)
WHEN: Jan. 9, 9 p.m., ESPN
WHERE: San Francisco
COMMENT: Another bowl that is being played way too late in the season, although it is a game worth seeing. The Wolfpack did everyone a favor by knocking Boise out of the BCS picture and now get a chance to beat an ACC team.
PROFESSOR’S PICK: NEVADA

BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Auburn (13-0) vs. Oregon (12-0)
WHEN: Jan. 10, 8 p.m., ESPN
WHERE: Glendale, Ariz.
COMMENT: Very few people picked Auburn to contend for a national title this season but the superlative play of Heisman Trophy winning QB Cam Newton plus a remarkable team resiliency lands the Tigers on the cusp of a championship. They will need to get past the fastest-paced offense in America. With both squads pushing the offensive tempo, plan your trips to the fridge wisely. I’ve doubted Auburn all season (and still feel they’ve been lucky to win on more than one occasion … including that questionable NCAA ruling on Newton). Many mention Oregon’s speed, but I doubt the Ducks have seen the overall skill Auburn will put on the field (especially along the defensive front). If the Tigers manage their emotions well on this biggest of stages (and they’ve done so all year), Auburn will bring home a fifth straight national title to the SEC.
PROFESSOR’S PICK: AUBURN

ENJOY ALL THE BOWLS!

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