Bowl Season Preview | December 14, 2012
The regular season of the college football has finished, we’ve had highs and lows throughout the season especially bowl selection weekend where teams were hoping to make it to a bowl game, here at 1amsports we will highlight some of the games that should catch your attention and we will also highlight some of the draft prospects in them games.
1. Alabama v Notre Dame (BCS Title Game)
Of course I couldn’t start this preview without talking about BCS title game, Notre Dame have a chance to win their first National Championship since Lou Holtz did it in 1988 going 12-0. Starting this season unranked, slowly but surely ND continued to climb the polls beating the likes of Oklahoma, Stanford, USC on the way and finishing the season unbeaten. Unlike Alabama who lost to Texas A&M in the middle of the season but beat Georgia 2 weeks ago in the SEC championship game after being down 11 points.
It will be battle of the trenches with Alabama Offensive Line v Notre Dame Defensive line, both who have dominated the line of scrimmage. ND are coming into the game ranked no.1 in defence, led by Heisman runner up Manti Te’o who has been instrumental at MLB. The Alabama offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage against Georgia allowing their 2 Running backs in Yeldon and Lacey to rush for over 300 yards.
Alabama will have to deal with a mobile QB in Everett Golson who improved throughout the season feeling more comfortable in this offence and the Crimson Tide struggled earlier this season against a mobile QB in Johnny Manziel who was able to avoid the rush, get outside the pocket and hit his WRs down the field. Notre Dame will have to watch out for the play action pass done so well by AJ McCarron with T.J Yates the freshman his main target which Georgia saw plenty of. If Alabama have Yates, then Notre Dame have a TE called Tyler Efiert who is Golson favourite target down the field.
These two teams have given up the fewest points this season, every point will be important so both kickers better be ready at all times, because it could come down to a last minute FG to win the game for either team both will be have to be up for it.
Final Score: 20-17 Alabama
Draft Prospects: Barrett Jones, Chance Warmack, D.J Fluker, C.J Mosley, Jesse Williams, Nico Johnson,Manti Te’o, Tyler Efteirt.
Fiesta Bowl: Oregon Ducks vs Kansas State
A month ago these two teams were sitting 1 and 2 in the BCS bowls and everyone thought they would both win out, but both teams lost on the same night with Baylor hammering KSU 44-27 and Stanford stopping Oregon’s up tempo offence with old school defence and a dominating run game, but luckily for us they are able to play in the at large bowls and will face off in the Fiesta bowl.
They have two contrasting styles of play with Oregon playing a fast paced offence, trying to hit teams quickly as possible and allowing their defence to disrupt the opposition making them chase the game. KSU likes to control the game with defence with Colin Klein being the man for KSU who runs the ball effectively at QB. Oregon will try and space out the Kansas State defence getting their weapons in space, like Klein at QB Mariota has speed and in open space can make people miss, KSU will try and use a similar formula to what Stanford did to beat Oregon.
Final Score: 44-31 Oregon
Draft Prospects: Arthur Brown LB, Kenyon Barner RB, Colin Klein QB, Dion Jordan DE/OLB.
Texas A&M vs Oklahoma
The Cotton Bowl reunites former BIG12 member Texas A&M and current member Oklahoma. Many people, like myself. thought A&M would struggle in their first season in the SEC West with the likes of Alabama, LSU, Arkansas in the same division but surprised many with their performances throughout the season including a memorable win over Alabama on the road and leading against LSU and Florida but faltering in the second half. They should be high on confidence going into year 2 in the SEC. Oklahoma suffered two losses this season including to the unbeaten Notre Dame and 1 loss KSU.
As with any old rivals meeting, this could be a fast pace high scoring game with 80+ points scored in this game, with Oklahoma throwing the ball 40+ times v A&M up temp offence. The Aggies D is much better compared to Oklahoma’s with the likes of Moore and Porter coming off the edges for A&M it should help them against the high scoring offence of the Sooners who average 40 points per game, Oklahoma will have to try and contain Manziel who can out run a few DBs if they are able to do that then they have a chance.
Final Score 38-31 Texas A&M
Draft Prospects: Sean Porter, Moore, Loeckler, Jake Matthews, Landry Jones, Lane Johnson.
LSU (10-2) vs. Clemson (10-2)
Both teams are probably disappointed how their seasons ended with neither competing in their respective conference title games, Clemson who lost to FSU and South Carolina, two games they had a chance to win. Meanwhile LSU lost to Florida and Alabama games they were leading in.
The bragging rights for “Death Valley” will be on hand as both sets of fans will be saying we are the real death valley. Again a contrast in styles with LSU who play with defence and like to run the ball down people throats with 3 different running backs coming into to the game at different times and Clemson like many college teams with the up temp offence lead by Tajh Boyd who played well over the last month of the season.
Final Score: 27-13 LSU
Draft Prospects: De’Andre Hopkins, Andre Ellington, Tajh Boyd, Mingo, Montgomery, Kevin Minter.
Stanford (11-2) vs. Wisconsin (8-5)
Stanford are going into this game after a huge last month of the season, beating UCLA twice including in the PAC12 championship, beating Oregon on the road, eliminating them from the BCS national title game. Stanford pride themselves on a solid D and good run game which they have in Stephan Taylor who has been excellent throughout the season. When Andrew Luck left for the NFL Cardinal fans were worried who would replace him Josh Nunes was named starter but was ineffective at times and David Shaw decided a change was needed and Redshirt Freshman Kevin Hogan has stepped in and added another dimension to the offence with his ability to run the ball.
Wisconsin are in slight turmoil with Brett Beliema leaving for the Arkansas job after winning the BIG10 championship game against Nebraska 70-20 and leading the Badgers to 3 straight rose bowls. While many are surprised by his decision to leave they will not worry for one game only as Barry Alavrez will step in for the game who himself won 3 Rose Bowls as the HC. Wisconsin ran through Nebraska literally with over 500 rushing yards by Gordan, Ball and White. It will be a interesting battle between two teams who match up well but the difference could be at QB with Kevin Hogan being the extra weapon for Stanford.
Draft Prospects: Stephan Taylor, Montee Ball, Zach Ertz, Rick Wagner
Special mention to the Orange Bowl (Jan. 1, Miami): Florida State (11-2) vs. Northern Illinois (12-1)
Northern Illinois represent the MAC, breaking into the BCS after winning the MAC championship against Kent St. Many people have complained, especially at ESPN that NIU don’t deserve to be there, which is wrong. They didn’t make the rules on how the teams are ranked etc. and they can only beat the teams put in front of them which they did. Teams from different conferences know the rules on how these things get decided and NIU fully deserve to be there. FSU come into this game after win over GT in the ACC championship game, many people thought FSU would have a shot at the title but after a poor loss to NC State which they were winning by 10 points but faltered at the end.
Draft Prospects: Bjoern Werner, Cornellius Carradine, Xavier Rhodes
Other bowl games that will be of interest include, West Virginia v Syracuse with two senior QBs who will hoping to shine on the big stage in Geno Smith and Ryan Nassib. USC v Georgia Tech, people will be interested in how Matt Barkley shoulder is going into this game and finally someone who is rising up on the draft board Mike Glennon going against Vanderbilt.
Bowl season is always exciting with teams you don’t get to see during the regular season, many of them being high scoring and of course conference pride is at stake with ACC/BIG10/BIG12/SEC battling each other throughout the difference bowls. Recently the BIG10 doesn’t have a fantastic record against the SEC teams, they are hoping they can change that, you can catch all the games in the UK on ESPNA who will show them live and repeat them throughout the week.