Ladies and Gentlemen, Bowl Season is upon us.
35 Bowls. Two and a half weeks. Here. We. Go.
The first four bowls in ESPN’s “Capital One Bowl Week” make up for a busy Saturday. You may be thinking that these games aren’t worth watching or that there aren’t any teams from good (BCS) conferences. Well, that’s not the case. Without further ado, here are THE THUNDERBLOG’s official preview of the first day of bowl season:
GILDAN NEW MEXICO BOWL
I really wish Gildan renamed this bowl to the “Walter White Bowl” or the “Heisenbowl.” The ratings on this game would have tripled. But alas, this game features two very different offenses. The Cougars and their Junior QB Connor Halliday rank fourth in the nation in passing but near the bottom in rushing (126th) while the Rams feature a much more balanced offense. Colorado State’s offense ranks 29th in the nation and are the only team to feature a 3000-yard passer (Garrett Grayson) and a 1500-yard rusher (Kapri Bibbs). Washington State almost upset the now #1 Auburn Tigers at the beginning of the season but fell victim to a tough Pacific-12 Conference Schedule. They did win six games to make them bowl eligible, making their first bowl appearance in a decade. Colorado State is making their first bowl appearance since 2008. “A sign that things are changing,” both coaches were quoting saying. Both myself and Matty D are going with Washington State while JSB (making his first pick’em appearance since the World Series) is going with Colorado State. Let us know who you think will win by either voting below or you can join our Bowl Mania group on ESPN.com. The link should be on the Twitter Feed to the right.
ROYAL PURPLE LAS VEGAS BOWL
#25 USC Trojans (9-4, 6-3 PAC-12) vs. #20 Fresno State Bulldogs (11-1, 7-1 MW) at 3:30 on ABC
Yes, it’s actually at 3:30pm, the picture is using Pacific Time. This is the best matchup of the day. It features one of the best prospects in QB Derek Carr for Fresno State and the #1 Passing Offense in the land. If you haven’t heard of Carr here’s his line: 70.1% Completions, 4866 Passing Yards, 48/7 TD/Int Ratio. Todd Mc Shay has him going #6 in his first Mock Draft to the Cleveland Browns. The Bulldogs lead the nation with 73 Passing Plays going for 20+ yards. Very Explosive. Don’t write off USC just yet. They did knock off Stanford earlier this season. QB Cody Kessler isn’t awful and while Silas Redd will likely miss this game, SO RB Javarius Allen has been averaging 112.4 rushing yards and has 10 TDs in his last five games. Watch out for WR Marqise Lee for USC as well, he’s also a high coveted prospect. Once again, it’s Matty D and the G-Man vs JSB as we’ve got Fresno State and the Sr. EP has USC.
FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL
Buffalo Bulls (8-4, 6-2 MAC) vs. San Diego State Aztecs (7-5, 6-2 MW) at 5:30 on ESPN
Now here is your typical Day One matchup. Neither of these teams ranks in the Top 50 for any statistic except for SDSU’s passing yards. Both of these teams got ROCKED by Ohio State early in the season played tight games with an FCS opponent; SDSU losing to Eastern Illinois and Buffalo edging out Stony Brook in a five-overtime thriller. The play of both teams’ running backs will be the key to this one. San Diego State’s Adam Muema rushed for 1000-yards but only accumulated 57 in his last two games. Buffalo’s SR RB Brendan Oliver rushed 1421 yards and 15 TDs. All three of us are going with San Diego State or as JSB calls them: “Whale’s Vagina State.” Gotta love a good Anchorman reference.
R+L CARRIERS NEW ORLEANS BOWL
Louisiana-Lafayette Rajin’ Cajuns (8-4, 5-2 Sun Belt) vs. Tulane Green Wave (7-5, 5-3 C-USA) at 9:00 on ESPN
This is all Louisiana. Tulane is in New Orleans while Lafayette, LA is about 2 hours away from the Big Easy. The Superdome is going to be a madhouse. People rolling into the game after either tailgating or hitting Bourbon Street, maybe Spirits On Bourbon? Or maybe even The Annex, a Tulane bar Jon Taffer saved on Bar Rescue as he with Spirits. Fun Fact about this one that you probably didn’t know: the starting QB for Tulane, is Joe Montana’s son, Nick. Nick hasn’t had as great of a season (53.1% Comp, 1654 yards, 14/9 TD/Int) as LA-Laf’s Terrance Broadway (62.3% Comp, 2276 yards, 19/10 TD/Int). Broadway did miss the last game of the season with a broken arm but Tulane is preparing for Broadway despite his uncertain status. Well now the picks get interesting, me vs. them. I’m going with the Rajin’ Cajuns while Matty D and JSB are going with Tulane. Game on.
No Bowls tomorrow as College Football doesn’t even want to try to compete with the NFL (good choice), so I’ll be back on Monday with the second day with bowl season. Enjoy the match-ups and join in our Bowl Mania group and take us on! Link should be on our Twitter Feed to the right.