Saturday, December 21, 2013

College Football Bowl Picks 2013 Season

A lot of things have been learned during this final season (thankfully) of the BCS. We have relearned that a decent FCS team can indeed take down a major program (ND State over KSU and GSU over Florida), we also must note that a very good FCS squad (again ND State), would be at least a top 15 team if in the ranks of D1. Last but not least we have most assuredly learned that Auburn gets into the big game on the heels of a unbelievably lucky play and that FSU arrives after trouncing (mostly) very inferior competition. Oh and we learned that Big Twelve expats can certainly compete in the SEC.

All that being said let's take a look at this years plethora of bowl games.

New Mexico Bowl: Colorado State and Washington State are on tap here in this "who cares" game between two (let us be honest) who cares programs. I like the Pirate and he should come back south where he belongs. He will probably not find the success he is capable of in the Pacific NW. That being said I would go with his Cougars here. Go with WSU.

Towson vs EWU: This FCS match up will decide who gets to be trounced by ND State in the FCS Championship. Quality FCS programs both (remember the Towson Tigers gave Les Miles and Co a scare last season) and I will go with Towson. Probably a toss up....

Las Vegas Bowl: It seems that USC can play a little ball after all soon as Kiffin was out of the picture. Fresno State still just does not convince me they are a top 25 program. I will go with the Trojans here.

Idaho Potato Bowl: Another bowl game on the blue field with this year's rendition being the Bulls of Buffalo and SDSU. The Aztecs started off slow but may, in reality, be a pretty decent team. Buffalo had a good season as far as such things go and surprised a few folks in the MAC. I would go with SDSU here though. I think they are hands down the better team

New Orleans Bowl: Getting the party started this year for NOLA is a very good match up between Tulane and Louisiana. The Cajuns have fallen off the last couple weeks but managed to put together pretty good season. Tulane has far over reached any expectation that anyone would have had for their program but a good team they really are not. I would go with the Cajuns here.

Beef O'Brady Bowl: The what? The Bobcats of Ohio U had a rather successful (albeit disappointing) season and ECU may well be under rated. Both squads are well coached and Ohio may have one of the best QBs in the nation that you have never heard of (along with Browning at ULM). I will go with ECU in this toss up match.

Hawaii Bowl: Peterson is out at BSU and that, in my opinion, is a mistake on his part. Boise State is just a flat out better program than his new home but he may have "needed" to jump for more money while the iron was still hot. Another just above average season in Boise and his stock would not be so high likely. That being said, both Boise and Oregon State have been a bit off track this year but still pretty decent (and dangerous to anyone) squads non the less. This is a toss up and I will go with OSU here.

Little Caesar Bowl: Pitt vs Bowling Green may get ugly. BGSU is the better team and should win. Never count out the MAC to surprise....

Poinsettia Bowl: NIU must guard against the let down of not making it to the BCS this year. They were trounced and totally embarrassed by BGSU in the MAC Championship. A top 10 team they are not. Still they are probably better than the Aggies of Utah State. Those guys can be dangerous but just did not seem to play to their potential. This may be closer than expected but I will go with NIU.

Military Bowl: Marshall vs Maryland may or may not be a good game. Depends really on which Maryland team shows up. I will go with the Turtles here in a close one.

Texas Bowl: It would be nice if this game held in Houston matched up some teams of local interest. Still, the game will draw some folks trying to escape the cold and money will be spent (some at gentleman's establishments likely) and that is what it is all about. Oh - the game? Yes, well Syracuse will lose to Minnesota.

Fight Hunger Bowl: The what? There are just a few too many bowls although BYU will trounce Washington in this contest.

Pinstripe Bowl: Notre Dame, again, did not make it into the big time. The program is now relegated to not much above a top MAC or CUSA squad. Rutgers had a decent year as far as such things go but do not have the talent to beat the Irish. ND should be a contender every year for top spot but no coach in recent memory can take them there. Something is wrong up that way but they will win this one.

Belk Bowl: The what? Good Lord. Cincinnati vs North Carolina has the potential to get ugly. Tuberville may have actually found his sweet spot in southern Ohio and his team is far better than any middle of the road ACC squad. Go with Cincinnati here.

Russell Athletic Bowl: A disappointing year for both Miami and Louisville in that Miami did not compete for the ACC Championship and Louisville did not run the table and make it into a BCS game. Louisville is the better team but have shown a tendency to play down to their competition all season. Miami, a decent team, has the potential to win here but likely will not. Go with the Cardinals.

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: KSU and Michigan could be a very good match up. KSU started off in a dismal fashion but finished pretty well. Michigan has some potential and Hoke may have saved his job by taking Ohio State down to the wire. Michigan has more talent likely but KSU has faced marginally better competition and that experience will show. Go with the Wildcats.

Armed Forces Bowl: Someone has to go and this year it is MTSU. This actually could be a good match up. Navy has had a lot of exposure due to the nature of the institution but not many folk know so much about the Blue Raiders. I will go with the team from Tennessee here.

Music City Bowl: The Houston Bowl folks should take a look at how it is done up Nashville way. Two teams of local interest squaring off.....This year the Rebs will be taking the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech to the woodshed. Maybe. I will go with the team from Mississippi.

Alamo Bowl: This is a home game for the Horns in Mack Brown's last game. I wonder who they will find that will be better than old Mack? Probably no one. At any rate the Longhorns may have some problems with the speed that the Ducks bring to the table. It really depends on which Longhorn team shows up. I will go with Texas to play hard for Mack and pull it out of the hat.

Holiday Bowl: Arizona State vs Texas Tech could be good. Tech is coached by a young gun who will find success although his squad certainly fell off the pace the second half of the season. ASU is coached by an utter ass although the man does know how to win. ASU is probably the better team and will find some way to pull this one out of the hat in what promises to be an ASU home game of sorts.

Advocare V100 Bowl:  This utterly forgettable bowl game pits Arizona and Boston College. Take your pick. I will go with BC here for no particular reason.

Sun Bowl: I have always liked this one. Don't know why. UCLA is up and coming and may be a force nationally in the not too distant future. Virginia Tech is Virginia Tech. Usually a good team that is just not quite ready for prime time. I will go with UCLA here. This could be a good game.

Liberty Bowl: Memphis - my old stomping ground. Great town although, much like NOLA, you gotta always be aware of who is behind you. Always. This will be a home game for the Bulldogs of Mississippi State sure. Rice, a very small school, does not travel real well and has a limited fan base to boot. That being said, I think the Owls will win here. They are perhaps an under rated football team and coached by, in my opinion, one of the best coaches in the game you may have never heard of. Go with Rice.

Chick fil A Bowl: TAMU is a better team than Duke. More speed, power, depth, etc. The Blue Devils have had a wonderful season and the coaching staff should probably receive some sort of "best of the year" award. It would be fun to see Duke take that silly "Johnny Football" to the woodshed but I don't think it will happen. Go with the Aggies.

Gator Bowl: This could be a good game between two teams that desperately want to show that they matter (the don't). Both coaches are on the hot seat and I would not be surprised if the losing coach finds himself pounding the pavement. They just don't take mediocrity well in Athens or Lincoln. This will be a toss up and we should see some outstanding QB play......I will go with the team from Georgia.

Heart of Dallas Bowl: UNLV vs North Texas? Can't get any more ho hum that this. I will go with the Mean Green here. It will be a home game for them. Denton is just up the road......

Capital One Bowl: Wisconsin and South Carolina may be a good one. I will go with the "SEC is better than the Big Ten" scenario here and pick the team from the Southeast.

Outback Bowl: Iowa will not beat LSU unless Miles has anything to do with it. I would go with the Tigers here but if Miles gets a bit too "proactive" in coaching......? Anything could happen. Put your money on the Tigers none the less.

Rose Bowl: Stanford vs MSU will be good. The only fly in the MSU ointment is that one inexplicable loss. Both teams are quite good and I will go with MSU to power over the Cardinal here. It is possible that the Spartans are the second best squad in the country this season.

Fiesta Bowl: UCF made it in to the BCS. They are a rather big, powerful team but will not be able to match up well with the speed of the Bears. Go with Baylor. This is perhaps not the high profile match up that the folks in AZ are accustomed to but Baylor is better than many teams they have seen recently.

Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma will not beat Bama. Both schools may well be rather even on talent but Bob is not half the coach that the Evil One is. Not even close. It is pretty likely that Bama is still the best team in the land despite the fluke loss to War Eagle.

Cotton Bowl: This game between OSU and Mizzou may well be the most fun match up of the bowl season. OSU has shown they can play "national championship" type football and shown also that they can be rather mediocre. Mizzou has proven that they can well compete in the SEC. This one will be a toss up but I think the team from Missouri is marginally better and will go with them for the win.

Orange Bowl: Both Clemson and Ohio State had some delusions of grandeur this season. Still both are very good (although OSU may be a bit over rated) teams. This will be a match up between two possible NFL caliber QBs and it will be fun to see who comes out on top. It is a Even Steven type match and I will toss a coin and go with the team from Ohio.

BBVA Compass Bowl: Vanderbilt had a good season as such things go. Well coached squad to be certain. U of H surprised some folk and their young QB is going to be another outstanding addition to the list of stellar Cougar QBs. This could be good but Vandy has faced much tougher competition and that experience will show.

FCS Championship Game: Whether Towson or Eastern Washington reach the big game is likely a moot point. ND State will be your champion of the FCS ranks.

GoDaddy Bowl: Arkansas State is a good Sun Belt team but probably not as good as they have been in recent past. Their last two coaches have had success in the SEC (one wild success) and the jury is still out on the Red Wolves staff at this point. Still they have reached a bowl game (of sorts) and that does say something. Ball State is a pretty good MAC squad and can be dangerous to a lot of teams including, I suspect, this year's rendition of Arkansas State. I am going out on a limb and predicting a victory for the Cardinals. Win or lose the Red Wolves can say they are the best team in the state of Arkansas...for many years in a row now.

BCS "National Championship" Game: Auburn may or may not belong. They had an unbelievable turn around from bottom to top in the SEC after just one season and that says a lot. A hell of a lot. Still, most of us think that Alabama is still the better club. FSU? Undefeated sure says something but one does have to take a look at the level of competition. Doesn't one? Guess not. What we have here is what we have here.
Many folks think that a rematch of the Bama/Auburn game would be the true "national championship" game and I have heard some bleat (with a bit of merit) that Michigan State is a better team than FSU. Doesn't matter. This is the match up we have.
The game? FSU is quick and Winston is a good young QB but Auburn will likely prove to be the better team and we again, will have an SEC Champion.

Just the way it is.

I don't think I missed any. There are entirely too many bowl games. A 6-6 (or even 7-5) team should not go "bowling" in my mind. Still the bowl games are entirely about getting money into the community and that friends is, in reality, what it is all about. Sad but true.....

This was one of the better seasons I can remember in quite some time and I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have. Won't be long before this humble blogger will be going about regularly scheduled business of calling bullshit on various politicians and other assorted dickweeds, and this year, being committed to bringing you some stellar Rule 5.

What else is blogging for?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Week 15 College Football Predictions 2013

The season draws to a close. Conference championships are being decided while other teams play their last regular season games.  Meanwhile championships are decided the proper way the FCS, DII, DIII, and NAIA as their respective playoffs are in full swing. Last week saw another 6-4 outcome for a season total of  92-43.

1. Louisville vs Cincinnati: Who would have thought that Tuberville was actually going to accomplish something down in southern Ohio? The Cats have been quietly building a successful season and are likely a bit under rated by the BCS asshats. Earlier in the season I myself equated them on the same level as Memphis but that proved to be an incorrect assessment. Louisville is a good team that has had what some would consider a below par season in that they did not run the table. That is ridiculous of course but there you go. The Cardinals have not been really all that impressive in many of their wins but win they do. Who will win this one? Well if you must have it - have it then. I will go with Cincinnati to pull off the minor upset. It will be close.

2 Memphis vs UCONN: The Huskies come off a rather improbable win and the Tigers fell to a team that they should have handled. This one is a toss up and I will go with Memphis.

3. Bowling Green vs Northern Illinois: The Huskies may truly be a team that can play with most of the top "big time" schools. Don't think they are up there with Auburn, Mizzou, Bama or Ohio State but I do think they could play with some of the others in the top 10. That being said this may be a rather close game - I would imagine the Falcons want it bad but I would still go with NIU for the win.

4. Texas vs Baylor: Baylor will be out to prove they still matter (they might)and the Longhorns will be out to prove that they are a much better team now than when they go started (they are). This game really could come down to the wire and I will go with the Horns for the upset.

5. Oklahoma vs OSU: OSU is the better group. They may not have the better talent of the two teams but there is something just not quite right in Norman. I will go with the Cowboys here.

6. Auburn vs Mizzou: Auburn power vs Mizzou speed. Should be interesting and the Bears will win by 2 touchdowns. Mark it.

7. Rice vs Marshall: Both are good teams for CUSA but in no way would I consider either team a real good team. Toss up here and I will go with the Owls.

8. FSU vs Duke: A no brainer they say. Lambs for the slaughter the Blue Devils I've heard. Nonsense. FSU has, (and let us be honest) had a very weak schedule. Clemson and Miami (well sort of) have  been about the only quality opponents. Same can be said for Duke of course but the Devil faithful are not jumping around like they have just invented lightning. This game may be close but the Seminoles' talent level will grind the Duke squad down. And then of course we will see another specter of a lower level top 10 team in the BCS "Championship" Game. Happens all the time. Nothing new citizens.

9. Ohio State vs MSU: The Buckeyes were one failed two point conversion away from irrelevance. MSU may be a better team than many suspect but it is possible (just possible) that OSU is one of the two best in the country and deserve to be in the big game at the end. We will see directly and I will go with OSU in a tough, hard fought game.

10. Utah State vs Fresno State: These particular Aggies are a better team than they are given credit for. The Bulldogs have, frankly, been very lucky. This will come down to the wire and I will go out on a limb and predict Utah State to knock the Dogs out of the top 25.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Bartendercabbie College Football Top 25 Dec 1, 2013

Yesterday was one of the most fun days in college football that I can remember in a long time. I guess fun would be a relative term for some depending on where their loyalties lie. I suppose I could just use the word "interesting" instead......That being said the Bartendercabbie System Top 25 (the real BCS?) is out of the closet 1 December, in the year of our lord 2013...

1. Auburn: One loss to an SEC opponent not named Kentucky does not disqualify one from the top spot. They took arguably the best team in the country down to the wire and won on perhaps the biggest fluke play in the history of the game. It has, as I understand it, happened only four other times in the entire time that organized college ball has been played. A hell of a game between two great teams.

2. Alabama: Could still be the best team in the land. A loss to Auburn does not rule them out.

3. Ohio State: The Buckeyes? Yes. I said it. The offense is hard to stop certain. May be ranked a bit high. May be ranked a bit low.

4. Missouri: How did they get here? Doesn't matter. This is one good and fast football team.

5. FSU: Schedule strength is perhaps as suspect as that of Ohio State. The "controversy" over whether the starting QB is a groper or no seems to be dying down somewhat.

6. Oklahoma State: A loss to WV leaves one scratching their head. Other than that? This team should scare anyone.

7. Baylor: A good team that could beat anyone on any given day.

8. Stanford: This is a good football team that has flashes of brilliance and also periods of utter incompetence. Perhaps ranked a bit high.

9. South Carolina: Can play with anyone some days. Others? Not so much.

10. Michigan State: Ok. So they say. We will see next week. The only(other than OSU) squad in the Big Ten that appears to be a real danger to top level teams.

11. Clemson: Falls off a bit. Still a dangerous team to anyone. Well coached.

12. Northern Illinois: The best QB in the country you have never heard of. Would be ranked no lower than 3rd if in the Big Ten. Perhaps 2nd.

13. Oregon: The bloom is off the rose here but catch this team on the wrong day and you will lose. That goes for anyone.

14. Arizona State: Coached by an utter ass but the man knows how to win. It is a travesty that any university will stoop to hire this trash. The coach with the least class in major college ball not named Petrino.....

15. UCF: Well coached. George is paying his penance still down Orlando way. If I were him, I would stay put. He would have been long gone at ND by now anyway. Those folks are delusional

16. UCLA: Will be a national force in the years to come. Mark it.

17 .TAMU: Without that "Johnny Football" twit this may not be a top 25 team. Horrible defense which incidentally is a Sumlin trademark. Kevin has been blessed with unreal college QB's during his time in the HC ranks. Wonder how he will do with your average Joe. If he had a defense while coaching UH, he would have had a BCS buster on his hands. May be ranked a bit high here. Have lost games they should not have. More than one.

18. Texas: The Longhorns disaster of a start keeps them lower in the ranks. Can play outstanding football at times.

19. Oklahoma: Lots of noise and lots of talent a great team does not make. That is a coaching problem. The staff is over rated likely.

20. LSU: Some folks are screaming for Miles' head but who you gonna call? Ghostbusters?

21. Louisville: I doubt Bridgewater or Strong will be here next year. This was the season to get it done and they fizzled. Don't misunderstand that for this being a bad team. They can play with all but the top on a good day.

22. Duke: A magical season as far as Blue Devil football is concerned. Next up? FSU. Wouldn't it be nice?.....

23. Fresno State: No BCS buster this season. Still not totally convinced this is a real top 25 squad.

24. Cincinnati: This team perhaps does not get their due.

25. Vanderbilt: Vandy? Yes. Those guys. Survived a scare with a dismal WF squad Saturday last.

On the bubble in no particular order.
Wisconsin: May be a top 25 squad when it all shakes out.
Georgia: Ditto
Iowa: Maybe. Haven't paid much attention. It is usually not worthwhile. A mistake perhaps.
Rice: A good CUSA team
Louisiana: Would have run the table in the Sun Belt had they not come across the 2nd best QB in the country no one has heard of. Yes that would be Browning of ULM who apparently recovered from injury...
Utah State: Pretty good squad for the Mountain West this season. May be better than the record reflects.
Ole Miss: Maybe next year. Well coached.
Notre Dame: Ummmm. Nope. Should be. Gotta be the coaching staff.
BYU: Better team than some think. Can shows flashes.
USC: The season began when Lane left. This group has not done so bad since then. Maybe next year. Loaded with talent.
Minnesota: As far as the Gophers go, this team is a huge success.
Marshall: A good CUSA team
ECU: Ditto
Miami: Another year where the "U" disappoints the faithful. Well coached squad which could be a danger next year. But they always say that. For years now.
Ball State: Good MAC team which is in the unfortunate situation of playing in the same MAC division as NIU.
Houston: Fell off some. Appears to be well coached with some talent. May be a force next season
Nebraska: I'm still betting Pelini is gone. His brother got the axe at FIU (or was it FAU? No matter).
KSU: Horrific start. Has improved a good deal. Could be a danger to a lot of top squads on a good day.
Boise State: An off year. I wouldn't count on that lasting.
Michigan: There is some second guessing Hoke's decision to win or lose to the vaunted Buckeyes with a two point conversion attempt by the armchair types. Whatever else may be said about him no one can deny his minerals. His team has probably played a good deal below their talent level this season and that is his fault. I like him all the same. He will be successful somewhere before it all shakes out. Maybe even in Ann Arbor.