I’m back for redemption. It all started about a year or so ago in the WCWP break room. Fellow WCWP host and website contributor Matt Soldano challenged me. “Jordan”, he said “how do you think you would do if you picked every college bowl game?” I told him I thought I’d do quite well. We decided that I would pick every game and put the picks on the website.
Unfortunally, I finished 17-17. Soldano has reminded me of this fact on almost a weekly basis since. So, I’m back for another round. As he puts it, 17-17 is the definition of mediocrity. I know I’m better then that. He knows I’m better then that. Here begins year number two of this experiment.
It’s Bowl Mania ‘09
New Mexico Bowl: Fresno State vs Wyoming- Fresno State finished the year 8-4 overall and 6-2 in the WAC. After loosing three of their first four games, the Bulldogs won seven of their final eight. This team can score. They’ve failed to put up thirty points only twice this season. Quarterback Ryan Colburn threw for over 2000 yards and 18 touchdowns this season.
Trivia question: Who led the nation in rushing yards per game this season? Was it Heisman winner Mark Ingram? Standford’s Toby Gerhart? Nope, it was Fresno State’s Ryan Matthews. Matthews averaged over 150 yards per game while totaling over 1,600 and 17 touchdowns. Against Boise State, Matthews ran for 235 yards and had at least 150 in three others. Expect Matthews to have a field day against Wyoming. The Cowboys gave up over 160 rushing yards in their season ending victory over Colorado State. Against TCU, over 300 rushing yards were yielded.
Although the Fresno State defense can get torched, allowing over 50 points three times this season, I don’t think that’ll happen today.
In fact, this game has blowout written all over it. Wyoming finished 6-6 and 4-4 in the Mountain West. They scored nearly half the points that Fresno State did this year and gave up nearly just as many. Ryan Matthews had more yards himself this season then Wyoming did as a team. Cowboys quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels had a 7 to 4 touchdown-interception ratio. That’s not good. The more you crunch the numbers, the harder it is to see how this game is competitive, much less whether or not Wyoming has a shot.
The Pick: Fresno State
St Petersburg Bowl: UCF vs Rutgers- Give Rutgers a ton of credit. They could have given up. They could have laid down. But they didn’t. 2009 could not have started much worse for the Scarlet Knights. They looked awful in a 47-15 loss to Cincinnati at home. Sure, knowing what we know now about the Bearcats, that loss doesn’t seam unreasonable, but to look that uninspired in your home opener on Labor Day waved a ton of red flags.
I crushed Schiano and his staff on the radio that week and had to eat my words a few weeks later. Besides a perplexing loss to a bad Syracuse team, Rutgers had itself a decent year. They finished 8-4 overall and 3-4 in the Big East.
They had a shot against Pittsburgh in mid-October and knocked off South Florida 31-0 when South Florida was ranked 24th in the nation. West Virginia needed a few big stops to hold the Scarlet Knights off in the final game of the year.
Watch out for running back Joe Martinek. Martinek finished with over 900 yards this season, including four games with over 120. Against South Florida, he ran for 128 and one touchdown.
UCF matches up well with Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights have a little better statistical defense, but the offenses are evenly matched. UCF has won there last three games, including a 37-32 win over Houston when Houston was ranked 15. Two of their four losses came against teams ranked in the top ten at the time (Texas at 2 and Miami at 9). Rutgers will have to stop running back Brynn Harvey. Harvey racked up over 1000 yards and 14 touchdowns this year. Rutgers had trouble against strong rushing attacks this year. They gave up 162 yard on the ground to West Virginia and 223 to Pittsburgh (including 180 to Dion Lewis). UCF quarterback Brett Hodges passed for over 2000 yards and 15 touchdowns this season. He also threw 11 interceptions.
I like Rutgers in one of the better pre-Christmas bowl matchups. They have a better defense and will force Brett Hodges to make plays. When that happens, I’m leery of the rough touchdown to interception ratio Hodges has. If this game comes down to turnovers, I like Rutgers a little better.
The Pick: Rutgers