Happy Holidays, Gators. With just 3 hours left in the work week before Christmas, I find myself in need of a distraction. Its not that I'm not terribly busy, its just that I'm terribly disinterested and that makes for sloppy work. So that means I'm in a perfect mindset to make my bowl predictions! Here we go-
Sugar Bowl- Your 11-1 Gators will face Coach Strong and the Big East Champs from Louisville. I only have watched the Ville in bits and pieces this year but they're definitely athletic and their roster is full of talent from Florida. You know that they're fired up to have their coach staying with them and will put out a great effort to topple the Mighty Gators from the SEC. With that said, I love everything I'm hearing out of our camp. Players and coaches sound focused and determined to get 2013 off to a great start. There's no question that you can build momentum into the offseason with a bowl win (see last year's Gator Bowl), and barring turnovers I think we should win this one comfortably, which by this year's standards means by more then 3. Gators 27-Cards 16.
Music City Bowl- It really sucks when Vandy manages to win 8 games and is only rewarded with a bowl trip that consists of a 7 minute bus ride. They'll be taking on NC State who fired their coach at the end of the season. This will be a home game for the Dores which means they'll have 20,000 rabid fans murmuring "Anchor Down". We'll see if the Pack can endure that kind of pressure. Dores 24-Pack 20.
Chick Fil A Bowl- I'm always going to think of this as the Peach Bowl, homophobic chicken sandwich sponsor be damned. Talk about a kick in the shorts, LSU won 10 games and was a minute away from a possible shot at the national title and now doesn't even get a New Year's Day bowl. LSU has suspended its Aussie punter, Brad Wing, but his backup is also an Aussie so that's pretty cool. Clemson was last seen getting hammered by USC. Prepare for something similar here. LSU 35-Clemson 17.
Gator Bowl- The Dirty Dawgs from Mississippi State don't really have a signature win to speak of and it will be tough for them, I'd imagine, to get too fired up to play Northwestern. I'm guessing that the rest of the country will be like me and only watch this game if the other games at the same time are in a commercial break. Purple Cats 24-Dirty Dawgs 20.
Outback Bowl- Spurrier has to be sick over the fact that he had a once in a generation running back at USC and never could win a conference title. Beating Michigan will be fun though. Clowney says his goal next year is to win the Heisman. I think his goal should be not to get hurt so he gets drafted with the first pick of 2014. Cocks 28-Wolverines 16.
Capitol One Bowl- Again, this will always be the Citrus Bowl. Remember when Tennessee was pissed when they had to go to the Citrus Bowl? Bet they'd kill to be in Orlando now. Georgia ended the season as one of the best teams in the country while Nebraska got creamed in the Big 10 title game. Georgia rolls in this one. UGA 42-Nebraksa 13.
Orange Bowl- FSU won the ACC and yet still has to feel like the fat girl without a date on prom night. This may be the most unwatchable bowl game since, well, last year's Orange Bowl. FSU 35-Northern Illinois 10.
Cotton Bowl- Johnny Football and his 10 win Aggie team gets to face an Oklahoma squad that felt hosed by not being included in a BCS game. Too bad Sooners. Next time beat one of the two good teams on your schedule. I think the most interesting thing about Manziel winning the Heisman is how he'll handle all of the accolades and scrutiny which will follow him in the coming years. I'm sure Tim Tebow could tell him that its a whole lot different after you win than before. I still say Muschamp got hosed in not winning the SEC Coach of the Year. Sure Sumlin had a great first year in the conference, but an argument could be made that it would have been hard not to win 10 games with the year that Manziel had. But I digress, this is the second best bowl game on the schedule. I'll take Johnny Football in a close one. Aggies 30-Sooners 24.
BBVA Compass Bowl- I know, but I picked all the other SEC games so I pretty much had to do this one even though it matches up two .500 teams. Ole Miss 24-Pitt 21.
BCS Title Game- I've gone back and forth on who I'm rooting for in this one. On the one hand, I'd love to see the SEC streak of national titles remain alive. On the other, if you spend 3 minutes listening to the Paul Finebaum radio show you'll come to hate the Bama fanbase with a passion. With that said, the Notre Dame fanbase is only slightly less loathed right now because they've been irrelevant for two decades. So I'll be saying Roll Tide that night. As the SEC title game proved, Bama's defense is not what its been the last few years. I think Brian Kelly is an elite coach, but I'm not sure he's got the checkers on offense to score like Georgia did. On the other side, while the Notre Dame front 7 is no joke, withstanding the Bama offensive line for 4 quarters is essentially impossible. In their one loss, A&M had to build a huge lead and hold on at the end and I just don't see the Domers being able to create enough offense to be in a position to hang on at the end. I think the Domers will come out motivated after hearing nothing but tales of SEC dominance for 6 weeks, but in the end this Alabama O line is just too good. Bama 27-Domers 20.
Enjoy your holiday, Gators. I'll be back sometime after the bowls are over to put a bow on this year.