The reason for the bowl season
Justin Schuver, Sports Editor
College football is a cruel sport to its spectators. What other game makes you wait nearly an entire month before its postseason? But by the time the bowls start rolling around, there's no better two weeks of sports television on the planet. Here's my guide to which bowls I plan to watch and what I predict will happen.
Rose Bowl: USC (12-0) vs. Texas (12-0) – This one should be a no-brainer, with the only two undefeated teams in college football going head-to-head for the national championship.
But we were promised the same thing last year, and instead USC gave Oklahoma an early knockout punch that the Sooners never recovered from, and the Trojans waltzed to an easy victory.
It won't be quite so easy this time, but I do still believe that the Trojans will take this one. Reggie Bush and the rest of the USC offense is too potent…Trojans 35, Longhorns 32.
Fiesta Bowl: Notre Dame (9-2) vs. Ohio State (9-2) – This is the kind of matchup the bowl games outside the BCS Championship dream about. After getting saddled with a crummy Pittsburgh-Utah pairing last year, the Fiesta Bowl hits paydirt this season with a battle of the defense-minded Buckeyes and the offense-minded Irish. This year's Notre Dame team reminds me a lot of the 2002 USC team, a group that didn't always look pretty during the regular season but who clobbered their opponent (Iowa) in the 2003 Orange Bowl. The Buckeyes won't know what hit them…Fighting Irish 34, Buckeyes 28.
Sugar Bowl: Georgia (10-2) vs. West Virginia (10-1) – The Bulldogs seem to taunt their fans every year, acting as if this is going to be the year when they put it all together but then falling apart at the end. This season, Georgia bounced back from a nailbiting loss to Auburn to clobber a good LSU team in the SEC championship game. This game's about conference pride, both in the case of the maligned Big lEast and in the case of the "where's the offense?" SEC…Bulldogs 24, Mountaineers 20.
Orange Bowl: Florida State (7-4) vs. Penn State (10-1) – Rather than the Orange Bowl, this one should be called the Prune Bowl. Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno are No. 1 and No. 2 on the list of all-time winningest Division I football teams, and this should be a good battle between two of the best coaches in college football's modern era. Penn State's defense is tough and will win the day over a young Florida State team…Nittany Lions 28, Seminoles 13.
Capital One Bowl: Auburn (9-2) vs. Wisconsin (9-3) – The Tigers aren't happy. A year after being locked out of the BCS championship game even while undefeated, Auburn was the odd man out in the SEC championship race this season. Wisconsin's got a good running back in Brian Calhoun, but little else. The Tigers should roll and take a top-five preseason ranking into next season…Tigers 35, Badgers 14.
Cotton Bowl: Alabama (9-2) vs. Texas Tech (9-2) – Alabama desperately needs a win, or it will have had three straight seasons with a three-game losing streak. The Red Raiders, meanwhile, want to prove that their "PlayStation offense" will work against a stout defense. Defense wins championships, and in this case, it will win a bowl as well…Crimson Tide 21, Red Raiders 14.
Holiday Bowl: Oregon (10-1) vs. Oklahoma (7-4) – First Commandment of the Bowl Season: Thou shalt not whine about thy bowl selection, lest thee be slaughtered in it. 2004 California didn't get the memo, and neither will 2005 Oregon…Sooners 35, Ducks 13.
MPC Computers Bowl: Boston College (8-3) vs. Boise State (9-3) – schadenfreude: (n) a word of German origin that refers to taking pleasure in the misfortune of your enemies. Also, see the First Commandment of the Bowl Season…Broncos 38, Golden Eagles 24.