Tony DeMeo

2014 Bowls to Watch

The Bowl season is always one of my favorite times of the year. The games are usually evenly matched so the games usually go down to the wire. I was disappointed in a couple of match ups. I would have liked to see Ohio St. vs Alabama in the Sugar – that would have been a great game. I also thought Vanderbilt should have been in the Gator Bowl – they did beat Georgia & the Dawgs won’t have Aaron Murray.
If you want to stay married you can’t watch all the games so I picked the “best of the bowls” – One rule I try to never watch a bowl that one of the team’s coach has left.
1. 12/27 – Marshall vs Maryland @ 2:30 PM on ESPN – Doc Holiday led the Herd to a 9-4 season without much fanfare. Doc has transformed Marshall’s talent pool & the Herd is set for some good years. Rakeem Cato is exciting to watch & the Herd’s Air Game will be too much for the Terps’ secondary.

2. !2/27 – Syracuse vs Minnesota @ 6 PM on ESPN – Jerry Kill has quietly turned around the Golden Gophers & finished with an 8-4 mark. They play great “D” & will too much for ‘Cuse to handle. The Gophers will run the rock & take home the win.

3. 12/30 – Middle Tenn. Vs Navy @ 11:45 AM on ESPN – If you want to see the option run right then watch the Midshipmen of Navy. Coach Ken does a great job adjusting to what the “D” does & also manages the game tempo as well as anyone. Keenan Robinson is a great option QB & should sail the Middies past MTSU.

4. 12/30 – Ole Miss vs Ga. Tech @ 3:15 PM on ESPN – did you say you like option football? Well here’s another option guru in action. Paul Johnson was Coach Ken’s mentor so it will be interesting to watch these 2 teams back to back. Tech has not been as consistent on “O” as in the past but look for a couple of new wrinkles from the Ramblin’ Wreck. Ole Miss has some real speed so it will be a good game.

5. !2/31 – Duke vs Texas A&M @ 8 PM on ESPN – Cinderella meets Johnny Football on New Year’s Eve! – A great match up – Johnny Football finishing 5th in the Heisman is laughable. I think those voters should be banned from ever voting again. Duke had a dream season but defending a well- rested Johnny Football will be a nightmare for the Devils.

6. !/1/14 – Stanford vs Michigan St. @ 5 PM on ESPN – This game could be played in a living room. This is old time rock ‘n’ roll at its best. Two power football teams that play great defense. Tyler Gaffney could give Stanford a slight edge. How many times will the announcers say “The Grand Daddy of them all”? That’s the real question. Keep track & send me your total.

7. 1/2/14 – Oklahoma vs Alabama @ 8:30 PM on ESPN – Bob Stoops is an outstanding coach & the Sooners are a storied program but they should not be in The Sugar Bowl vs The Tide. Bama may be the best team in the country & I would have loved to see them vs Ohio St or Baylor. OU doesn’t have the “O” to beat The Tide. Bama will use their methodical offense to wear down OU’s “D” & get the W.

8. 1/3/14 – Okla. St. vs Mizzou @ 7:30 on FOX – This could be a score fest. Both teams can score the question is “Who can play “D”? My guess is that Mizzou has the more athletic defense & the better QB (James Franllin) & will pull away in the 2nd half. Gary Pinkell will have the Tigers roaring. I would have liked to see Mizzou vs Baylor they would have scored over 100 points.

9. 1/3/16 – Clemson vs Ohio St @ 8:30 on ESPN – This is a BIG game for Ohio St. & the Big 10. The Bucks lost a lot of credibility in their loss to MSU & Urban’s guys will be gunning for the win. Were the Bucks over rated? Why Clemson is in this bowl I don’t know – these are bad bowl pairings – the Tigers lost to So. Carolina in their last game & looked bad doing it. The ONLY reason to see this one is 2 great multi-dimensional QBs: Taj Boyd for Clemson & Braxton Miller for the Bucks. I give the edge to the Buckeyes because the game is more important to their rep.

10. Vanderbilt vs Houston @ 1 PM on ESPN – I would have really liked to see the Commodores in the Gator Bowl (they had a better record than UGA) but the positive is: this is Vandy’s THIRD straight bowl game under James Franklin (they have only been in 3 others in the school’s history). VU has a chance to win 9 (they won 5 of their last 6) and build momentum for next season. The ‘Dores also sold out their ticket allotment which shows the fan support Franklin has built in his 3 years as head ‘Dore.

11. Florida St. vs Auburn @ 8:30 PM on ESPN – what a great match up. This will be which defense can slow the other offense down & get stops. FSU “D” is fierce but they are playing an unconventional “O” – they had a month to prepare (this won’t happen in a playoff). FSU has a great O.Line that will come at you & are great pass protectors. Gus Malzahn’s “O” will be challenged so he must manage the game. Ball security is a must for both teams. FSU has the better “D” & they should take home the crystal in a great game.

There you have it – my 11 bowls to watch & still have a happy marriage. Keep the mute button ready & have healthy snacks handy & enjoy the games.