December 22, 2016

The good news is that we are now heading into the Bowl Games featuring some really good teams. We’ve already been treated to some outstanding individual performances, but now top players on top teams will be featured just about every day. Let’s take a look at a fairly pedestrian trio of games for post-Christmas consumption.

MISSISSIPPI STATE (5-7) VS MIAMI of Ohio (6-6); ST. PETERSBURG BOWL 11 AM ET; ESPN; Excuse me while I yawn a bit over this match-up. Thank goodness there are some solid pro prospects in this contest, or there might be no logical reason to watch it, other than for nap value. Actually State showed some solid work against the usual tough SEC schedule. And their QB/NICK FITZGERALD #7 could be among the best in the SEC next season given his work this year. And MIAMI was a nice surprise to most even with a .500 record. MIAMI, the cradle of coaches historically, is slowly rebounding as a program under 3rd year HC CHUCK MARTIN. And the day is also saved by some decent NFL prospects. Keep an eye on MSU’s #47/JEFFERSON as he tries to disrupt play on the Miami side of the line-of-scrimmage, while Bulldogs’ WR Fred Ross is also a good one. This should end in a decisive win for the Bulldogs as long as they don’t try to sleep walk through the contest.

MISSISSIPPI STATE                                                     MIAMI (O)

#8 FRED ROSS/WR 6’2/207                                              #6 ROCKEEM WILLIAMS/WR 6’1/198
#39 RICHIE BROWN/ILB 6’2/245                                  #30 BUCHI OKAFOR/S 6’1/197
#47 A.J. JEFFERSON/DE/O 6’3/277                              #72 COLIN BUCHANAN/OT 6’5/313
#60 JAMAAL CLAYBORN/OC 6’4/315                            #91 T.J. JONES/DE 6’3/265
#88 NICK JAMES/DT 6’5/325

BOSTON COLLEGE (6-6) Vs MARYLAND (6-6); QUICK LANE BOWL; 2:30 PM ET; ESPN … About an hour before the kick-off of this one might be a good time to lunch of some leftover Christmas turkey if you have some. That tryptophan should work magic along with the likely lack of offense in this snoozer. A nice long nap will almost be guaranteed. The EAGLES have once again shown exceptional Defensive play through most of the 2016 season led by junior DE Harold Landry whose 15 sacks this fall were tied for the national lead.  But when you see the BC Offense in action you will likely see why Eagles fans are getting impatient with the ADDAZIO regime despite the presence of a decent QB in Patrick Towles. Meanwhile, the TERPS managed to put together 6 Wins this year, but none came against a team with a winning record. And they were slaughtered by MICHIGAN and OHIO STATE in mid-season by a combined score 121-6. At least it is unlikely BC can come close to those kind of point totals.

BOSTON COLLEGE                                                       MARYLAND
#8 PATRICK TOWLES/QB 6’5/238                                 #4 WILL LIKELY/CB/RS 5’8/175 INJ ?
#9 JOSH JOHNSON/S 6’0/198                                         #5 WES BROWN/RB 6’0/210
#28 MATT MILANO/LB 6’1/218                                      #76 MICHAEL DUNN/OT 6’5/312
#72 JIM CASHMAN/OG/T 6’7/305                                #95 AZUBUIKE UKANDU/DT 6’0/306

VANDERBILT (6-6) Vs. NORTH CAROLINA STATE (6-6); INDEPENDENCE BOWL 5 PM ET; ESPN2 ... Same records as the teams in the previous game, but both of these teams have a semblance of an Offense to keep things interesting. SO set your smart phone alarm to wake you just on case you are still dozing from the previous snooze-fest. VANDY has been a tough out this season and actually posted W’s over WKU, UGA, Ole MIss & Tennessee. HC DEREK MASON has picked up the pieces nicely from the departure of JAMES FRANKLIN to Penn State. The Wolfpack They ended the season on a very high note with a road win against intra-state rival UNC. I would expect this to be a game that is not decided until the final possession or two. The best player in this one should be ZACH CUNINGHAM/LB #41 from Vandy who has scouts whispering top 20 if he declares for the 2017 Draft.

VANDERBILT                                                                     NC STATE
#5 TORREN McGASTER/CB 6’0/200                             #8 DRAVIOUS WRIGHT/S 5/10/208
#7 RALPH WEBB/RB 5’10/200 JR                                  #9 BRADLEY CHUBB/DE 6’4/275 JR
#41 ZACH CUNINGHAM/LB 6’4/230 JR                      #21 MATTHEW DAYES/RB 5’9/205
#69 ADAM BUTLER/DT 6’4/300                                    #29 JACK TOCHO/CB 6’0/200
#74 WILL HOLDEN/OT 6’6/312                                       #13 BRA’LON CHERRY/WR 5’11/191

Enjoy. Trust me when I say some of these games are more interesting to watch if you are scouting for pro prospects, than just watching overall game action. Give it a try.