December 30, 2016

From a Bowl standpoint this is the last day of Bowling for Dollars, NCAA style. One big game remains for next week, but that’s another story. These games should be pretty darn good.

FLORIDA (8-4) VS IOWA (8-4); OUTBACK BOWL; 1 PM ET; ABC … If both offenses play at their highest level this could be a real dandy. But given the style of play and limited offensive talent this could be an old-fashioned 14-10 contest, which many of today’s fans can’t comprehend. JIM McELWAIN is still trying to put together enough talent on the O-side to crack the end zone on a regular basis. Luckily, he has a top notch Frosh PK in #15 EDDY PINEIRO. If the Florida D stymies the Hawkeyes O then PINEIRO may be the difference on the scoreboard. It is also possible that the Gators will have some key defenders back in reasonable health.

FLORIDA                                                                        IOWA
#20 MARCUS MAYE/S 6’0/207 INJ                              #12 GREG MABIN/CB 6’2/200
#31 JALEN TABOR/CB 6’0/191 JR                                 #14 DESMOND KING/CB 5’11/203
#34 ALEX ANZALONE/LB 6’3/244 ?INJ                      #16 C.J. BEATHARD/QB 6’2/215
#40 JARRAD DAVIS/LB 6’2/240                                    #23 LeSHUN DANIELS/RB 5’11/225
#91 JOEY IVIE/DT 6’3/295                                              #46 GEORGE KITTLE/TE 6’4/246
#94 BRYAN COX/DE 6’3/268 ?INJ                                #67 JALEEL JOHNSON/DT 6’4/310

WISCONSIN (10-3) Vs. WESTERN MICHIGAN (13-0); COTTON BOWL; 1 PM ET; ESPN … I realize that more than a few folks think this match-up is a joke because it’s BIG 10 vs. MAC, but the Broncos are a legit threat if taken too lightly. The Badgers are solid all around and will have a serious athleticism advantage. But UW can be offensively challenged at times, while WMU has enough weapons to score on anyone. A key matchup will be whether the Wisconsin secondary can cover a talented bunch of WR lead by COREY DAVIS. But then again the challenge for WMU will be whether they can pass protect well enough to buy time for TERRELL to find his receivers downfield. Look for the Badgers to pull away in the second half.

WISCONSIN                                                                      WESTERN MICHIGAN
#23 DAVID OGUNBOWALE/RB 5’11/217                        #1 KEION ADAMS/DE/ER 6’2/245
#24 COREY CLEMENT/RB 5’11/215                                 #11 ZACH TERRELL/QB 6’2/205
#42 T.J. WATT/OLB 6’5/247 JR                                        #68 DAVID CURLE/DT 6’3/303
#47 VINCE BIEGEL/OLB 6’4/247                                      #72 TAYLOR MOTON/OT 6’5/328
#65 RYAN RAMCZYK/OT 6’6/308                                    #84 COREY DAVIS/WR 6’3/213

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (9-3) VS. PENN STATE (11-2); ROSE BOWL; 5 PM ET; ESPN … The Trojans are purely and simply the team no one wants to play right now. Since switching at QB to SAM DARNOLD, #14 they are unbeatable, and posting big scores each weekend. And their young D is getting tougher as well. PENN STATE surprised everyone this season, and HC JAMES FRANKLIN has shown that he is indeed putting this program back together again. Most fans were surprised when the Nittany Lions beat Wisconsin in the BIG 10 Championship game. They may surprise again, but I doubt it very much. Mark up another W for the Trojans.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA                                                      PENN STATE
#1 DARREUS ROGERS/WR 6’1/215                                           #6 MALIK GOLDEN/S 6’0/206
#2 ADOREE JACKSON/CB/RS 5’11/185 JR                             #11 BRANDON BELL/LB 6’1/231
#9 JUJU SMITH-SCHUSTER/WR 6’2/215 JR                        #13 SAEED BLACKMALL/WR 6’2/211 JR
#22 JUSTIN DAVIS/RB 6’1/195                                                  #72 BRIAN GAIA/OC 6’3/304
#72 CHAD WHEELER/OT 6’6/300                                           #88 MIKE GESICKI/TE 6’6/255 JR
#73 ZACH BANNER/OT 6’9/350                                                #94 EVAN SCHWAN/DE 6’5/256

OKLAHOMA (10-2) VS. AUBURN (8-4); SUGAR BOWL; 8:30 PM ET; ESPN … The Sooners opened the season with some tough match-ups and went 1-2, but since them have been a powerhouse especially on Offense. QB/BAKER MAYFIELD #6 is almost the ideal college level QB and can really run their Offense. Hopefully DEDE WESTBROOK can play for the Sooners in this one. Auburn is tough on Defense and if they can run on a decimated Sooners D this one could be pretty dynamic to watch as a back-and-forth battle.

OKLAHOMA                                                                                AUBURN
# 5 GENO LEWIS/WR 6’1/200                                                     #1 MONTRAVIUS ADAMS/DT 6’4/305
#11 DEDE WESTBROOK/WR 6’0/170 ?INJ                              #17 T.J. NEAL/LB 6’1/235
#13 AHMAD THOMAS/S 6’1/210                                                 #23 JONATHAN FORD/S 6’0/203
#26 JORDAN EVANS/LB 6’2/233                                                #55 CARL LAWSON/DE/ER 6’2/257 JR
#32 SAMAJE PERINE/RB 5’10/235 JR                                      #63 ALEX KOZAN/OG 6’4/300

Enjoy the games.