NCAA Football

Bowl Previews: Cotton, BBVA Compass, Kraft Fight Hunger, BCS

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Here is the final part of our Bowl Season Predictions including the National Championship Game. In case you missed the first, second, and third rounds of bowl predictions just click on the links to catch up on what you missed. As of the printing of this blog Ross is 16-12 and I am 17-11 in our predictions.

Cotton Bowl (1/7 8pm on FOX)
LSU (10-2) vs. Texas A&M (9-3)

Kevin's Prediction: LSU 28 TEXAS A&M 27
As an SEC homer it's really tough for me to pick against the SEC. Especially against the SEC West. Yes, Arkansas lost but Ohio State was playing 5 guys who should have been sitting and Bobby Petrino is a gutless coward who deserves to lose every game he coaches. Back to LSU...there is just something about them. Under CRAZY Les Miles they just find a way to win. They have some pretty impressive victories this year against Alabama, Florida, Mississippi State, UNC and West Virginia. LSU's two losses were to Auburn and Arkansas and they haven't lost by more than 8 points all year long. A&M went through a rough stretch earlier this year when they lost 3 straight (also lost to Arkansas) but they have rebounded to win 6 straight including impressive wins against Oklahoma and Nebraska. This one is a coin flip and in a coin flip you go with the guy with the luck.

Ross's Prediction: LSU 27 TEXAS A&M 24

The Big 12 has enjoyed an underwhelming bowl season (except for the efforts of the Oklahoma schools, really), which casts some doubt on the strength of Texas A&M.  LSU, meanwhile, emerged with 10 wins from the toughest division in college football (the SEC West) -- no small feat, that, and a big reason why I'll back them to get the win here.  But it will be close because that's the only way Les Miles know how to play 'em, with the Tigers pulling out a win after an onside kick, a fake punt, and a flea-flicker on a fourth-down conversion.  Prepare for the latest Miracle now.
BBVA Compass Bowl (1/8 Noon on ESPN)
Pittsburgh (7-5) vs. Kentucky (6-6)
Kevin's Prediction: PITT 27 KENTUCKY 17
Kentucky didn't exactly close the year with a bang as they went 2-3 with their wins coming over mighty Vandy and Charleston Southern. Oh yeah, and Mike Hartline went out and got himself suspended for this game. If Hartline was playing I probably take Kentucky by 10, but he's not. Watch out for Randall Cobb but I think Pittsburgh, despite all of their coaching issues, finds a way to win this one.
Ross's Prediction: KENTUCKY 31, PITT 17
On one hand, you have a member of the SEC East, a division so mediocre its teams have gone 1-3 and lost to teams from C-USA and the ACC.  On the other hand, you have a member of the Big East, a conference that is seemingly perpetually mediocre -- and especially so this year.  Oh, and that team has major head coaching drama.  The SEC East isn't very good -- but even they can beat an also-ran from the Big East that's mired in controversy.
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (1/9 9pm on ESPN)
Nevada (12-1) vs. Boston College (7-5)
Kevin's Prediction: NEVADA 27 BC 21
BC's season has been one of streaks. They won two to start off the year, then they lost 5 straight games (all to bowl teams) and then they finished up with 5 straight wins (beating 3 really bad teams and 2 decent teams). All-in-all BC has had a disappointing year from a team that CFBZ picked to come in second place in the Coastal Division. Nevada has feasted on powers like Eastern Washington, Colorado State, Idaho, UNLV, San Jose State, New Mexico State and Louisiana Tech (where can Georgia get one of these schedules?). But they've also won a few games against teams that actually play football (Cal, BYU, Fresno State and Boise State). I have a tough time picking a team to win that lost to Hawaii but I'm going to do it anyway. Kaepernick wins this one for Nevada in a nail-biter.  
Ross's Prediction: NEVADA 38, BOSTON COLLEGE 20
Nevada got bushwhacked in their bowl game a year ago, but I don't think that will happen to this year's bunch.  B.C. has a quality defense and has had an eon to prepare for the Nevada offense, but I think Colin Kaepernick and Vaia Taua will end their Wolfpack careers on a high note, with a decisive bowl win.
BCS National Championship Game (1/10 8:30pm on ESPN)
Auburn (13-0) vs. Oregon (12-0)
Kevin's Prediction: AUBURN 34 OREGON 28
I've pretty much been a non-believer in Auburn all year long up until the SEC Championship Game. I think I picked them to lose in pretty much every game up until that game. While Auburn is very close to a  one-man team they do have a good supporting cast. Cam Newton has simply been amazing this year. They guy just doesn't feel the pressure. They learned how to win early in the year by holding on to beat Mississippi State and surviving Clemson in OT. They came from 13 down and forced 4 4th quarter turnovers to beat Spurrier and South Carolina in their regular season date. They held off a late rally by a game Kentucky squad. Maybe the game where people started taking them seriously was when they put 65 up against Arkansas in a PS3 like game. Auburn beat a good LSU team in a close game. Georgia jumped up on Auburn 21 to 7 in the 1st quarter but Cam and Auburn didn't blink and came back and won by 3 scores. The best comeback of the season was the one against Alabama. People turned off their TV sets after Bama took a 24-0 lead in the 2nd quarter. But Auburn showed us what they are made of and came back and beat the Tide by 1 point. If there is one thing I've learned about Auburn this year it's not to pick against them. They have a guy with big play power and incredible moxie in Cam Newton on the offensive side of the ball and they have the dirtiest, filthiest, nastiest defensive player in the game in Nick Fairley. Fairley would blindside his grandma after the whistle if he thought it would help his team win a game. Dude speared Aaron Murray in the back of his spine with his helmet five seconds after Murray released a pass (would have been a multiple game game suspension if it happened in the NFL). I really like Oregon ,but I Auburn has proved this year that I can't pick against them (as much as I want to).
Ross's Prediction: AUBURN 45, OREGON 42
I hope you like scoring because this should be a point orgy.  Granted, we've said that in the past and wound up with a defensive struggle (see: Florida-Oklahoma two years ago), but this match-up seems unlikely to produce such an odd result; these two offenses are so potent and so high-powered that it's hard to see them getting slowed for long -- especially against defenses that aren't exactly ironclad.  The thing to watch here will be the pace: Oregon wants to play at a furiously high tempo, and while Auburn is also capable of playing at a high tempo, they may want to slow things down a little to enable their defense to have a shot at making some plays.  Like so many recent title games, this match-up pits one Heisman finalist (Cam Newton) against another (LaMichael James), although Oregon's success will probably depend more on how Darron Thomas fares throwing the ball than anything.  Oregon has been a breathtaking team to watch this year and they've been very good -- but it's too hard to bet against the SEC at this point, or to pick against Cam Newton.  I think he has the best performance in a title game since Vince Young five years ago and leaves us all staring, slack-jawed and wondrous at what we just saw.