"There's nothing quite like Bowl Week, it's the best time of the Year..." That is how the jingle that ESPN used to run for it's Bowl Week began. The first weekend of the 2008-2009 bowl season brings us 5 games. Here are my predictions for this weekend's slate:
Eagle Bank Bowl - Navy vs. Wake Forest
- This is a rematch from their September 27 meeting that saw Navy upset Wake, 24-17. The Deacons came into the game ranked and looking like an early favorite in the ACC. But 6 turnovers, including 4 interceptions by quarterback Riley Skinner, killed the Deacons and allowed the Midshipmen to escape with the win. Navy closed its season with a shutout of rival Army, but I look for the Deacons to get some revenge in this one.
Wake Forest 27, Navy 21
New Mexico Bowl - Fresno State vs. Colorado State
- Fresno State was destroyed by the Broncos of Boise State in their final game of the season and are looking to close out a season that opened with high expectations on a high note. Colorado State reached a bowl game by winning its final two games of the season on the back of halfback Gartrell Johnson (1,191 yards and 10 touchdowns). Look for Bulldogs senior Quarterback Tom Brandstater to close out his career with a big game against the Rams.
Fresno State 31, Colorado State 24
St. Petersburg Bowl - Memphis vs. South Florida
- After reaching #2 last season, the Bulls opened the year with high hopes of a Big East Championship. But after losing their last 3 game, the Bulls finished a disappointing 7-5. Two junior college transfers, quarterback Arkelon Hall and Curtis Steele, helped turn the Tigers 0-3 start into a 6-6 bowl season. Look for South Florida's defense, ranked 13th in the nation and led by DE George Selvie, to hold Hall and Steele in check while Matt Grothe does just enough to lead the Bulls to victory.
South Florida 30, Memphis 20
Las Vegas Bowl - BYU vs. Arizona
- BYU and its high powered offense led by QB Max Hall, WR Austin Collie, and TE Dan Pitta head to the desert to take on Mike Stoops' improving Arizona Wildcats. The Wildcats capped their season with a win over Arizona State to finish at 7-5. Look for a shootout between two high scoring offenses that in the end will see BYU with too much firepower for the 'Cats to answer.
BYU 45, Arizona 38
New Orleans Bowl - Southern Miss vs. Troy
- Troy won the Sun Belt conference this year, but the season would have been so much better if they had not collapsed in the fourth quarter at Baton Rouge. The Trojans had LSU on the ropes, but failed to deliver the final punch. The Trojans look to get that 9th win that was stolen from them against Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles stood at 2-6 in late October and needed to pull off four straight wins just to make a bowl. Look for DuJuan Harris of Troy to run wild and the Trojans to win big.
Troy 38, Southern Miss 13
Look for the quality bowl match ups to kick into full gear beginning Tuesday when Boise State takes on TCU in the Poinsetta Bowl.