As per our tradition, we’ll be giving you a quick rundown on all the bowl games… if nothing else, it will help you have enough information to explain why you need to sit and watch the game instead of finishing your Christmas shopping.
History: We’re again coming at you from beautiful Albuquerque ballooning capital of the world. This year’s event is sponsored by Gildan, so it’s safe to say that they’ve got their post game attire covered. Player “gifts that can’t be sold under any circumstances” include Oakley shades, hat, and backpack. Again, these can’t be sold.
Originally created to bring tourism to New Mexico, this is yet another one of the bowl games that ESPN runs to fill the time in the holidays. Yeah, there’s no conflict of interest there, although I think that, this may be one of the better early matchups this bowl season.
Arizona Scouting Report: In Rich Rodriguez’ first season, he picked up right where he left off at TTUN and West Virginia, scoring in bunches. Lead by senior quarterback Matt Scott’s 3200+ yards passing and Ka’Deem Scott’s 1700+ yards on the ground, they were 2-3 against the top 25, including a huge upset of Southern Cal. Unfortunately, they also were pounded pretty soundly by Oregon and UCLA-they ended up being 103 in the nation in points against at the end of the season.
Buckeye Connection: Ohio State obviously owns Rich Rodriguez, but the Buckeyes are 1-3 against the Wildcats; their only win came in 1991. If they were to play this season, though, it would be a close matchup… Ohio State struggled against the type of Offense that Arizona has run this year. Heavy doses of Hyde would eat clock and control the game, though.
Nevada Connection: The Wolfpack took a step back this year from their position at the top of the Mountain West conference; they have been the thorn in Southern Idaho State’s side for the last several season. Seventh in the nation in rushing, their two headed monster (RB Stepfhon Jefferson and QB Cody Farjado have amassed 2600 yards on the ground this season. They knocked off Cal early in the season, and beat South Florida in week two, but have struggled at the end of the season.
Buckeye Connection: The Buckeyes have never faced Nevada, but it’s safe to say that the Silver Bullet defense is geared toward stopping the run; I imagine that OSU would pull away from the Wolfpack in the second quarter and not look back.
Predictions: Here’s what we think will happen
This one might just be a shoot out- Arizona can score points in bunches, but can’t stop the run; Nevada has a top rushing attack. Neither team will have much of a home field advantage, although it will be interesting to see how many folks want to travel for an early bowl game. In the end, though, I see Arizona getting a late stop to hold on for the win.