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.
As per our tradition, we’ll be giving you a quick rundown on all the bowl games, no matter how ridiculous they may be. This way, we can make new friends and give you important insight that you can disregard as you make your bowl picks.
History: This is the fifth straight year of excellence in Albuquerque, the ballooning capital of the world. Previous match ups include the classics between San Jose State and New Mexico, and the two consecutive losses by Fresno State.
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. Given how important it is to have a distraction from family that may not include alcohol, I raise my glass (OK, bad metaphor) to ESPN and New Mexico for their vision.
Led by Bronco Mendenhall, this year’s Cougar team has been a bit of a disappointment; after upsetting Washington, they fell to Air Force, Nevada, and TCU in addition to dropping the Holy War against Utah. Whatever will they do with that Beehiveboot shaped hole in their trophy case?
You probably have never heard of junior offensive lineman Matt Reynolds, a MWC first team award winner who has only given up one sack in his time with the Cougars. On defense, senior safety Andrew Rich also earned MWC first team honors, in part due to his 106 tackles and 3 interceptions.
Mike Price, who may be in his final year, leads the Miners of the University of Texas, El Paso; a team that did not manage a winning record in their own conference yet gets a bowl bid. With big victories over Memphis and SMU, the Miners have also dropped games to Marshall, Houston, and Buckeye opponent Arkansas. “Act like you’ve been there before”, UTEP, since you defeated New Mexico in this very stadium 38-20. This will be a contest between former WAC foes, who haven’t played since 1998. In addition, Coach Price recruited coach Mendhall out of high school… small world.
On defense, expect the Miners to struggle a bit against BYU’s offense. There are no individual standouts on the UTEP team defense, although Travaun Nixon has three interceptions and Wiston Jeune leads the team with 40 solo tackles.
Offensively, UTEP loves to get the ball in the air and Trevor Vittatoe has over 2500 yards passing on the season. His primary target is Kris Adams, who has 44 receptions leading to 11 TDs and over 900 yards.
UTEP/Buckeye connections: None that I could find on the football field, although the Scarlet and Gray have faced a Mike Price coached team as a part of the 2002 championship run.
Who Are We Picking?
Ultimately, I think this comes down to BYU’s ability to play defense- of the two squadrons, they have proven to be the most proficient in this area.