Bowl Picks: 2011 Bowls

The remaining bowls take center stage in the last bowl stream of the season.

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5 Total Updates since January 3, 2011
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Bowl Picks: Nevada Vs. Boston College

Nevada Wolfpack (11-1, 7-1 WAC) vs. Boston College Eagles (7-5, 4-4 ACC)

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl
January 9 - 9:00 pm - ESPN
San Francisco, CA
$750,000-$825,000 payout per team

The Nevada Wolfpack may be one of the most underrated teams in the nation. With a 12-1 record, the team could have found itself in the BCS if they had beaten Hawaii. Still, the Wolfpack own wins over Boise State, Cal, and BYU, so they're not exactly unproven. Nevada's rushing game, which ranks third in the nation, is led by 1,500-yard rusher Vai Taua. QB Colin Kaepernick also has legs and ran for more than 1,000 yards this season. Nevada also boasts a pretty good defense, giving up 22 points per game.

Boston College has had two different seasons. After seven games, the Eagles started out 2-5 and looked completely out of the running for a bowl game. But they rebounded in the second half of 2010, winning their last five games to get to a respectable 7-5. Boston College has one of the worst offenses in the country, scoring 30 points only once all season. The Eagles' lone consistent offensive weapon is 1,200 yard running back Montel Harris. But if Boston College wins this game, it won't be because of their offense - it will be because of their defense, which allows under 20 points per game.
- SBN Pittsburgh analysis by Anson Whaley

SBN PITTSBURGH BOLD PREDICTION: Nevada 27, Boston College 14

Analyst Projections
Aaron - Nevada
Anson - Nevada
Jeff - Nevada

From ESPN:

Boston College and its rugged defense led by linebacker Luke Kuechly will try to shut down Colin Kaepernick and No. 17 Nevada's potent pistol offense. The Eagles bounced back from a five-game losing streak with a five-game winning streak. Nevada roared onto the national scene by ending Boise State's dreams of a national title. Can the Wolf Pack now take down an ACC team? -- Ted Miller


Bowl Picks: LSU Vs. Texas A&M

LSU Tigers (10-2, 6-2 SEC) vs. Texas A&M Aggies (9-3, 6-2 Big Twelve)

AT&T Cotton Bowl
January 7 - 8:00 pm - FOX
Arlington, TX
$3,575,000 payout per team

Texas A&M squares off with the Louisiana State Tigers in the 76th Cotton Bowl, being hosted at Jerry Jones' new monstrosity of a stadium in Dallas. LSU enters the game with a 10-2 record and a third place finish in the SEC. Texas A&M finished the season 9-3 overall, with a 6-2 conference record which was good for a five-way tie for first place in the Big 12. Ole Miss bested Oklahoma State in last season’s Cotton Bowl, a 21-7 victory for the Rebels.

LSU and Texas A&M are re-igniting a rivalry from college football’s golden era. These two teams have faced each other forty-nine times previously, the most recent being a 33-17 Texas A&M victory in 1995. LSU holds the edge in the series with 26 wins, while A&M only has 19 wins. The series has three ties, the most recent coming in 1966. This will be Texas A&M’s eleventh appearance in the Cotton Bowl, most recently a 38-7 loss to Tennessee in the 2005 game. This will be LSU’s fifth appearance in the game, most recently a 35-20 loss to Texas in 2003.

The LSU Tigers have been in the spotlight for much of the season thanks to improbably circumstances at the end of their games. Head Coach Les Miles has even earned his nickname of "The Mad Hatter" this season! The LSU Defense, ranked eleventh in the country allowing under eighteen point per game, will face a potent Aggie passing attack that averaged nearly three hundred yards per game in the air. If the Tigers are to come out victorious they will need to get after the quarterback and force the Aggie offense into third and long situations. This one could prove to be the most memorable of the 2011 bowl game. If Les Miles’ squad has proved anything this season, it’s that they keep things interesting until the final horn sounds.
- SBN Pittsburgh analysis by Aaron Hawley


Analyst Projections
Aaron - LSU
Anson - Texas A&M
Jeff - LSU

From ESPN:

Texas A&M flirted with the SEC over the summer, but the Aggies will get a chance to beat an SEC team for the first time since 1995 when they face LSU. Texas A&M is 0-3 in the past two seasons against the conference, but the Tigers' defense will make life hard on the Aggies' offense. There's a silver lining for Texas A&M, though. Les Miles will be without his mojo: This game is on artificial turf. -- David Ubben


Bowl Picks: Arkansas Vs. Ohio State

Arkansas Razorbacks (10-2, 6-2 SEC) vs. Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1, 7-1 Big Ten)

AllState Sugar Bowl
January 4 - 8:00 pm - ESPN
New Orleans, LA
$17,000,000 payout per team

This hasn't been a banner year for the Big 10 in terms of bowl games. The conference stands at 2-5 and Ohio State will try to improve on that record in its game against Arkansas. The Buckeyes were one game away from possibly playing in the National Championship game and are finishing their season under controversy. Five players, including star quarterback Terrelle Pryor, will be suspended for the beginning of next season for receiving improper benefits, but all five are eligible to play in this game. Still, the distraction could have been enough to help the Buckeyes lose some of their focus. Still, with one of the top combinations of scoring offense (11th in the nation) and scoring defense (3rd in the nation), Ohio State will still be difficult to beat.

With Ryan Mallett, Arkansas boasts one of the the best quarterbacks in the country. And even without a 1,000 yard receiver, the Razorbacks have a top 15 passing game. Mallett throws the ball all over the field as evidenced by Arkansas' five receivers with at least 500 receiving yards each. 1,100 yard rusher Knile Davis helps even things out and give the team a balanced attack. With the game in New Orleans, the Razorbacks should also enjoy a nice home field advantage.
- SBN Pittsburgh analysis by Anson Whaley


Analyst Projections
Aaron - Arkansas
Anson - Ohio State
Jeff - Ohio State

From ESPN:

Ohio State gets another shot to end its futility against the SEC in bowl games when the Buckeyes take on Arkansas. As Ohio State fans are well aware, the Buckeyes are 0-9 against SEC teams in bowl games. They face an Arkansas team that will be making its first BCS bowl appearance. The Hogs are playing in the Sugar Bowl for the first time since 1980. -- Chris Low


Bowl Picks: Virginia Tech Vs. Stanford

Virginia Tech Hokies (11-2, 8-0 ACC) vs. Stanford Cardinal (11-1, 8-1 Pac Ten)

Discover Orange Bowl
January 3 - 8:00 pm - ESPN
Miami, FL
$17,000,000 payout per team

The Virginia Tech Hokies, champions of the Atlantic Coast Conference, square off with the one-loss Stanford Cardinal in the 75th Orange Bowl game. This is Virginia Tech’s fourth Orange Bowl. The Hokies dropped their first two appearances in 1996 and 2008 before winning the 2009 game against the Cincinnati Bearcats 20-7. This is Stanford’s first appearance in the game, and the first time they’ve faced Virginia Tech. Last year’s Orange Bowl was a 24-14 victory for the Iowa Hawkeyes versus the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

The Stanford Cardinal are led into the game by junior quarterback Andrew Luck, a Heisman finalist and widely considered the first overall pick in the NFL draft should he leave college. Luck has led the Cardinal to an 11-1 record, good for second place in the Pac-10, by overseeing an offense that averages over forty points per game. In the process, he’s piled up 28 touchdowns and over three thousand yards of passing. He will face off against a trademark Virginia Tech defense which routinely holds opponents under twenty points per game. Despite dropping the first two games of the season (including a loss to FCS team James Madison University), the Hokies have won eleven straight and enter the Orange Bowl as one of the hottest teams in college football.
- SBN Pittsburgh analysis by Aaron Hawley

SBN PITTSBURGH BOLD PREDICTION: Stanford 23, Virginia Tech 10

Analyst Projections
Aaron - Stanford
Anson - Virginia Tech
Jeff - Virginia Tech

From ESPN:

ACC champion Virginia Tech, which became the first FBS program to win 11 straight games after starting the season 0-2, will face a Stanford program that believes it is the best one-loss team in the country and has made its case with three shutouts and a Heisman-contending quarterback in Andrew Luck. -- Heather Dinich

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