With apologies to the readers and writers, holiday travels interrupted the stream yesterday. Here are the writeups for yesterday's games, in case you were wondering what was said.
Army Black Knights vs. Southern Methodist Mustangs
Bell Holicopter Armed Forces Bowl
December 30 - 12:00 pm - ESPN
$750,000 payout per team
Army brings one of the nation's top rushing teams(ranking 10th) to the Armed Forces Bowl. Despite being one of the country's best rushing units, the team is without a 1,000 yard rusher. Army has six players with at least 200 yards rushing and are led by Jared Hassin who has racked up 900 yards on the ground. It's a good thing the team has a strong ground game because they rank dead last in passing, totaling a mere 82 yards per game. Their leading receiver is Austin Barr. His numbers, you ask? 14 catches for 215 yards.
Southern Methodist is led by a potent passing attack. Sophomore quarterback Kyle Padron threw for 29 touchdowns and more than 3,500 yards and he has two nice targets in 1,000 yard receivers Aldrick Robinson and Cole Beasley. If Army's rushing game is able to move the ball, it could help keep the Mustangs' aerial attack at bay. SMU isn't one dimensional, though, as running back Zach Line ran for nearly 1,400 yards this season.
- SBN Pittsburgh analysis by Anson Whaley
SBN PITTSBURGH BOLD PREDICTION: SMU 27, Army 14
Syracuse Orangemen vs. Kansas State Wildcats
New Era Pinstripe Bowl
December 30 - 3:30 pm - ESPN
$2,000,000 payout per team
The Syracuse Orange and Kansas State Wildcats will face each other in the inaugural playing of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium in New York City.
While the old Yankee Stadium had a long storied history of hosting football, this will be the first time a college bowl game will be played in any Yankee Stadium since 1962.
Syracuse and Kansas State each enter the bowl with matching records of 7-5. Syracuse is the fourth place team from the Big East, while Kansas State is the eighth place team from the Big 12.
This is the third time in recent history Syracuse and Kansas State have squared off in bowl games. Kansas State was victorious in the 1997 Fiesta Bowl, defeating the Orange 35-18, while the Orange came out on top in the pairs most recent meeting, a 26-3 victory in the 2001 Insight.com Bowl.
In one year, Doug Marrone has turned around the Syracuse football program, one which had been mired in failure for nearly a decade. This year’s Orange were road warriors, picking up all four of their conference victories on the road at West Virginia, Rutgers, South Florida and Cincinnati.
A bowl victory would go a long way towards brightening the cold, dark upstate New York winter for the Syracuse faithful. I expect them to get it done.
- SBN Pittsburgh analysis by Aaron Hawley
SBN PITTSBURGH BOLD PREDICTION: Syracuse 20, Kansas State 7
North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Tennessee Volunteers
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
December 30 - 6:30 pm - ESPN
$1,600,000 payout per team
Suspensions, injuries, and a coaching change have decimated these two teams this year, and each is relatively lucky to be playing in any bowl game. That being said, there are a few playmakers on each side of the ball that fans should keep an eye on.
Freshman Tennessee QB Tyler Bray has Volunteer fans excited for the next three years, while the myriad Tar Heel defenders that should be high round draft picks next year are bound to make some NFL fans excited.
Expect a high scoring affair, one that should have fans talking for some time. Head coach Derek Dooley is looking to put a signature win on the end of his first go-round in Knoxville, while Butch Davis is trying to salvage a season that began with high profile suspensions in the wake of a Miami party thrown by San Francisco 49er Frank Gore.
- SBN Pittsburgh analysis by Jeff Junstrom
SBN PITTSBURGH BOLD PREDICTION: North Carolina 30, Tennessee 27
Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Washington Huskies
Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl
December 30 - 10:00 pm - ESPN
San Diego, CA
$2,200,000 payour per team
The Holiday Bowl is a rare matchup of two teams that already played earlier this season. And it wasn't a very good game the first time around.
The Cornhuskers lost games to ranked Texas A&M and Oklahoma teams by fourth-quarter field goals and lost to Texas by a touchdown. They also were able to put together some pretty good wins against ranked Oklahoma State and Missouri teams. Nebraska is led by 1,200 yard rusher Roy Helu, Jr. However, despite putting up some great games (including a 307-yard, 3 TD performance against Missouri), he isn't always utilized. Helu had more than 15 carries in only four of Nebraska's 13 games. Washington also has to watch out for QB Taylor Martinez on the ground as he has nearly 1,000 yards on the season.
Everyone knows about Washington QB Jake Locker, but the team is more than just him. There's 1,200 yard rusher Chris Polk and 1,000 yard receiver Jermaine Kearse. But Washington's problem isn't going to be on offense - it's on defense where the Huskies struggle, bringing in one of the lowest rated defenses in the country.
Second verse same as the first - Washington may be playing for pride and keep the score a bit tighter than the first game, but look for another Nebraska win.
- SBN Pittsburgh analysis by Anson Whaley
SBN PITTSBURGH BOLD PREDICTION: Nebraska 41, Washington 21