Your College Football Bowls Preview Part Seven

December 30, 2009 – 12:01 am by McD


I wanted to take a moment to ask EA Sports to include flashback playbooks in next year’s college football game. Not just formations, but entire playbooks.

Like the classic Nebraska I-option playbook would be fantastic to run since the option is back in vogue and, well, the Huskers kind of kicked ass at it. The old Oklahoma Wishbone would be fun, though a little one-dimensional. So would the old Florida offense from the 1990’s.

But my absolute favorites would be the early 1900’s single-wing offense and the 1980’s University of Houston Run and Shoot offense. Those would be complete juggernauts in any era, especially since teams run variations of them now anyway.

I’m just saying that instead of cobbling them together from various formations and things in the custom playbook menu, I’d like to throw together some actual single-wing plays and use them. You can do it in Madden, kind of, and I know it would be amazing in the college football game. Just a request to EA Sports before I talk bowl games some more.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

4:30 pm ET

Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl

Bowling Green (7-5) vs. Idaho (7-5) (-1)

There’s a reason there aren’t any major-conference teams in this bowl. Did I mention it’s in Boise, Idaho? I have no idea how this bowl manages to recruit teams to play there in December every year. Maybe Boise isn’t as cold this time of year as everyone thinks. Or maybe teams are just happy to get to play in the post-season. Also helps if you’re the Idaho Vandals and essentially don’t have to leave home to play Wednesday.

Speaking of the Vandals, this is an impressive turnaround. Over the last ten years, Idaho was one of the worst football teams in the country, but now they’re at least bowl-eligible. Since I’m an Indiana grad, I know a thing or two about finally making a bowl game after a million years. Hint: it feels good. That said, their D might get slaughtered Wednesday night.

Freddie Barnes has 138 receptions. You read that right. The single-season record is 142, so at least you’ll get to see some history if you watch this game, if not two great football teams.

Also, Dave Clawson’s offense seems to be running just fine in Bowling Green which leads me to a couple of possible theories as to why his system failed so miserably in Knoxville. First, it’s entirely possible that his system just doesn’t work at the highest levels of football. He had wild success at the 1-AA level and then is having even more now in the MAC, but at Tennessee, where the athletes and defenses are better, things just didn’t work.

The second, and much more likely, theory is that Tennessee’s offensive players just sucked in the one year under Clawson and Phil Fulmer is not the guy you want running the ship if an offensive makeover is necessary. He’s an offensive guy, don’t forget, so changing systems yet again to something he was less comfortable with than David Cutcliffe’s system. And, given how bad UT’s offense was this year under Lane Kiffin, I think it’s fair to say the players recruited by Fulmer et al. just weren’t all that great, and now Clawson is doing his thing again at a medium-level school.

I think BGU’s O gets all kinds of yards and points on Idaho and ends up running away with this thing. As an Indiana grad, I also happen to know about what happens to the team when they finally make a bowl game. It ain’t pretty. That or Bill Lynch is in over his head.

Pick: Bowling Green

8 pm ET

Pacific Life Holiday Bowl

(20) Arizona (8-4) vs. (22) Nebraska (9-4) (-1)

I was mad at Texas A&M for blowing their Texas upset, but I just feel bad for Nebraska. The Huskers did everything they could do to win, and Texas pretty much did everything they could do to lose, including some Miles-ian clock management, but Texas won anyway. Apparently, the football gods wanted order in the college football universe.

Nebraska certainly can play the defense, and this is Ndamukong Suh’s swansong as a Husker, so I’d expect Arizona quarterback Nick Foles to spend a good amount of time running for his life Wednesday night. I’m sure the Cats will double-team Suh and will probably look to roll Foles out a bit, but Nebraska’s defense knows Arizona dies if it can’t run the ball. Foles is good, but he’s at least a year away from being a great quarterback. I expect Nebraska’s defense to keep this game very close.

Which means this game comes down to whether the Huskers can score on Arizona’s defense. Nebraska has hinted at giving some other quarterbacks besides Zac Lee some time during the game, and I just can’t trust a team that has quarterback issues after an entire season, including an appearance in its conference title game.

Pick: Arizona

Bowls Part Six

Independence Bowl Preview

Music City Bowl Preview

Bowls Part Three

Bowls Part Two

Bowls Part One

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