Posted on: December 26, 2009 1:46 am

Day After Christmas Bowls

2-4.  Wow.  I'm disappointing myself.  Seriously.  Although, no one saw that Nevada beatdown coming.  I mean, they were 13 point favorites and got blown out.  That will be the most shocking result of the bowls, unless somehow Cincy can beat down Florida that way. 

Marshall (6-6) vs. Ohio (9-4) -3
Sat. Dec 26 at 1 PM on ESPN

Why to Watch:  Nothing like mediocre football to wake up too while the girls are out for the "After Christmas Sale's". 

Who to Watch:  Marshall: RB Darius Marshall - Ran for 1054 yards despite missing 3 games.  Easily the Thundering Herds best playmaker on offense.
Ohio: LB Noah Keller - Finished 5th in the nation in total tackles.  Not really a pass rusher, mostly stays in coverage. 

What to Watch:  Watch to see if Marshall comes out with any passion.  Former Coach Mark Snyder resigned just days after the Herd finished their season.  They went and poached Doc Holliday from in-state rival WVU to be their next coach.  If Holliday can get the Herd in any sort of mood to play football this game could be competitive.  Ohio's offense will rely on QB Theo Scott and the Pistol offense.  Scott has had some great games this season, but when he was "on" in the ground game, Ohio looked like one of the better MAC teams. 

Prediction: Bobcats 27, Thundering Herd 17

Pittsburgh (9-3) -3 vs. North Carolina (8-4)
Sat. Dec 26 at 430 PM on ESPN

Why to Watch: Strength vs. Strength.  UNC has the #6 defense in the country and Pitt has the top Freshman RB in the country in Dion Lewis.

Who to Watch: Pitt: WR John Baldwin - He had 54 catches for 1080 Yards and 8 TD's, and him having a good day would force UNC to not leave 8 men in the box all day.
UNC: LB's Quan Sturdivant and Bruce Carter - The nation's premier LB duo and the reason why UNC had the #6 defense in the country.  Both will be playing on Sundays, and both will need big games to shut down Dion Lewis.

What to Watch: While the matchup between the UNC defense vs. Pitt offense will be intriguing, the UNC offense in a word is 'Terrible'.  QB TJ Yates isn't bad he just had a sub-par offensive line and no running game to support him.  WR/RB Greg Little is UNC's answer to Percy Harvin.  Little was mostly used as a RB up until this year, but moved back out to receiver, but he needs to get the ball more.  Pitt finished #1 in sacks in the country, so with the subpar line I'd expect DE Greg Romeus to have a big day and limit Yates' ability to go deep. 

Prediction: Panthers 27, Tar Heels 13

Boston College (8-4) vs. USC (8-4) -7
Dec. 26 at 8 PM on ESPN

Why to Watch: See if USC can rebound from a disappointing season as they go to a non-BCS game for the first time since 2001. 

Who to Watch: BC: LB Luke Kuechly - The Freshman won ACC Rookie of the Year honors and First Team All-ACC, and he and the other talented LB's on the team will need to have a big day to slow down the potent, but inconsistent USC offense.
USC: FB Stanley Havili - The Best in the business in college, is a threat on the ground or in the air.  Not used nearly enough by the coaching staff, but without TE Anthony McCoy and RB Joe McKnight, he'll have to step up all over the field.

What to Watch:  I'm pretty sure USC is going to come out flat, and uninspired in this game.  That said, there talent is unmatched.  QB Matt Barkley needs time to develop, and would have benefitted if Sophomore Aaron Corp or Senior Mitch Mustain had stepped up.  No McKnight or McCoy will hurt the USC offense, but they still have Damien Williams and Ronald Johnson on the outside, and Allen Bradford had the best season of his career at USC.  BC suffered a huge loss before the season when they lost LB Mark Herzlich.  Obviously, Kuechly stepped up, but Herzlich was the emotional leader of this team.  While the defense wasn't bad by any stretch, the offense was terribly inconsitent, but after the offseason turmoil that saw their starting QB transfer and a 25-year old newcomer enter the picture, it's no surprise. 

Prediction: Trojans 27, Eagles 20
Posted on: December 19, 2009 12:58 pm

Bowl Previews and Picks (The First Weekend)

There are 3 bowls this weekend, two on Saturday and one on Sunday, with five of the six teams being non-bcs teams.  That doesn't mean they can't be entertaining.  So, without further ado, I give you What, Who and Why to watch and my prediction.

Fresno State (8-4) -10.5 vs. Wyoming (6-6)
Sat. Dec 19 at 430 PM on ESPN

Why to Watch:  You are snowed in and Saints-Cowboys doesn't start until later. 

Who to Watch: Fresno: RB Ryan Matthews - He's the nation's second leading rusher with 1664 yards and 17 TD's.  He also added 146 yards and 2 TD's through the air.
Wyoming: WR David Leonard - He was the teams leading receiver with 70 receptions and 645 yards, but only had one touchdown.

What to Watch:  Matthews and the potent Fresno State offense should be able to control the clock and the game.  I believe this may be one of the more lopsided bowl games.  Fresno played a tough schedule and played Boise State close.  This WAC-MWC matchup won't be nearly as important as the Fiesta Bowl, but Matthews is definitely a reason to check this game out. 
Prediction: Bulldogs 42, Cowboys 16

Central Florida (8-4) vs. Rutgers (8-4) -2.5
Sat. Dec 19 at 8 PM on ESPN

Why to Watch: You will be even more snowed in, and you need something to do during commercials of the Saints-Cowboys game.

Who to Watch:  UCF: RB Brynn Harvey - Leads the team in rushing with 1077 yards and 14 TD's on the ground. 
Rutgers: QB Tom Savage - With his top wide receiver unlikely to play, the freshman is going to need to find a way to win.  In games he played well they won.  He threw for 1917 yards and 12 TD's but took 34 sacks on the year.

What to Watch: Savage needs to get the ball in the hands of WR Mohamed Sanu and the other receivers to open lanes for RB Joe Martinek.  With talks of the Big Ten possibly purging someone from the Big East, UCF will be looking to impress the Big East personnel at the game to show they could join and compete in the conference. 

Prediction: Scarlet Knights 23, (Golden) Knights 20

Southern Miss (7-5) -3.5 vs. Middle Tennessee State (9-3)
Sun. Dec 20 at 830 PM on ESPN

Why to Watch: You most likely took Wednesday off, so watch some entertaining offenses while you warm up from all the snow.

Who to Watch:  USM: RB's Damion Fletcher and Tory Harrison - The two combined for 297 carries for 1563 yards and 17 TD's.  They have combined to average nearly 5 yards a carry and will control the clock for USM. 
MTSU: QB Dwight Dasher - I watched this guy play and he is fun to watch.  He single handedly beat Maryland.  He lead the team in passing and rushing.  Combined he had 3580 yards of offense, good for ninth-best in the FBS.  He had 32 total TD's.

What to Watch:  Both teams have high powered offenses and (30th and 31st respectively in total offense) and strong defenses.  It will be a close game, but it should be entertaining.  I think USM has better talent, but Dasher is the great equalizer. 

Prediction: Golden Eagles 30, Blue Raiders 28
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com