Tag:Joe McKnight
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
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com