1-800-524-4250

Articles

Get the best handicapping articles and gambling advice throughout the football, basketball and baseball seasons from the world's top sports handicappers, as well as from Bovada (Bodog) Sportsbook and Casino.

The Bowls and the Heisman

   by Larry Ness - 12/14/2004

The 28-game 56-team bowl season kicks off on December 14 with the New Orleans Bowl as 7-4 North Texas of the Sun Belt Conference takes on 6-5 Southern Miss. The SBC is inarguably the nation's weakest conference and while 6-5 Southern Miss is one of THIRTEEN 6-5 teams making bowl appearances, this is by NO MEANS the worst bowl match-up we'll be subjected to over the next 22 days....

In order of appearance, here's a list of some bowl games you may want to avoid watching! Although the beauty of what we do (that God for bookmakers!), allows us to have a ROOTING INTEREST in even the most UNINTERESTING of games....

Champs Sports Bowl (Dec 21)....6-5 Syracuse vs 6-5 Georgia Tech. Tech is actually a pretty dangerous team but QB Reggie Ball led one of the nation's most turnover-prone teams. Ball completed just 48.9 percent of his passes with 17 interceptions, leading the way to Ga Tech finishing tied for 111th of 117 teams in turnover ratio! Syracuse actually tied for the Big East regular season title but lost to Pitt in a tie-breaker or the Orangemen would have been playing in a BCS Bowl! Syracuse 'earned' its way to Orlando by losing at Purdue (51-0), at Virginia (31-10) and best of all at 2-9 Temple (34-24)!...

Fort Worth Bowl (Dec 23)....6-5 Cincinnati vs 6-5 Marshall. Marshall rebounded nicely from an 0-3 start to finish at 6-5 but one has to LOVE the Bearcats being included among the bowl elite! Cincinnati lost at Army 48-29 on Oct 9, ending Army's 19-game losing streak. The Bearcats 'solidified' their bowl credentials by losing their final game of the season at Louisville, 70-7!...

Las Vegas Bowl (Dec 23)....6-5 UCLA at 6-5 Wyoming. UCLA finished the season losing FOUR of its final six games and despite a 21-0 shut out over Stanford, allowed 29 PPG during that six-game bowl-dash! Wyoming counts a win over Division 1-AA Appalachian State as one of its six conquests and its five wins over Division 1-A opponents came over schools that featured a combined record of 20-35 .364! Can you say BOWL-WORTHY?....

Hawaii Bowl (Dec 24)....7-5 Hawaii vs 7-4 UAB. Hawaii gets in because the Rainbows got to play EIGHT games at home where the Rainbows went 7-1. On the road, a true test of a team's strength, Hawaii was 0-4 and got outscored 231-66! I haven't checked on this but I'm ready to go out on a limb and say that the Blazers are the ONLY bowl team this year that lost CONSECUTIVE games as 18-point favorites. You read that RIGHT! UAB lost at Tulane 59-55 as an 18-point road favorite and then just to make sure that wasn't a FLUKE, lost its very next game (at home this time!) 45-20 to South Florida, again as an 18-point favorite! CLEARLY, Hawaii and UAB are BOWL-WORTHY teams!

Music City Bowl (Dec 31)....6-5 Alabama vs 6-5 Minnesota. The Tide made a nice turnaround from last year's 4-9 disaster but went 3-5 in SEC play and are down to their third-string QB, Spencer Pennington (3 TD passes / 8 interceptions). Minnesota also went 3-5 in conference play plus finished 1-5 after a 5-0 start. This despite becoming the first school in college football history to have two 1,000-yard rushers in CONSECUTIVE years. Bear Bryant and Bernie Bierman must rolling over in their graves watching Mike Shula and Glen Mason patrolling the sidelines in this one!

Gator Bowl (Jan 1).... 8-3 Florida State vs 8-3 West Virginia. This should be re-named the "Fraud Bowl"! Florida State used two QBs this year (Rix and Sexton) that looked as if they would have trouble landing a starting job at a Division 1-AA school! FSU edged Syracuse this year 17-13 as 19-point favorites and Wake Forest 20-17 as 13-point favorites. The Seminoles also lost at Miami (excusable), at Maryland 20-17 (you MUST be kidding!) and home to Florida (20-13), for the first time since 1986! As for West Virginia, the Mountaineers couldn't win the watered-down Big East losing at home to Boston College 36-17, when a win would have clinched a BCS bid and a $14 million payday! West Va also lost at Va Tech and Pitt plus needed overtime to beat pathetic Maryland, 19-16. West Virginia's marquee win of the year came in a road win at U Conn (31-19). Strike up the fight song!

Fiesta Bowl (Jan 1)....11-0 Utah vs 8-3 Pittsburgh. This should be re-named the "BCS Bowl That ISN'T"! Utah goes 11-0 to become the first-ever non-BCS affiliated school to claim a BCS Bowl bid and gets rewarded with a game vs Pittsburgh! The Panthers lost at home to Nebraska this year, the ONLY road game the 'Huskers won in 2004. Just so you understand the significance of that, you should know that Nebraska lost its other four games this year by the combined scores of 179-61! Pitt also lost at U Conn and Syracuse. The Panthers also needed overtime to edge Division 1-AA Furman, 41-38! In one last slap in the face to the this Fiesta Bowl, BOTH head coaches, Urban Meyer and Walt Harris, will be leaving their respective schools as soon as the game is over (one might bolt during halftime if things aren't going well!). Meyer of course is headed to Florida and Harris to Stanford. You CAN'T make this stuff up!...

Heisman Wrap-up....As I predicted, Matt Leinart won the 70th annual Heisman Trophy! In my final Heisman top-10 I correctly pointed out that Leinart would win because White and Peterson would somewhat cancel each other out. I was right to a greater extent than I anticipated....

Leinart's victory came by a margin few could have predicted as he won FIVE of the six voting regions. His teammate, Reggie Bush, finished fifth in the voting and last in all but one region (the reason for Leinart's larger than expected margin)....

Surprisingly, considering that Adrian Peterson finished second in the voting, last year's winner Jason White won the Southwest region, not Peterson. White actually got more first-place votes than Peterson but the true freshman finished with more overall votes, making him the first freshman to ever finish second in the Heisman voting....

Leinart is not through with Peterson and White just yet, as they will square-off in this year's BCS title game on January 4 in the
Orange Bowl....

It marks the third time in the last five years that the Heisman winner and the runner-up will meet in a bowl game. In 2000,
winner Chris Weinke and Florida St lost to runner-up Josh Heupel and Oklahoma 13-2 in the Orange Bowl, giving the Sooners the national championship. The 2002 winner Carson Palmer led his USC team to an easy 38-17 win in the Rose Bowl over Iowa and that year's runner-up, QB Brad Banks....

Leinart and Peterson may not be done competing with each other after the Orange Bowl either, as Leinart could return for his senior season in an effort to do what White was unable to do in 2004. That is, to join Archie Griffin as the award's only two-time winner....

Bet on Sports-Join MyBookie.ag today!
Bet on Sports-Join MyBookie.ag today!
Predictem Free Sports Predictions

Follow BigAl on Twitter

Visit BigAl on Facebook

Football odds at Bovada (Bodog)
Pro football betting at Bovada (Bodog) Sportsbook!