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College football games of the week: The full enchilada and other bowl match-ups

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Austin Photo Set: News_trey_more bowl games_jan 2013_texas a and m
The Texas A&M Aggies practice in preparation for theCotton Bowl  against the Oklahoma Sooners. Courtesy of Photo by Melissa Macatee/CBAA
Ritz Carlton Dallas, Old Red Courthouse

Notre Dame Fighting Irish play Alabama Crimson Tide in the BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME.
Photo courtesy of Ritz-Carlton, Dallas
Austin Photo Set: News_trey_more bowl games_jan 2013_texas a and m
Ritz Carlton Dallas, Old Red Courthouse

Down the home stretch for bowl season and lots of stuff going on. Stuff like:

  • Well done, Louisville.
  • What a disastrous onside kick for the Gators.
  • The Governor of Pennsylvania is suing the NCAA over Penn State’s sanctions. This is stupid. Shut up, take your medicine and thank your lucky stars that you even get to play football for the nonsense you let go on there. 
  • Jadaveon Clowney thinks he can with the 2013 Heisman and he just might. This is how you start your Heisman campaign.
  • The Recruiter of the Decade is now coaching rb’s at Texas. OUTSTANDING. More on this in weeks to come. 

Let’s get to it. More goodness awaits, including the National Championship Game. I know it’s coming because Wednesday’s headline on ESPN.com was “Notre Dame arrives in S. Florida for title game.” You mean they showed up? Who knew!

Friday, January 4

COTTON BOWL
No. 9 TEXAS A&M AGGIES (10-2/6-2) vs. No. 11 oklahoma sooners (10-2/8-1): 7 p.m. on FOX

It is fitting that the two teams I dislike the most are playing their bowl game on a channel whose college football production I dislike the most.

And to be clear, this is the Cotton Bowl, played at Cowboys Stadium at night on January 4, right? And the game played at the Cotton Bowl, in Fair Park at the Texas State Fair grounds, on New Year’s morning, is now the Heart of Dallas Bowl? Makes perfect sense.

The good news for me is someone loses. The bad news is someone wins. As a Big 12 resident and fan, I have to pull — gulp — for ou. It benefits the Horns more for ou to be good than the Aggies. I guess. That’s what I’m telling myself, anyway. 

I think this could go extraordinarily bad for A&M.

The sooners are used to the spread, good qb play and up-tempo offenses while the Aggies are not. Landry Jones, forgotten by the media and maligned by his idiot fans, is going to run the Ags right up the tunnel with short, quick passes and occasional deep shots... But the Ags are pretty damned good and will adjust.

It’s an entertaining game, but I think Stoops’ experience in these games pushes ou over... or it doesn’t. Yuck. sooners 33, Ags 28.

Saturday, January 5

COMPASS BOWL
Pittsburgh Panthers (6-6/3-4) vs. Ole Miss Rebels (6-6/3-5): Noon on ESPN

This game is going to be won on defense. If you’ve seen Ole Miss play this year, you might think they are all offense — but they aren’t. They rank 28th nationally in rush defense and allow 28.5 points per game, which is probably less than you’d think.

If you’ve seen Pitt play this year, you are probably a Pitt fan or a fan of someone on their schedule. Their defense is excellent, ranking 17th nationally and 13th in turnover margin.

So who wins? Let’s go to the X factor: In this corner, representing the Panthers of the Big East, we have Fred Rogers. Yes, Mr. Rogers. In the other corner, representing Hotty Totty we have Gerald McRaney, of Major Dad fame.

No way does Mr. Rogers take down Major Dad. NO. WAY. This one is easy. Rebels 35, Panthers 17.

Sunday, January 6

GODADDY.com BOWL
No.25 Kent State Golden Flashes (11-2/8-0) vs. Arkansas State Red Wolves (9-3/7-1): 8 p.m. on ESPN

Both teams have lost their coach with Kent State's Darrell Hazell off to Purdue and A State's Gus Mahlzan headed back to Auburn, but both guys leave their former teams in good spots.

The Red Wolves of Arkansas State come in winners of seven straight while the Golden Flashes were THIS close to playing in the BCS instead of Northern Illinois. See? good spots.

The Flash wants to run the ball with All-American tailback Dri Archer, who will surely be a Heisman candidate in 2013 if he comes back to school. He leads the No. 16 rushing attack in the nation and will face a Red Wolves defense that is decent, but not great, against the run (51st) and surely hasn't seen a back with Archer's abilities many times this year. They are going to stack the line and and try and make Kent State throw to win, which is something they don't like to do because they don't do it well (or is it they do not do it well so they choose not to?).

On the other side of the ball Kent State is No. 2 nationally in turnover margin, which is 104 spots better than their pass defense, but they do get after the passer pretty well. So who wins? I question Kent's mental state after that crushing loss to NIU.

They were a play away from the BCS, and now they are playing wherever the GODADDY.com Bowl is. Arkansas State, on the other hand, is likely very excited to be there. NFL money, what ifs and general "meh" could be an issue for Dri Archer and Kent and I don't see the same problems facing Arkansas State.

I'll go with the Red Wolves, unless Archer gets loose and they force some A State turnovers. Arkansas State 38, Kent State 34.

Monday, January 7

BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
No. 1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (12-0) vs. No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1/7-1): 8 p.m. on ESPN

And here we are, the big enchilada. With 37 days off for Bama and 44 days off for the Irish, this game will likely be about who shakes off the rust first.

Both defenses and running games are strong enough to allow the offense time to work out the timing issues that surely will be there in the first quarter, but will the other defense pounce on this early mistakes?

I think they will on both sides. These are the Nos. 1 and 2 scoring defenses in the nation (Tide No. 1, ND No. 2) and Nos. 1 and 4 rush defenses in the nation (Tide No. 1, ND No. 4). I think both will have opportunities early in the game to create some turnovers and possibly even score some points, which both defenses will pounce on.

The offenses are comparable: The Irish are No. 21 in rushing offense, No. 76 in passing offense and No. 46 in total offense, averaging 421 yards per game. Bama is No. 19 in rushing offense, No. 81 in passing offense and No. 39 in total offense, averaging 439 yards per game.

The big difference is scoring offense, where Alabama averages 12 points more per game (38.4 ppg) than Notre Dame. That's significant and part of the reason Roll Tide is favored by 9 1/2 points. The other reason is Saban. I think the jerk factor is sky high on both sidelines, but the jerk on the Bama side has been here many, many times while the jerk on the Notre Dame side is new to this thing.

That pays off and Lord Saban wins again, but this is more evenly matched than the SEC fans want to admit. Tide 27, Irish 24.

See you next week, peeps!

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For more nonsense follow @TreyMcLean

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