Ross’s 2012 college football bowl-watching guide

This is the fourth year I’ve written a Ross’s college football bowl-watching guide for RVANews! That’s kind of crazy, because when was the last time I did anything four years in a row?

This is the fourth year I’ve written a Ross’s college football bowl-watching guide for RVANews! That’s kind of crazy, because when was the last time I did anything four years in a row?

Anyway, due to a disabling case of allergies followed by a further disabling case of taking two Benadryl, I’m a bit late with this year’s edition of the bowl-watching guide. And for shame! I missed a good one: Arizona pulled a Matt Ryan on Nevada and beat the Wolf Pack, 49-48, in a somewhat redeeming victory for Rich Rodriguez. The Wildcats, with the aid of an onside kick, scored twice in 46 seconds. Ouch.

OK! On to the bowl games!

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Maaco Bowl Las Vegas

  • Saturday, December 22nd, 3:30 PM; ESPN
  • Washington (7-5) vs. #19 Boise State (10-2); Line: Boise State by 5
  • Informally: The Wish it Was Smurf Turf Bowl

After dropping an early game to Michigan State, who turned out to be no good, you didn’t hear much from perennial BCS-spoiler Boise State. In fact, if they lose to Washington it’ll be the first year since 2007 that Broncos haven’t beaten a BCS team. That’s the year they lost to…Washington.

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Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl

  • Monday, December 24th, 8:00 PM; ESPN
  • Fresno State (9-3) vs. Southern Methodist (6-6); Line: Fresno State by 12
  • Informally: The Fall Asleep With Eggnog Precariously Balanced on Your Chest Bowl

I absolutely love the Hawai’i Bowl. Always on Christmas Eve, always after a long day of things like family, car trips, and more family. It’s the perfect way to wind down and prepare yourself for the next day’s Christmas onslaught.

This year’s edition features two teams I didn’t watch a single time in 2012.1 But who cares! It’s football on Christmas Eve!

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Belk Bowl

  • Thursday, December 27th, 6:30 PM; ESPN
  • Cincinnati (9-3) vs. Duke (6-6); Line: Cincinnati by 7
  • Informally: The Ghost of Steve Spurriers Past Bowl

Duke! In a bowl game! I know, I know, this time of year we’re all busy either absolutely loving or absolutely despising Duke for that other sport, the one played with a round ball. But this year, the first year since 1995, the Blue Devils have a football game in December. You gotta root for them!

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Russell Athletic Bowl

  • Friday, December 28th, 5:30 PM; ESPN
  • Rutgers (9-3) vs. Virginia Tech (6-6); Line: Virginia Tech by 2.5
  • Informally: The Big East Flashback Bowl

Many years ago, Rutgers was one of the worst teams in the country, and definitely the worst team in the Big East. Virginia Tech would crush the Scarlet Knights on the regular, but this year things are different. Rutgers is pretty good and headed to the Big 10, while Tech is pretty terrible and headed towards a coaching staff shakeup.

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Valero Alamo Bowl

  • Saturday, December 29th, 6:45 PM; ESPN
  • #23 Texas (8-4) vs. #13 Oregon State (9-3); Line: Oregon State by 2
  • Informally: The Mack Brown’s Final Game Bowl

A question I keep asking this year: is this Mack Brown’s final year at Texas? His record since going the National Championship2 in 2010: 21-16. This year’s losses include a close one to an absolutely putrid WVU team. Longhorn fans: don’t sleep on this Oregon State team, they’re better than the Beavers of yore.

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Chick-fil-A Bowl

  • Monday, December 31st, 7:30 PM; ESPN
  • #8 LSU (10-2) vs. #14 Clemson (10-2); Line: LSU by 3.5
  • Informally: The Come on Clemson! Bowl

When was the last time Clemson won a big, out-of-conference game against a good team? For that matter, when was the last time any ACC team won a big game on the national stage?

Other than the feel-good Duke Bowl and FSU’s pitty matchup with Northern Illinois in the Orange Bowl, this is the only ACC bowl worth watching. It’d be great to walk away with a win (don’t hold your breath).

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Rose Bowl Game Presented by Vizio

  • Tuesday, January 1st, 5:00 PM; ESPN
  • Wisconsin (8-5) vs. #6 Stanford (11-2); Line: Stanford by 6.5
  • Informally: The Barry Alvarez Bowl

After their final game, Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema accepted a job at Arkansas, leaving the Badgers coachless for the postseason. Rather than rush a new hire into the job, Athletic Director and Hall of Fame Coach, Barry Alvarez, just decided he’d coach the dang thing. Alvarez is 3-0 in Rose Bowl Games. His record in 2012 is currently 0-0.

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AT&T Cotton Bowl

  • Friday, January 4th, 8:00 PM; FOX
  • #9 Texas A&M vs. #11 Oklahoma; Line: Texas A&M by 4.5
  • Informally: The “Johnny” Bowl

I mocked Johnny “Football” Manziel earlier in the season. I mean, who gets to have a nickname that’s just the sport you play? Larry “Basketball” Bird, Wayne “Hockey” Gretzky, Pelé “Soccer.” Well, that was dumb of me. Manziel was the first freshman in history to win the Heisman, and piloted the Aggies through their first SEC season with ease. Good luck with that Oklahoma.

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Discover BCS National Championship

  • Monday, January 7th, 8:30 PM; ESPN
  • #1 Notre Dame (12-0) vs. #2 Alabama (12-1); Line: Alabama by 10
  • Informally: The Voldemort Bowl

Ugh. Another year, another National Championship game featuring a Nick Saban-led team from the SEC. Not only that, but they’re matched up against Brian Kelly and Notre Dame!? Allow me to drop a barf. As much as I hate Notre Dame, I think you’ve got to hope they win this year. It’d by a quasi-ACC win and finally a non-SEC champion–although it pretty much would guarantee that the Irish will never, ever join a conference for football.


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  1. Two things you may, or may not, know about the Mustangs: 1) since their infamous “Death Penalty” in 1988 and subsequent two-decade bowl absence, SMU has been bowling since 2009, 2) in 2013 SMU joins the Big East (assuming there is still a Big East to join). 
  2. Mack Brown is also the last coach to lead a non-SEC team to a National Championship win, back in 2006 against USC. 
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Ross Catrow

Founder and publisher of RVANews.

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