I love bowls, bowls, bowls, bowls. Bowls I do adore. Put your number on this paper cause I would love to date ya holla at you when you come off tour. Another two days of college football mined for prospect-ery after the break.
Here's pt. 1 (Dec. 26th-27th: Ohio, Marshall, Pitt, UNC, BC, USC, Kentucky, Clemson).
Mon., Dec. 28th
Advocare V100 Independence Bowl (Shreveport, LA), 5:00pm EST, ESPN2
The Independence Bowl gets back to its Big XII-SEC roots after last year saw La. Tech face Northern Illinois (insert unwarranted NIU hype from Tackle Box here). The Aggies were starting to fade into mediocrity (a sin in the world of Texas football if you're not UNT), but the arrival of Mike Sherman has done a world of good for recruiting and shows no signs of slowing down. Georgia struggled this season with the departures of Matt Stafford and Knowshown Moreno, but don't feel too bad for them. They're stacked with talent and should compete in the SEC for the near future.
PREDICTION: A&M 13 - Georgia 28
A&M: Kevin Matthews, C (undrafted), Von Miller, OLB (Jr.), Jerrod Johnson, QB (Jr.), Christine Michael, RB (Fr.), Uzoma Nwachukwu, WR (Fr.)
Georgia: Geno Atkins, DT (3rd-5th), Caleb King, RB (RS Soph.), Washaun Ealey, RB (Fr.), Rennie Curran, LB (Jr.), Reshad Jones, S (RS Jr.), AJ Green, WR (Soph. *gametime decision-shoulder*), Justin Houston, DE (RS Soph.), Clint Boling, OT (Jr.)
Tue., Dec. 29th
EagleBank Bowl (Washington, DC), 4:30pm EST, ESPN
It's been 30 years since Temple got to play in a bowl game, but that's why they call it the Golden Era...or not. Somewhere, Bill Cosby is happy. Temple's running game won't be taken lightly; true freshman Bernard Pierce has been, well, un-Temple-ish. Whereas Temple has had a memorable season, UCLA fans will probably want to forget their 2009 campaign. After a week 2 win against Tennessee, fans were hoping 2009 was the year when the Bruins finally challenged the Trojan permanence of LA football. Ah, the audacity of hope. With the underdog momentum building behind Temple, UCLA will have to make the most of their average-osity to win this one. Footnote (hehe): Kai Forbath will be a starting kicker in the NFL. If you don't live in LA or don't follow college football, I doubt you've noticed the Bruins' kicker - you will soon.
PREDICTION: UCLA 21 - Temple 23
UCLA: Alterraun Verner, CB (5th-undrafted), Brian Price, DT (Jr.), Kevin Prince, QB (RS Fr.), Kai Forbath, K (RS Jr.), Rahim Moore, S (Soph.)
Temple: Steve Maneri, TE (4th-undrafted), Bernard Pierce, RB (Fr.)
Champs Sports Bowl (Orlando, FL), 8:00pm EST, ESPN
Good matchup, unfair home advantage. Still, Wisconsin is no pushover. You can take that literally; John Clay is unusually large for a running back. Unusually strong too. He sounds like someone from an old railroad song. "Working on the rail with old John Clay, laying down track made of elbow grease and hay. Drove in a dozen spikes before anyone else started, but the whole town exploded when John Clay farted." I think I used to sing that in 3rd grade, actually. But what Wisconsin brings in corn-fed-ness, Miami matches with actual talent. Sorry, Badgers. The ACC is on the rise.
PREDICTION: Miami 31 - Wisconsin 17
Miami: Darryl Sharpton, MLB (3rd-6th), Orlando Franklin, G (Jr.) (Will play LT due to an injury to starting LT Jason Fox who I project to be drafted in the 5th or later), Allen Bailey, DE (Jr.), Leonard Hankerson, WR (Jr.), Jacory Harris, QB (Soph.), Sean Spence, LB (Soph.), Marcus Forston, DT (Soph.), Ray Ray Armstrong, S (Fr.)
Wisconsin: Garrett Graham, TE (3rd-4th), O'Brien Schofield, DE (6th-undrafted), Nick Toon, WR (Soph.), Chris Borland, LB (Fr.), John Moffitt, OL (RS Jr.)
Well, part three should get us to 2010. As we get into pt. 4+, I'll probably only list the draft eligible players since the bigger programs have so many. It is interesting to see the younger guys getting time at mid-tier programs and trying to project not where they'll go in the draft but if they'd even warrant a look. But so much changes - A number of my early 2010 mock picks have tumbled away to be replaced by unlikely candidates (to be revisited in a future piece). So there ya go; some prospects to start your week off with the promise of more to come. Gotta love the holidays. Holler.