There are five games today, so we’ll go through them quickly:
Armed Forces Bowl
Houston (-4.5) vs. Air Force
12 pm ET
I can’t wait to see what happens with this one. Houston throws and throws and throws again. Case Keenum is exceptionally good at it, and few things in college football are more fun to watch. Air Force, on the other hand, has the top ranked pass defense in the country. Keenum has averaged 419 yards passing per game. Air Force has allowed just 149. One of those sides is going to have to give, because both can’t play their game. My bet is that it is going to be Houston, but the more I think about it the less confident I am in that. These teams met twice last year – regular season and in this same bowl game – but we didn’t learn much from that because each team won a close game, and the loser scored 28 points each time.
Oklahoma (-10) vs. Stanford
2:00 pm ET
The story here will be whether Stanford QB Andrew Luck is able to play. He had surgery on a finger since his last game, but the pin was removed this week and he’s a game time decision. My hunch is that he will play, and if he does he makes this one very interesting. This is another classic motivation question game. Stanford clearly is a team on the rise, and they will be looking to showcase Toby Gerhart well in his last game in college. Oklahoma is looking to be done with a disaster of a season as quickly as they can. The one thing that went very well for the Sooners this year is their run defense, so this is an interesting showdown if Oklahoma does decide to show up. The Pac-10 needs a big performance after laying a couple of eggs so far.
Missouri (-6.5) vs. Navy
3:30 pm ET
For a program of their type Navy should be proud that they have reached seven bowls in a row, but they should be a bit ashamed that they have only won two. It will be a question of how well their offense shows up in this one. They played well against big opponents this year, but struggled in their last two games. If Missouri is going to win it is because they will be able to establish their far superior passing game, and because they have a capability for the big play that Navy just can’t match.
Minnesota (-2) vs. Iowa State
6:00 pm ET
Here’s an Insight – this game sucks. This may very well be the worst bowl game there is this year. Both teams are 6-6, and neither of them should be insulted by their record. Minnesota has one of the more exciting receivers in the country in Eric Decker. Unfortunately, he’s on the shelf, so that doesn’t mean much here. That leaves them with a good deal of offensive incompetence. That’s a shame because Iowa State has the 99th ranked defense in the country and is primed to be exploited.
Virginia Tech (-5.5) vs. Tennessee
7:30 pm ET
This is going to be a test of what kind of coach Lane Kiffin is. Virginia Tech is a solid team, and they are better on paper, but they are far from perfect or unbeatable. Kiffin could really use a bowl win to cap his first season and help to silence some of his critics. The Volunteers got better as the season progressed, so they can pull off the upset here if they are focused and ready for it. If they aren’t, though, then the critics will have a field day. This is likely the last college game for Eric Berry, so that’s worth keeping an eye on as well.