First up, the 2009 Outback Bowl: Iowa (8-4) vs. South Carolina (7-5) kicks off the New Year on ESPN. The Outback Bowl is a classic Big Ten vs. SEC match up.
The Iowa Hawkeyes, finished tied for fourth in the Big Ten in '08, while the South Carolina Gamecocks finished third in the SEC East. Iowa's coach Kirk Ferentz is 3-3 at Iowa in bowl games as head coach, 1-1 in the Outback Bowl. The Ole Ball Coach, Steve Spurrier for the Gamecocks, is 1-1 in bowl games, after returning to college football from the NFL experiment in '05. The Gamecocks are 4-9 lifetime in bowl games.
Neither team played in a bowl game during the 2007 season. Each team was bowl eligible at 6-6. We agree that the intangibles favor Iowa, since they are coming off a strong finish in '08.
Cidsports' prediction for the 2009 Outback Bowl:
South Carolina 17
- Iowa junior RB Shonn Greene, Doak Walker award winner, vs. a South Carolina defense that gives up 129 yards per game
- Quarterback play: both teams have young quarterbacks: turnovers are always big in bowl games. Who plays a stronger game? Iowa's Ricky Stanzi, a sophomore, or South Carolina's Stephen Garcia, a redshirt freshman?
- Special teams - momentum and field position can always come up big in this phase of the game.
While the 2009 Outback Bowl is in play, three more bowl games will kick off:
The 2009 Capital One Bowl: Georgia (9-3) vs. Michigan State (9-3) in another classic Big Ten vs. SEC match up on ABC. The Georgia Bulldogs finished second in the SEC East, while the Michigan State Spartans finished third in the Big Ten.
The running game plays a big role for both clubs. Bowl success is on the side of the Bulldogs. Both teams lost three games and both team lost to the top teams in their respective conferences.
Cidsports' Prediction in the 2009 Capital One Bowl:
Michigan State 18
The 2009 Gator Bowl: Clemson (7-5) vs. Nebraska (8-4) in a ACC vs. Big 12 match up on CBS. The Clemson Tigers finished tied for third in the ACC Atlantic Division and changed coaches in the middle of the season. The Nebraska Cornhuskers finished tied for first in the Big 12 North.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney won the coaching job permanently after leading the Tigers to four wins in the final five games, including three in a row. Nebraska coach Bo Pelini is in his first season, but his second bowl game, since Pelini served as interim coach for the Cornhuskers in the 2003 Alamo Bowl win for Nebraska.
Cidsports' Prediction for the 2009 Gator Bowl:
The Granddaddy of all Bowl games
The 2009 Rose Bowl: Penn State (11-1) vs. Southern California (11-1) in the traditional match up of the Rose Bowl, the Big Ten champion vs. the Pac 10 Champion, on ABC. The first BCS bowl game of the 2008-09 bowl season. Note to the BCS: implement a +1 system and allow the classic Rose Bowl every year.
The Penn State Nittany Lions and coach Joe Paterno suffered only one defeat in 2008. A 23-24 loss at Iowa on a final second field goal by the Hawkeyes. Like Penn State, the USC Trojans and coach Pete Carroll suffered only loss during the regular season in the Pac 10 conference opener. Again, on the road in the conference, for the Trojans it was a 21-27 loss at Oregon State. Ironically, the Beavers had lost to Penn State in Happy Valley earlier 14-45.
Defense does wins championship, so for the Rose Bowl title in 2009: defense should be the spotlight. Joe Paterno at 82 vs. Pete Carroll in eighth year at USC, the dean of consistency with seven straight BCS bowl games.
Cidsports' prediction for the 2009 Rose Bowl:
Penn State 19
The January 1, 2009 bowl line up concludes today with the 2009 Orange Bowl: Cincinnati (11-2) vs. Virginia Tech (9-4) in a BCS match up of the Big East champion vs. the ACC Champion, on FOX.
Cidsports' prediction for the 2009 Orange Bowl:
Virginia Tech 24