Friday, December 13, 2002
BCS bowl breakdown
By Terry Bowden
Special to ABC Sports Online
Bowden's Weekly Chat Show
Now that we know who will play in the four BCS bowls -- even if we don't agree on how they got there or where they are playing -- let's look at what kind of games we should have.
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
No. 3 Colorado vs. No. 4 Oregon
Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Ariz.
Jan. 1, 4:30 p.m. ET
Because of the controversy that was created in choosing Miami's opponent in the Rose Bowl Presented by AT&T, these two teams will come into Tempe trying to prove a point.
Whereas Oregon finished No. 2 in both voting polls, and was probably the people's favorite to play in the national championship, Colorado was playing the best football down the stretch. As has become the pattern the last few weeks of the season, Oregon will need to shut down Colorado's great running attack to win this game.
Although the Ducks have a well-balanced offense that is equally adept at running the ball as well as passing, Colorado needs to get its secondary ready for an aerial assault. Every time Pac-10 teams get into a postseason game with somebody from the Big 12 or Big Ten, it just seems that they like to teach them a lesson in West Coast offense.
And remember, if Miami loses in the Rose Bowl and Oregon can win this game, the Ducks may be looking at getting a share of their first national championship.
Nokia Sugar Bowl
|Chris Brown and the Buffaloes hope to run on Oregon like it did Texas and Nebraska.|
No. 8 Illinois vs. No. 13 LSU
Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans
Jan. 1, 8:30 p.m. ET
These two teams came out of nowhere to grab a spot in this BCS game, and I guarantee you are going to be in for some offensive fireworks. Both of these teams have outstanding quarterbacks -- LSU's Rohan Davey and Illinois' Kurt Kittner -- and they both have a great wide receiver -- the Tigers' Josh Reed and the Illini's Brandon Lloyd.
Throw in a strong running game by both teams, and this has all the makings of a tight game in the 40s. Since it's in the Superdome, we're obviously talking about points, not temperature.
FedEx Orange Bowl
No. 5 Florida vs. No. 10 Maryland
Pro Player Stadium, Miami
Jan. 2, 8 p.m. ET
I don't know what's more dangerous -- a happy Terrapin or a disgruntled Gator? Because that's what we have headed to the FedEx Orange Bowl.
Florida had its national championship hopes ruined twice, but when the Gators play at their best, they are unbeatable. Unfortunately, they didn't play their best twice this year, and they will come to Miami wanting to make up for their shortcomings.
Maryland, on the other hand, has all the karma, as Coach of the Year Ralph Friedgen brings the best Cinderella story into the BCS. Maryland doesn't have the talent that Florida does, but like so many overachieving teams, the Terps almost always seem to find a way to win.
However, when you think back to how Florida State was able to tack on the Terps' only regular-season loss, you have to think that Florida will be able to do the same thing.
Rose Bowl, presented by AT&T
No. 1 Miami vs. No. 2 Nebraska
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.
Jan. 3, 8 p.m. ET
Nebraska has incredible motivation to win this game and silence the critics who say the Huskers are not deserving to be in Pasadena. Frank Solich and the Huskers did not invent the BCS, but like everybody else in college, they merely agreed to abide by it. Because of that, the Cornhuskers will give their finest performance of the year.
There is no doubt who everyone thinks is going to win. Miami is the most talented team in the country and carries the nation's only perfect regular season into the bowls. A victory in Pasadena would guarantee a consensus national championship. But one only needs to look at the last four or five big games of the regular season to see that what's supposed to happen isn't guaranteed to happen. In fact, wouldn't it be more fitting for a team like Nebraska, which did not win its own division in its conference and lost its final game by 26 points, to beat Miami and take home the Sears' Trophy?
Nebraska is 11-1, and in the loss, the Huskers' only real breakdown was not being able to stop the run. The offense even had one of its best days of the year. Nebraska can use the month of December to correct that problem, and Frank Solich will.
Remember also that Nebraska has a heck of a running game itself -- best in the nation. And quite often a team like Miami that does not see the option week in and week out has a difficult time adjusting to that style of play. Face it, if Nebraska had not had that bad first half against Colorado, this would have been the matchup that most people expected to see.
As for me, I have to stick with my preseason pick and say that Miami will win this game.
Terry Bowden was the head coach at Salem College, Samford University and Auburn University. He is ABC's college football studio analyst and contributes regularly for ABC Sports Online.
|Jonathan Vilma will need to contain Eric Crouch and the Huskers option.|