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Tag:Poinsettia Bowl
Posted on: February 8, 2012 7:51 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 7:57 pm
 

Texas A&M adds Louisiana Tech as 2012 opener

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Texas A&M's move to the SEC has forced a few alterations to their 2012 schedule and it appears the Aggies are going about changing it in a very un-SEC fashion: scheduling harder.

Instead of opening the upcoming season with McNeese State, A&M will now be headed to Shreveport, La. to take on Louisiana Tech, Aggies athletic director Bill Byrne wrote on his blog Wednesday.
"We’re trying to have no more than one Div. 1-AA or FCS team on our schedule, but we may end up having to schedule two. Making this switch was the only way to work it out with Louisiana Tech. It was reported earlier this week that I had conversations with Florida State about being a part of our schedule. They needed a game after West Virginiadropped from their schedule. We tried to make it work, but couldn’t.

Our options were limited due to conference realignment. We expect the scheduling process to go much smoother in the future."

The Bulldogs will likely be the favorite in the WAC as they return 16 starters from a successful 2011 season that saw the program win the conference and narrowly lose to TCU in the Poinsettia Bowl. The opener for both teams will also move to Thursday, August 30 and Louisiana Tech will return to Kyle Field in 2016. A $200,000 buyout will be paid to McNeese State to get out of the contract.

Because of conference realignment, the school had been looking for two non-conference games and still have an open spot for the weekend of November 17. Texas A&M's home opener will double as their SEC introduction on September 8, when they host Florida. Byrne also remarked that there was no update regarding the location of the game with Arkansas, which had previously been a non-conference tilt at Cowboys Stadium but was expected to be changed to a home-and-home between the two schools. A&M will also host South Carolina State on September 22nd.

The Aggies will officially join the SEC on July 1, 2012 after wrapping up play in the Big 12 with a 7-6 season in 2011 that was capped with a win in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas.

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Posted on: January 12, 2012 1:29 am
Edited on: February 3, 2012 12:22 pm
 

1-to-35: Ranking the 2011 bowl games



Posted by Jerry Hinnen


Each December, there's plenty of rankings out there as to how good each bowl should be. But if that's the "before," what about the "after"? Here's the Eye on CFB's (highly subjective) ranking of all 35 bowls from the 2011-2012 college football postseason, best game to worst.

1. Rose. Unlike certain other bowls we could name (who happen to rhyme with "Schmalamo"), the Rose's outburst of offense came despite the presence of legitimate championship-level defenses--making the punch and counter-punch between Russell Wilson and Montee Ball on one side and LaMichael James and De'Anthony Thomas on the other like haymakers in a heavyweight prizefight. Add in college football's greatest venue, a down-to-the-wire ending, and even the aesthetic battle between the Badgers' understated uniforms and the Ducks' glitter factory helmets, and you've got the best bowl-watching experience of the year.

2. Fiesta. Andrew Luck vs. Justin Blackmon at the top of their powers -- at the top of the powers of anyone at their positions in college football -- would be worth a top-five placement alone. Luck vs. Blackmon and 79 points and overtime drama? That's worth top-two.

3. Alamo Bowl. To call the defenses in this game abominably porous would be an insult to pores (and abominations). But the Alamo is a random weeknight bowl game--just as no one wants to watch an Oscar-baiting 17th-century literary adaptation on their Guys' Night Out, so no one tuned into the Alamo for rugged defense and awesome punting. Thankfully, what Baylor and Washington gave us was the college football equivalent of four hours of Jason Statham shooting explosions.

4. Outback. Come for Kirk Cousins leading the most unlikely comeback this side of the whooping crane, stay for Mark Richt nominating himself for the (dis)honor of "World's Fraidiest-Cat Football Coach." Oh, and triple overtime.

5. New Orleans. We'd ask if you could remember this thriller between Louisiana-Lafayette and San Diego State from the bowl season's opening night, but we don't think anyone who watched could forget Ragin' Cajun kicker Brett Baer deliriously celebrating his last-second game-winner if they tried.

6. Military. One word: #MACtion. And two numbers: 42-41. And, all right, eight more words to help do this game justice: last-minute do-or-die failed fake extra point holder-kicker option.

7. Sun. We're suckers for any game featuring the triple-option (see the Air Force game ranked one spot above), and Utah's 4th-and-14 touchdown conversion to send the game into OT was one of the more dramatic single plays of the entire bowl season. That 3-0 anti-classic between Pitt and Oregon State was a particularly distant memory in El Paso this year.

8. Belk. A matchup of Utterly Average ACC team vs. Utterly Average Big East team -- in a bowl sponsored by a department store that thinks Macy's is way too wild and edgy -- should have been one of the snoozers of the year. Instead, Mike Glennon caught fire, Louisville mounted a spirited comeback, and this wound up one of the better games of the postseason.

9. Little Caesars. The quality of play in this game at times was like ... well, have you ever actually eaten the pizza of the sponsor? But Western Michigan receiver Jordan White put on a spectacular show (13 catches, 249 yards), the teams combined for 69 points, and the Boilers special teams pulled off two onsides kicks and a kick return for TD. Tasty!

10. Famous Idaho Potato. OK, OK: we're giving this game (which was less-than-must-see-viewing for much of the first 55 minutes) a slight bonus for its killer logo. But we're giving it a much bigger bonus for the pulse-pounding final drive from quarterback Tyler Tettleton and the Bobcats for the first bowl win in program history.

11. Armed Forces. If you're going to be a sorta-dull game between two sorta-unmemorable teams, better come up with a memorable play and/or a big finish. Riley Nelson's game-winning fake spike touchdown to become college football's answer to Dan Marino just about did the trick.

12. Sugar. Another for the "ugly game, fascinating ending" file, but this was Michigan doing their damnedest to be Michigan again and Virginia Tech doing their damnedest to avoid the rabbit's feet and horseshoes and four-leaf clovers falling out of the Wolverines' pockets -- Danny Coale most especially -- and it was in New Orleans. You didn't quit watching, did you?

13. Poinsettia. Not a classic, but three-and-a-half back-and-forth hours with a feisty Louisiana Tech team and an underrated TCU squad most definitely qualified as "serviceable." Think of this year's Poinsettia as the quality burger-and-fries plate from the local joint down the street--not mind-blowing, but spend a few weeks in Peru, where they don't have burgers or college football, and you'll crave a Poinsettia Bowl so badly you could scream.

14. Orange. In the space of about an hour, Dana Holgorsen's evisceration of Clemson went from thrilling to discomfiting to boring to morbidly fascinating to -- once we all realized the Mountaineers weren't going to hit triple digits -- back to boring again. Not every game that hits 100 points is one for the DVD vaults, as it turns out.

15. Liberty. Give me Cincinnati defeating Vanderbilt in surprisingly convincing, mildly entertaining fashion or give me death! (Actually, we've got that first thing already, so no need to worry about providing the second, thanks.)

16. Chick-Fil-A. For 2.5 quarters, this was a delightful shootout with all the requisite trickery you'd hope for from a game involving Gus Malzahn. Then Virginia remembered that it was not only Virginia, but proud ACC member Virginia, and the fun was over.

17. Meineke Car Care. Seriously, Texas A&M, we didn't tune in to see you only flirt with blowing a huge lead against a team that hasn't won a bowl game since approximately the Grover Cleveland administration.

18. Capital One. This game featured an abundance of must-watch plays -- Alshon Jeffery catching a  bomb, Alshon Jeffery hauling in a half-ending Hail Mary, Alshon Jeffery getting ejected for fighting -- but aside from, well, Alshon Jeffery, there wasn't much to it.

19. Cotton Bowl. The 15 seconds of Joe Adams' punt return, the 10 seconds of Jarius Wright's touchdown, and the 5 minutes when it looked like Kansas State might mount yet another smashing comeback were riveting stuff. The other 54:35? Not so much.

20. BCS National Championship. A great game, if you're the sort of fan who enjoys watching nature shows where a pride of lions tear a wildebeest to pieces because the wildebeest can't complete a downfield pass to save its life.

21. TicketCity. If he'd stuggled, he'd have been called a fraud; because he ripped Penn State's D into tiny shreds, no one paid attention. Which is why we're working on a sitcom pilot right now called Case Keenum Can't Win.

22. Gator. When one team's special teams scores just one fewer touchdown than the two offenses combined (as Florida's did), it's safe to say you're not watching a classic.

23. GoDaddy.com. Thanks to a 31-0 run from Northern Illinois, what was expected to be a nailbiting shootout ended up the biggest disappointment since that "unrated web content" we checked out.

24. Champs Sports. It wasn't pretty, but at least the Seminoles and Irish were trying their best ... to make us wish they'd just aired a repeat of the 1993 meeting instead.

25. Las Vegas. College football produces a lot of emotions, but from the neutral perspective, it's rare that one of them is outright legitimate anger. Seeing Kellen Moore forced to end his career slumming it against an Arizona State team that checked out in early November sure turned the trick, though.

26. Independence. The Tar Heels came out so flat, and were finished off so quickly, that we're pretty sure the only lovely parting gift they walked away with was "Independence Bowl: the Board Game."

27. Music City. Mississippi State turned the ball over four times, and Wake Forest averaged 2.9 yards per-play. If Hank Williams or some other old-time country artist had come to Nashville to write a sad song about a sad bowl game, this is the game they'd use for inspiration.

28. Insight. Sadly, the only "insight" we got from this game was that Vegas oddsmakers -- who had the Sooners installed as the biggest favorite of the entire bowl season -- know what they're talking about. And who didn't know that already?

29. Holiday. It wasn't that long ago when Jeff Tedford's Cal and Mack Brown's Texas squaring off would have been appointment television. This game was, too, though in the sense that it was the sort of game you made an appointment somewhere else to avoid viewing.

30. Hawaii. Nevada and Southern Mississippi were collectively as sharp as your average butter knife, but let's see you spend a week chilling in Hawaii and then play a quality football game. The best players the NFL has to offer try it every single year and haven't succeeded yet.

31. Pinstripe. The only thing we remember from this game was our wish to travel back to, say, 1998, and explain to a random college football fan that in 2011, Rutgers would win a bowl game in Yankee Stadium that would give them the nation's longest postseason winning streak. (We're still not sure it's actually happening.)

32. Beef 'O' Brady's. Newton's Second Law of Bowl Aesthetics: Whensoever a Game Produces Fewer Offensive Touchdowns Than the Game Has Apostrophes in its Title, That Game Shall Be, Verily, Entirely Terrible.

33. New Mexico. We'd waited so long to be able to sit down and watch a college bowl game, and by halftime we were sort of wishing we'd gotten to wait a little bit longer.

34. BBVA Compass. For two straight years, Pitt has been forced to play in Legion Field on a January weekday afternoon in front of no one under an interim coach against a nondescript opponent. Vs. SMU the Panthers looked like they'd much rather be off somewhere doing something much more fun, like peeling potatoes with their teeth--and we don't blame them a bit.

35. Kraft Fight Hunger. Comedian Patton Oswalt once called a certain famous KFC product a "failure pile in a sadness bowl." Capitalize that B, and we can't think of a better way to describe 2011 Illinois "battling" 2011 UCLA.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.
Posted on: December 21, 2011 11:35 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2011 11:35 pm
 

QUICK HITS: TCU 31, Louisiana Tech 24

Posted by Bryan Fischer

SAN DIEGO -- Let's face it, after two straight BCS bowls TCU wasn't exactly thrilled about ending the season well before Christmas at the Poinsettia Bowl. No matter what head coach Gary Patterson said or would have you believe, the Horned Frogs came out of the tunnel at Snapdragon Stadium uninspired and the play on the field clearly reflected as much. Penalties. Yards allowed like the opposing quarterback was named Robert Griffin III. Illegal formations. Muffed Punts. Turnovers. It wasn't the prettiest effort but considering the Horned Frogs only play in close bowl games - six of their last seven by a touchdown or less - they did just enough late to pull out a win against WAC champion Louisiana Tech

TCU WON. The bowl was just one of four games this postseason to match up conference champions, with the Horned Frogs winning the Mountain West in their final season in the league. They had their hands full with the WAC champs largely due to their own mistakes that gave the Bulldogs extra chances before taking control on both sides of the ball in the 4th quarter. Louisiana Tech's defense played extremely well and the offense was solid but TCU just found a way to win.

HOW TCU WON: It was not a game won by TCU's trademark defense, which struggled all night with LaTech's aerial attack. The secondary had trouble against option routes and anything down the field. They played man-to-man a good portion of the night and were torched for a long Myles White touchdown that gave the Bulldogs the lead in the second half. The offense was fairly effective, with running backs Ed Wesley and Matthew Tucker getting up field for some nice gains and quarterback Casey Pachall did a good job on throwing intermediate routes. Special teams were not very good at all, with Brandon Carter muffing a punt that set up a later touchdown. Still, the offense got more creative in the final quarter and that was the difference in the game.

WHEN TCU WON: After Louisiana Tech quickly took the lead late in the 3rd quarter, TCU put together an impressive 18-play, 72-yard drive to tie the game - the team's longest scoring drive of the season in terms of time off the clock and number of plays. Thanks to good pressure by the front seven, the Horned Frogs forced a three-and-out then Pachall found Skye Dawson on a 42-yard touchdown pass after rolling out on third down to take a 31-24 lead to seal the win.

WHAT TCU WON: The win gave Patterson his seventh bowl victory and as head coach of the Horned Frogs and 109th overall, tying him with Dutch Meyer as TCU's all-time winningest coach. It also gives the program their 11th win of the season and sends them off to the Big 12 with an eight game winning streak.

WHAT LOUISIANA TECH LOST: It was a great second year for head coach Sonny Dykes, turning things around after an early funk by running off seven straight wins en route to the WAC title. Any coach will say there's no such thing as a moral victory but the Bulldogs competed in every single game this season and showed they were close to a top 15 program in TCU. There's plenty to like about the effort they gave Wednesday night, even if they ultimately have to go into the offseason with an "L" in their last game.

THAT WAS CRAZY: Despite it being his first year as a full-time starter, TCU quarterback Casey Pachall set new school records for completions and yardage this season, passing Andy Dalton. Nothing will help the young team transition to Big 12 play like having an experienced signal-caller like Pachall.

FINAL GRADE: B-. There was a lot of sloppy play on both sides and plenty of missed opportunities. Given that it matched up two conference champions, one expected a close game but this was close because neither team could take advantage and deliver a knock out blow until TCU did late. It wasn't a terrible game but it wasn't a great one either. 


Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview


Posted on: December 21, 2011 11:35 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2011 11:35 pm
 

QUICK HITS: TCU 31, Louisiana Tech 24

Posted by Bryan Fischer

SAN DIEGO -- Let's face it, after two straight BCS bowls TCU wasn't exactly thrilled about ending the season well before Christmas at the Poinsettia Bowl. No matter what head coach Gary Patterson said or would have you believe, the Horned Frogs came out of the tunnel at Snapdragon Stadium uninspired and the play on the field clearly reflected as much. Penalties. Yards allowed like the opposing quarterback was named Robert Griffin III. Illegal formations. Muffed Punts. Turnovers. It wasn't the prettiest effort but considering the Horned Frogs only play in close bowl games - six of their last seven by a touchdown or less - they did just enough late to pull out a win against WAC champion Louisiana Tech

TCU WON. The bowl was just one of four games this postseason to match up conference champions, with the Horned Frogs winning the Mountain West in their final season in the league. They had their hands full with the WAC champs largely due to their own mistakes that gave the Bulldogs extra chances before taking control on both sides of the ball in the 4th quarter. Louisiana Tech's defense played extremely well and the offense was solid but TCU just found a way to win.

HOW TCU WON: It was not a game won by TCU's trademark defense, which struggled all night with LaTech's aerial attack. The secondary had trouble against option routes and anything down the field. They played man-to-man a good portion of the night and were torched for a long Myles White touchdown that gave the Bulldogs the lead in the second half. The offense was fairly effective, with running backs Ed Wesley and Matthew Tucker getting up field for some nice gains and quarterback Casey Pachall did a good job on throwing intermediate routes. Special teams were not very good at all, with Brandon Carter muffing a punt that set up a later touchdown. Still, the offense got more creative in the final quarter and that was the difference in the game.

WHEN TCU WON: After Louisiana Tech quickly took the lead late in the 3rd quarter, TCU put together an impressive 18-play, 72-yard drive to tie the game - the team's longest scoring drive of the season in terms of time off the clock and number of plays. Thanks to good pressure by the front seven, the Horned Frogs forced a three-and-out then Pachall found Skye Dawson on a 42-yard touchdown pass after rolling out on third down to take a 31-24 lead to seal the win.

WHAT TCU WON: The win gave Patterson his seventh bowl victory and as head coach of the Horned Frogs and 109th overall, tying him with Dutch Meyer as TCU's all-time winningest coach. It also gives the program their 11th win of the season and sends them off to the Big 12 with an eight game winning streak.

WHAT LOUISIANA TECH LOST: It was a great second year for head coach Sonny Dykes, turning things around after an early funk by running off seven straight wins en route to the WAC title. Any coach will say there's no such thing as a moral victory but the Bulldogs competed in every single game this season and showed they were close to a top 15 program in TCU. There's plenty to like about the effort they gave Wednesday night, even if they ultimately have to go into the offseason with an "L" in their last game.

THAT WAS CRAZY: Despite it being his first year as a full-time starter, TCU quarterback Casey Pachall set new school records for completions and yardage this season, passing Andy Dalton. Nothing will help the young team transition to Big 12 play like having an experienced signal-caller like Pachall.

FINAL GRADE: B-. There was a lot of sloppy play on both sides and plenty of missed opportunities. Given that it matched up two conference champions, one expected a close game but this was close because neither team could take advantage and deliver a knock out blow until TCU did late. It wasn't a terrible game but it wasn't a great one either. 


Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview


Posted on: December 21, 2011 12:05 pm
 

La. Tech players give bowl gifts to Make-A-Wish

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Don't have a rooting interest in Wednesday night's Poinsettia Bowl matchup between TCU and Louisiana Tech? With all due respect to the Horned Frogs, you might now.

Two Louisiana Tech players took the opportunity during Monday's Poinsettia Bowl community service event with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to donate their bowl gifts to kids involved with the foundation. Senior linebacker Adrien Cole and junior wide receiver Quinton Patton each gave away their $300 Best Buy gift card, with Cole also donating his Tourneau Poinsettia Bowl watch.

"They're just material things," Cole said. "They need it more than I do." (Watch Cole [pictured] speak with a Louisiana Tech All-Access reporter and the boy who received his watch in a CBSports.com ULive video here.)

"It was eye-opening," Patton said of the Make-A-Wish event in a CBSSports.com video interview. "You can't take anything for granted.

"I just did it, just out of the blue" he said of his decision to donate his bowl gift. "It's all smiles. He's happy, I'm happy, so it really doesn't matter ."

A bowl representative told TV station KSLA that he believed this was the first time a player had made such a donation at the Poinsettia Bowl.

For more on the Poinsettia Bowl, including picks, key matchups, and more, check out our comprehensive Poinsettia pregame page.
Posted on: December 19, 2011 4:05 pm
Edited on: December 19, 2011 4:07 pm
 

PODCAST: Bowl Previews (Dec 20-26)

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The first three bowl games of the season were played on Saturday, and outside the New Mexico Bowl, we had some pretty entertaining games to watch. Hopefully that trend will continue throughtout the bowl season, and we've got five more games coming this week to watch. Of course, you don't want to go into these games knowing absolutely nothing about what you'll be watching, do you? That'd be stupid.

Thankfully Adam Aizer and J. Darin Darst were kind enough to preview the next five games on the schedule for you in the latest episode of the CBSSports.com College Football Podcast. The Beef O'Brady, Poinsettia, Las Vegas, Hawaii and Independence Bowls, they're all here! All broken down in detail for you so when you're watching with friends you can sound like you actually know what you're talking about.

Remember, all of the CBSSports.com College Football Podcasts can be downloaded for FREE from the iTunes Store.


You can listen to the podcast in the player below, pop out a player to keep browsing, or download the MP3 right to your computer.

Posted on: December 15, 2011 3:53 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2011 9:17 pm
 

Poinsettia Bowl Key Match up



Posted by Bryan Fischer


A look at the key matchup that could decide the Poinsettia Bowl

Ryan Allen/Louisiana Tech pass defense vs. Casey Pachall

Go through the logs of head coaches pre- or post-game press conference and you're bound to find at least one emphasis on winning the field position battle. It's no surprise that would be a focus in this bowl match up, which features some pretty good offenses and defenses that don't mind some help.

Allen is a huge weapon for Louisiana Tech, winning the Ray Guy Award as the country's best punter thanks to 36 punts inside the 20 during the regular season. He can also kick for distance, averaging an impressive 46.31 yards per punt. Being able to pin the TCU offense back will be a huge help for a defense that is ranked 55th in the country and has had issues with spread attacks featuring speedy skill position players.

"When you have a punter like they do, he can change the ball game," Gary Patterson said. "When you get a 60 or 70-yard punt, all of the sudden, field position changes."

Pachall has filled Andy Dalton's shoes pretty well in his first year as a starter. He's seventh in the country in passing efficiency, throwing for 24 touchdowns against just six picks. The Horned Frogs offense is among the most balanced in the country and it certainly helps to able to turn around and hand the ball off to Matthew Tucker, Ed Wesley and Waymon James. But Pachall does have some young receivers that can get down the field if he's allowed time to throw.

"They’ve got three outstanding running backs, they’ve got a big, physical offensive line, they’ve got speed at the wide receiver position, they’ve got a quarterback who has not missed a beat, who has improved steadily throughout the course of the season," Bulldogs head coach Sonny Dykes said. "It’s a great offensive football team. They can pound you, they can ‘big play’ you."

If Louisiana Tech plays sound on defense and doesn't bite on the play-action passes, they should be able to slow Pachall and the TCU offense down some. Having Allen pin them back would be big in winning the field position battle and giving the Bulldogs offense a short field. Force some turnovers and this turns into a winnable game for LaTech despite being decided underdogs to a 10-win team in TCU.

"Our guys have got some grit about them," said Dykes. "We’re going to have to play extremely well to compete against TCU. They are a
team that knows how to win."

You can read our complete Poinsettia Bowl preview here.

Posted on: December 15, 2011 3:47 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2011 9:28 pm
 

Keys to the game: Poinsettia Bowl

Posted by Bryan Fischer

TCU WILL WIN IF: How's a trip to San Diego before Christmas for a Mountain West swan song sound? The Horned Frogs dominated conference play for the final time, including a memorable upset of Boise State, and will head to one of just four bowls matching up conference champions. Motivation would normally be a factor for some teams coming from two straight BCS bowls but not for one coached by Gary Patterson - as intense and well-prepared a coach as you will find.

"I think the key is, the team that wins bowl games is the team that wants it the most," Patterson said. "What I’ve found is that you usually find out in the first five minutes of the ballgame how that’s all going to go down, with the intensity level and how they do it. I think this is going to be one of the games people talk about, one of the better ball games in the bowl season."

A win in the bowl game would also give TCU 11 wins for the seventh time in a decade. Though they've taken a few lumps, this team is built on defense and linebacker Tank Carder is looking to cap off a great career by slowing down Louisiana Tech's high-powered offense with help from the secondary. The offense is pretty good too, rounding into form as the season progressed. The Horned Frogs have scored at least 27 straight in every game this year and if quarterback Casey Pachall and the offense - sans coordinator Justin Fuente - keep turnovers to a minimum, they should be riding off to the Big 12 with a bowl game win.

"This ball game is a challenge for us," added Patterson. "Not only is it a challenge at the end of the season but it’s a challenge to go into next season, to teach our kids what it’s about to play at a high level. There are no two ways about it."

LOUISIANA TECH WILL WIN IF: The Bulldogs certainly can score some points, averaging almost 450 yards of offense and 35 points per game ever since Colby Cameron took over at quarterback and started throwing the ball around. The offense gets most of the attention but the defense isn't too shabby either with 20 interceptions on the year - good for third in the nation.

"This will be a bit of a measuring stick for our program and where we are headed," head coach Sonny Dykes said. "This has been a great team to coach, we’ve had a fun ride."

A sound game plan that mixes up a few runs as Cameron finds top wide receiver Quinton Patton should be able to move the chains and find the end zone. If the defense can make some plays and slow down the TCU offense, special teams will come into play and the team has a great weapon in Ryan Allen, who won the Ray Guy Award as the nation's best punter and can help flip the field position battle in favor of LaTech.

"Our guy Ryan Allen had plenty of punts," said Dykes. "We won ball games because of him, especially when we were trying to find an identity offensively early. We were making a quarterback switch and trying to find which direction we were going. Our defense was playing pretty consistent football and our punter was giving us a chance to win. He is a weapon."

"This is the biggest bowl game for us, probably in school history, so we have to see this as an opportunity."

THE X-FACTOR: As always, turnovers. Pachall has been pretty good in not throwing interceptions or fumbling the ball but he has to keep that up in this game. Give Louisiana Tech extra chances to score and things might get interesting. Spread offenses - Baylor, SMU - have hurt TCU already this year and the WAC champions know how to beat teams if the game is close.


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com