Tag:Alamo Bowl
Posted on: December 23, 2010 3:47 pm
 

CBS Bowl Bonanza: Alamo Bowl

Posted by Jerry Hinnen as part of the blog's Bowl Bonanza series. For tonight's Poinsettia Bowl preview, click here .

The Basics: Oklahoma State (10-2) vs. Arizona (7-5), Dec. 29, 9:15 EST

Why You Should Watch: Because it's the Alamo Bowl, silly, the same game that gave us Texas Tech's stirring comeback against Michigan State last year, that saw Northwestern just miss out on their first bowl win since 19-dickety-two against Missouri in overtime, that unleashed this madness on us at the end of Michigan-Nebraska ... all in the past five years. And this year, we've got maybe the bowl season's best matchup of wide receivers in Justin Blackmon vs. Juron Criner, the carnival-worthy facial calisthenics of Mike Stoops, and one final chance to see Dana Holgorsen's flying circus at Oklahoma State before he takes his act to Morgantown. That ought to be enough.

Keys to Victory for Oklahoma State: More than maybe any school in the country other than Michigan, the Cowboys win by simply outscoring their opposition. With Holgorsen's unit ranked No. 1-with-a-bullet in the FBS total offense (and a robust third in scoring) but the Poke defense coming in 90th (and yielding a combined 98 points in their two losses), the pressure is permanently on the Cowboy attack to put points on the board. Anything less than 30-35 points, and the Cowboys will be cutting it awfully close.

The good news is that with arguably the best running back-wide receiver combo in the country in All-Americans Kendall Hunter and Blackmon (not to mention revelatory quarterback Brandon Weeden and his 32-to-13 touchdown-to-interception ratio), even the well-coached Wildcats may not be able to stop from Oklahoma State from hitting that mark. The bad news is that with as much time to prepare as Stoops and his staff will have, it seems unlikely the Cowboys will manage a 40- or 50-point explosion, either. That means the Cowboys will have to come up with at least a few stops, and that starts up front with a run defense that actually finished an impressive 27th in the country in yards-per-carry allowed at 3.57. Leading that charge was first team All-Big 12 senior linebacker Orie Lemon, who led the team in tackles and tackles-for-loss, but he was helped by an experienced (three senior starters) and deep defensive line that had four different members record at least 4 tackles-for-loss.

The front seven will have to be at its best to keep the pressure off of a secondary that ranked 115th in the country in defending the pass, but if the Cowboys can force just a handful of third-and-longs,even their defensive backs (particularly senior corner Andrew McGee)   should be able to make enough plays to let Weeden, Hunter, and Blackmon win the game.

Keys to Victory for Arizona: On paper, the Wildcats don't have a whole lot going for them in this game. They come in riding a four-game losing streak that dropped them to 7-5, with the Cowboys at a stout 10-2; they have further to travel and will do so with dramatically less fan support; their last bowl "effort" was the 33-0 debacle against Nebraska in last year's Holiday Bowl.

But they do have Criner, a 6'4", 210-pound beast who quietly racked up 1,197 yards to finish as the nation's seventh-leading receiver. They also have Nick Foles, who equally quietly led the Pac-10 in passing yardage at 291 yards per-game, completed 67 percent of his passes, and finished in the national top 30 in both yards per-attempt and QB rating. And there's plenty more targets where Criner came from; eight different Wildcats finished with 20 or more receptions. Given the weakness of the Cowboy secondary, a huge night from Foles, Criner, and the rest of the 'Cat passing game could allow Arizona to keep up with an offense even as explosive as the Pokes.

And defying the West Coast stereotype, the Wildcats are also perfectly competent on defense, finishing as one of only 27 teams to allow fewer than 5 yards per-play. The triumvirate of Ricky Elmore, Brooks Reed, and Justin Washington (23.5 combined sacks, 33 tackles-for-loss) give them a dynamic defensive line that should be capable of slowing Hunter's interior running. If they can do that, a well-prepared back seven plays over their heads against Blackmon and Weeden, and Foles goes off, the Wildcats could very well pull off the upset.

The Alamo Bowl is like: the onslaught at the Alamo itself, at least when either offense is on the field; the overmatched and outmanned secondaries are going to come under a hail of football fire from their better-armed opponents, and will hope to simply survive until their compatriots on the offensive side of the ball can come to their rescue. If the quarterbacks and receivers play up to their capabilities, this year's Alamo Bowl will -- like its namesake -- definitely be something to remember.


Posted on: December 7, 2010 11:48 am
Edited on: December 7, 2010 11:59 am
 

Which bowls have the best swag?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Coaches and players love going to a bowl game.  For coaches it's always nice to have a bowl appearance on the resume, even if there are 400 of them, plus it gives them the chance to hold a few more practices with their team, and there's nothing coaches like more than practice time.  For the players, bowl games are a reward for a hard season, and though some destinations are better than others -- oh boy!  Detroit in December! -- at least those players know that wherever they go, they're going to get some free stuff.

Everybody loves free stuff.  I have t-shirts in my closet that I never wear, but I keep them because I got them for free. You never know when you'll have to paint your house or apartment, and it's always nice to have one of those free shirts around for such an occasion.

Nice as free shirts are, though, going to a bowl game gets you a lot better swag than just a shirt, and thanks to the Sports Business Journal, we can see what every bowl is giving to the players.  I perused the list and came up with some of the best that each game has to offer.

Unfortunately, a lot of the bowl games list "gift suite" as something they're giving to the players, which isn't very specific.  Essentially what it means is that players are taken into a suite filled with all sorts of cool stuff, and they're allowed to pick and choose what they'd like.  All the BCS bowls list these gift suites, and since those bowls make a ton of money, I would think that they're pretty good.

As for the bowls that list exactly what they're giving away, you could do a lot worse than going to the Alamo Bowl.

This year Oklahoma State and Arizona players will be going home with an XBox 360 Kinect, a giftcard to Gamestop, some headphones, an iPod shuffle, Fossil watch -- if you watch Jersey Shore, you know what happens when somebody gives you a Fossil watch -- a mini helmet and a panoramic team photo.  All that and you get to see the Alamo and pretend you're Davy Crockett.

Other bowls, like the Capital One Bowl, aren't quite sure what the players will want, as it knows that differnet people have different tastes.  That's why instead of specific gifts, Alabama and Michigan State players will all get a watch from the Timely Watch Co. and a $420 gift certificate to Best Buy.

All in all, just about every bowl game is going to give you a watch and some free clothes, so no matter where you end up, odds are you'll be leaving with something nice.

Still, some are worse than others.  Which bowls would I least like to end up in?  Well, the R+L Carrier New Orleans Bowl only gives you an iPod touch and a Balfour ring.  Well, I already have an iPod, and I don't wear jewelry, so I appreciate the sentiment, but step your game up.  The New Mexico Bowl gives away some nice stuff, though I'm not sure what I want with the "pen in box" or the Christmas ornament.

As for the Sun Bowl giving Notre Dame and Miami players a Helen of Troy hair dryer, well, I'm sure that will come in handy.

Then there are the bowl games who won't play along, and like to keep their gifts a secret.  This means one of two things, the gifts either suck, or they're really awesome.  One of these bowls is the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, which I'm guessing will feature either a fitted Yankees hat, or $100 million dollars.

Of course, these are just my tastes, I have no idea what you're in to.  Feel free to peruse the entire list and let us know in the comments which bowls you'd like to play in.
Posted on: November 30, 2010 5:52 pm
 

Cotton Bowl takes Texas A&M

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The first major bowl domino to fall has fallen, as the Cotton Bowl has announced via Twitter that Texas A&M has accepted an invitation to play in the Jan. 7 game against an SEC opponent to be named later.

The announcement doesn't come as much of a surprise: our J. Darin Darst had the Aggies pegged for Arlington in this week's edition of CBS's bowl projections. Their likely opponent? LSU , which would set up a matchup of two of the country's most explosive defensive lineman in Drake Nevis and Von Miller and a pair of thunderous running backs in Stevan Ridley and the red-hot Cyrus Gray . A&M might have a sliught leg up thanks to their familiarity with the Cowboys Stadium setting; the Aggies have already played their twice the past two seasons in nonconference matchups with Arkansas .

With the Cotton having made its decision, the other top-tier Big 12 bowls look likely to fall in line with the rest of Darst's projections, if Oklahoma defeats Nebraska in the Big 12 title game: the Sooners to the Fiesta , the Huskers to the Alamo , Oklahoma State to the Holiday , and Missouri to the Insight . A Huskers victory could send the Sooners to San Antonio, or cause other shake-ups down the line.

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