Tag:Bowl previews
Posted on: December 19, 2011 8:45 pm
 

Beef O'Brady's Bowl Key Matchup



Posted by Adam Jacobi

Key matchup: Kedrick Rhodes, RB, FIU vs. Omar Brown, FS, Marshall

Ordinarily, having a free safety lead a team in tackles by a substantial margin is usually a portender of doom: if ball-carriers are getting to the second level with such regularity that the defense's centerfielder is being required to make a plurality of the tackles, after all, that normally means that the linebackers are having such a rough go of it that forcing third and fourth downs is basically out of the question. And yet, there's Marshall FS Omar Brown, leading the Thundering Herd by a 16-tackle margin over the next leading tackler (LB George Carpenter), and Marshall's defense is still... well, it's not good, but it's okay!

Brown's going to have to spend plenty of time in run support on Tuesday, because FIU's probably going to give the ball to sophomore tailback Kedrick Rhodes at least 20 times -- and perhaps closer to 30 -- in the Beef O'Brady's Bowl. Rhodes broke the FIU record for most rushing yards in a year with 1164 yards this season, topping the mark of 1133 set by Rashod Smith in 2004, and Rhodes was named a 2nd team All-Sun Belt RB as a result. Rhodes isn't exactly a bruiser, but he's hardly a wisp either at 5'11", 190.

It's going to be easier for FIU to open up the game and create space for T.Y. Hilton to work his magic if the Marshall defense is preoccupied with stopping the run, and that's only going to happen if FIU can gain significant yardage on the ground to force 2nd and short or 3rd and short. And the extent to which Marshall utilizes Brown -- again, a defensive back, although one who's a tackle machine -- to do so should be a fascinating chess match to watch during the Beef O'Brady's Bowl.



Check out all the latest updates on FIU and Marshall right up until kickoff at the Beef O'Brady's Bowl Pregame.

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 19, 2011 6:52 pm
 

Independence Bowl Key Matchup



Posted by Chip Patterson


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

James Franklin, QB, Missouri vs. North Carolina's defensive front

Ever since Missouri lost running back Henry Josey to a season-ending knee injury, most of the offensive success has been based around what sophomore quarterback James Franklin can create. De'Vion Moore has seen an increased workload at running back and Kendial Lawrence has added three strong performances since the Big 12's leading rusher saw his season ended by the "one in a million" injury.

The good news for Missouri is that Franklin has stepped up in Josey's absence, leading the Tigers to three straight wins to close the regular season. Because of Franklin's rushing ability, the Tigers' offense has not become one-dimensional after the loss of their leading rusher. However, North Carolina's defensive front presents one of Franklin's toughest challenges on the season.

The Tar Heels' front seven is anchored by Quinton Coples, Tydreke Powell, and linebacker Zach Brown. All three received All-ACC honors or mention, and all three are seniors who have earned the interest of NFL scouts. North Carolina ranks No. 2 in the ACC and 14th nationally in rushing defense, allowing just 106.2 yards per game. They were one of the only teams to hold both Miami's Lamar Miller and Virginia Tech's David Wilson under 100 yards rushing this season, and have only allowed nine rushing touchdowns on the year.

But despite the impressive statistics, the defense has suffered lapses at times this season and struggled to get off the field when they needed a big stop. There will likely several occasions in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport where Missouri needs to convert a third down and it will be Franklin against the Tar Heels. Containing the Tigers' star quarterback is the only way North Carolina can hope to give Gio Bernard, Bryn Renner and the Tar Heels' offense a chance to find a rhythm against Missouri's stout D.

Check out all the latest updates on Missouri and North Carolina right up until kickoff at the Independence Bowl Pregame

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 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 19, 2011 3:52 pm
 

Champs Sports Bowl Key Matchup



Posted by Tom Fornelli


A look at the key matchup that could decide the Champs Sports Bowl

E.J. Manuel vs. The Notre Dame secondary

E.J. Manuel's first season as a starter for Florida State had its ups and downs. He was injured in the Oklahoma game early this season, and it wasn't a coincidence that the Seminoles lost three games in a row at the same time as Manuel was dealing with his injury. Still, when he's been healthy, Manuel has been solid for the Seminoles.

And Manuel will need to be solid if Florida State is going to beat Notre Dame to finish its season.

There's plenty of reason to believe he will, too. Notre Dame finished 78th in the country with only 20 sacks this season, which is good news for a Florida State offensive line that allowed more sacks than all but 9 FBS schools in 2011 with 35. So provided he gets time to throw, Manuel should find room to work against the Notre Dame secondary.

The Irish are allowing only 201.7 passing yards per game on defense, but it's not a unit that's very prolific at forcing turnovers. In fact, Notre Dame has only intercepted 8 passes this season while allowing 21 touchdowns through the air. Which means that as long as Manuel is patient and doesn't make bad decisions, he's going to find open receivers to throw to.

If he can do that, then there's plenty of reason to believe that Florida State will pick up its ninth win. If not, then the Irish will have the advantage.

For a look at the keys to the game for both schools, click here, and check out the rest of CBSSports.com's coverage at the Champs Sports Bowl Pregame. 
Posted on: December 19, 2011 3:18 pm
Edited on: December 19, 2011 3:22 pm
 

Keys to the Game: Champs Sports Bowl

Posted by Tom Fornelli

NOTRE DAME WILL WIN IF: The Irish offense will face their toughest test of the year in the Florida State defense in this game. The Seminoles finished the year sixth in the nation in total defense and actually gave up less yards per carry (2.32) than any other defense in the country, including Alabama and LSU. Which isn't good news for a Notre Dame defense that will be without Jonas Gray (791 yards, 12 TDs) in this game. This means that if Notre Dame is going to find success on offense, it will likely come through the air. The Seminoles aren't bad in that area either, as they're 32nd in the nation in defensive pass efficiency. Of course, as has usually been the case with the Irish this season, the most important part of this game will be whether or not they can take care of the ball. Turnovers have killed the Irish throughout the season, and against a defense this good, Tommy Rees and the rest of the Irish offense cannot afford to give the ball away.

FLORIDA STATE WILL WIN IF: Assuming the Florida State defense can do a good job of keeping the Irish offense in check, then there's reason to believe the Seminoles can find enough success on offense to pick up a win here. The Florida State offense hasn't been prolific this season, but against a Notre Dame defense that is good but not great, the opportunities to put points on the board will be there. E.J. Manuel hasn't been great throwing the ball this season, but he's had some solid games and this could be a chance for another one. The Notre Dame defense may be allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete less than 60% of their passes in 2011, but it's also only picked off 8 passes while allowing 21 passing touchdowns on the year. And with Florida State's running game being a bit anemic this season and Notre Dame being pretty solid against the run, the passing game will be the way the Seminoles want to go.

X-FACTOR: Andrew Hendrix. Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has already named Tommy Rees his starting quarterback for the bowl game, but that doesn't mean he's going to take all the snaps. Hendrix saw a lot of playing time over the final few weeks of the season, and considering that Kelly seems to feel that Hendrix is his quarterback of the future, I'd expect him to get quite a bit of playing time in this one as well. He brings a new dimension to the Notre Dame offense because unlike Rees, Hendrix can beat you with his legs. So it will be interesting to see how much Hendrix plays and how the Irish utilize him.

You can check out our extensive preview of the Champs Sports Bowl here
Posted on: December 17, 2011 5:07 pm
 

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Key Matchup



Posted by Adam Jacobi

A look at the key matchup that could decide the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

Robert Turbin, RB, Utah State vs. Noah Keller, LB, Ohio

If there's one thing to be gleaned from the seasons of Utah State and Ohio, who have combined for 16 games decided by seven points or less this season (half of which, incredibly, were decided in the final minute or overtime), it's that today's Famous Idaho Potato Bowl will probably be close, and a full 60-minute affair. If that's to be the case, then this game could easily come down to the heart and soul of the Aggie offense against the heart and soul of the Bobcat defense.

For Utah State, the Aggies' rushing attack (ranked sixth in the nation in yards per game) is led by senior tailback Robert Turbin, who has 1416 rushing yards and 23 total touchdowns to his name. Utah State will likely put the ball in Turbin's hands about 25 times in this game, and the only reason it might not be more is because Michael Smith and Kerwynn Williams are also talented ballcarriers -- to say nothing of quarterback Adam Kennedy, who has emerged as a dual threat in the Aggie offense here in the last half of the season. Still, Turbin is the start of the show, and when the Aggies need to keep a drive alive in the 4th quarter, Turbin's going to be the man with the ball.

Thus, Noah Keller, a second-team All-MAC linebacker and the three-time captain of the Ohio defense, is going to have his hands full in this game. Keller wasn't even supposed to be on this team's squad, but early in his senior season in 2010 -- a season that saw him on the Nagurski Watch list and a handful of preseason All-America teams -- Keller tore a ligament in his foot, ending his year in Week 3. He took a medical redshirt year, having played as a true freshman, and has come back to lead the Bobcats in tackling for the third time in his career. And while lingering foot and shoulder maladies have hampered his production this year, there's no doubt that he's ready for one last shot at giving Ohio a bowl victory, and going through Turbin to make it happen. It's not often that the best two players on each team are directly matched up with each other like this, so fans and viewers of the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl are, well, in for a real treat.

For a look at the keys to the game for both schools, click here, and check out the rest of CBSSports.com's coverage at the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Pregame.

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 16, 2011 3:38 pm
 

Holiday Bowl Key Match up



Posted by Bryan Fischer


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

Texas running backs Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron versus California linebacker Mychal Kendricks

There are plenty of match ups to watch for in this game but Texas' two running backs against the Pac-12 defensive player of the year should be a focus if you're watching at home. Both Brown (turf toe, knee) and Bergeron (hamstring) have been hurt and missed time during the second half of the season but have been practicing and should be full strength for the bowl game.

They're going to need to be 100% against Kendricks. The heart and soul of the Bears' defense, Kendricks was a big reason why the team was solid on that side of the ball despite having to replace several contributors. He averaged eight tackles a game and was third in the conference in tackles for loss at over one per game. His pass defense is pretty good too despite being a bit undersized at 6-foot, 240-pounds and learning the inside linebacker position this season after a few years on the outside.

Highly touted out of high school, Brown took most of the rushing load this season for the Longhorns and finished 7th in the Big 12 in yards. Bergeron was more of a surprise but did just as well, if not better, with fewer carries. The loss of Fozzy Whittaker put even more on the two freshmen and with both battling injuries, was a big factor in the offense slowing down.

Texas needs the ground game to be effective to take pressure off of their so-so quarterbacks and the Longhorns need Brown and Bergeron to be healthy and productive if they want a chance to win. They'll be squaring off against a great, experienced linebacker in Kendricks however. Should be a fun match up to watch.

You can read our complete Holiday Bowl preview here.


Posted on: December 16, 2011 2:31 pm
 

Keys to the game: Holiday Bowl

Posted by Bryan Fischer

CALIFORNIA WILL WIN IF: This game is about a small measure of revenge for the Bears, after Texas successfully lobbied for a Rose Bowl bid over Cal in 2004. That doesn't matter much to the current players - some of whom were in middle school at the time - but it's not like they won't be properly motivated for the trip down to San Diego. The key for California to win lies on offense and if they can move the ball against a generally well-regarded secondary. Zach Maynard has been inconsistent at the quarterback position but has plenty of weapons to deliver the ball to.

TEXAS WILL WIN IF: After a disappointing end to the season, the Longhorns can still get a win and use it to build momentum during the offseason with a young team. The defense looked shaky against Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III but has performed much better than expected, topping the pass-happy Big 12 and finishing 14th in the country in total defense. Mack Brown knows how to prepare his team and win bowls (just one loss since 2003) and expect nothing less this time around.

THE X-FACTOR: Brown has already said that both of his quarterbacks, Case McCoy and David Ash, will see playing time at the Holiday Bowl. Neither has necessarily looked good throwing the football around so the health of the running game will be important against a very good Cal defense. Linebacker Mychal Kendricks may not be a name Longhorns fans know much about but he will be after the game as Texas tries to run the ball.
 
 
 
 
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