Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bowling with the Blazers: A Comparative Analysis

While Friday is a big day in the Big Sky Conference with Montana taking on Richmond for the FCS National Championship, this weekend also marks the beginning of the 20ish days of the college football postseason.

We all know that the bowls suck, everybody wants a playoff and that there are too many teams.

We also all think we can correctly predict the winners of each game, silently hoping that our predictions will give verification to the hours we spent each Saturday this fall glued to the television.

But let's be serious: Who here really knows if Florida Atlantic has what it takes to knock off Central Michigan in the Motor City Bowl? (Quite the ironic title in this one, as it looks like the Motor City may be no more in a few months.)

The 68 bowl teams have been broken down into several categories based (loosely) on the players of everybody's favorite team in the Rose City- the Portland Trail Blazers. Have at it.

The Ike Diogu Bowl Teams

Diogu, like most of these bowl-bound teams, has no business playing in the big leagues. He might have had his time and place--he thrived while in college at Arizona State-- but looks outclassed and out of place on the court.

Sure he has his loyal fan following just like these teams but the group is small and even the faithful know that the result of their game does not matter.

Texas Bowl- Western Michigan vs. Rice
The best part of this matchup is that it takes place on the same night as the Holiday Bowl, widely regarded as one of the best bowl games outside of the BCS contests. How bad does it feel to be a Michigan Wolverine fan and have to watch not only Michigan State play in a bowl game, but also Central and Western Michigan go bowling while you sit in frigid Ann Arbor. Ouch.

Humanitarian Bowl- Maryland vs. Nevada
Outside of ESPN Sportscenter anchor Scott Van Pelt, I don't think there will be too many people in Boise to see this instant classic take place on the smurf turf. The Humanitarian bowl also goes down on Dec. 30, the same day as the aforementioned Texas and Holiday Bowls.

The Joel Przybilla Bowls
The White Gorilla, as Blazers fans know him, is certainly not one of the most attractive players in the league and his talents are limited to dunking the ball and playing solid defense.

But despite his limitations, Przybilla is an important piece of the Blazers rotation and fills in nicely when Greg Oden is struggling or is in the locker room replacing his dentures.

These bowl games should be just as watchable as the Prz'. You wouldn't want to reschedule your wedding to watch these games but if they help you get out of some obligatory time with the family, take advantage.

Eagle Bank Bowl- Wake Forest vs. Navy
Despite having matched up earlier this season, these two squads will face each other again in D.C. to open the Bowl Season. Both teams are disciplined and run the ball effectively.

Sun Bowl- Oregon State vs. Pittsburgh
Despite the fact that the Beavers got throttled in the Civil War and the likelihood that PAC-10 Offensive Player of the Year Jacquizz Rodgers could miss the game, Oregon State coach Mike Riley always seems to get the Beavers ready to play in Bowl Games.

Pitt came on strong to close the season. Both squa
ds are physical and play with a chip on their shoulder- just like Przybilla. He's not from El Paso is he?

The Rudy Fernandez Bowls
Heading into the season anticipation was high for Fernandez and while he hasn't exactly dissapointed there have surely been moments of frustration for Blazers fans.

As brilliant as the Spaniard has been with his breathtaking alley-oops and streaky shooting from beyond the arc, he needs to develop one skill just like all the bowl bound squads in this division: consistency.

Chik-fil-a Bowl- LSU vs. Georgia Tech
Two good squads that struggled for moments but also had moments in the spotlight. Georgia Tech seems to be on their way up as one of the best teams in the ACC while LSU will most certainly be back in the National Title picture next season.

Holiday Bowl- Oklahoma State vs. Oregon
This one won't be pretty to watch, given the Ducks penchant for wearing hideous jersey combinations and the Cowboys' orange tradition that seems unavoidable at this point, but it should be good football.

The Ducks are coming into their own and barring a mental setback should run over Oklahoma State the same way they ran over Oregon State. The Cowboys three losses came to Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech, not a bad trio of defeats.

Las Vegas Bowl- BYU vs. Arizona
I know, BYU is a bit overrated and Arizona stinks but these two teams have a brief history of intensity: they play each other often and they recruit the same kids from the same area.

Both teams should get up for this game despite some struggles this season. BYU could struggle to contain the speed and athleticism of Arizona but the Wildcats will likely shoot themselves in the foot at some point during the game.

The Brandon Roy Bowls

You probably saw these coming, but BRoy is playing out of his mind lately and seems poised to solidify himself as an NBA All-Star again this season. He offers can't miss basketball every time he steps on the court and these three bowl games should be identified likewise.

Rose Bowl- USC vs. Penn State
Classic uniforms, great defenses, best bowl atmosphere in college football.

Poinsettia Bowl- Boise State vs. TCU
Not exactly a sleeper pick, but should be quality football and two better teams than you might think.

National Championship- Oklahoma vs. Florida
Watch Tebow run wild one last time before he starts wearing a much higher number and only running the ball on third and short.

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