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John Harris’ Bowl Newsletter

The Bowl Season has its share of intriguing matchups and I’ll break it down as
much as possible for each of the 34 bowl games on the docket. Yes, every one.

View From the Sideline Issue #1, Volume #2

The National Texas’ statement Nutt finally gets Cotton Defense, Schmefense The Best Game of All? Dixie’s calling
Championship Game On January 5th, the After leaving the Does anyone expect any TCU vs. Boise State After a 12-0 regular
Texas Longhorns are Arkansas Razorbacks defense to be played in may not garner the season, the Utes are
going to have one last season to coach at the Holiday Bowl as heading into enemy
final opportunity to rival Ole Miss, Nutt Oklahoma State and territory to face a 12-1
prove to the world gave up his opportunity Oregon tee it up? Alabama squad in the
that they should have to coach in last year’s Well, it could be the Sugar Bowl. Sixth year
been in Miami, not Cotton Bowl. However, team that does play QB Brian Johnson is
after a tremendous 8-4 national
Did the computers get it the Sooners. some ‘D’ that could playing
season in attention that say
right in 2008? The However, stopping emerge victorious his last
Oxford, Texas-Ohio State or
voters were relatively Terrelle Pryor and Page 14 g a m e
N u t t Oklahoma-Florida
nonplussed by a 45-35 Beanie Wells is no against
finally might, but it could be
Texas win. OU has walk in the park one of
gets to the best bowl game
scored 60+ points for Page 25 the best
go to period. The matchup of
five straight games but defenses in the
Dallas. Kellen Moore vs. Jerry
Florida’s a different nation. Can the Utes
Page 23 Hughes will be
story altogether. shock the nation as
intriguing to say the
Page 26 Boise State did a couple
of years ago?
Page 6
Page 24

had to do it because his main guy Percy Harvin was Wide receivers Manny Johnson and Juaquin Iglesias

Heisman on the bench with a high ankle sprain. Without

Harvin, Tebow and the offense moved the football
ably against one of the nation’s best defenses.
are as dynamic as ay pair of receivers in the nation,
especially Johnson who averages 18 yards per catch.
Running back? Geez. Chris Brown is an 1,100 yard

Jinx? Does
rusher, but with DeMarco Murray out in the Big 12
Which begs the question, how many points would Championship game, third stringer Mossis Madu
this offense had put proved he might be the best
up on the board back on campus. And, tight

it matter?
with Harvin on the end, Jermaine Gresham
field? might be the most difficult
matchup for the Gators on
Take Your Pick
January 8th.
The National Championship Game in Miami Since Bob Stoops
Defenses on Full Alert
will feature the last two Heisman winners - arrived in Norman
2008 winner Sam Bradford from Oklahoma in 1999, the Sooners Oklahoma defensive
have never lacked
and 2007 winner and 2008 third place coordinator Brent Venables
star power or has seen explosive offenses
candidate Tim Tebow from Florida. The game players with all season long, but Florida’s
has star power, but it’ll be the ‘second fiddles’ breakaway abilities. This might be the most anticipated college
provides a completely
who’ll determine who the history books will However this year, football matchup since the 2006 Rose Bowl
different problem for his
remember as the 2008 BCS national QB Sam Bradford when Vince Young became both a champion
Sooners because of Harvin
has so many and a legend. Harvin, Tebow (shown above)
champion. and Tebow’s ability to ‘plow’
explosive weapons and Spikes vs. Bradford, Iglesias and Lewis
on short yardage situations.
The Game Breaker at his disposal that Gator defensive coordinator
he could play left Charlie Strong will face the
Against Alabama in the SEC Championship game, handed and still best offense he’s seen all
quarterback Tim Tebow carried the Florida Gator move the offense up and down the field. season. Good luck, guys.
offense as he had done for the majority of 2007. He

John Harris’ Bowl Newsletter 1


Rice (9-3) vs. Western Michigan (9 - 3)

December 30, 2008 - NFL Network 7 PM CST

144.4 ypg - 61st Run Offense 121.5 ypg - 92nd

327.8 ypg - 5th Pass Offense 301.1 ypg - 10th

Rice Players to Watch 472.5 ypg - 10th Total Offense 422.7 ypg - 25th Western Michigan Players to Watch
#16 Chase Clement - QB #3 Tim Hiller - QB
#12 James Casey - uber Player 41.6 ppg - 8th Scoring Offense 29.8 ppg - 38th #27 Jamarko Simmons - WR
#81 Jarrett Dillard - WR #1 Louis Delmas - S
192.9 ypg - 102nd Run Defense 140.9 ypg - 58th

The Owls are playing in their 273.8 ypg - 112th Pass Defense 249.4 ypg - 96th He’s too quick for linebackers
second bowl game in three and too strong for safeties.
years and have the chance to 466.8 ypg - 114th Total Defense 390.3 ypg - 83rd Furthermore, Rice offensive
finish with ten wins for the coordinator Tom Herman is
first time since, well, since a 34.9 ppg - 107th Scoring Defense 23.8 ppg - 53rd one of the most creative
long time ago. minds in college football. His
The Broncos are also coming innovative ways will feature
off of a nine win regular nation, while the Broncos Western Michigan can figure ‘Thor’ and will help Rice get
season under head coach Bill feature a potent passing out how to stop Rice’s uber win number ten.
Cubit. game, led by quarterback Tim player James Casey. He had
Hiller who threw for over 300 104 catches on the season and Rice - 42 vs. WMU - 35
Rice is led by one of the most yards per game. The ultimate has been a difficult matchup
powerful offenses in the key in this game is whether for teams all season long.

1 5 6 0 T H E G A M E
John Harris’ Bowl Newsletter 2
C H A S T A N G ’ S B A Y O U C I T Y F O R D

“The Commercial Truck Experts”

713 678-5000

Air Force (8-4) vs. Houston (7 - 5)

December 31, 2008 - ESPN 11 AM CST

268.9 ypg - 5th Run Offense 161.0 ypg - 50th

79.9 ypg - 117th Pass Offense 414.1 ypg - 2nd

Air Force Players to Watch 348.8 ypg - 70th Total Offense 575.1 ypg - 1st Houston Players to Watch
#7 Tim Jefferson - QB #7 Case Keenum - QB
#25 Todd Newell - FB 26.7 ppg - 53rd Scoring Offense 41.2 ppg - 10th #28 Ken Fontenette - S
#47 Ken Lamendola - LB #35 Tyron Carrier - WR/KR
139.8 ypg - 55th Run Defense 169.5 ypg - 90th
It’s rematch time in Fort Consequently, the major key
Worth for the Armed Forces 195.6 ypg - 46th Pass Defense 249.1 ypg - 95th to this game is Houston’s
Bowl as these two combatants defense keeping Jefferson and
hooked up in nearby Dallas at 335.5 ypg - 45th Total Defense 418.6 ypg - 102nd company off the field, not
SMU in week three of the allowing the Falcons to eat up
season - Hurricane Ike week 21.3 ppg - 35th Scoring Defense 31.2 ppg - 92nd chunks of yards and clock on
as it is affectionately known the Cougars. But, stopping
in Houston. the option isn’t quite so easy.
directions since that game year Bryce Beall. The rookie
Air Force was victorious and this matchup could differ has averaged 92.7 yards per QB Keenum has been ultra-
31-28 in a game marked by greatly from the first one. game on the ground and that explosive when he has the
early AFA dominance and a was behind an offensive line ball in his hands and must get
The biggest difference for the
mad Houston comeback that that had some significant 75 to 80 snaps on the Falcons.
Coogs has been the ability to
fell three points short. shake up due to injuries to If he does, look out.
move the ball on the ground
However, these two teams with CUSA freshman of the SirVincent Rogers and others. U of H - 38 vs. AFA - 28
have flown in different
John Harris’ Bowl Newsletter 3

Fresno State (7-5) vs. Colorado State (6-6)

December 20, 2008 - ESPN 1:30 PM CST

176.8 ypg - 35th Run Offense 129.8 ypg - 78th

206.5 ypg - 66th Pass Offense 247.5 ypg - 30th

Fresno State Players to Watch 383.3 ypg - 43rd Total Offense 377.3 ypg - 47th Colorado State Players to Watch
#7 Tom Brandstater - QB #5 Gartrell Johnson - RB
#1 Lonyae Miller - RB 29.1 ppg - 40th Scoring Offense 23.9 ppg - 76th #15 Billy Farris - QB
#54 Ben Jacobs - LB #56 Ricky Brewer - LB
197.3 ypg - 104th Run Defense 185.3 ypg - 99th

There were some, we won’t controlled the line of

196.2 ypg - 50th Pass Defense 222.8 ypg - 83rd
say who, but there were scrimmage, predictably, the
‘some’ who thought that the Bulldogs won or played well.
393.5 ypg - 88th Total Defense 408.1 ypg - 95th
Bulldogs would be playing in The Rams need Johnson, 26th
a much bigger bowl at the in the nation in rushing with
30.3 ppg - 90th Scoring Defense 29.8 ppg - 88th
end of the season. Especially 99.3 yards per game to have a
after the way the Bulldogs huge game and he should.
started the season at Rutgers, felt like the Rams were Either way, the key in this
rolling through the Scarlet headed to the post season. game is going to be how well However, Brandstater will
Knights 24-7 on Labor Day. Former Ram David Anderson the Bulldogs can run the have his best game, his last
was even surprised to see his football against the Rams. game and the Bulldogs will
The Rams, on the other hand, win one final time.
were breaking in a new coach alma mater headed for a bowl Games in which the Bulldogs
Steve Fairchild and not many game this December. ran the football well and FSU - 27 vs. CSU - 23

S T . P E T E R S B U R G B O W L

Memphis (6-6) vs. USF (7-5)

December 20, 2008 - ESPN2 3:30 PM CST

205.6 ypg - 18th Run Offense 159.8 ypg - 51st

226.6 ypg - 47th Pass Offense 237.6 ypg - 39th

Memphis Players to Watch 432.2 ypg - 22nd Total Offense 397.4 ypg - 38th USF Players to Watch
#26 Curtis Steele - RB #8 Matt Grothe - QB
#59 Greg Jackson - LB 28.3 ppg - 44th Scoring Offense 26.5 ppg - 54th #95 George Selvie - DE
#89 Carlos Singleton - WR #27 Tyrone McKenzie - LB
146.3 ypg - 69th Run Defense 97.7 ypg - 9th
It’s bowl season, which you singlehandedly turn the
probably already know, but 195.7 ypg - 47th Pass Defense 194.1 ypg - 44th Tigers into a one-dimensional
what makes bowl season ground attack. Although
special for me is the matchup 341.9 ypg - 52nd Total Defense 291.8 ypg - 13th Steele is a major weapon, he
of two strong units facing one can’t do it by himself.
another. 26.0 ppg - 66th Scoring Defense 20.5 ppg - 30th
USF QB Matt Grothe should
That being said, this is an have a strong day against an
intriguing early bowl season yards per game, but the However, the Bulls have one average Memphis defense.
matchup of one strong unit, a Tigers feature a ‘tall’ receiving of the best defensive game Throwing or running, Grothe
22nd ranked Memphis corps that can be extremely changers in the nation - has the ability to will his team
offense facing the 13th ranked difficult to cover, especially defensive end George Selvie. to a good bowl win in the
USF defense. deep downfield. WR Carlos inaugural St. Petersburg
If he harasses Memphis Bowl.
The Tigers main offensive Singleton and Maurice Jones quarterback Arkelon Hall, if
threat is running back Curtis create mismatches anywhere healthy, as expected, he could USF - 34 vs. UM - 23
Steele who averages 97.9 on the field.
John Harris’ Bowl Newsletter 4

Wake Forest (7-5) vs. Navy (8-4)

December 20, 2008 - ESPN 10 AM CST

111.6 ypg - 100th Run Offense 298.3 ypg - 1st

188.7 ypg - 84th Pass Offense 63.3 ypg - 118th

Wake Forest Players to Watch 300.3 ypg - 103rd Total Offense 361.7 ypg - 59th Navy Players to Watch
#11 Riley Skinner - QB #10 Kaipo Noa K-Enhada - QB
#2 Alphonso Smith - CB 20.3 ppg - 97th Scoring Offense 27.8 ppg - 48th #36 Eric Kettani - FB
#59 Aaron Curry - LB #8 Wyatt Middleton - S
116.1 ypg - 21st Run Defense 126.2 ypg - 31st

Rematches are the flavor du the field. Navy has a history,

184.3 ypg - 28th Pass Defense 215.7 ypg - 76th
jour for bowl season and this in bowl games, of grinding
is one of them, the first game out 15 to 19 play drives and
300.3 ypg - 19th Total Defense 341.8 ypg - 51st
of the bowl season. eating up quarters, not just
Wake Forest had just come off minutes, at a time.
18.3 ppg - 17th Scoring Defense 21.4 ppg - 37th
of a hard fought, physical Skinner hasn’t had the
battle at Florida State and cleanest season in the world,
was 3-0, returning back home Winston-Salem with a 24-17 circled the wagons for a win but with a shot to cleanse
to face a 2-2 Navy squad that victory. over Vandy in the last game himself of the horrid game he
had lost to Duke the week Since that game, the Demon of the season. played against Navy earlier
prior. But, the Midshipmen Deacons were unreliable in an The story of this game is this season, expect #11 to
took advantage of four Riley average ACC, losing four going to be how often Wake have his best day of the year.
Skinner turnovers and left games in conference, but can get the Navy offense off
Wake - 23 vs. Navy - 17


BYU (10-2) vs. Arizona (7-5)

December 20, 2008 - ESPN 7 PM CST

135.9 ypg - 71st Run Offense 164.0 ypg - 48th

308.9 ypg - 7th Pass Offense 237.3 ypg - 40th

BYU Players to Watch 444.8 ypg - 17th Total Offense 401.3 ypg - 34th Arizona Players to Watch
#15 Max Hall - QB #7 Willie Tuitama - QB
#94 Jan Jorgensen - DE 35.3 ppg - 19th Scoring Offense 37.1 ppg - 16th #48 Rob Gronkowski - TE
#32 Dennis Pitta - TE #15 Xavier Kelley - LB
144.4 ypg - 65th Run Defense 132.3 ypg - 42nd
The BYU Cougars weren’t However, as good as TCU
expecting to be going to Las 206.5 ypg - 59th Pass Defense 169.8 ypg - 14th and Utah are, Arizona isn’t
Vegas at the outset of the quite in their league. Plus,
season. The Cougars had 350.9 ypg - 58th Total Defense 302.1 ypg - 20th BYU has QB Max Hall and
their sights set on heading to WR Austin Collie, one of the
a BCS bowl game for the first 21.2 ppg - 34th Scoring Defense 21.3 ppg - 36th finalists for the Larry
time ever. Fitzgerald Award (It’s a Sean
Arizona was hoping it could and John thing), along with
The one aspect that I can’t Hoya did against Manny Harvey Unga and Fui
get to any bowl after not seem to shake is that BYU Pacquiao.
playing in the postseason Vakapuna running the ball.
had two losses on the season - Arizona is a similar team in As such, BYU will control the
since 1998 (Holiday Bowl win TCU and Utah. Those two
over Nebraska). that vein - offensively, they game with Hall and a
teams were the most physical won’t wow you but the surprising defensive
So, with two teams heading teams that the Cougars defense will stroke you and showing.
to Vegas with completely played and they took hit you in the face.
different mindsets, this one punches like Oscar De La BYU - 31 vs. U of A - 21
should be interesting.
John Harris’ Bowl Newsletter 5

Boise State (12-0) vs. TCU (10-2)

December 23, 2008 - ESPN 7 PM CST

162.7 ypg - 49th Run Offense 216.6 ypg - 13th

294.1 ypg - 12th Pass Offense 201.4 ypg - 70th

Schedule (12-0, 8-0) Schedule (10-2, 7-1)
W Idaho State 49-7 456.8 ypg - 13th Total Offense 417.1 ypg - 29th W @ New Mexico 26-3
W Bowling Green 20-7 W SF Austin 67-7
W @ Oregon 37-32 39.4 ppg - 12th Scoring Offense 35.0 ppg - 20th W Stanford 31-14
W La. Tech 38-3 W @ SMU 48-7
W @ Southern Miss 24-7 104.9 ypg - 15th Run Defense 48.7 ypg - 1st L @ Oklahoma 35-10
W Hawaii 27-7 W San Diego State 41-7
W @ San Jose State 33-16 189.6 ypg - 37th Pass Defense 166.4 ypg - 9th W @ Colorado State 13-7
W @ New Mexico State 49-0 W BYU 32-7
W Utah State 49-14 294.5 ypg - 16th Total Defense 215.1 ypg - 2nd W Wyoming 54-7
W @ Idaho 45-10 W @ UNLV 44-14
W @ Nevada 41-34 12.3 ppg - 3rd Scoring Defense 10.9 ppg - 2nd L @ Utah 13-10
W Fresno State 61-10 W Air Force 44-10
Keys to the Game
Projected Starting Lineups Not Your 2006 Ian - Two seasons ago, Ian Johnson was the darling of college Projected Starting Lineups
Offense football after scoring the game winning touchdown in the Fiesta Bowl against Offense
QB #11 Kellen Moore OU and of course, his marriage proposal. This season, though, Johnson has QB #14 Andy Dalton
RB #41 Ian Johnson been more of a cog in the machine than the driver of the bus. He’s shared the RB #18 Ryan Christian
FB #40 Richie Brockel limelight with explosive Jeremy Avery who is more of a threat than Johnson. FB #32 Justin Watts
WR #19 Vinny Perretta These two won’t replicate Johnson’s Fiesta Bowl performance against the WR #1 Walter Bryant
WR #9 Jeremy Childs nation’s number one rush defense, but if he and Avery can grind out three to WR #88 Jimmy Young
TE #85 Tommy Gallarda four yards a carry, the Broncos will be in great shape to win this game. TE #86 Shae Reagan
LT #60 Andrew Woodruff LT #70 Marshall Newhouse
LG #76 Jon Gott Here he comes - Why don’t defensive coordinators use receivers or running LG #72 Kyle Dooley
C #66 Thomas Byrd backs to rush the quarterback? Who could block that speed? Well, TCU head C #75 Blake Schlueter
RG #62 Kevin Sapien coach Gary Patterson is the master at doing just that and his latest protege is RG #65 Giles Montgomery
RT #73 Nate Potter former running back Jerry Hughes, a first team All-American defensive end. RT #61 Marcus Cannon
All Hughes has done is lead the nation in sacks and create mayhem all over
Defense the field. No one on the field can change the complexion of this game more Defense
DE #90 Billy Winn than Hughes coming off the edge chasing BSU QB Kellen Moore. DE #98 Jerry Hughes
DE #98 Ryan Winterswyk DE #42 Matt Panfil
DT #53 Sean Bingham Jack of all trades - Boise State do-it-all receiver Vinny Perretta became a DT # 56 Cody Moore
DT #67 Joe Bozikovich household name after the 2007 Fiesta Bowl with an overtime performance DT #55 James Vess
LB #44 Kyle Gingg that epitomized what still makes him great in 2008. He throws it, runs it, LB #39 Jason Phillips
LB #24 Tim Brady catches it and scores it - a little bit of everything and he’s the one player TCU LB #51 Robert Henson
LB #52 Derrell Acrey must ‘find’ every play. No matter where he lines up, the Horned Frogs, must S #29 Stephen Hodge
S #18 Ellis Powers force one of the three safeties to be responsible for BSU’s #19. S #4 Steven Coleman
S #23 Jeron Johnson S #3 Tejay Johnson
CB #1 Kyle Wilson Conclusion - The Horned Frogs have the best defense BSU has seen all season CB #20 Nick Sanders
CB #13 Brandyn Thompson and Hughes will pressure Moore into a couple of key turnovers that TCU will CB #10 Rafael Priest
turn into points. Those points will be the difference in a tremendous bowl

TCU - 27 vs. Boise State - 23

John Harris’ Bowl Newsletter - Poinsettia Bowl 6
M I C H A E L K L E I N ’ S F I N E J E W E L R Y

There’s no finer place for diamonds in Houston or anywhere else...just ask Mark Mangino who
has a Bear Bryant Coach of the Year Award ring made by Mark Klein of Michael Klein’s Jewelry
Get over to Klein’s for the annual
Klein’s Christmas Party
December 24th
-1560 The Game broadcasting 6100 Westheimer Rd.
live from Klein’s ALL DAY
713 977-4003
-Ragin Bull Tailgaters grillin’
-Giveaways every 30 minutes
-Danny Arnold’s combine
-Much more ballyhoo and Egg Nog Chug?

Notre Dame (6-6) vs. Hawaii (7-6)

December 24, 2008 - ESPN 7 PM CST

113.4 ypg - 98th Run Offense 99.3 ypg - 107th

231.4 ypg - 46th Pass Offense 245.5 ypg - 33rd

Notre Dame Players to Watch 344.8 ypg - 75th Total Offense 344.9 ypg - 74th Hawaii Players to Watch
#23 Golden Tate - WR #12 Greg Alexander - QB
#12 Robert Blanton - CB 22.7 ppg - 86th Scoring Offense 24.9 ppg - 68th #17 Solomon Elimimian - LB
#27 David Bruton - S #94 David Veikune - DE
142.7 ypg - 63rd Run Defense 148.0 ypg - 73rd
Given a choice of heading to might not be the best tonic for
Houston to face Rice in the 184.8 ypg - 30th Pass Defense 203.9 ypg - 54th an ailing program and coach.
Texas Bowl, the Irish decided But, the way the Irish can get
to play a glorified road tilt 327.5 ypg - 38th Total Defense 351.9 ypg - 59th
healthy is by running the
against Hawaii at its home football. Physically, right at
stadium. Hopefully the 22.3 ppg - 43rd Scoring Defense 27.3 ppg - 72nd
Hawaii. In so doing, the Irish
beach trip and the exposure will find a balance in the
to 5 star recruit Monti Te’o offensive game plan. Running
will be worth it. all of its receivers and a games Notre Dame has
beloved head coach. That’s played, and perhaps one of its for 113 yards in this game
The Warriors should be all? Yeah, and the Warriors most important. won’t cut it.
applauded for the 7-6 season still finished with seven wins The streak will end in Hawaii
it had. All Hawaii had to do The Irish have struggled in
on the season, winning four every facet of the game since for the Irish. The bowl losing
was rebound from the Colt of its last six games. streak that is.
Brennan/June Jones era - the overtime loss to Pitt and a
losing its record setting QB, It goes without saying that road game, errr, bowl game ND - 35 vs. UH - 24
this is one of the trickiest
John Harris’ Bowl Newsletter 7

Troy (8-4) vs. Southern Miss (6-6)

December 21, 2008 - ESPN 7:15 PM CST

175.5 ypg - 36th Run Offense 196.3 ypg - 24th

245.9 ypg - 32nd Pass Offense 238.2 ypg - 38th

Troy Players to Watch 421.4 ypg - 26th Total Offense 434.5 ypg - 20th Southern Miss Players to Watch
#12 Levi Brown - QB #5 DeAndre Brown - WR/KR
#32 DuJuan Harris - RB 33.3 ppg - 23rd Scoring Offense 30.7 ppg - 33rd #25 Damion Fletcher - RB
#91 Brandon Lang - DE #24 Gerald McRath - LB
139.2 ypg - 54th Run Defense 145.3 ypg - 68th
The Trojans have quietly averaging one TD per game.
become one of the more 180.4 ypg - 23rd Pass Defense 223.9 ypg - 84th Brown has the explosive
consistent programs in the abilities necessary to turn this
country. Consequently, this is 319.6 ypg - 30th Total Defense 369.3 ypg - 71st game on its ear, but the Troy
the fourth bowl trip in five defense is one of the best in
years for Larry Blakeney’s 20.6 ppg - 31st Scoring Defense 23.8 ppg - 53rd the south in stopping the
squad and the third straight pass.
visit to New Orleans. Troy will capitalize on some
their last four games behind a The key in this game is
Sitting at 2-6 in tough CUSA USM mistakes and ride the
dominating defense that gave whether Troy can slow down
in head coach Larry Fedora’s exploits of RB Harris and QB
up an average of only nine one of the best true freshmen
first season, the Golden Brown. USM won’t
points per game over that receivers in the nation -
Eagles were looking at an effectively stop those two.
stretch. Brown. All the kid has done
early off-season, but won
is nearly 17 yards per catch, Troy - 31 vs. USM - 20


John Harris’ Bowl Newsletter

X3 Need I say more?


FAU (6-6) vs. Central Michigan (8-4)

December 26, 2008 - ESPN 6:30 PM CST

141.0 ypg - 65th Run Offense 134.3 ypg - 73rd

250.5 ypg - 27th Pass Offense 292.8 ypg - 13th

FAU Players to Watch 391.5 ypg - 41st Total Offense 427.1 ypg - 24th Central Michigan Players to Watch
#11 Rusty Smith - QB #13 Dan LeFevour - QB
#56 Frantz Joseph - LB 25.2 ppg - 66th Scoring Offense 30.3 ppg - 35th #27 Antonio Brown - WR/KR
#20 Charles Pierre - RB #43 Nick Bellore - LB
183.0 ypg - 98th Run Defense 138.6 ypg - 51st
Expectations were sky high been anywhere near as
(no pun intended) in Boca 219.1 ypg - 80th Pass Defense 285.7 ypg - 118th effective as he was last
Raton for the Owls after a season, only 59th in the
wonderful 2007 season that 402.1 ypg - 93rd Total Defense 424.3 ypg - 104th nation in passing efficiency,
included a bowl win. But, a while CMU legend Dan
1-5 start almost turned the 29.3 ppg - 85th Scoring Defense 30.8 ppg - 91st LeFevour is 11th in the nation
lights off for the Owls 2008 in total offense.
season. However, Howard LeFevour can take over this
Schnellenberger’s squad CMU was on a roll coming put a damper on a potentially
game with his legs, his arm
turned a tragic start into a into the last two games of the special season.
and his heart and he’ll do that
strong finish, and a season and had a shot at That being said, the one against a less than average
memorable one at that - a winning the MAC West title major difference in this game FAU defense.
57-50 overtime win over rival again. But, losses to Ball State is at the quarterback position.
Florida International. and lowly Eastern Michigan FAU’s Rusty Smith hasn’t CMU - 38 vs. FAU - 17


Miami (7-5) vs. Cal (8-4)

December 27, 2008 - ESPN 7 PM CST

130.1 ypg - 77th Run Offense 183.7 ypg - 30th

197.0 ypg - 76th Pass Offense 195.5 ypg - 79th

Miami Players to Watch 327.1 ypg - 88th Total Offense 379.2 ypg - 45th Cal Players to Watch
#12 Jacory Harris - QB #4 Jahvid Best - RB
#2 Graig Cooper - RB 27.9 ppg - 47th Scoring Offense 33.3 ppg - 22nd #56 Zack Follett - LB
#3 Glenn Cook - LB #51 Alex Mack - C
146.4 ypg - 70th Run Defense 122.5 ypg - 26th
I think I’m going to rename led by Orlando Pace Award
this bowl the “I have no idea 169.3 ypg - 13th Pass Defense 192.9 ypg - 42nd finalist (again, a S&J thing)
what team is going to show Mack. RB Best is fifth in the
up bowl”. It probably 315.8 ypg - 25th Total Defense 315.4 ypg - 24th nation, averaging 127 ypg
wouldn’t have a sponsor with and the Hurricanes proved
that name, but the point is 24.2 ppg - 56th Scoring Defense 20.2 ppg - 27th late in the season they
made with two teams that couldn’t stop the run
have ridden the roller coaster effectively. Cal won’t hurt
all season long. yards rushing later, the were to bowl teams, but with them with option, but options
Yellow Jackets pounded the a revolving quarterback - Best and Shane Vereen and,
Miami had gotten back into Hurricanes. And, then Miami situation, it’s very difficult to
the top 25 for the first time in unfortunately, it’ll be too
allowed NC State to score 38 get a read on this team. much for the U.
a few years when it headed to points on its defense
Georgia Tech for a nationally But, the one thing I do know
dropping the Canes to 7-5. is that Cal can run the football
Cal - 27 vs. Miami - 21
televised Thursday night
game a month ago. Oh boy, Maybe Cal is guilty by behind one of the better
that didn’t go well. Over 400 association as the four losses offensive lines in the Pac-10,
John Harris’ Bowl Newsletter 9

427 W. 20th St., Suite 100 Houston, Texas 77008


Wisconsin (7-5) vs. Florida St. (8-4)

December 27, 2008 - ESPN 3:30 PM CST

212.0 ypg - 14th Run Offense 182.8 ypg - 32nd

192.8 ypg - 82nd Pass Offense 185.8 ypg - 87th

Wisconsin Players to Watch 404.8 ypg - 32nd Total Offense 368.7 ypg - 55th Florida State Players to Watch
#39 PJ Hill - RB #7 Christian Ponder - QB
#92 Matt Shaughnessy - DE 28.7 ppg - 42nd Scoring Offense 32.7 ppg - 27th #99 Everette Brown - DE
#85 David Gilreath - WR/KR #3 Myron Rolle - S
133.3 ypg - 43rd Run Defense 126.8 ypg - 34th
Having ranked Wisconsin The key for FSU though is
tenth in the nation to start the 189.1 ypg - 35th Pass Defense 164.9 ypg - 8th that its defense must stop the
season, I was a wee bit Badgers’ zone running game
disappointed in the crew 322.3 ypg - 32nd Total Defense 291.8 ypg - 13th and not be too aggressive and
from Madison. Seven wins in over-pursuing. However, the
an average Big Ten is a down 25.3 ppg - 63rd Scoring Defense 20.8 ppg - 32nd Seminoles get help in the
season. secondary from Rolle, the
FSU, on the other hand, has Rhodes Scholar, who plays
quarterback. The Noles have Consequently, Wisconsin QB
been a pleasant surprise this near the box when necessary.
struggled putting good Allan Evridge did not and
season, well, if you keep in seasons together due to poor that put Dustin Sherer under FSU will win this behind a
mind that this isn’t your older quarterback play, but Ponder center over the last half of the solid ‘D’ performance and big
brother’s Florida State team. has been effective enough to season. The Badgers won plays from its skill guys -
And the difference, so to put FSU in position to win four of their last five games Parker, Smith and Thomas.
speak, for the Noles was the games throughout the season. with Sherer under center.
FSU - 28 vs. UW - 17
John Harris’ Bowl Newsletter 10

North Carolina (8-4) vs. West Virginia (8-4)

December 27, 2008 - ESPN 12 PM CST

125.1 ypg - 86th Run Offense 217.2 ypg - 12th

192.3 ypg - 83rd Pass Offense 135.3 ypg - 109th

North Carolina Players to Watch 317.3 ypg - 95th Total Offense 352.5 ypg - 65th West Virginia Players to Watch
#1 Brooks Foster - WR #5 Pat White - QB
#20 Shaun Draughn - RB 27.5 ppg - 50th Scoring Offense 24.0 ppg - 74th #7 Noel Devine - RB (maybe)
#31 Trimane Goddard - S #44 Mortty Ivy - LB
140.8 ypg - 57th Run Defense 134.8 ypg - 47th

At the outset of the season, I 217.2 ypg - 79th Pass Defense 190.7 ypg - 38th teams have physically beaten
predicted North Carolina as him up, teams like ECU,
one of my three surprise 357.9 ypg - 62nd Total Defense 325.5 ypg - 35th Cincinnati and Pitt, those
teams in 2008 and I was close teams have beaten WVU.
to being right. In a relatively 20.3 ppg - 29th Scoring Defense 15.9 ppg - 9th Furthermore, RB Draughn
weak ACC, I thought nine has become a major weapon
wins was possible, but the Tar for the Tar Heels, averaging
Heels got to eight without a been quarterback is win three to showcase his skills in
67 ypg. His ability to gash the
starting QB in the last nine straight bowl games, two of college.
Mountaineer defense could
games and get to stay home which are BCS bowl wins. And, that is the key to this give White and company
in Charlotte as a result. Sadly, this is the last time the game for the Tar Heels. their first loss in a bowl.
best running quarterback in White is so dynamic with the
All West Virginia has done in
the four years Pat White has
the history of the game gets ball in his hands, but when UNC - 31 vs. WVU - 24


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John Harris’ Bowl Newsletter 11

La. Tech (7-5) vs. Northern Illinois (6-6)

December 28, 2008 - ESPN 7:15 PM CST

195.0 ypg - 26th Run Offense 172.8 ypg - 38th

157.0 ypg - 102nd Pass Offense 162.0 ypg - 101st

La. Tech Players to Watch 352.0 ypg - 67th Total Offense 334.8 ypg - 84th Northern Illinois Players to Watch
#20 Daniel Porter - RB #51 Larry English - DE
#6 Phillip Livas - WR/KR 25.3 ppg - 65th Scoring Offense 25.3 ppg - 63rd #56 Brandon Bice - DE
#34 Antonio Baker - S #12 Chandler Harnish - QB
99.8 ypg - 11th Run Defense 141.2 ypg - 59th
The Independence Bowl it’ll be important for these
doesn’t have a ‘name’ 279.9 ypg - 116th Pass Defense 162.5 ypg - 5th teams to start well, but most
matchup with two BCS teams importantly win at the line of
like it did last year with 379.7 ypg - 77th Total Defense 303.7 ypg - 21st scrimmage.
Alabama and Colorado. Both teams average over 170
However with the home state 24.8 ppg - 59th Scoring Defense 18.1 ppg - 16th
yards per game on the
Bulldogs in Shreveport, the ground and will want to
game may be equally exciting establish the ground attack.
Dooley’s Bulldogs won four NIU lost three of its last four
for the crowd in attendance. The team that does that will
of their last five games, with games, including a 16-0
The Bulldogs struggled to the only loss coming in a shutout loss to Navy to end win, pure and simple and
start the season, losing four of 35-31 nailbiter at Nevada to the season. that’ll be the Bulldogs.
its first seven games, end the season. The Huskies
including an inexplicable 14-7
With both teams coming off LTU - 28 vs. NIU - 21
season went, well, the other of losses to finish the season,
loss to Army. But, Derek way.

Missouri (9-4) vs. Northwestern (9-3)

December 29, 2008 - ESPN 7 PM CST

157.1 ypg - 53rd Run Offense 147.6 ypg - 58th

340.4 ypg - 4th Pass Offense 209.4 ypg - 63rd

Missouri Players to Watch 497.5 ypg - 6th Total Offense 357.0 ypg - 62nd Northwestern Players to Watch
#10 Chase Daniel - QB #18 C.J Bacher - QB
#12 Sean Weatherspoon - LB 43.2 ppg - 6th Scoring Offense 24.5 ppg - 72nd #99 Corey Wooton - DE
#38 Stryker Sulak - DE #10 Eric Peterman - WR
128.9 ypg - 39th Run Defense 127.7 ypg - 36th
Who likes offense? C’mon, the NU defense must disrupt
down deep, you love your 285.3 ypg - 117th Pass Defense 215.3 ypg - 74th the timing of the offense as
bowl games when you see Oklahoma State, Texas and
two squads blow it out in 414.2 ypg - 99th Total Defense 343.0 ypg - 53rd Oklahoma did. It would help
bowl week. You loved the to jump out in front and put
2001 Holiday Bowl when 27.5 ppg - 75th Scoring Defense 19.3 ppg - 23rd pressure on the MU ‘O’ from
Texas and Washington scored that perspective as well.
a combined 91 points. And, Unfortunately, I don’t think
these two teams have the after being snubbed last year The key in this game is going
Daniel goes out a loser and
potential of scoring a could play a role for the to be whether the Wildcats
Northwestern won’t be able
boatload of points. Tigers in this game. can handle being spread out
to move the ball effectively
Northwestern, on the other on defense. They’ve not seen
Missouri was the Big 12 enough to win this game.
hand, has to be thrilled with a spread attack this potent all
North champion but that Missouri will.
the nine win season it had season long and must force
wasn’t the goal for this team
and the disappointment of under head coach Pat quarterback Chase Daniel Mizzou - 34 vs. NU - 21
Fitzgerald. into mistakes. But, to do that
not getting to a BCS bowl
John Harris’ Bowl Newsletter 12
P A P A J O H N ’ S B O W L

NC State (6-6) vs. Rutgers (7-5)

December 29, 2008 - ESPN 2 PM CST

125.5 ypg - 85th Run Offense 128.8 ypg - 81st

200.8 ypg - 71st Pass Offense 266.3 ypg - 22nd

NC State Players to Watch 326.3 ypg - 89th Total Offense 395.2 ypg - 40th Rutgers Players to Watch
#16 Russell Wilson - QB #14 Mike Teel - QB
#56 Nate Irving - LB 23.5 ppg - 80th Scoring Offense 29.0 ppg - 41st #88 Kenny Britt - WR
#6 Willie Young - DE #7 Tiquan Underwood - WR
144.3 ypg - 64th Run Defense 139.0 ypg - 53rd
The Papa John’s Bowl should Wilson averages 211 yards
be renamed the Redemption 242.8 ypg - 94th Pass Defense 184.9 ypg - 31st total offense per game and
Bowl as these two teams got Rutgers must find a way to
some redemption over the 387.1 ypg - 81st Total Defense 323.9 ypg - 34th make him one-dimensional.
last half of the season. They’ll do that with some
The two teams combined to 26.1 ppg - 67th Scoring Defense 18.5 ppg - 18th help from an explosive
go 3-11 in the first seventeen offense led by QB Teel, who’ll
games, but finished 10-0 throw for 300 yards plus and
The Wolfpack have been led since Mario Williams wore
down the stretch - NC State a trio of touchdowns in his
by freshman quarterback the red and white in 2005.
finishing with four straight last game at Rutgers.
Russell Wilson who single- And, it’ll be stopping Wilson
wins, while Rutgers hung on
for six in a row, including a
handedly has NC State back from running and throwing RU - 35 vs. NC St. - 20
in a bowl for the first time that’ll be the key to this game
63-14 bashing of Louisville on
national television. for the Scarlet Knights.


Maryland (7-5) vs. Nevada (7-5)

December 30, 2008 - ESPN 3:30 PM CST

134.5 ypg - 72nd Run Offense 291.4 ypg - 2nd

207.4 ypg - 65th Pass Offense 219.2 ypg - 52nd

Maryland Players to Watch 341.9 ypg - 76th Total Offense 510.6 ypg - 5th Nevada Players to Watch
#23 Da’Rel Scott - RB #34 Vai Taua - RB
#8 Darrius Heyward-Bey - WR 20.1 ppg - 100th Scoring Offense 37.8 ppg - 13th #10 Colin Kaepernick - QB
#48 Moise Fokou - DE #99 Kevin Basped - DE
149.4 ypg - 74th Run Defense 74.5 ypg - 3rd
Any bowl on blue turf is one Vai Taua who averages 118.3
worth watching, if you ask 205.6 ypg - 57th Pass Defense 321.1 ypg - 119th ypg and is ninth in the nation
me. Now, I know most of in rushing.’ll find some excuse 355.0 ypg - 60th Total Defense 395.6 ypg - 91st
Also, Nevada plays incredible
as to why not watch this games on the blue turf.
game, but I’m going to give 21.4 ppg - 37th Scoring Defense 31.5 ppg - 98th
Remember 69-67 against
you a handful of reason why Boise State in a thousand
this might be one of the more overtimes last season? Sure
underrated ball games in the Maryland offensive most teams around the nation
coaching staff finds as many at any level. The sophomore you don’t, but you’ll want to
bowl season. watch this one. And, it’ll be a
ways possible to get the is 12th in the nation in total
Maryland has one of the best football to its star player. offense and 32nd in the Nevada win this time behind
game-breakers in college nation in rushing. Kaepernick, Taua and a solid
football - Darrius Heyward- Nevada has a dual threat offensive line.
Bey. The junior is as fast as quarterback by the name of Speaking of Nevada’s
any receiver in the nation and Kaepernick, Colin to be exact running game, the Wolf Pack Nevada - 21 vs. MD - 20
who could be playing for has one of the nation’s best in
John Harris’ Bowl Newsletter 13

Oregon (9-3) vs. Oklahoma State (9-3)

December 30, 2008 - ESPN 7 PM CST

277.8 ypg - 4th Run Offense 256.0 ypg - 7th

200.3 ypg - 73rd Pass Offense 233.3 ypg - 43rd

Schedule (9-3, 5-3) Schedule (9-3, 5-3)
W Washington 44-10 W @ WSU 38-17
478.2 ypg - 8th Total Offense 489.3 ypg - 7th
W Utah State 66-24 W Houston 56-37
W @ Purdue 33-26 (3OT) W Missouri State 57-13
41.9 ppg - 7th Scoring Offense 41.6 ppg - 8th
L Boise State 37-32 W Troy 55-24
W @ WSU 63-14 W Texas A&M 56-28
119.4 ypg - 24th Run Defense 123.8 ypg - 27th
L @ USC 44-10 W @ Missouri 28-23
W UCLA 31-24 W Baylor 34-6
263.6 ypg - 108th Pass Defense 268.5 ypg - 110th
W @ Arizona State 54-20 L @ Texas 28-24
L @ Cal 26-16 W Iowa State 59-17
383.0 ypg - 80th Total Defense 392.3 ypg - 86th
W Stanford 35-28 L @ Texas Tech 56-20
W Arizona 55-45 W @ Colorado 30-17
28.0 ppg - 78th Scoring Defense 26.9 ppg - 70th
W @ Oregon State 65-38 L Oklahoma 61-41
Keys to the Game
Projected Starting Lineups The Beast - As you watch this game, your eyes are going to keep focusing on Projected Starting Lineups
Offense OSU’s stud tight end Brandon Pettigrew. At 6’7” and a legit 265, he’s a Offense
QB #2 Jeremiah Masoli complete and total beast. He’s a great inline blocker and his presence is QB #11 Zac Robinson
RB #24 Jeremiah Johnson needed on the edge against the Oregon defensive ends. However, where he’ll RB #24 Kendall Hunter
WR #4 Jaison Williams be an even bigger pain in the backside is out on routes in the passing game. WR #1 Dez Bryant
WR #8 Terence Scott Who covers someone that big and that quick? Yeah, no one. If Oregon WR #85 Damian Davis
WR #23 Jeff Maehl doesn’t account for Pettigrew downfield, it could be in major trouble against WR #80 DeMarcus Conner
TE #83 Ed Dickson the Beast. TE#87 Brandon Pettigrew
LT #57 Fenuki Tupou LT #76 Russell Okung
LG #69 Bo Thran The Deuce - Losing former QB Dennis Dixon was supposed to be this LG #54 Andrew Lewis
C #60 Max Unger program’s death blow. He meant that much to Oregon. Consequently, it took C #63 David Washington
RG #71 Mark Lewis a while for Jeremiah Masoli to fully take the reins, but since he has, the Ducks RG #65 Steve Denning
RT #68 C.E Kaiser offense has been a monster to stop. He doesn’t throw it well, but he’ll put a RT #60 Brady Bond
significant amount of pressure on the Cowboys perimeter defense in this
Defense game with his ability to run the ball. If he gets loose, OSU’s defense won’t get Defense
DE #39 Will Tukuafu off the field. DE #91 Ugo Chinasa
DE #49 Nick Reed DE #98 Derek Burton
DT #91 Ra’Shon Harris Reed-ing the Edge - Edge rushers aren’t a dime a dozen but when you have a DT #92 Tonga Tea
DT #97 Cole Linehan guy like Oregon’s Nick Reed, you’re sitting pretty, that’s for sure. Reed is a DT #96 Jeray Chatham
MLB #55 Casey Matthews relentless pass rusher, but rushing a fast, running QB like Zac Robinson, he’s LB #4 Patrick Lavine
SLB #13 Jerome Boyd going to have to be ultra-careful and not get too aggressive, losing contain on LB #20 Andre Sexton
WILL #35 Spencer Paysinger Robinson. Look for Oregon, though, to let Reed loose and force a linebacker LB #41 Orie Lemon
ROV #15 Patrick Chung to ‘spy’/’shadow’ Robinson, such that Reed can still impact the game as he S #6 Ricky Price
FS #2 TJ Ward has all season long - from the edge. S #26 Quinton Moore
CB #32 Jairus Boyd CB #16 Perrish Cox
CB #6 Walter Thurmond Conclusion - The Cowboys have faced spread offenses like Oregon’s all CB #17 Jacob Lacey
season long in the Big 12, but I don’t think that Oregon has a chance of
stopping Pettigrew, Robinson, Dez Bryant AND Kendall Hunter. OSU wins
and wins big.

Oklahoma State - 45 vs. Oregon - 34

John Harris’ Bowl Newsletter - Holiday Bowl 14

Minnesota (7-5) vs. Kansas (7-5)

December 31, 2008 - NFL Network 4:30 PM CST

105.8 ypg - 104th Run Offense 128.9 ypg - 80th

216.4 ypg - 57th Pass Offense 302.3 ypg - 8th

Minnesota Players to Watch 322.3 ypg - 91st Total Offense 431.3 ypg - 23rd Kansas Players to Watch
#7 Eric Decker - WR #5 Todd Reesing - QB
#91 Willie VanDeSteeg - DE 23.4 ppg - 81st Scoring Offense 32.7 ppg - 27th #8 Joe Mortensen - LB
#30 Lee Campbell - LB #50 Ryan Cantrell - C
146.8 ypg - 71st Run Defense 126.7 ypg - 33rd
Through seven games of the the guttiest performances in
season, the Minnesota Golden 231.6 ypg - 88th Pass Defense 275.5 ypg - 113th Big 12 history to lead KU to a
Gophers were one of the best 40-37 win over Mizzou in the
stories in college football. 378.4 ypg - 74th Total Defense 402.2 ypg - 94th cold and snow in the last
One year removed from being game of the year.
1-11, including a loss to DII 23.3 ppg - 49th Scoring Defense 29.5 ppg - 87th Kansas needed that win in
North Dakota State, Tim the worst way and what it
Brewster’s bunch was on a did was buy some time for #5
crash course with a New play of the game to i n j u r i e s a n d
to get healthy. That’s all that
Year’s Day bowl game. Northwestern at home started underperformance marked
is necessary for KU, and
the horrendous four game the 2008 season for the
Four straight losses later and Reesing to get this win.
slide. Jayhawks, but QB Reesing,
the Gophers are glad to be
going bowling at all. An The Jayhawks had a season held together by duct tape KU - 42 vs. Minn. - 20
rife with problems as well, and heart, put together one of
inexplicable loss on the last


Vanderbilt (6-6) vs. Boston College (9-4)

December 31, 2008 - ESPN 2:30 PM CST

138.2 ypg - 68th Run Offense 143.0 ypg - 63rd

122.8 ypg - 112th Pass Offense 174.5 ypg - 93rd

Vanderbilt Players to Watch 260.9 ypg - 117th Total Offense 318.5 ypg - 94th Boston College Players to Watch
#2 Ryan Hamilton - S #41 Montel Harris - RB
#31 Jared Hawkins - RB 19.4 ppg - 104th Scoring Offense 25.5 ppg - 61st #90 BJ Raji - DT
#17 DJ Moore - CB/KR #34 Mark Herzlich - LB
145.0 ypg - 66th Run Defense 92.2 ypg - 7th
The good people of Vandy matchup for the Eagles on
should be congratulated on 173.7 ypg - 18th Pass Defense 181.2 ypg - 25th New Year’s Eve day.
making a bowl for the first Vandy’s defense has been the
time since my first coaching 318.7 ypg - 29th Total Defense 273.4 ypg - 6th
key all season long, but over
mentor George McIntyre was the last half of the season, the
coaching at Vandy in 1982. 20.1 ppg - 25th Scoring Defense 18.5 ppg - 19th
‘Dores ‘D’ was out on the
Dadgum, that’s a long time field way too long. And that
and it almost didn’t happen floundering program get to a road throughout the season, could be a problem against
as the ‘Dores stubbed their bowl game in its hometown. winning at FSU, Wake and RB Harris and the BC offense.
collective toe on SEC East NC State to win the ACC The freshman from
opponents down the stretch The BC Eagles went into this Jacksonville, FL has emerged
season with a question mark Atlantic Division. A loss to
of the season. A 31-24 win Virginia Tech in the ACC for BC and the offense hasn’t
over Kentucky was the only at quarterback and perhaps been the same since. And,
an identity problem without Championship game was a
win over a seven game bitter pill for the Eagles to that’s a good thing.
stretch and helped the former QB Matt Ryan. But,
the Eagles got it done on the swallow, but this is a great BC - 26 vs. Vandy - 12
John Harris’ Bowl Newsletter 15

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LSU (7-5) vs. Georgia Tech (9-3)

December 31, 2008 - ESPN 6:30 PM CST

167.3 ypg - 43rd Run Offense 282.3 ypg - 3rd

204.5 ypg - 67th Pass Offense 95.0 ypg - 116th

LSU Players to Watch 371.8 ypg - 54th Total Offense 377.3 ypg - 46th Georgia Tech Players to Watch
#9 Jordan Jefferson - QB #21 Jonathan Dwyer - B Back
#32 Charles Scott - RB 30.3 ppg - 34th Scoring Offense 26.2 ppg - 56th #93 Michael Johnson - DE
#48 Darry Beckwith - LB #1 Morgan Burnett - S
105.7 ypg - 17th Run Defense 116.9 ypg - 22nd
Be honest, how many of you Miles’ staff to get it done
thought there was no way in 116.8 ypg - 87th Pass Defense 195.8 ypg - 48th when it has time to prepare
hades that the option attack for a ball game. Remember
would work in a BCS 326.5 ypg - 36th Total Defense 312.7 ypg - 23rd last year’s Virginia Tech
conference? Yeah, you’re game? The Tigers prepared
lying. 25.9 ppg - 65th Scoring Defense 18.8 ppg - 22nd all summer for the Hokies
None of you thought it would and it paid off with a huge
work. I thought it could later win 48-7 win.
LSU this season? Yeah, well, Tigers lost three of their last
in the season, but I never you’re lying again. Perhaps, four and four of their last six I’ve got a sneaky suspicion
forecasted the Yellow Jackets no team underachieved more forcing LSU to think “Eat mor that with ample time to
rolling for over 400 yards on this season than the Tigers. chikin” as opposed to prepare the Tigers will be able
the ground against Miami Sure, Tennessee was awful dreaming of a Sugary New to slow down the midline and
and Georgia. and Texas A&M and Year’s Bowl game. the arc option well enough to
That being said, how many of Michigan combined for seven get a surprising eighth win.
But, the one thing that stands
you forecasted seven wins for wins, but this is an LSU team out for me is the ability of Les LSU - 28 vs. G Tech - 24
John Harris’ Bowl Newsletter with loads of NFL talent. The 16

Oregon State (8-4) vs. Pitt (9-3)

December 31, 2008 - CBS 1 PM CST

164.6 ypg - 46th Run Offense 143.3 ypg - 62nd

253.7 ypg - 25th Pass Offense 212.9 ypg - 60th

Oregon State Players to Watch 418.3 ypg - 27th Total Offense 356.2 ypg - 63rd Pitt Players to Watch
#1 Jacquizz Rodgers - RB #25 Shady McCoy - RB
#19 Sammie Stroughter - WR/KR 32.8 ppg - 26th Scoring Offense 29.3 ppg - 39th #40 Scott McKillop - LB
#90 Victor Strong-Butler - DE #86 Austin Ransom - LB
134.8 ypg - 46th Run Defense 127.8 ypg - 37th
Without a doubt, this is one of Pasadena for the first time in
the three most intriguing non- 188.6 ypg - 34th Pass Defense 193.0 ypg - 43rd eight thousand years, but a
BCS bowl games for one crushing loss to the Ducks
reason. Well, okay, it’s two 323.3 ypg - 33rd Total Defense 320.8 ypg - 31st put OSU in El Paso for the
guys, but one position - second time in three years.
running back: Former Lamar 25.0 ppg - 61st Scoring Defense 23.0 ppg - 46th What mindset will the
Consolidated star and current Beavers have for this one? I
Beaver RB Jacquizz Rodgers think it’ll be the right one.
and arguably the best draft his own personal highlight up for it in an OSU win in El
‘Quizz gives Pitt all it can
eligible running back, Pitt’s reel. At USF, he danced all Paso.
handle, rushing for
Shady McCoy. over one of the best run The question remains
If you can’t get excited for a
defenses in the nation and at whether the Beavers can OSU - 35 vs. Pitt - 28
Notre Dame, he saved Pitt’s bounce back from the
matchup of these running
season and maybe ruined devastating loss to Oregon
backs, then go back to your
ND’s at the same time. and also deal with the loss of
spread offense mumbo
jumbo. Okay, that was harsh, Rodgers has done it this year James Rodgers. The elder
but these two make this game with heart and feet. His Rodgers broke his collarbone
watchable and exciting, pure diminutive stature has in that Oregon game and is
and simple. worked for him, not against, out for the Sun Bowl.
and even though he missed The Beavers were on the
McCoy has turned the last
the Oregon game, he’ll make precipice of heading to
eight games of the year into


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John Harris’ Bowl Newsletter 17

Buffalo (8-5) vs. U Conn (7-5)

January 3, 2009 - ESPN2 11 AM CST

141.1 ypg - 64th Run Offense 204.6 ypg - 20th

239.5 ypg - 36th Pass Offense 147.3 ypg - 105th

Buffalo Players to Watch 380.5 ypg - 44th Total Offense 351.8 ypg - 68th U Conn Players to Watch
#16 Drew Willy - QB #34 Donald Brown - RB
#18 Naaman Roosevelt - WR 31.1 ppg - 31st Scoring Offense 23.8 ppg - 77th #32 Scott Lutrus - LB
#34 Justin Winters - LB #50 Cody Brown - DE
158.7 ypg - 83rd Run Defense 116.9 ypg - 22nd
Four years ago, one of the into a viable Big East
nation’s most popular college 249.5 ypg - 97th Pass Defense 164.5 ypg - 7th contender every season.
football writers Matt Hayes The difference in this game
labeled Buffalo the worst 408.3 ypg - 96th Total Defense 281.4 ypg - 10th though is that U Conn has
football program in Division Donald Brown and Buffalo
1A (now, he put Joe Glenn on 27.5 ppg - 74th Scoring Defense 19.8 ppg - 24th doesn’t. The Huskies can’t
the cover that same year as throw the ball effectively, but
the next hot thing in Brown is the nation’s leading
coaching, but I digress). and a bowl attendee for the in front of him at the next
rusher and will pile up 160
That’s where this program first time in school history. level.
yards or more against the
was before Turner Gill got How was that possible? Well, Randy Edsall did this at U Bulls to lead U Conn to a
here. Gill for one and plenty of Conn but has done it for so bowl victory.
seniors who bought what Gill long now that we forget what
Flash forward four years and
Gill’s Bulls are MAC champs
was selling, including QB he did to turn this program U Conn - 34 vs. UB - 27
Willy, who has a long future

Ball State (12-1) vs. Tulsa (10-3)

January 6, 2009 - ESPN 7 PM CST

192.7 ypg - 27th Run Offense 254.9 ypg - 8th

266.7 ypg - 21st Pass Offense 310.2 ypg - 6th

Ball State Players to Watch 459.4 ypg - 11th Total Offense 565.1 ypg - 2nd
Tulsa Players to Watch
#13 Nate Davis - QB #5 David Johnson - QB
#33 MiQuale Lewis - RB 36.6 ppg - 17th Scoring Offense 47.4 ppg - 2nd
#25 Tarrion Adams - RB
#3 BJ Hill - CB #3 Damaris Johnson - WR/KR
141.8 ypg - 61st Run Defense 133.5 ypg - 44th

I know a lot of you like the other’s respective running

206.2 ypg - 58th Pass Defense 257.7 ypg - 103rd
game inside the game. Well, game. BSU’s MiQuale Lewis
you don’t have to have a is a pinball who evades and
347.9 ypg - 55th Total Defense 391.2 ypg - 84th
passion for the Diet Dr. eludes with the best of them.
Pepper action to LOVE this But, Tulsa has more ways to
18.6 ppg - 21st Scoring Defense 29.1 ppg - 82nd
game. Two teams, 17th or hurt Ball State on the ground
better in the nation in scoring, with RB Adams and receivers
have the stage all to itself on fans anyway as we’ll get to in the MAC Championship on quick screens, reverses
a Tuesday night. Not to see perhaps the highest game that turned the tide of and misdirection runs.
mention, these two captivated scoring bowl game of all. the game, while Tulsa’s David Johnson won’t have another
the nation’s attention early in Johnson had five turnovers in five interception game and
Both teams are led by superb
the season as potential BCS the CUSA Championship will get 80 to 85 plays to work
quarterbacks who both have a
bowl candidates. game loss to ECU. his magic in a Tulsa bowl
point to prove after difficult
It didn’t turn out that way for final games. BSU’s Nate The difference though will be win.
either, but that’s okay for the Davis fumbled in a key spot which team can contain the Tulsa - 45 vs. BSU - 41
John Harris’ Bowl Newsletter 18

East Carolina (9-4) vs. Kentucky (6-6)

January 2, 2009 - ESPN 4 PM CST

128.3 ypg - 83rd Run Offense 129.3 ypg - 79th

207.7 ypg - 64th Pass Offense 169.2 ypg - 98th

East Carolina Players to Watch 336.0 ypg - 83rd Total Offense 298.4 ypg - 105th Kentucky Players to Watch
#4 Van Eskridge - S #98 Myron Pryor - DT
#95 CJ Wilson - DE 23.8 ppg - 78th Scoring Offense 22.4 ppg - 87th #32 Trevard Lindley - CB
#17 Dwayne Harris - WR/KR #4 Micah Johnson - LB
138.1 ypg - 50th Run Defense 142.4 ypg - 62nd
The Pirates were the story of That being said, a key for the
the year for the first three 196.7 ypg - 51st Pass Defense 184.6 ypg - 29th game is going to be versatile
weeks of the season, after ECU WR/KR Dwayne Harris
wins against Virginia Tech, 334.8 ypg - 43rd Total Defense 327.0 ypg - 37th who can hurt Kentucky in the
West Virginia and Tulane. return game, the running
Alas, a perfect season was 20.8 ppg - 33rd Scoring Defense 21.7 ppg - 40th game or the passing game.
ruined by NC State, a game in Kentucky’s defense is a tough
which the Pirates outplayed unit, but Harris can hurt them
the Wolfpack for about 57 flying under the radar, well as Neither team is going to do in a number of ways and he’ll
minutes but couldn’t seal the much as bowl team can. much on offense and both be the ultimate difference in
deal. The one time in which the teams have generated points this bowl.
team got any attention at all on either special teams and/
Kentucky wasn’t, and hasn’t or defense throughout the ECU - 22 vs. UK - 13
been a story at all this season, was for playing Alabama
tough, but losing 17-14. season and that could be the
case again.

Iowa (8-4) vs. South Carolina (7-5)

January 1, 2009 - ESPN 10 AM CST

189.3 ypg - 29th Run Offense 98.3 ypg - 109th

184.6 ypg - 89th Pass Offense 218.5 ypg - 54th

Iowa Players to Watch 373.9 ypg - 52nd Total Offense 316.8 ypg - 97th South Carolina Players to Watch
#23 Shonn Greene - RB #25 Mike Davis - RB
#47 Mitch King - DT 30.3 ppg - 35th Scoring Offense 21.7 ppg - 92nd #40 Eric Norwood - LB/DE
#40 Pat Angerer - LB #52 Jasper Brinkley - LB
98.3 ypg - 10th Run Defense 128.7 ypg - 38th
Okay, college football games nation in rushing, averaging
in 2008 have turned into 191.3 ypg - 41st Pass Defense 160.3 ypg - 3rd 144.1 yards per game.
nothing but a bunch of XBox However, the Gamecocks
video games with a ton of 289.5 ypg - 12th Total Defense 288.9 ypg - 11th
have a physical and active
points scored in nearly every front seven, but lost
game. 13.3 ppg - 8th Scoring Defense 20.3 ppg - 28th
Emmanuel Cook, the team’s
Uh, not in this one. Okay, so leading tackler at safety.
Iowa scores 30 points per defenses played a man down. But, South Carolina can stop It’ll hurt to not have Cook,
game, but against teams with What parallel universe is this the run, making this a but the Gamecocks will grind
a defensive pulse, 17 to 20 when a Spurrier coached beautiful “under-the-radar” out a win in the ugliest way.
was more the norm. team is 54th in the nation in bowl matchup.
South Carolina, even with the passing? However, Spurrier USC - 14 vs. Iowa - 13
Iowa’s Shonn Greene was the
great offensive mind of Steve can’t make chicken salad out 2008 Doak Walker Award
Spurrier on the sidelines of, well, you know. recipient and is second in the
couldn’t score points if
John Harris’ Bowl Newsletter 19

Clemson (7-5) vs. Nebraska (8-4)

January 1, 2009 - CBS 12 PM CST

120.5 ypg - 94th Run Offense 173.5 ypg - 37th

218.8 ypg - 53rd Pass Offense 284.8 ypg - 14th

Clemson Players to Watch 339.3 ypg - 81st Total Offense 458.3 ypg - 12th Nebraska Players to Watch
#28 CJ Spiller - RB #12 Joe Ganz - QB
#25 Michael Hamlin - S 25.5 ppg - 62nd Scoring Offense 36.2 ppg - 18th #43 Ty Steinkuhler - DE
#80 Aaron Kelly - WR #87 Nate Swift - WR
127.6 ypg - 35th Run Defense 125.8 ypg - 29th
Wow, who saw this one presumably his last game as a
coming? Now, if you believe 167.3 ypg - 10th Pass Defense 235.7 ypg - 90th Tiger.
all of the preseason pundits, Plus, his breakaway skills
the Tigers were headed for 294.8 ypg - 17th Total Defense 361.5 ypg - 66th have given teams problems
the Orange Bowl as the ACC every time he catches a
Champs. And, most had the 16.6 ppg - 10th Scoring Defense 29.2 ppg - 83rd kickoff or a pass or is handed
Huskers struggling to get to the ball out of the backfield.
six wins. But, you know as
well as I that is why they play won four of its last five to get of its last six to get to eight The Huskers defense doesn’t
the games. to a New Year’s Day game. wins. handle speedy players in
space well, so expect Spiller
Clemson’s early season Nebraska found its groove One player to keep an eye on
to have a monster game, his
struggles cost Tommy late in the season as well in this one is CJ Spiller. He’s
last for the Tigers.
Bowden his job, but the under fiery first year head from Lake Butler, FL, 20 miles
Tigers got it together and coach Bo Pelini, winning five from Jacksonville, and this is CU - 34 vs. NU - 20


Michigan State (9-3) vs. Georgia (9-3)

January 1, 2009 - ABC 12 PM CST

138.4 ypg - 66th Run Offense 153.9 ypg - 54th

214.0 ypg - 59th Pass Offense 280.0 ypg - 16th

MSU Players to Watch 352.4 ypg - 66th Total Offense 433.9 ypg - 21st Georgia Players to Watch
#23 Javon Ringer - RB #8 AJ Green - WR
#53 Greg Jones - LB 26.2 ppg - 56th Scoring Offense 32.1 ppg - 29th #24 Knowshon Moreno - RB
#21 Otis Wiley - S #35 Rennie Curran - LB
147.6 ypg - 72nd Run Defense 129.9 ypg - 41st
Michigan State may have Ringer and the Spartans
bitten off more than they can 210.3 ypg - 64th Pass Defense 188.4 ypg - 33rd offense as it did against
chew with a trip to Orlando Georgia Tech who ran all over
to play this Bulldog team. 357.9 ypg - 62nd Total Defense 318.3 ypg - 28th the Bulldogs injury ravaged
Sure, Sparty had a nine win ‘D’ in the season finale
21.9 ppg - 42nd Scoring Defense 25.6 ppg - 64th
season, but the three losses Either way, the Bulldogs can
have been to Cal, Ohio State run at will, throw at will and
and Penn State - three teams the last five, only losing to 62nd in the nation in total will score at will on Michigan
that lit them up defensively. West Virginia in the Sugar defense. State’s defense. Moreno
Georgia is better offensively Bowl three years ago. But, should run for over 100 yards
The key is whether QB Matt
than any of those three teams. that was 2005. and WR Green should have a
Stafford can avoid the
Ouch. great game as well, his first
This is 2008 and the Georgia interception bug. Well, that
Furthermore, Georgia is one bowl game. Unfortunately
offense can put on a show and the Bulldogs can’t give
of the nation’s best teams in this one won’t be close.
against a MSU defense that is up over 400 rushing yards to
bowl season, winning four of first team All-American Javon UGa - 42 vs. MSU - 17
John Harris’ Bowl Newsletter 20

Penn State (11-1) vs. USC (11-1)

January 1, 2009 - ABC 3:30 PM CST

211.6 ypg - 15th Run Offense 206.0 ypg - 17th

240.6 ypg - 35th Pass Offense 247.1 ypg - 31st

Schedule (11-1, 7-1) Schedule (11-1, 8-1)
W Coastal Carolina 66-10 452.2 ypg - 15th Total Offense 453.1 ypg - 14th W @ Virginia 52-7
W Oregon State 45-14 W Ohio State 35-3
W @ Syracuse 55-13 40.2 ppg - 11th Scoring Offense 37.5 ppg - 14th L @ Oregon State 27-21
W Temple 45-3 W Oregon 44-10
W Illinois 38-24 95.9 ypg - 8th Run Defense 83.3 ypg - 5th W Arizona State 28-0
W @ Purdue 20-6 W @ Washington State 69-0
W @ Wisconsin 48-7 168.0 ypg - 12th Pass Defense 122.8 ypg - 1st W @ Arizona 17-10
W Michigan 46-17 W Washington 56-0
W @ Ohio State 13-6 263.9 ypg - 5th Total Defense 206.1 ypg - 1st W Cal 17-3
L @ Iowa 24-23 W @ Stanford 45-23
W Indiana 34-7 12.4 ppg - 4th Scoring Defense 7.8 ppg - 1st W Notre Dame 38-3
W Michigan State 49-18 Keys to the Game W @ UCLA 28-7
The Game Breaker - When Joe McKnight decided that Troy was in his future,
Projected Starting Lineups there was little doubt that he would be the next Reggie Bush. But, injuries Projected Starting Lineups
Offense and tailback depth have kept McKnight from truly maximizing his Offense
QB #17 Daryll Clark outrageous offensive skills. Against Penn State, though, McKnight needs to QB #6 Mark Sanchez
RB #22 Evan Royster play a huge role in this game, creating mismatches in the slot against the PSU RB #4 Joe McKnight
WR #2 Derrick Williams outside backers. Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley won’t want to FB #31 Stanley Havili
WR #3 Deon Butler play nickel or dime on first down, so expect McKnight to have an impact WR #1 Patrick Turner
WR #24 Jordan Norwood early. WR #18 Damien Williams
TE #82 Mickey Shuler TE #86 Anthony McCoy
LT #76 Gerald Cadogan The Game Breaker, part deux - Derrick Williams has had an interesting four LT #71 Charles Brown
LG # 64 Rich Ohrnberger years in Happy Valley. In his freshman season, Williams was on the verge of LG #53 Jeff Byers
C # 57 A.Q Shipley being the most versatile weapon in the nation. However, two pedestrian C #61 Kristofer O’Dowd
RG #61 Stefan Wisniewski years followed and many were ready to place the bust label on Williams. So, RG #56 Alex Parsons
RT #73 Dennis Landolt going into his senior season, Williams needed to prove he was one of the best RT #76 Nick Howell
offensive players in the Big Ten. He did just that and he’ll be a focal point for
Defense the USC defense; the Trojans must limit his yards after catch and any rushing Defense
DE #47 Josh Gaines or yards off of reverses or designed runs to shut this PSU defense down. DE #84 Kyle Moore
#48 Maurice Evans DE #47 Clay Matthews
DE #59 Aaron Maybin A Backup no more - Penn State defensive end Aaron Maybin may have never DT #75 Fili Moala
DT #91 Jared Odrick seen the field this season if pre-season All-American Maurice Evans didn’t get DT #44 Christian Tupou
DT #85 Ollie Ogbu arrested early in the season. But, Maybin turned into one of the two best pass LB #10 Brian Cushing
LB #18 Navorro Bowman rushers in the nation. Trojan QB Mark Sanchez hasn’t fully proven that he can LB #58 Rey Maualuga
LB #43 Josh Hull handle pressure off the edge well and Maybin could force the USC offensive LB #43 Kaluka Maiava
LB #46 Tyrell Sales staff to completely change its plan for blocking the edge. S #2 Taylor Mays
S #7 Anthony Scirrotto S #4 Kevin Ellison
S #9 Mark Rubin Conclusion - Many think that the Trojans will roll over Penn State in a big CB #36 Josh Pinkard
CB #11 Tony Davis way, but I’m not one of those people. Last year’s Rose Bowl was a close game CB #7 Cary Harris
CB #10 Lydell Sargeant until Illinois turned the ball over late in the third quarter. Penn State is much
better than last year’s Illini squad, but not good enough to knock off USC.

USC - 24 vs. Penn State - 20

John Harris’ Bowl Newsletter - Rose Bowl 21

Virginia Tech (9-4) vs. Cincinnati (11-2)

January 1, 2009 - FOX 7 PM CST

167.9 ypg - 42nd Run Offense 121.2 ypg - 93rd

Schedule (9-4, 6-3) 128.2 ypg - 111th Pass Offense 254.1 ypg - 24th Schedule (11-2, 6-1)
L East Carolina 27-22 W Eastern Kentucky 40-7
W Furman 24-7 296.2 ypg - 107th Total Offense 375.2 ypg - 50th L @ Oklahoma 52-26
W Georgia Tech 20-17 W Miami (OH) 45-20
W @ North Carolina 20-17 22.3 ppg - 89th Scoring Offense 27.3 ppg - 51st W @ Akron 17-15
W @ Nebraska 35-30 W @ Marshall 33-10
W Western Kentucky 27-13 107.0 ypg - 19th Run Defense 104.0 ypg - 13th W Rutgers 13-10
L @ Boston College 28-23 L @ U Conn 40-16
L @ Florida State 30-20 170.1 ypg - 15th Pass Defense 212.1 ypg - 68th W USF 24-10
W Maryland 23-13 W @ West Virginia 26-23 OT
L @ Miami 16-14 277.1 ypg - 7th Total Defense 316.1 ypg - 26th W @ Louisville 28-20
W Duke 14-3 W Pitt 28-21
W Virginia 17-14 17.5 ppg - 13th Scoring Defense 20.2 ppg - 26th W Syracuse 30-10
W Boston College 30-12 W @ Hawaii 29-24
Keys to the Game
Projected Starting Lineups Macho, Macho Man - A great deal was made of the decision to redshirt
Projected Starting Lineups
Offense quarterback Tyrod Taylor before the opener against East Carolina. Many
QB #5 Tyrod Taylor critics hammered Frank Beamer for that decision, but those people failed to
QB #15 Tony Pike
RB #32 Darren Evans realize that without ‘Macho’ Harris at corner, the Virginia Tech defense was
RB #20 Jacob Ramsey
FB #44 Devin Perez sorely shorthanded against ECU as well. Since Harris has returned the
FB #35 Marcus Waugh
WR #81 Jarrett Boykin Hokies defense has been stellar, ranked no worse than 20th in any one
WR #1 Mardy Gilyard
WR #19 Danny Coale defensive category. Against Cincinnati, the Hokies must contain one man -
WR #16 Dominick Goodman
TE #8 Greg Boone Mardy Gilyard. This’ll be the premier one-on-one battle in this game and
TE #19 Ben Guidugli
LT #77 Ed Wang one that ‘Macho’ must win
LT #71 Jeff Linkenbach
LG #67 Nick Marshman LG #60 Jason Kelce
C #58 Ryan Shuman At DE...#10 - The more defenders you see out on a field with skill player
C #56 Chris Jurek
RG #70 Sergio Render numbers, the better, and more aggressive, that defense is. Look at
RG # 76 Trevor Canfield
RT #62 B. Christopher Cincinnati’s defensive depth chart. Ten of the eleven defensive starters wear
RT #79 Khalid El-Amin
skill player numbers for the Bearcats. Then, look at Virginia Tech’s defensive
Defense eleven - every single player wears a skill position number. Sometimes it
DE #6 Jason Worilds doesn’t mean much, but watch how fast and quick these 22 players are in this
DE #10 Lamonte Nelms
DE #90 Orion Martin game and how much havoc the defensive line can create.
DE #5 Connor Barwin
DT #95 C. Thompson DT #95 Terrill Byrd
DT #91 John Graves The Limited - The Cincinnati offense doesn’t have the balance that most
DT #67 Adam Hoppel
LB #33 Brett Warren coaches crave, in fact you might say it’s a limited offense. But, the one
LB #49 Torry Cornett
LB #41 Cam Martin dimension that it does have could create problems for the Hokie defense.
LB #45 Ryan Manalac
LB #45 Purnell Sturdivant With Dominick Goodman alongside Gilyard, the Bearcats ability to open it up
LB #42 Corey Smith
S #17 Kam Chancellor in the air will be a major key in this game. Sure, it brings Harris into play, but
S #17 Aaron Webster
S #24 Dorian Porch he can’t cover both star receivers, so expect the ball in the air, a lot in Miami.
S #18 Cedric Tolbert
CB #22 Stephan Virgil CB #8 Brandon Underwood
CB #1 Victor ‘Macho’ Harris Conclusion - The Hokies have played in four BCS bowls in ten years, while
CB #21 Mike Mickens
Cincinnati is in its first. Once the Bearcats start looking around, they’re dead.
The Hokies have been here and it’ll show in a solid win in Miami

Virginia Tech - 23 vs. Cincinnati - 18

John Harris’ Bowl Newsletter - Orange Bowl 22

Ole Miss (8-4) vs. Texas Tech (11-1)

January 2, 2009 - FOX 1 PM CST

183.4 ypg - 31st Run Offense 118.9 ypg - 95th

215.3 ypg - 58th Pass Offense 417.3 ypg - 1st

Schedule (8-4, 5-3) Schedule (11-1, 7-1)
W Memphis 41-24 398.7 ypg - 37th Total Offense 536.2 ypg - 4th W Eastern Washington 49-24
L @ Wake Forest 30-28 W @ Nevada 35-19
W Samford 34-10 30.8 ppg - 32nd Scoring Offense 44.6 ppg - 4th W SMU 43-7
L Vanderbilt 23-17 W U Mass 56-14
W @ Florida 31-30 83.9 ypg - 6th Run Defense 133.5 ypg - 45th W @ Kansas State 58-28
W South Carolina 31-24 W Nebraska 37-31 OT
L @ Alabama 24-20 209.8 ypg - 62nd Pass Defense 238.1 ypg - 91st W @ Texas A&M 43-25
W Arkansas 23-21 W @ Kansas 63-21
W Auburn 17-7 293.8 ypg - 15th Total Defense 371.6 ypg - 72nd W Texas 39-33
W UL Monroe 59-0 W Oklahoma State 56-20
W @ LSU 31-13 17.8 ppg - 14th Scoring Defense 26.3 ppg - 68th L @ Oklahoma 65-21
W Mississippi State 45-0 W Baylor 35-28
Keys to the Game
Big Splits, Big Problems? - Texas Tech could have a huge problem with one of
Projected Starting Lineups Projected Starting Lineups
the most disruptive DTs in the nation Peria Jerry. Against LSU, Jerry
Offense Offense
thoroughly dominated the LSU guards and center, one on one or two on one,
QB #4 Jevan Snead QB #6 Graham Harrell
he completely kicked their butts. Why could Texas Tech’s famous wide splits
RB #25 Cordera Eason RB #25 Baron Batch
be an issue in this game? Well, if you give a guy of Jerry’s quickness and
FB #44 Jason Cook WR #5 Michael Crabtree
strength space on either side of a guard, there’s no possible way a guard
WR #3 Shay Hodge WR #17 Detron Lewis
blocks Jerry by himself. Louis Vasquez and Brandon Carter will definitely
WR #2 Mike Wallace WR #12 Eric Morris
need some help, but if Jerry is quick to the spot, he can split the double and
TE #80 Gerald Harris WR #27 Edward Britton
get to quarterback Graham Harrell. Oh boy, this’ll be fun.
LT #74 Michael Oher LT #74 Rylan Reed
LG #71 Reid Neely LG #65 Louis Vasquez
Back Home - Ole Miss needed a trigger man for years and found one in Jevan
C #72 Daverin Geralds C #71 Stephen Hamby
Snead. The sophomore from Stephenville, a hop, skip and a jump from
RG #79 Maurice Miller RG #76 Brandon Carter
Dallas, transferred to Ole Miss for this very reason - he could lead this team to
RT #77 John Jerry RT #67 Marlon Winn
greater heights than he could sitting on the bench in Austin. Snead’s “big
game, big play” attitude permeated this team throughout the season. Will he
Defense Defense
let the pressure of playing in front of the home folks affect him? The answer
DE #92 Marcus Tillman DE #84 Brandon Williams
to this question could determine the winner of this game.
DE #40 Kentrell Lockett DE #98 Jake Ratliff
DT #98 Peria Jerry DT #93 Colby Whitlock
A Shot at redemption - Graham Harrell didn’t get invited to the Heisman for
DT #96 Lawon Scott DT #99 Richard Jones
one reason - Tech got its butt kicked in Norman. And, Harrell was the
LB #11 Ashlee Palmer LB #20 Bront Bird
scapegoat, so to speak, for the 65-21 loss to OU. However, Harrell has had his
LB #51 Jonathan Cornell LB #57 Brian Duncan
share of tremendous bowl moments - the comebacks the last two years don’t
LB #9 Allen Walker LB #39 Marlon Williams
happen without #6 under center. If the O Line can protect him, he’ll carve up
S #13 Jamarca Sanford S #7 Darcel McBath
this secondary. Even if he doesn’t start well, he has proven he can pull a bowl
S #1 Kendrick Lewis S #10 Daniel Charbonnet
rabbit from his helmet. And, it’s one final chance to show the Heisman voters
CB #8 Marshay Green CB #21 LA Reed
they made a mistake not inviting him to the City.
CB #12 Dustin Mouzon CB #3 Jamar Wall
Conclusion - The Rebels could have that “we didn’t make a BCS bowl”
syndrome, but it doesn’t appear that way at all. Harrell will create one final
masterpiece in a career filled with them.

Texas Tech - 31 vs. Ole Miss - 28

John Harris’ Bowl Newsletter - Cotton Bowl 23

Alabama (12-1) vs. Utah (12-0)

January 2, 2009 - FOX 7 PM CST

196.5 ypg - 23rd Run Offense 168.4 ypg - 41st

Schedule (12-1, 8-1) 170.7 ypg - 96th Pass Offense 236.8 ypg - 41st Schedule (12-0, 8-0)
W Clemson 34-10 W @ Michigan 25-23
W Tulane 20-6 367.2 ypg - 56th Total Offense 405.3 ypg - 31st W UNLV 42-21
W Western Kentucky 41-7 W @ Utah State 58-10
W @ Arkansas 49-14 31.2 ppg - 30th Scoring Offense 37.4 ppg - 15th W @ Air Force 30-23
W @ Georgia 41-30 W Weber State 37-21
W Kentucky 17-14 78.9 ypg - 4th Run Defense 104.8 ypg - 14th W Oregon State 31-28
W Ole Miss 24-20 W @ Wyoming 40-7
W @ Tennessee 29-9 178.1 ypg - 21st Pass Defense 191.1 ypg - 40th W Colorado State 49-16
W Arkansas State 35-0 W @ New Mexico 13-10
W @ LSU 27-21 OT 256.9 ypg - 3rd Total Defense 295.9 ypg - 18th W TCU 13-10
W Mississippi State 32-7 W @ San Diego State 63-14
W Auburn 36-0 13.0 ppg - 6th Scoring Defense 17.3 ppg - 12th W BYU 48-24
L Florida 31-20 Keys to the Game
The Ocho - When a guy is the number recruit in the country, the pressure of Projected Starting Lineups
Projected Starting Lineups living up to the hype is enormous and often the undoing of a young student/ Offense
Offense athlete. Uh, that’s not the case for Alabama WR Julio Jones, the 6’4”, 220 QB #3 Brian Johnson
QB #14 John Parker Wilson pound beast out of Foley, AL. AJ Green beat him out for SEC Freshman of the RB #6 Darrell Mack
RB #38 Glen Coffee Year, but that was a mistake and the Utah defensive backs will find that out in WR #81 Bradon Godfrey
WR #8 Julio Jones a hurry. Jones has the size of a tight end, but the acumen of a lithe, downfield WR #88 Freddie Brown
WR #80 Mike McCoy receiver. He catches deep dig routes, quick hitches, deep fades, slants - any WR #5 Brent Casteel
TE #83 Travis McCall route on the tree, Jones can truly dominate the game with only a couple of TE #80 Chris Joppru
TE #88 Nick Walker catches per game. But... LT #68 Zane Beadles
LT #71 Andre Smith LG #72 Caleb Schlauderaff
LG #78 Mike Johnson Survivor - ...if the Utah defensive backs get some serious help from the C #77 Zane Taylor
C #59 Antoine Caldwell defensive line, the Utes have a chance to slow Jones down. And, by defensive RG # 66 Robert Conley
RG #76 Marlon Davis line, I mean All-MWC defensive end Paul Kruger, one of the most impressive RT #65 Dustin Hensel
RT #79 Drew Davis all-around defenders I watched all season long. He doesn’t have the burst off
the edge like Jerry Hughes from TCU and doesn’t have the athleticism of Defense
Defense Aaron Maybin from Penn State, but no one has the motor and the DE #41 Koa Misi
DE #93 Bobby Greenwood relentlessness of Kruger. He’ll match up with Andre Smith throughout the DT #56 Greg Newman
NT #62 Terrence Cody game and Smith has his hands full with a guy who won’t quit. DT #90 Derrick Shelby
DE #95 Brandon Deaderick DE #11 Paul Kruger
SLB #13 Cory Reamer Finally the end - If you feel like John Parker Wilson and Brian Johnson are on LB #10 Stevenson Sylvester
MLB #25 Rolando McClain the Carlos Huerta four year plan, you might be right. It never seemed like LB #20 Mike Wright
Will #30 Dont’a Hightower Huerta would ever graduate and that’s the thought with these two signal LB #42 Nai Fotu
Jack #98 Brandon Fanney callers. Johnson is in his sixth season at Utah, while JPW is in his third year as CB #1 Brice McCain
CB #28 Javier Arenas a starter. Both have ridden the wave for a good long time, but both of them CB #4 Sean Smith
CB #3 Kareem Jackson have been clutch at the right time throughout this season. S #12 Joe Dale
S #27 Justin Woodall S #17 Robert Johnson
S #49 Rashad Johnson Conclusion - I thought if Utah matched up with Texas or another spread team,
it would have a chance to win. But, I hate this matchup for Utah due in large
part to the physicality of Nick Saban’s squad. This won’t go well for Utah. At
Alabama - 26 vs. Utah - 13
John Harris’ Bowl Newsletter - Sugar Bowl 24

Texas (11-1) vs. Ohio State (10-2)

January 5, 2009 - FOX 7 PM CST

176.9 ypg - 34th Run Offense 191.6 ypg - 28th

299.5 ypg - 11th Pass Offense 148.1 ypg - 104th

Schedule (11-1, 7-1) Schedule (10-2, 7-1)

476.4 ypg - 9th Total Offense 339.7 ypg - 78th
W FAU 52-10 W Youngstown State 43-0
W UTEP 42-13 W Ohio 26-14
43.9 ppg - 5th Scoring Offense 28.2 ppg - 45th
W Rice 52-10 L @ USC 35-3
W Arkansas 52-10 W Troy 28-10
73.6 ypg - 2nd Run Defense 114.9 ypg - 20th
W @ Colorado 38-14 W Minnesota 34-21
W Oklahoma 45-35 W @ Wisconsin 20-17
266.3 ypg - 109th Pass Defense 164.3 ypg - 6th
W Missouri 56-31 W Purdue 16-3
W Oklahoma State 28-24 W @ Michigan State 45-7
339.9 ypg - 50th Total Defense 279.3 ypg - 8th
L @ Texas Tech 39-33 L Penn State 13-6
W Baylor 45-21 W @ Northwestern 45-10
18.6 ppg - 20th Scoring Defense 13.1 ppg - 7th
W @ Kansas 35-7 W @ Ilinois 30-20
W Texas A&M 49-9 Keys to the Game W Michigan 42-7
My Two is better than your Two - Throughout the 2008 season, Longhorn DE
Projected Starting Lineups Brian Orakpo became a household name, but the most valuable defender for Projected Starting Lineups
Offense the Longhorns may have been linebacker Sergio Kindle. Whether he was Offense
QB #12 Colt McCoy putting his hand on the ground and chasing quarterbacks or playing a QB #2 Terrelle Pryor
RB #2 Vondrell McGee traditional OLB position, Kindle did a little bit of everything. As much as RB #28 Chris ‘Beanie’ Wells
FB #31 Cody Johnson Ohio State needs to be aware of Orakpo, true freshman Terrelle Pryor needs to FB #48 Spencer Smith
WR #8 Jordan Shipley know what Kindle is doing and where he is on every play. Kindle has the WR #80 Brian Robiskie
WR #6 Quan Cosby athleticism to shadow Pryor and make life miserable for the Bucks signal WR #9 Brian Hartline
TE #83 Greg Smith caller. TE #88 Rory Nicol
LT #74 Adam Ulatoski LT #75 Alex Boone
LG #52 Charlie Tanner Feeling Wells - In week three, pre-season All-American running back ‘Beanie’ LG #64 Jim Cordle
C #78 David Snow Wells sat out the big USC matchup with a foot injury. He took some heat for C #50 Mike Brewster
RG #55 Cedric Dockery not giving it the ol’ college try. Consequently, Wells returned to have a solid RG #71 Steve Rehring
RT #64 Kyle Hix season, but many critics scoff because he hasn’t faced the best this nation has RT #70 Bryant Browning
to offer. Well, he’s got one final shot to show the nation that he is a premier
Defense back against one of the best run defenses in the country. Texas gives up less Defense
DE #98 Brian Orakpo than 75 yards per game and is salivating to face a back like Wells. But, that’s DE #97 Cameron Heyward
DE #37 Henry Melton what Wells wants, and quite frankly, needs. DE #90 Thaddeus Gibson
DT #99 Roy Miller DT #93 Nader Abdallah
DT #95 Aaron Lewis Carrying the running game - One of the reasons that Colt McCoy got the DT #84 Doug Worthington
LB #38 Roddrick Muckleroy Heisman attention that he did was his ability to run the football. Whether it LB #33 James Laurinaitis
LB #2 Sergio Kindle was on scrambles or designed runs, McCoy released his inner VY and LB #1 Marcus Freeman
LB # 44 Rashad Bobino opponents felt his running wrath. But, Ohio State will make him pay, LB #26 Tyler Moeller
S #12 Earl Thomas physically, for escaping the pocket. Quite simply, McCoy can’t carry the run S #21 Anderson Russell
S #21 Blake Gideon game against OSU or the Longhorns are in major trouble. S #4 Kurt Coleman
CB #7 Deon Beasley CB #2 Malcolm Jenkins
CB #13 Ryan Palmer Conclusion - Seriously, I want Texas to make a statement in this game and CB #5 Chimdi Chekwa
create even more mayhem for the BCS. But, I just don’t like this matchup for
Texas at all. Pryor could have some problems against Orakpo and company,
but he could also thrive on the national stage. I’m going with the thriving
Ohio State - 28 vs. Texas - 24
John Harris’ Bowl Newsletter - Fiesta Bowl 25

Florida (12-1) vs. Oklahoma (12-1)

January 8, 2009 - FOX 7 PM CST

229.8 ypg - 11th Run Offense 205.5 ypg - 19th

212.7 ypg - 61st Pass Offense 356.5 ypg - 3rd

Schedule (12-1, 9-1) Schedule (12-1, 9-1)
W Hawaii 56-10 442.4 ypg - 18th Total Offense 562.1 ypg - 3rd W UT Chattanooga 57-2
W Miami (FL) 26-3 W Cincinnati 52-26
W @ Tennessee 30-6 45.2 ppg - 3rd Scoring Offense 54.0 ppg - 1st W @ Washington 55-14
L Ole Miss 31-30 W TCU 35-10
W @ Arkansas 38-7 105.3 ypg - 16th Run Defense 106.0 ypg - 18th W @ Baylor 49-17
W LSU 51-21 L Texas 45-35
W Kentucky 63-5 174.0 ypg - 19th Pass Defense 253.1 ypg - 99th W Kansas 45-31
W Georgia 49-10 W @ Kansas State 58-35
W @ Vanderbilt 42-14 279.3 ypg - 9th Total Defense 359.1 ypg - 65th W Nebraska 62-28
W South Carolina 56-6 W @ Texas A&M 66-28
W The Citadel 70-19 12.9 ppg - 5th Scoring Defense 24.5 ppg - 57th W Texas Tech 65-21
W @ Florida State 45-15 W @ Oklahoma State 61-41
Keys to the Game
W Alabama 31-20 W Missouri 62-21
We missed you - Not playing in the SEC Championship game may have been
the best thing for mercurial dual threat Percy Harvin. The Gators scored 31
Projected Starting Lineups Projected Starting Lineups
points without him against one of the toughest defenses in the nation, but
Offense Offense
Harvin takes this offense to another level. OU may have to break out the
QB #15 Tim Tebow QB #14 Sam Bradford
nickel package just to make sure it can match up with Harvin and company
RB #2 Jeff Demps RB #29 Chris Brown
out on the perimeter.
WR #1 Percy Harvin FB #34 Matt Clapp
WR #9 Louis Murphy WR #9 Juaquin Iglesias
Remember Dallas? - Throughout this season, OU has been as dynamic as any
WR #11 Riley Cooper WR #1 Manny Johnson
offense in the nation, but one time this season, the Sooners offense became a
TE #81 Aaron Hernandez TE #18 Jermaine Gresham
one dimensional unit. And, the result? The Sooners lost. Against Texas, the
LT #75 Phil Trautwein LT #79 Phil Loadholt
Sooners fell behind late and had to scramble to get back in the game.
LG #55 Mike Pouncey LG #72 Duke Robinson
However, the OU offensive line couldn’t handle the Texas pass rush and the
C #56 Maurkice Pouncey C #50 Jon Cooper
Sooners left Dallas with an L. Tackles Phil Loadholt and Trent Williams were
RG #57 Carl Johnson RG #73 Brandon Walker
beaten repeatedly by Brian Orakpo and Sergio Kindle, which should have
RT #77 Jason Watkins RT #74 Trent Williams
Carlos Dunlap and Jermaine Cunningham licking their chops.

Defense Defense
The Tebow Factor - Where do you come out on Tim Tebow? Some people
DE #8 Carlos Dunlap DE #84 Frank Alexander
love the “rah-rah” leadership and the promise he made after the Ole Miss
DE #49 Jermaine Cunningham DE #33 Austen English OR
game. But, some are starting to think it’s a bit much. Those people can have
DT #92 Terron Sanders DE #44 Jeremy Beal
their opinion, but they can get bent. Tebow has been as good for the college
DT #47 Brandon Antwine DT #93 Gerald McCoy
game as any college player in recent memory and after struggling against
LB #51 Brandon Spikes DT #86 Adrian Taylor
Michigan in last year’s bowl game, Tebow has a bit to prove. And, that
LB #32 Dustin Doe LB #22 Keenan Clayton
could spell major trouble for the Sooners.
LB #16 AJ Jones LB #10 Mike Balogun
S #21 Major Wright LB #28 Travis Lewis
Conclusion - With Harvin fully healthy, the Sooner defense just won’t be able
S #35 Ahmad Black S #5 Nic Harris
to handle all of the weapons the Gators have on offense. And, once the
CB #5 Joe Haden S #11 Lendy Holmes
Gators jump out front, the Sooners are predictable and vulnerable. Texas did
CB #29 Janorris Jenkins CB # 15 Dominique Franks
it to them...and what happened that day? Yes, 45-35. Well, Florida is more
CB #2 Brian Jackson
potent on offense than Texas and will put the foot squarely on the throat to
win a second crystal football in three years.
Florida - 41 vs. Oklahoma - 28
John Harris’ Bowl Newsletter - BCS National Championship Game 26

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