Archive for December, 2012

potatobowl

Idaho Potato Bowl. Saturday, December 15th. 4:30 pm. TV: ESPN

Toledo Rockets (9-3) vs Utah St Aggies (10-2)

Offense vs Defense & Offense vs (Lack of) Defense

-Toledo’s potent offense averages 456 yards/game, while Utah St is allowing just 325 yards/game. Something has to give there. Utah St, meanwhile, has a high-powered offense of their own, averaging 462 yards/game, while Toledo’s defense is horrid, allowing 464 yards/game.

QB play

-Utah St has the best QB you may have never heard of in Chuckie Keeton. He’s thrown for over 3,000 yards, while completing over 67% of his passes, with 27 touchdowns vs just 9 interceptions. He is also a threat on the ground, rushing for over 500 yards, with another 7 touchdowns. He threw for over 300 yards in 3 of the last 4 games to end the season. Toledo will counter with Terrance Owens, who sat out the finale with an ankle injury, but had a solid season himself. Owens threw for over 2,600 yards, while rushing for nearly 400 despite not starting the season as the starter.

Williams vs Molls

-Toledo linebacker Dan Molls lead the country with an amazing 166 tackles on the season. Over the final 6 games he had no less than 13 tackles in a single game including 18 twice!! Utah St running back Kerwyn Williams will look to avoid Molls as he has rushed for over 1,000 yards and averaged 131 yards/game over the final 3 games of the season.

Another razor close finish?

-Three of the last six Idaho Potato Bowls have been decided by a single point! Utah St is a double-digit favorite in this one, and will have a definitive crowd edge. The Aggies won 6 in a row to close out the season, while the Rockets lost 2 of their last 3. No one point margin this year. Aggies win 45-27.

 

Since I work and contribute mightily to the finest College football publication in the world, Phil Steele’s College Football Preview, I thought I might as well give my insight on the bowls.

Let me start by saying, I love the bowls. While some think that the bowls are dumb and pointless, that is an ignorant statement to make. The young men playing each week strive to make a bowl game. Not every team can play for a National Championship and getting to a bowl game is a great incentive after a successful season. One of the main goals for each college team entering the season is becoming bowl eligible. Teams that make a bowl also get extra practices leading up to the bowl, which greatly helps a lot of the younger players on the roster.

Okay, without further adieu, here are a few thoughts on the first bowl game of the 2012 season:

New Mexico Bowl. Saturday, Dec 15th. 1:00 pm. TV: ESPN

Nevada Wolf Pack (7-5) vs Arizona Wildcats (7-5)

New_Mexico_Bowl_logo_starting_2011

All offense, no defense

-Each team averages over 500 yards of total offense/gm, while allowing over 400 on defense!

Run, run, run

-Two of the nations finest running backs square off in this battle. ‘Zona’s Ka’deem Carey finished as the #1 rusher in the country with 1,757 yards, averaging 6.4 yards/carry, with 20 rushing touchdowns. He closed out the season in tremendous fashion, averaging 247 rushing yards over the last three games, including a record-setting 366 yard, 5 td performance vs Colorado! Not to be outdone, the Wolf Pack’s Stefphon Jefferson finished right behind Carey with 1,703 yards, averaging 5.0 yards/carry, with 22 rushing touchdowns. He is averaging 125 rushing yards over the last 6 games of the season with 11 rushing td’s in that span.

Huge schedule difference

-While both teams have identical records, Arizona has played a much tougher schedule, having taken on the likes of Oklahoma St, Oregon, Oregon St, Stanford, USC, & UCLA. Nevada did however, play one Pac-12 team this year in Cal, whom they defeated on the road in the season opener.

Blowout or close?

-The last two New Mexico Bowls have ended in blowout fashion. While Arizona will win, Nevada won’t go down without a fight. Arizona wins 45-38.

Credit: Tom Casino, Showtime

Credit: Tom Casino, Showtime

Two of the top ten Jr Middleweights (154 lbs) in the world will square off at the Madison Square Garden in New York City tonight. Miguel “Junito” Cotto (37-3, 30 ko’s), ranked #2 by Ring Magazine, takes on undefeated Austin “No Doubt” Trout (25-0, 14 ko’s,) ranked #9 by Ring Magazine. The fight will be shown on Showtime and they will battle for a world title belt that shall remain nameless, as I don’t give credence to any of the corrupt sanctioning organizations.

Credit: Tom Casino, Showtime

Credit: Tom Casino, Showtime

While Trout is known in the boxing community, he is not well-known to the general public. The fact is he is an excellent boxer-puncher, a southpaw, and is a live dog tonight. Fighting in Cotto’s home away from home will not pose any kind of threat either. Trout has fought in hostile territory before, going on the road to Panama and Mexico and winning decisions. To win decisions in an opponents home country should tell you what kind of boxing lesson he had to display.

If Trout goes on to win the fight, it will be by decision yet again. Only once has “No Doubt” scored a knockout in his last eight fights, a span of over three years.

Cotto will bring the experience edge into this fight and has clearly fought much tougher opposition. Even though “Junito” has taken much more punishment over his career, he is still incredibly sharp, evidenced by his last fight when he gave Floyd Mayweather a much tougher fight than expected in a 12 round decision loss. While Cotto comes into the fight with three losses, his losses are to Pacquiao, Mayweather, and Margarito (most likey with loaded gloves). Trout is not in the same hemisphere as those guys. Not yet at least. Also Cotto has done well against southpaws. “Chop Chop” Corley, Carlos Quintana, and Zab Judah are a few of the notable names that he has not only defeated, but knocked out.

If Cotto wins tonight, it will most likely be by knockout. In his last 6 wins covering over 4 years, 5 have come inside the distance. Joshua Clottey, who has never been ko’d in 40 career fights was the only boxer to go the distance in that time frame.

The winner of this fight would be in prime condition to take on Floyd Mayweather for what would likely be the true Jr Middleweight Championship of the World. That likely won’t happen as Mayweather appears headed for a Welterweight showdown with Robert Guerrero however. Cotto meanwhile has been linked for a showdown with #3 rated Jr Middleweight contender Saul Alvarez. Another fighter that could emerge for the winner is #4 rated contender Erislandy Lara.

I feel Cotto is just too strong and experienced for Trout in this one. I do like that Trout will travel wherever he needs to get a fight, a characteristic that doesn’t go unnoticed. Trout has never faced the caliber of opponent that he’ll see in Cotto. The early rounds may be split, but Cotto’s power shots will eventually wear down Trout as I see Cotto getting another knockout. Cotto KO 9.

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