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Ranking the 2011-2012 Bowls & Picks
Alabama LB Dont'a Hightower
Alabama LB Dont'a Hightower
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Dec 5, 2011


Before they start, the ranking of the bowls and how entertaining they should be - The Top Bowls. The Ones You Have To Watch.


2011-2012 Bowl Rankings

The Best of the Bunch  
 





 

 
- The 2010-2011 Pre-Bowl Rankings

The 2011-2012 Pre-Bowl Rankings
- No. 1 to No. 9 | No. 10 to No. 17 | No. 18 to No. 27 | No. 28 to No. 35  

Now THESE Are Bowl Games
Ditch everything to see these games, and you'll be a better person for it.
 
9. Virginia Tech vs. Michigan
Allstate Sugar Bowl
January 3, 2012   New Orleans, LA, 8:30 pm ESPN

Three Reasons Why You Have To Watch This Bowl
1. Denard Robinson gets the big stage to show what he can do. With more than a month off to get healthy, he should be 100% and should be back to his quick, devastating early season form. His late season form against Ohio State wasn’t bad, either.
2. Virginia Tech gets a chance to make amends for a bad ACC championship performance against Clemson. QB Logan Thomas is a rising star, while RB David Wilson might be the quickest runner on a field full of speedy playmakers.
3. It’s the rare time the SEC isn’t in the Sugar Bowl. The last time that happened was when Florida State beat Michael Vick and the Hokies in 2000 for the national title.

And Why You Shouldn’t Care A Lick: Virginia Tech hasn’t really beaten anyone of note. There are plenty of nice wins over bowl bound teams, but there isn’t one splashy win and there are too many close calls against mediocre teams. Michigan will be well motivated after getting destroyed by Mississippi State in last year’s Gator Bowl.

Three Names To Drop To Make Every Man Want You And Every Woman Fear You
1. RB David Wilson, Jr. Virginia Tech
2. RB Fitzgerald Toussaint, Jr. Michigan
3. DB/PR Jayron Hosley, Jr. Virginia Tech

Gut-Reaction Pick That Might Change In The Next Few Days On A Whim: Michigan 34 ... Virginia Tech 20
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8. Air Force vs. Toledo
Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman
December 28, 2011  Washington, DC, 4:30 pm ESPN

Three Reasons Why You Have To Watch This Bowl
1. It’s going to be a fun and wild bowl. Really. Toledo has a high-octane offense and Air Force doesn’t have a run defense – mostly due to injuries. Air Force has one of the best running games in the country, and Toledo – despite the stats – has a hard time with great ground games. It should be an up-and-down shootout.
2. 49-28. 63-60. 66-63. 44-17. 45-28. Those were the scores of the last five Toledo games. The offense finished first in the MAC in both total offense and scoring offense, scoring 30 points or more nine times.
3. The Falcons won four of their last five games. The pass defense is solid, but that’s because the run defense gets gouged on a regular basis. Toledo’s offense should up big numbers, but Air Force’s No. 19-ranked attack should keep up the pace.

And Why You Shouldn’t Care A Lick: Air Force’s best win this year came against Navy, who didn’t go bowling. Toledo blew away Temple, beat Western Michigan, and hung with Northern Illinois and Ohio State. Air Force has an offense, but there’s a chance the Rockets can come in and blow the doors off the Falcons.

Three Names To Drop To Make Every Man Want You And Every Woman Fear You
1. WR Eric Page, Jr. Toledo
2. QB Tim Jefferson, Sr. Air Force
3. QB Terrance Owens, Jr. Toledo

Gut-Reaction Pick That Might Change In The Next Few Days On A Whim: Toledo 45 ... Air Force 34
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7. Clemson vs. West Virginia
Discover Orange Bowl

January 4, 2012  Miami Gardens, FL, 8:00 pm ESPN

Three Reasons Why You Have To Watch This Bowl
1. Shootout, shootout, shootout. No way, no how do these two offenses combine for anything less than 700 passing yards and 65 points. Both teams put up yards and points in bunches, and there should be some huge haymakers thrown by each.
2. The Mountaineers know pressure. They won four of their last five games and ended the year with each of the last five games decided by three points or fewer. The No. 7 passing attack in the nation should push the relatively untested Clemson secondary.
3. Clemson has a dynamic offense that clicked on all cylinders against Virginia Tech in the ACC championship. The athletes and talents on both sides of the ball are stellar.

And Why You Shouldn’t Care A Lick: Will the Clemson that lost three of its last four regular season games show up? What about the West Virginia team that struggled so much with so many mediocre teams? If the Mountaineers struggle early like they normally do, they might not be able to make the comeback. The last three Orange Bowls were blowouts.

Three Names To Drop To Make Every Man Want You And Every Woman Fear You
1. QB Geno Smith, Jr. West Virginia
2. WR Sammy Watkins, Fr. Clemson
3. WR Tavon Austin, Jr. West Virginia

Gut-Reaction Pick That Might Change In The Next Few Days On A Whim: Clemson 38 ... West Virginia 35
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6. Nebraska vs. South Carolina
Capital One Bowl
January 2, 2012  Orlando, FL, 1:00 pm ESPN

Three Reasons Why You Have To Watch This Bowl

1. It’s Nebraska’s first bowl game as a Big Ten team, and now it gets to show what it can do against an SEC foe. The last time the Huskers played an SEC team was the 2007 Cotton Bowl, losing to Auburn, and if they lose, the Big Ten’s lack of speed myth against the SEC will keep on rolling.
2. The South Carolina defense has been fantastic. It hasn’t played too many offenses with a pulse – and gave up 44 points to Arkansas – but the secondary is second in the nation and the run defense has been terrific. It’ll get a chance to show off against the Nebraska run early/run often attack.
3. After a dud of a performance in last year’s Holiday Bowl loss to Washington, Nebraska should come into the game fired up. The offensive line has been special when it’s been able to get into a lather, while the defense is good enough to stop the mediocre Gamecock attack and keep the game close for a full sixty minutes.

And Why You Shouldn’t Care A Lick: South Carolina has been one of the most mystifyingly bad bowl teams in college football under Steve Spurrier. It should’ve beaten Florida State in last year’s Chick-fil-A ; it got flattened by UConn 20-7 in the 2010 PapaJohns.com; and it was blown away 31-10 by Iowa in the 2009 Outback.

Three Names To Drop To Make Every Man Want You And Every Woman Fear You
1. DE Melvin Ingram, Sr. South Carolina
2. LB Lavonte David, Sr. Nebraska
3. DE Devin Taylor, Jr. South Carolina

Gut-Reaction Pick That Might Change In The Next Few Days On A Whim: South Carolina 23 ... Nebraska 10
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5. Michigan State vs. Georgia
Outback Bowl
January 2, 2012 Tampa, FL, 1:00 pm ABC

Three Reasons Why You Have To Watch This Bowl
1. Michigan State wants to prove it deserved a BCS bowl, but more importantly, it wants to get rid of the memory of last year’s embarrassing Capital One loss to Alabama. The Spartans didn’t belong on the same field as the Tide, and this year they plan to make amends. QB Kirk Cousins talked about the loss all offseason.
2. Georgia could use the win after losing to UCF in last year’s Liberty Bowl. Getting blown out by LSU in the SEC championship isn’t a shocker, but closing out with a loss to a Big Ten team wouldn’t be a plus for a team with the nation’s No. 3 defense. A win would cap off a terrific rebound year after starting 0-2.
3. The Bulldogs beat the Spartans 24-12 in the 2009 Capital One Bowl and beat them 34-27 in the 1989 Gator. It’s a Big Ten – SEC matchup that’ll be a big deal for both sides. If the SEC really did deserve to get two teams into the BCS championship, getting a big win out of Georgia will help he argument.

And Why You Shouldn’t Care A Lick: Georgia only has one decent win – Georgia Tech. There’s a chance that Georgia isn’t nearly as good as the stats, playing against a slew of miserable SEC offenses. If the Dawgs had played the three best teams from the West in the regular season – Arkansas, LSU, and Alabama – they probably would’ve been 7-5 and looking for a new head coach.

Three Names To Drop To Make Every Man Want You And Every Woman Fear You
1. WR B.J. Cunningham, Sr. Michigan State
2. FS Bacarri Rambo, Jr. Georgia
3. WR/KR Keshawn Martin, Sr. Michigan State

Gut-Reaction Pick That Might Change In The Next Few Days On A Whim: Michigan State 27 ... Georgia 23
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4. Kansas State vs. Arkansas 
AT&T Cotton Bowl  
January 6, 2012  Arlington, TX, 8:00 pm FOX
 
Three Reasons Why You Have To Watch This Bowl
1. This should probably be a BCS bowl. Of course, Arkansas wouldn’t be eligible as a third SEC team in the mix, but would anyone complain if this was the Sugar Bowl? Kansas State is in the midst of a phenomenal 10-2 season, while Arkansas’ losses only came against LSU and Alabama.
2. Kansas State QB Collin Klein. For those of you who miss Tim Tebow without all the extra stuff, this is your quarterback. Klein can throw, but he’s one of the best power runners in all of college football. This is a tight Wildcat team that doesn’t screw up.
3. Arkansas could theoretically be the third best team in college football, and a blowout win could mean a top five finish. The Hogs led the SEC in total offense and passing offense. Kansas State’s defense isn’t LSU’s.

And Why You Shouldn’t Care A Lick: Auburn 17, Nebraska 14 in 2007. That was the last time the Cotton Bowl was remotely interesting with four straight blowouts. If the Arkansas offense gets up early, Kansas State doesn’t have the passing offense to make a comeback.

Three Names To Drop To Make Every Man Want You And Every Woman Fear You
1. WR Jarius Wright, Sr. Arkansas
2. LB Arthur Brown, Jr. Kansas State
3. DE Jake Bequette, Sr. Arkansas

Gut-Reaction Pick That Might Change In The Next Few Days On A Whim: Kansas State 31 ... Arkansas 27
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3. Wisconsin vs. Oregon
Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO 
January 2, 2012 Pasadena, CA, 5:00 pm ESPN

Three Reasons Why You Have To Watch This Bowl

1. It’s Wisconsin power vs. Oregon speed. They’re two of the best running games, led by two of the best running backs – UW’s Montee Ball and Oregon’s LaMichael James – and it should be a fascinating contrast in styles. Both offenses can throw, too.
2. It’s a matchup of power programs as the two have been the best in their respective conferences over the last few seasons, but both are desperate for a big win. Wisconsin lost to TCU in last year’s Rose Bowl, while Oregon has lost its last two BCS games including the 2010 Rose Bowl and the 2011 BCS championship. It’s time for the Ducks to win something, and it’s time for UW head coach Bret Bielema to prove he can win on the biggest of bowl stages.
3. It’s the Rose Bowl and it’s on Monday, January 2nd. It’s how a Monday afternoon is supposed to be spent, and it has the potential to be the best of the BCS bowls.

And Why You Shouldn’t Care A Lick: However, if the Badger defense doesn’t come up with a new wrinkle after having so many problems with Ohio State’s Braxton Miller and Michigan State’s speedy skill players, it could be a long afternoon for the Big Ten. The Badgers have to control the game from the start with its offensive line, but the Ducks proved against Stanford it has a run defense to handle the power.

Three Names To Drop To Make Every Man Want You And Every Woman Fear You
1. QB Russell Wilson, Sr. Wisconsin
2. QB Darron Thomas, Jr. Oregon
3. LB Mike Taylor, Jr. Wisconsin

Gut-Reaction Pick That Might Change In The Next Few Days On A Whim: Oregon 38 ... Wisconsin 30
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2. Oklahoma State vs. Stanford
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl 
January 2, 2012 Glendale, AZ, 8:30 pm ESPN

Three Reasons Why You Have To Watch This Bowl
1. Alright, Oklahoma State. If you think you were wronged, and if you think you should be playing for the national title, then blow out Stanford and get everyone wringing their hands and shaking their fists at the BCS system on January 3rd. Motivation shouldn’t be much of a problem for the Cowboys in their first BCS appearance.
2. It’s Andrew Luck’s final college game before putting on an Indianapolis Colt uniform. This might be the last winnable game he plays for a while. He and the Stanford offense have something to prove, and with an impressive win his team would probably finish No. 2 in the final polls.
3. Offense, offense, offense. Stanford can bludgeon with its power running game and Luck can make secondaries look silly. The Cowboys can keep the chains moving however it wants to, proving against Oklahoma that they can run as well as throw. Expect lots of points and lots of big plays.

And Why You Shouldn’t Care A Lick: Stanford stepped up and obliterated Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl last year. If the lines take control early on, and if Luck is on, the Cardinal could do the same to the Cowboys. However, if OSU generates the same kind of pressure on Luck that Oregon did, the D could make dominate like it did against Landry Jones and Oklahoma.

Three Names To Drop To Make Every Man Want You And Every Woman Fear You
1. WR Justin Blackmon, Jr. Oklahoma State
2. RB Stepfan Taylor, Jr. Stanford
3. RB Joseph Randle, Soph. Oklahoma State

Gut-Reaction Pick That Might Change In The Next Few Days On A Whim: Stanford 38 ... Oklahoma State 34
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1. LSU vs. Alabama
BCS Championship
January 9, 2012  New Orleans, LA, 9:00 pm ESPN 
 
Three Reasons Why You Have To Watch This Bowl
1. Even if you have no interest whatsoever in a rematch – and few outside of Alabama seem to – this really should be a phenomenal game between two teams loaded with NFL talent. Forget about everything that happened in the first game and forget about the final score. On its own merits, this game should be something special for two power programs at their peak.
2. Don’t fall for those who think the first game was boring. The 9-6 overtime war was gripping theater down to the very end. Consider it a shock if either one wins by more than a score.
3. It’s a big moment for the coaches as well as the programs. With Dennis Erickson and Joe Paterno fired, Les Miles can join Nick Saban and Urban Meyer as the only two current head coaches with multiple national titles. Saban can become truly legendary with a third title.

And Why You Shouldn’t Care A Lick: LSU should probably be named the national champion and this game doesn’t really need to be played. It’s a rematch. If LSU wins, everyone will wish someone else had a shot. If Alabama wins, everyone will say it’s 1-1 in the series with LSU winning at Alabama.

Three Names To Drop To Make Every Man Want You And Every Woman Fear You
1. DT Michael Brockers, Soph. LSU
2. LB Courtney Upshaw, Sr. Alabama
3. WR Rueben Randle, Jr. LSU

Gut-Reaction Pick That Might Change In The Next Few Days On A Whim: LSU 17 ... Alabama 13
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