Picture via Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images North America
Today is another great day for college football, and there are two games in particular that’ll prove to be great to watch. Miami faces off against West Virginia in Orlando, while Indiana takes on Utah in Santa Clara. Kansas State and TAMU also play later tonight. Check below for a quick preview and my prediction.
Russell Athletic Bowl — Miami vs West Virginia
By ranking alone, it looks like WVU should clean up tonight, but we all know that it’s almost never that easy. Bowl games have a way of always being interesting, and the predicted outcome is never a sure thing. This game will have a lot of intangibles, including a slight home field advantage for Miami. They haven’t had much luck in the postseason over the last 10 years, but they should be hungry for a victory tonight.
For Miami’s offense, the importance will be for Kaaya to light up quickly and find his receivers. If this happens, and Miami manages to clamp down on defense, as they have all season (allowing 3.5 yards per carry on the entire season), the Mountaineers will have a tough time scoring.
Miami’s biggest fear should be the WVU defensive line and pass defense, who have had a nose for the football (forcing turnovers).
WVU has a great record on the year, and they’ve proven themselves to be a strong team all around. Their QB, Skyler Howard, is a solid veteran who knows his way around a bowl game—if he gets going early, Miami will have an uphill battle trying to come back.
Ultimately, Miami will win by a slight margin, because it is clear that WVU has struggled against almost every great program it has faced this season.
Foster Farms Bowl — Indiana vs Utah
Santa Clara, CA
Finally, a bowl game with an easy prediction. Indiana doesn’t have the talent to be competitive with this good Utes squad. This game should be all but decided by halftime. Since 2005, Utah has won 9 out of its 10 bowl game appearances, and nothing leads me to believe that will change.
Indiana might not be able to pick themselves up and play any sort of competitive game, given that Tom Allen is making his debut as a coach and may not be ready for the spotlight or have his team prepared.
One thing to watch out for is Utah’s ability to rush the quarterback. If the Indiana O-line isn’t prepared, the Utes will wreak havoc.
The Hoosiers don’t necessarily have anything to write home about this season. None of their six wins came from winning opponents, and although they have a pretty capable defense, the Hoosiers simply aren’t talented enough to fight back. Final prediction: a big win from Utah, but a relatively low-scoring one.
Texas Bowl — TAMU vs Kansas State
It’s simple: while the teams seem to be evenly match statistically, Texas A&M has the better and more proven players because of their harder schedule and conference. Kansas State has a good amount of momentum, but the game is happening in TAMU’s backyard and the home field advantage should never be overlooked.