2008 Bowl Forecast

By Adam Caparell - July 11, 2008

So I gave this thing - thing being predicting the matchups of every bowl game - a try last summer and to say I failed miserably would be putting it mildly.

I didn't predict one bowl game correctly and I only had four teams in the correct bowl.

So thinking that I can't possibly do any worse this time around I gave it another shot. And this year we've got two new bowl games. So for better or worse - probably worse - here's your 2008 Bowl Forecast, in reverse chronological order.

BCS Championship Game: Ohio State vs. Florida

Ohio State's easy schedule puts them in the championship game for the third straight year and for the second time in three years they will have faced the Gators on college football's biggest stage.

Fiesta Bowl: Missouri vs. BYU

On account of their stellar season, the Cougars are BCS bound for the first time, but will that defense be able to handle Chase Daniel in the Tigers’ BCS debut?

Sugar Bowl: Auburn vs. Oklahoma

Tigers get here thanks in large part to their defense with a nod to Tony Franklin’s new offense. Sooners try and win their first BCS game in the last five tries.

Orange Bowl: Clemson vs. West Virginia

If this isn’t the year Clemson finally wins the ACC, it may never happen. West Virginia wins the Big East and stays closer to home this time around.

Rose Bowl: USC vs. Wisconsin

This will mark Wisconsin's seventh appearance in the Rose Bowl and first trip to since 2000. This will be USC's 33rd appearance and third since Pete Carroll took over.

GMAC: Memphis vs. Boise State

Boise State heads east for a change and Memphis finds itself bowling for the fifth time in six years.

International: UConn vs. Miami (Ohio)

Huskies make it to back-to-back bowl games for the first time in program history. Miami, surprisingly, hasn't been to a bowl since 2004.

Liberty: Tulsa vs. South Carolina

Conference USA's top team is rewarded with a matchup against the Ol' Ball Coach.

Cotton: Texas Tech vs. Tennessee

Mike Leach leads the Red Raiders into just their fourth Cotton bowl while the Vols make their seventh appearance.

Gator: Florida State vs. Kansas

Florida State has a better year than most expect and Kansas finds itself in a New Year's Day for the first time in a long, long time.

Capital One: Georgia vs. Illinois

Bulldogs fall short of their lofty goal of playing for the national title on account of their brutal schedule. Not quite the Rose Bowl, but Ron Zook has the Illini playing on New Year's Day for the second straight year.

Outback: Penn State vs. LSU

Could this be Joe Paterno's final game? Nittany Lions are undefeated in three previous trips to the Outback.

Chick-fil-A: Virginia Tech vs. Alabama

'Bama will be playing its second game of the year in the Georgia Dome after its season opener against Clemson.

Insight: Michigan State vs. Texas

Spartans find themselves in a second straight bowl game for the first time since 2000-01.

Music City: Mississippi State vs. Wake Forest

Bulldogs are bowling for the second straight season while Wake Forest makes it for a third straight year, a first for the program.

Sun: Arizona State vs. Pittsburgh

The pressure's going to be on Dave Wannstedt this season and he delivers with the Panthers first bowl appearance since he took over. Arizona State fans would probably be disappointed with the Sun Bowl.

Armed Forces: Utah vs. Houston

Houston stays in-state while Utah returns to the scene of its 2006 victory over Tulsa.

Holiday: Cal vs. Texas A&M

Cal surprises some to finish a respectable second in the Pac-10 while A&M, under new coach Mike Sherman, meets the Bears in a rematch of the 2006 game.

Texas: Oklahoma State vs. UCF

It would have been fun to see Kevin Smith run it for UCF in his senior season, but he chose to leave school early. Now the Knights get to face a potent Cowboys offense that should again be one of the nation's most balanced.

Humanitarian: Fresno State vs. Miami (Fla.)

Fresno finds itself back in Boise for a second straight postseason while the Hurricanes are back bowling.

Alamo: Purdue vs. Colorado

A lot of people like Colorado to be a legit player in the Big 12 North this year. Coach Dan Hawkins does as well, but he knows they have some growing up to do, offering this quote recently.

"We like to run around a lot and we're cute, but sometimes we chew things up and pee on the rug," Hawkins said, comparing his team to a puppy.

Papajohns.com: Rutgers vs. Kentucky

Two teams that could be borderline bowl-eligible this season find their way to Birmingham. According to sources, Papa John's pizza was not served at the game last year.

Independence: Nebraska vs. Oregon State

Bo Pelini has to the Cornhuskers back bowling after a one year hiatus while Oregon State makes its third straight postseason appearance.

Emerald: Boston College vs. Oregon

BC heads back out to San Francisco where the Ducks await.

Champs Sports: North Carolina vs. Michigan

The Tar Heels are back in the postseason and face Rich Rodriguez and the Wolverines. If Michigan can really make it here then consider Rodriguez's first season a big success.

Meineke Car Care: Notre Dame vs. Maryland

The Fighting Irish are bowl bound after last year's brutal 3-9 campaign. They get the Terps and their new look offense under newly minted play caller, offensive coordinator James Franklin.

Motor City: Central Michigan vs. Iowa

Chippewas will be led by the best quarterback nobody talks about in Dan LeFevour. The pressure is on Kirk Ferentz from the Hawkeyes fans to produce more wins. A bowl appearance this year should appease them for the short-term.

Hawaii: Nevada vs. Arizona

Mike Stoops gets to that long-awaited bowl game and can relax a little amid all the pressure that's been surrounding him and his program that past few years.

Poinsettia: Utah vs. UCLA

Rick Neuheisel gets the Bruins into a bowl game, one where they should have revenge on the mind. Utah hung an embarrassing 44-6 defeat on the Bruins last September.

New Orleans: Florida Atlantic vs. Southern Miss

Florida Atlantic, after that breakout season last year, is back in New Orleans for the postseason.

Congressional: Navy vs. N.C. State

One of two new bowls this year, Navy - if they're eligible - has an automatic entry into this game (along with Army if it's eligible) where they’ll face an ACC team. In this case, the Wolfpack.

Las Vegas: TCU vs. Indiana

Indiana is bowling for the second straight season, TCU for the fourth.

New Mexico: New Mexico vs. Kent State

The Lobos find themselves in this bowl game, played on their home turf, for the third straight year. Kent Stat’s an at-large selection.

St. Petersburg: Cincinnati vs. ECU

The other new bowl features two respectable Big East and Conference USA teams.

Posted by Adam Caparell at 10:12 AM on July 11, 2008

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