Wanton mass hysteria has gripped the nation as they have come to realize that the last 15 bowl games are upon us and it is nearly three long months away until March Madness can take effect. Nog is everywhere! People are hoarding ticket stubs and raiding hardware stores for lacquer so they can preserve their memories before the brain cell loss sets in while people at home without tickets need the lacquer before they have to sit through another barrage of commercial breaks [televised bowl game lengths are bordering on four hours for nearly every one so far and that's without the Orange Bowl halftime show for any of them]. So far, the Pac-10 and Tommy have represented themselves well in the post-season. Well, at least as well as can be expected. Tommy abandons the conference this week while Butch brings out the industrial-sized Bob Barker ornamental cacti oracle for predicting the biggest college week of the year. Let's see what the boys have up their considerable sleeves or what holiday leftovers remain trapped in their brain cavity for the final week of the 2005 college football bowl game season...
Tommy: This is it, the final college football week of the year. It's bittersweet. Bitter because Tommy won't be able to avoid weekend chores any more, sweet because Tommy won't be taking a beating at the hands of Vegas for at least another eight months. Happy New Year, Butch! Maybe the Coug basketball team will cheer ya up.
Butch: The good part, for Tommy, is knowing he will have another year of hearing whiny excuses from the Big 12 conference to add to his scrapbook from last year. It's just too bad that will all have to end in 2006. Well, not really.
Music City Bowl
Virginia v. Minnesota (-4.5)
Tommy: Tommy likes watching Laurence Maroney as the next guy, but that defense makes me want to turn away. Virginia is not a great football team, but they're good enough to drop a few points on the Golden Gophers. Tommy's not that sure who will win this game, but he is pretty sure that Minnesota isn't going to blow Virginia away. Al Groh Will Never Make A BCS Bowl -38, Neither Will Glen Mason-35.
Butch: This one's easy - the Golden Gophers are going to run the ball over the Wahoos – any questions? Butch takes Minnesota to win and cover.
Northwestern v. UCLA (-3)
Tommy: Did you see the Bruins against SC? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I don't care how bad Northwestern's defense is. It can't be as bad as UCLA's. Overachieving Dorks-49, Dorrell Is Dashing In A Sombrero-45.
Butch: Butch might have concurred with Tommy on this one except that Northwestern lost to Arizona State – badly – and Butch can't imagine, even in his wildest dreams, a defense playing more pathetically than the Sun Devil defense played in the first half of the Insight Bowl against Rutgers. If ASU – who lost to UCLA - can beat Northwestern by more than 3, so can the Bruins. Butch takes UCLA to win and cover.
Missouri v. South Carolina (-4)
Tommy: Steve Spurrier's offense is abysmal, and it kind of reminds Tommy of those old Redskins teams. But Missouri sucks. Getting whipped by lowly Kansas State in the season finale, and neither is letting that offensive juggernaut that is Colorado score 41 points. You're putting a gun to Tommy's head here, so take Spurrier. The Fake USC-21, Maybe The Huskies Will Take Pinkel – 14.
Butch: First of all, Butch sure would like it if they brought back the Poulan Weed Eater just for this bowl – it's the only bowl game sponsorship that really sang out loud and clear about college football. Other than that, the only entertainment here is Steve Spurrier's press conference. Butch takes South Carolina to win and cover.
LSU v. Miami (-7)
Tommy: JaMarcus Russell is out for the Bayou Crybabies, so that takes care of one half of the game. Still, does anyone think that Miami is going to be wracking up points against the LSU defense? Tommy sure doesn't. Canes win, Canes win, but it's going to be uglier than the love child of Charles and Camilla. Larry C(h)oker-14, WAAAA, Does Anyone Remember That We Were BCS Champs in 2003-10.
Butch: Talk about your sour cream going bad. LSU was on the verge of a BCS bowl and now they get the opportunity to be thumped by Miami – who, Butch is sure, will be perfect gentlemen in doing so. Butch reluctantly takes Miami to win and cover.
Tulsa v. Fresno State (-7)
Tommy: "We'll play anyone, anywhere, anytime," screams Bulldog coach Pat Hill, and he actually does look like the mascot. Has anyone had more non-conference wins than Hill while amassing fewer big conference wins? Who do you know that could take USC to the brink, only to blow the WAC title by losing to Nevada and Louisiana Tech? Pure genius. Tulsa not only covers, they win. We Own Central Florida-34, La Tech owns us-30.
Butch: The corporate sponsorship for this bowl game should be Preparation H. Hill looks like a hemorrhoid whenever anything goes wrong on the field and that conference Tulsa comes from reminds Butch of a certain nether regions. Butch takes Fresno State to win but Tulsa to cover.
Iowa State v. TCU (-3)
Tommy: Hello, out there. Three points? TCU beat OU in Norman, and haven't come close to losing in a while. ISU will still be boo-hooing about yet another missed opportunity. Three points? Are you kidding ol' Tommy? Small Conference Power-35, Big Conference Joke-21.
Butch: Cripes, Tommy – the entire country almost came to a standstill because TCU was being disrespected so much by Vegas. Iowa State lost to Kansas, which doesn't look so bad now – seeing as Kansas has been one of the bowl season's biggest winners so far. Butch takes Iowa State to cover.
Meineke Car Care Bowl
South Florida v. NC State (-4)
Tommy: ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. This ought to be an offensive masterpiece. Just goes to show you how bad the Big East is. USF was in the race in the middle of October. Since they stink, I'll go with the Pack. Coach With High Pitched Girl Voice-17, Should Have Taken The Alabama Job-10.
Butch: This has got to be the worst bowl game on the planet right here. It has the worst name, worst appeal for a nationwide viewing audience and those teams – ugh. Butch plugs his nose and quickly shoos it away – NC State to win and cover.
Alabama v. Texas Tech (-3.5)
Tommy: That's right, Bama fans. People actually throw the forward pass outside of the SEC. See, they have these things called QUARTERBACKS, and they actually try to get the ball to their wide receivers. Interesting, isn't it? The Tide were baffled by Auburn's offense. How are they going to stop the Red Raiders. Answer: they're not. We Cheated To Beat OU-35, Bring Back Mike Price-17.
Butch: Yet another entertaining match-up – the country gets to watch the Alabama offense or paint dry – take your pick. Butch takes the Tide to not roll but cover.
Louisville v. Virginia Tech (-7.5)
Tommy: Sure, the Cards are without their starting QB, but the Hokies are without a decent one. Is there a set of quarterbacking brothers that gets more hype for doing less than the Vick boys? I think the Hasselbecks are better. Ah, well. Hokies win the game with defense, but don't cover. That's Right, We Lost To The Noles-24, Who's That Idiot Who Said We'd Go Undefeated-20.
Butch: Louisville has no business in this game. Elvis yes, the Cardinals, no. Virginia Tech is going to make Lousy-ville look so bad that Carrot Top looks good. Butch takes Tech to win and cover.
Capital One Bowl
Wisconsin v. Auburn (-10.5)
Tommy: Look out now. On paper, this game will be ugly in Auburn's favor. Still, this is Barry Alvarez's last game, and his kids will be going all out to try to send him to retirement with a win. They're not going to get there, but it will be competitive enough to keep the SEC team from covering, just like Wisconsin did last year in the Outback Bowl against Georgia. Tuberville, "Auburn Should Be In The Rose Bowl"-24, Goodbye, Barry-20.
Butch: Now, if Auburn were a guy honking his horn on a street in Milwaukee, then Butch would be concerned for the Tigers' well-being. But they are not and no amount of Tommy's cutting the cheese can save the Badgers in this game. Butch takes Auburn to win and cover.
Iowa v. Florida (-1.5)
Tommy: Woo-hoo, the Gators beat Florida State. Big deal. Iowa has made a living up beating on the SEC in bowl games. This Florida team is average offensively, so the Hawkeyes are going to get the upset. Ferentz Owns The SEC-28, Overrated-20.
Butch: Butch is tempted to say Iowa is going to light up the Gators but he just doesn't have that kind of quiet confidence in the Hawkeyes. Still, like Tommy, he figures the Cornplanters are good for the win and cover.
Notre Dame v. Ohio State (-4.5)
Tommy: This game is going to be funny. The Buckeyes have far more talent than the Irish, and that's what going to make it funny when Notre Dame pulls the upset. Weis is going to have Brady Quinn throwing from the get go. A month to prepare for Weis equals a loss for Tressel. Here Come The Irish-30, There Go The Buckeyes-27.
Butch: The Lesser of Two Evils Bowl. Since virtually nobody on the West Coast wanted to see this game except for the Midwest-rooted bowl game organizers and the BCS Taliban with their silly rulebook, they will have to import fans and excitement for this game. Nevertheless, the Buckeyeballs should be able to withstand the best the hallucinogenic Leprechauns have to offer. Butch takes OSU to win and cover.
West Virginia v. Georgia (-6.5)
Tommy: Mounties, welcome to a real opponent. West Virginia hasn't played a top notch team since VT put a hurting on them in Morgantown. The Dawgs have won three straight bowl games, and they're going to get their fourth easily. Why Couldn't You Do That To LSU in 2003-35, Not Ready For the Big Time-14.
Butch: This will be almost as bad as the Virginia Tech blowout. Butch takes Georgia to win and cover by a large amount.
Florida State v. Penn State (-9)
Tommy: I like old man Bowden as much as the next guy, but the Noles shouldn't be here. They took advantage of a vanilla Hokie offense manned by a QB who couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. The Nittany Lions are a much better offensive football team, and they bring it on defense as well. Bowden will likely finish ahead of Paterno in all time wins, but JoePa will get the last laugh. See, Told Ya I Could Still Coach-30, I May have To Fire My Son-14.
Butch: If the Nitts get behind in this game, the training staff might have a difficult time firing up JoePa's oxygen tank after he gets huffy. Nitts win and cover says Butch.
Texas v. USC (-7.5)
Tommy: There's a trend going lately. Elite Big Ten or Big 12 teams comes calling. Team is confident/foolish enough to maintain its regular game plan against the Trojans. Team starts fast because they have good athletes. Trojans adjust to team. Team gets run out of the building. Trojans celebrate. Reboot and repeat. Three-Pete-45, Welcome to the OU/Michigan/Iowa Club-24.
Butch: Another national championship game, another Big 12 opponent? Ho-hum. Texas will come out all hot and heavy for the first quarter and then USC will make Vince Young look like he did in the Holiday Bowl against the Cougars two years ago. Young goes 0-for-Southern California and Butch takes USC to win and cover.
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