5 Teams That Might Not Be Headed To A Bowl Game
Will They Be Bowling Or Staying Home For The Holidays?
Every year, each team, in college football has the same goal, to get to a bowl game. Sure teams like Alabama, LSU, Oregon might be legitimate national title contenders who expect to be playing for the crystal football but most teams are realistic. They want the chance to play in the postseason. While I personally am a fan of an expanded playoff format, I understand the place of bowl games in college football. They are a great opportunity for fans and alumni to get together and celebrate a "title". Yes, winning the Little Caesars bowl might not win you a lot of love from your friends but it does make a difference to recruits. They want to be winners.... even if it's just from a bowl named after a pizza company.
With the amount of teams this year that aren't going to make a bowl game due to poor play, the few teams on the fence have a tremendous opportunity. You are virtually guaranteed to go somewhere if you can just scrap by with a 6-6 record. Mediocrity does indeed reign in college football! I've compiled a list of 5 teams that are right now that are straddling that fence. For a variety of reasons, they've just not gotten to that magical 6 win plateau. However, over the next couple of weeks they'll have the chance to do just that and can quiet some critics, and save some jobs, at the same time. I'll let you know if they can do just that. Here we go...
Number 5: Syracuse Orange
Syracuse came into the season with high expectations. They had senior quarterback Ryan Nassib back in the fold and were expected to be at the very least, a darkhorse for the Big East crown. Well those expectations have fallen flat to say the least but they have some much needed momentum. The Orange dominated UConn at home two weeks ago and took down a bad South Florida team on literally the final possession last week. They finish with 2 winnable games on the road after going to Cincinnati this week and hosting Louisville next week.
PREDICTION: 6-6, they'll be one of the last teams to clinch their bowl spot.
Number 4: Vanderbilt Commodores
Oh Vandy, my Vandy, you were the talk of the nation after all of last season's close losses. Despite that you weren't ready to take the next step and now are fighting to even get into the postseason. Thankfully for you the toughest games are out of the way and I wouldn't be surprised to see you hit your stride now. Give the ball to Zac Stacy. He's a tough runner who can take 25 plus carries a game and grind you out to a win. Let your defense rest because if they have to be on the field for a while, you've got trouble.
PREDICTION: 7-5, the brutal schedule is out of the way and this will be their time to shine. The only loss I see is the trip to "The Grove" next Saturday against the explosive Ole Miss offense.
Number 3: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
No team on this list needs to make a bowl game more then Georgia Tech. Head coach Paul Johnson is on the hot seat. His defense has been shredded by some average offenses and his ball control triple option attack is not making that much of a difference. Last week's loss to BYU was embarrassing as the game was over at halftime. When you are down that much you can't play to your strengths and this team cannot throw the football one bit. The schedule isn't easy but you've got to start out right by beating a Maryland team that has a linebacker starting at quarterback.
PREDICTION: 5-7, Paul Johnson will be the first FBS coach fired after the season ends. What a difference a year makes. After the first 6 weeks of last year, they were considered a BCS bowl contender!
Number 2: Purdue Boilermakers
Purdue was picked by many to be a contender for the Big Ten crown. With a down year expected for the conference, the Boilermakers were expected to ride a strong defense and physical running game to an upper tier bowl game. Now they'll take whatever they can get. Personally, I'm shocked at how bad the defense has been. They have at least two pros in the front 7 and no one could dent the Michigan and Wisconsin running attacks. Different styles, same results. It's even more bizarre considering they gave Notre Dame one of their best games of the season. The close to this season is manageable but they better get it done this week.
PREDICTION: 6-6, they finally get some play from their quarterbacks and sneak in after grabbing the Old Oaken Bucket back from hated Indiana.
Number 1: Tennessee Volunteers
Talk about a team that couldn't stop a nose bleed. If you like Arena football I think I've got your team. Tyler Bray is an outstanding quarterback who should be a star on Sundays. Problem is he gets no help from the other side of the football. Florida's ball control attack dominated Tennessee defense, especially in the 2nd half. They let Mississippi State put up a 40 burger and then last week put their offense in a really tough spot with a huge early deficit to South Carolina. However, the schedule is really manageable and it might just save Derek Dooley his job. Not that Tennessee fans are particularly thrilled about that...
PREDICTION: 6-6, they get the bottom feeders of the conference in addition to the random November non conference matchup with Troy this weekend. Regardless of the bowl they go to expect it to be entertaining with lots of points being put up on the scoreboard.