Wednesday, December 25, 2013

College Football: These Three Bowls

With a full plate of bowl games to watch during the upcoming weeks, we'll take a simple approach here and have a look at three involving teams we tend to cover: Maryland, Navy, and Notre Dame.

None of them are playing in marquee bowl games so there's the added bonus when watching of not hearing of the bad breaks that kept the teams from a BCS berth. Shorter commercial and half-time breaks also contribute to more football and less hype in the smaller bowl games.

So without further preamble, here's the scoop on three Boxer Journal favorites.

Maryland's CJ Brown (photo / bostonherald.com)

Military Bowl, December 27, 2013, Maryland (7-5) vs. Marshall (9-4), Navy-Marines Corps Stadium, Annapolis, MD 2:30 PM ET

Marshall made it to the Conference USA final before falling to Rice (10-3) this fall. The Herd are led by Rakeem Cato who threw for 36 touchdowns on the season. The Terps respond with duel-threat C.J. Brown (12 rushing/11 passing TDs) who led the Terps to late season wins against Virginia Tech (8-4) and NC State (3-9).

It should be a close game, and will play like a home game for the Terps, who travel just 30 minutes east from College Park for the bowl.

Armed Forces Bowl, December 30, 2013, Navy (8-4)  vs. Middle Tennessee (8-4), Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas, 11:45 AM ET

Navy is favored by roughly a touchdown over Middle Tennessee, and that TD is likely to come from Keenan Reynolds, who scored 29 on the ground this season. The sophomore from Antioch, Tennessee broke the all-time single-season mark for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback this year.

Navy is 1-5 in their last six bowl games, with their only win against Missouri in the 2009 Texas Bowl. The Blue Raiders have forced 31 turnovers this season, which may cause problems for the Mids' option offense.

Pinstripe Bowl, December 28, 2013, Notre Dame (8-4) vs. Rutgers (6-6) @ Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York, 12:15 PM ET

Of the three bowl games here, this one should have the most clear favorite in Notre Dame. Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees is capable of both big plays and big mistakes, not unlike Eli Manning of the NFL. They also share the same generally downtrodden expressions on the sidelines, which does not always make them favorites with their fan bases.

Across scrimmage Rutgers' QB Chas Dodd is an interesting story. A senior, he has started on and off throughout his four years and played well the last two weeks of the 2013 season, including against USF to clinch bowl eligibility. Standout running back Paul James should be available for the Scarlet Knights.