College Football Bowl Preview: December 15: Part 2
Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl
Fresno State vs. Arizona State
3:30 p.m. ET
Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada
The Pac-12 Conference had a down year and Arizona State went 5-4 within conference play, which doesn’t impress me. Fresno State on the other hand, went 7-1 in their conference, but play in the smaller Mountain West Conference. So this one should be interesting. Does the Pac-12 prove that it is that much better than the smaller Mountain West? Fresno State has battled a Pac-12 team already this year, beating the lowly UCLA 38-14. They are also coming off a big victory over Boise State to win the conference championship. Arizona State also played UCLA and only beat them 31-28. They did have an impressive win over Utah though, beating them by 18 points. I think Fresno State is the better team and will prove the top few teams from the Mountain West could play within the Pac-12.
Prediction: Fresno State 21 Arizona State 18
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
Georgia Southern vs. Eastern Michigan
5:30 p.m. ET
Cramton Bowl, Montgomery, Alabama
Georgia Southern has long been a rival of my App State Mountaineers, so I am well aware of the team they have. And they are good. App State went on to win the conference again with only one conference loss, but that loss was to Georgia Southern. They went 6-2 in a Sun Belt conference that is better than the MAC. Eastern Michigan finished 5-3 in the MAC and 7-5 overall. They had a stretch earlier in the year where they lost four in a row, all by 7 points or less. Even though they were tough losses, I’m just not impressed with their overall body of work. Georgia Southern has the ability to put points up in a hurry and I think they will in this one.
Prediction: Georgia Southern 42 Eastern Michigan 27
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Middle Tennessee vs. Appalachian State
9:00 p.m. ET
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
This game features the winners of the Sun Belt conference (Appalachian State) and the 2nd place team in Conference USA (Middle Tennessee). App State had another strong year, only losing two games; an overtime loss to Penn State and a 20 point defeat to Georgia Southern. The Mountaineers have one of the top defenses in the nation, led by cornerback Clifton Duck, who is sure to play on Sundays in the future. Middle Tennessee lost five games this season, but three of them came at the hands of SEC teams. Georgia, Vanderbilt, and Kentucky all got the best of the Blue Raiders. And one week after beating conference foe UAB 27-3, Middle Tennessee lost the Conference USA championship game to them. Appalachian State will have to shut down Blue Raider quarterback Brent Stockstill if they want to win. He has thrown for 3,214 yards and 28 touchdowns on the season. I am a bit biased in this match-up since I graduated from App State, but I believe the Mountaineers will win this one to remain undefeated in bowl games since moving up to the FBS level.
Prediction: Appalachian State 31 Middle Tennessee 27