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Sunday, December 9, 2007

Golden Bowl Tournament Quarterfinals

At least I got any votes at all, but I got a grand total of two total votes on the poll, so I had to make decisions on the other six matchups myself.

#1 Virginia Tech v. #8 Oklahoma (Cotton Bowl)
In a tight contest, Oklahoma survives by the seat of their pants after stalling a late comeback attempt by the Mountaineers. Now it comes down to a battle between #8 and #11 in rushing defense. The marquee matchup to watch is when the Sooners have the ball, as the #3 offense goes against the #2 defense in points put up.

#2 Georgia v. #7 Ohio State (Capital One Bowl)
The Buckeyes and Tigers have a tight, low-scoring classic, as Missouri manages to contain the Buckeye running game enough to keep them in it. The Buckeyes just barely hang on for the 10-7 victory. Being a matchup between two of the most storied college football teams in the country, this game sells itself, but Georgia will now learn in a hurry just how difficult it can be to get past one of the strongest defenses in the country. Georgia does have a fairly stout defense of its own, though, and on offense, both teams' strength lie in their respective running games. That means the matchup will focus on Chris Wells v. Knowshon Moreno.

#3 Kansas v. #11 USC (Fiesta Bowl)
Todd Reesing has a career day against the Knights of UCF and gives Kansas the trip to the second round they need. Meanwhile, USC puts up points in bunches and pulls off a 28-17 victory over the Eagles on the road. Now they play much closer to home against the Jayhawks, in another game that will rely much more on the arm of John David Booty than on the running game. Reesing and the #14 passing attack will have their hands full with USC's #8 passing defense. Clearly, the Jayhawks aren't playing cupcakes anymore!

#5 LSU v. #13 BYU (Orange Bowl)
A last-second field goal gives LSU a 44-42 win over the Warriors, but Florida is not so lucky. I probably should have mentioned this at the Selection Show, but we're assuming that all players' injury situations are the way they would be as of the close of voting, not at full strength. Seeing Tim Tebow's arm in a cast at the Heisman presentation, I realized he would have been lucky to play at all. Without Tebow, the Gators go down in defeat, and BYU doesn't have to leave the state for its next game. LSU is #12 in rushing offense and #12 in points put up, but BYU is #13 in points allowed, #10 in total yards allowed, and #7 in rushing yards allowed. BYU is #13 in passing offense and #15 in total yardage, but LSU is #3 in yards allowed and #16 in passing yardage, not to mention #18 in rushing yards allowed. It's a veritable stat-a-palooza!

All polls expire in TWO weeks at 5 pm PT.

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