Good lord those first bowls creep up on you like an unsuspecting gazelle. We already have our New Mexico Bowl preview right in hand but haven't mentioned the wonderful majestic event of Boise, Idaho known as the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
Potatoes. I win.
I've thought about this game, mulled over both teams and how they've done and I can honestly tell you ... no clue on this one. USU has the momentum going for them, in that they've won their last five games. You could almost say the same thing about OHIO except that pesky MAC Championship Game remains in their skulls not to mention their record.
Saturday, Dec 17, 2011, 5:30 PM EST
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl - Bronco Stadium, Boise, ID
It's been two weeks since that 23-20 loss to NIU that they had every chance to win. It just wasn't like them — maybe in previous years, but this one is supposed to be different. Another year goes that isn't 1968. But looking back, was '68 that wonderful of a season because they didn't win their bowl? I'm inclined to think they still do cherish that season. So I guess the motivation here is to win this bowl game since they can finally get another sullen streak off their shoulders. They've never won a bowl game. Frank Solich has brought them to four bowl games; they're 0-3 so far.
There's never an "easy" game (although Temple may have it) when a MAC team gets a bowl opponent. They're all supposed to be above-average, even though 6-6 is not always the most revered finish. Illinois is in a bowl and they're on a six-game losing streak. Nevertheless, Utah State is a legitimate bowl team. They played Auburn to the final whistle. They destroyed Wyoming, won at an always dangerous destination, Hawaii, and beat Nevada. They have good wins. OHIO has wins over Temple and ... sure, we'll throw Marshall in there because of the margin of victory.
But despite all the streaks they must break, they do appear to be a slightly better team. Say, one percent better. So I'll give 'em a 51 percent chance of winning. I rather hate being wrong about anything, so to emotionally invest oneself into a sporting event prediction is pretty foolish. There are only two possible outcomes, as is there two possible types of games this is: a close one or a blowout. Again, we'll never know, but I tend to lean on the side of it being close throughout with this staying in the high 20s/low 30s. Not unlike the temperature. I think I see what Paul Hershey is talking about now. (His Twitter account is back, by the way but is marked as private. He hasn't accepted my follow request.) And if LaVon Brazill can haul in some diving one-handers, maybe that'll help his draft stock for the NFL next year.
In conclusion, potatoes.