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The Jeff Falconio Blog

Five Under The Radar Bowls To Watch

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Bowl season heats up starting tonight and each day gets better through the end of December.  We understand that not every bowl has the sizzle of a BCS matchup but there are a few goodies to keep your eye on.


It begins tonight with the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl between Arizona State and sixth-ranked Boise State.  This one may not be totally under the radar with the 11-1 Broncos but if you're a fan of passing this is a can't-miss game.  Boise State, led by Kellen Moore, ranks 10th in passing offense with Arizona State right behind them at 11th.  The Sun Devils had an up-and-down season with a 5-1 start followed by a 1-5 finish.


College football fans get an early Christmas gift with the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl on December 24.  21st-ranked Southern Miss skyrocketed up the radar after upsetting undefeated Houston in the Conference USA Championship.  Still, the nation may not be aware of the Golden Eagles and quarterback Austin Davis.  Meanwhile Nevada comes in with the unique pistol offense that produced the eighth best rushing attack in the country.


Next is the Military Bowl Presented By Northrop Grumman (no, I'm not making that one up) on December 28 pitting Toledo and Air Force.  If you've had your fill of passing this is a game for you.  Air Force, as usual, features a powerful rushing attack, one that produced an average of 320 yards on the ground per game.  Toledo averages 221 rushing yards and may have found a secret weapon in quarterback Terrance Owens.  In his last two starts Owens threw for a combined 593 yards with a 78% completion rate.


This time of year you occasionally see the strength-against-strength matchup and the Bell Helicopter Armed Forced Bowl is such a matchup.  Tulsa ranks 23rd in scoring offense and after September the lowest offensive output for the Golden Hurricane was 16 in a loss to Houston.  In the previous two weeks Tulsa had scored 59 and 57.  BYU finished 23rd in scoring defense and ended the season yielding just 34 points over the final three games.  The Armed Forces Bowl is December 30.


Truly last but not least is the Bowl on January 8 between Sun Belt champion Arkansas State and Northern Illinois.  Both teams won 10 games and feature dynamic quarterbacks.  The Red Wolves are led by Ryan Aplin who was last seen torching Troy with 356 yards and three touchdowns.  It's also worth noting Aplin threw for more yards than Stanford's Andrew Luck.  The Huskies are piloted by WSW favorite (and future NFL third-stringer) Chandler Harnish.  The two-way threat threw for 2,942 yards and also led the team in rushing with 1,382 yards.

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