Well the Ron Burgundy picture in the Poinsettia Bowl Preview was apropos. I feel completely miserable about picking the Cal Bears, San Diego. The Utah bowl game buzzsaw did it again beating Cal 37-27.
That's 9 straight bowl wins (the nation's longest streak) for Utah. Utah Coach Kyle Whittingham has won the last 5 of those games. The only thing I got right was Shane Vereen having a good game and getting at least 100 yards on the ground. He finished with 122 yards on 20 carries and 2 TDs. Cal had no shot at controlling the clock with erratic passing on crucial downs (pretty much any pass play in the first half). Utah's freshman QB Jordan Wynn had a rough start throwing a pick six to put his team down 14-0 in the first quarter. He then caught fire and finished the game by going 26/36 on passes for 338 yards and 3 scores. Despite no running game (50 yards on 35 carries) Utah owned the clock with over 35 minutes of possession. After rattling off 27 unanswered points (17 in the 2nd quarter), Utah had the game in their pocket before the end of the 3rd quarter. Don't let the final score fool you. Cal put together one good drive when it mattered and that score put them up 7-0 in the first quarter. Their 3rd quarter TD drive was nothing more than a tease since Utah always had an offensive answer.
Line of the Preview which came back to haunt me the most:
- Utah has a nasty habit of embarrassing BCS AQ conference teams in bowls, 4-0 record in the BCS era and an average score of 28.5 to 10.
Bowl Entertainment Factor: The perfect agony of having laid out good reasons for picking Utah and then botching it up.
So with no fanfare even though I'm in Hawai'i, I'm picking SMU. Sure it's the ponies first bowl game since 1984, but that was the Aloha Bowl so this is a homecoming in more ways than one. June Jones owned Hawai'i as the Head Football Coach. Don't remember this logo? That's because Jones took a program that had gone 0-12 the year before he got here and won 9 games in his first season (1999). He then took it upon himself to revamp the Hawai'i look. By 2001, he had changed the name of the football team to the Warriors. Jones was a dictator here who won more games than anyone could have imagined. He also got obliterated in the 2008 Sugar Bowl by Georgia and decided to move to Texas right after the game and take the job at SMU. Back to pertinent info, Nevada is missing their two 1,000 yard running backs, but still have QB Colin Kaepernick who also ran for 1,000 yards. It won't matter, June Jones is in his old stomping grounds at Aloha Stadium, SMU for the win.
Bowl Challenge Standings
MWC 3-0 1.000 Pt differential: 41
Sun Belt 1-0 1.000 (Dwight Dasher swagger boost override) Pt differential: 10
Big East 1-0 1.000 Pt differential: 21
WAC 0-1 .000 Pt differential: -7
C-USA 0-2 .000 Pt differential: -31
Pac 10 0-2 .000 Pt differential: -34