Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Heckler's Bowl Preview Special (Part 3 of 7)

Today I will start into the B.C.S. Bowl Games. First will be the Fiesta Bowl. On Monday I will go over the Sugar Bowl (#6 Ohio State v. #8 Arkansas).

Fiesta Bowl (Glendale, Arizona)- January 1, 2011
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Connecticut Huskies v. #7 Oklahoma Sooners



Connecticut Huskies (8-4, 5-2 Big East)
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Average Points per game: 26.9 (62nd out of 120 Division I-A teams)
Average Points Allowed: 19.8 (23)
Home record: 6-0
Away record: 2-4 (Lost to Michigan, Temple, Rutgers, and Louisville)
Total Yards (offense): 325.0 (96)
Last 6 (W-L): 5-1
Record v. top 25: N/A (Did not play a top 25 team during the season)

#7 Oklahoma Sooners (11-2, 6-2 Big XII)
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Average Points per game: 36.7 (17)
Average Points Allowed: 21.9 (35)
Home record: 7-0
Away record: 4-2 (Lost to #11 Missouri and Texas A&M)
Total Yards (offense): 478.1 (13)
Last 6 (W-L): 5-1
Record v. top 25: 4-1 (W: #17 Florida St.-Week 2, #21 Texas-Week 5, #9 Oklahoma St.-Week 12, #13 Nebraska-Week 13; L: #11 Missouri-Week 7)

BREAKDOWN:

The #7 Oklahoma Sooners are back to familiar grounds. They have been to the Fiesta Bowl twice in the previous 3 years. This is the Sooner Nation's third trip to Arizona in the last 4 years and they hope that this time it will be a more fun affair. Although when they look at their opponent they may fear that they are suffering from deja vu because the Connecticut Huskies are another smaller school with little, to no, Bowl tradition. The Sooners are tired of being the major conference school that the little schools get to step on, on their way to B.C.S. credibility. Bob Stoops may have the attention of his players this time around, but the Sooners are in the Fiesta Bowl because they couldn't handle their business during their week 7 match-up against then #11 Missouri (the Sooners had just taken the #1 spot in the B.C.S. earlier that week.). Once again the Sooners were seen as the school that just couldn't put everything together (they then went on the road two weeks later and got trounced by Texas A&M 33-16), the school that didn't show up for the important games. They are the softest 10 win team in the nation year in and year out. It is hard to argue that point if you look at the raw numbers of the last 7 years (2003 was the last time they won a B.C.S. Bowl Game [Rose Bowl]). They have lost 5 straight B.C.S. Bowl Games during that span (2 of those games were National Championship Game appearances). Connecticut on the other end of the spectrum is just arriving on the scene. They have been in Division I-A for only 13 years, and for them the number 13 is not an unlucky number. They have been to a Bowl Game for the last 5 years. This is their first ever B.C.S. Bowl appearance and they did it by winning the Big East and obtaining their automatic bid. The Huskies haven't played a top 25 team during the season. They also have the added scrutiny of the Nation. They have to show the Nation that they belong on the big stage. They have a chip on their shoulder that has been there for the last 13 years. They rely on a hard nosed running attack and a stingy defense. This has the makings of being another disappointment for the Sooner Nation. Bob Stoops better hope that the bitter feelings associated with the past 2 failings at the Fiesta Bowl are enough to get through another B.C.S. Bowl Game; this time with a win.

PREDICTION:

1st Half: UConn 17 #7 Okla. 10
2nd Half: UConn 10 #7 Okla. 24


Final Score: UConn 27 #7 Okla. 34

ANALYSIS:

#7 Oklahoma is going to come into the Fiesta Bowl sluggish and flat. Landry Jones is going to be harassed by the stingy Connecticut defense all over the field during the first half. The under estimated Huskies are going to take advantage of the lack of respect that the Sooners are going to show them at the start of the game. The first half of the game will be a coming out party for the Huskies running back Jordan Todman (1,575 yards, 14 TDs, 143.1 yards/game [2nd in the Nation], Big East Player of the Year). The Huskies will lead the #7 Sooners when the first half comes to a close. The Nation will think that the Sooners are once again going to go down to another small school. When the second half begins the Sooners will start to run some screens and shorter passes against the Huskies rush and stingy defense and they will utilize DeMarco Murray more in the second half to open up the defense a little more. The Huskies will be forced to bring up their safeties to help with the run and middle screens which will let Landry Jones and Ryan Broyles start to tear apart the Huskies secondary. The Connecticut Huskies will manage to score 10 more points and Todman will manage to rush for around his average but the Sooners will exorcise the demons of Fiesta Bowl's past in the second half of the 2011 Fiesta Bowl with a win over the Connecticut Huskies. With the win Bob Stoops will stay at Oklahoma (and spurn those other schools that have open positions) for another run at the National Championship in the 2011-2012 season. The Huskies will take this experience and grow from here. This will not be the last B.C.S. Bowl Game for the Connecticut Huskies.

-The Heckler

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