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2010 BCS Bowl Preview: 5 Things to Watch for in the National Championship Game

For the first time since the 2006 Rose Bowl, two undefeated teams will square off in the BCS national championship game when No. 1 Alabama takes on No. 2 Texas on January 7. To conclude our 2010 BCS Bowl Preview, here are five things to watch for in the 2010 title game.

1. Can McCoy rebound?
Senior quarterback Colt McCoy hasn’t had many bad outings throughout his collegiate career, but Nebraska’s defense dominated him in the Big 12 title game. He completed 20 of his 36 pass attempts but it went for only 184 yards and zero touchdowns. He also threw three interceptions as he struggled with his decision-making and his pre-snap reads. It’s not a total shock that McCoy had problems moving the ball on the ninth best defense in the nation, but how will he fair against an Alabama D that ranks second in the country? The Crimson Tide have allowed just 11 points per game this season (best in the NCAA) and just 163.77 passing yards per game. There’s no doubt ‘Bama will study what Nebraska did against McCoy and employ similar tactics to slow him and Texas’ offense down. Can the senior QB overcome his poor outing in the Big 12 championship and lead his team to victory or will the Tide defense abuse him just like the Cornhuskers did?

2. The Heisman winner vs. the No. 1 run defense in the nation
One of the marquee matchups of the bowl season will pit Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram against the Longhorns’ No. 1 run defense. Texas has allowed just 62.15 rushing yards per game this season, while Ingram has averaged 118.62 YPG. At times, Ingram has been the Tide’s only offense this season. But what happens if the Longhorns limit Ingram’s effectiveness and force quarterback Greg McElroy to beat them through the air? More on that question…

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Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @TheScoresReport. You can also follow TSR editor Gerardo Orlando @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom, and you can follow TSR editor Anthony Stalter @AnthonyStalter.

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2010 BCS Bowl Preview: 5 Things to Watch for in the Fiesta Bowl

One of the more intriguing matchups of the 2009-2010 bowl season takes place in Glendale, Arizona when No. 4 TCU takes on No. 6 Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl on January 4. As part of our 2010 BCS Bowl Preview, here are five things to watch for in the 2010 Fiesta Bowl.

1. The most controversial matchup of the bowl season
The TCU-Boise State matchup represents everything that’s wrong with the current BCS system. Instead of these two teams having the opportunity to prove themselves against BCS conference teams, the Horned Frogs and Broncos will play each other…again. These same two teams squared off last year in the Poinsettia Bowl and while it was a tightly contested game, true college fans would rather see how TCU and Boise would fair against a program like Florida or Georgia Tech. Instead, neither team will be able to prove much, which is exactly how the BCS wants it. Nevertheless, this is an exciting matchup that comes fully stocked with plenty of intrigue and drama associated with the game.

2. TCU’s No. 1 defense vs. Boise’s No. 1 scoring offense
It doesn’t get any better then when the No. 1 defense in the country gets to take on the No. 1 scoring offense. Along with being first in the nation in total defense, the Horned Frogs have the sixth best scoring defense, the third best run defense and the fourth best pass defense. Thanks to Jerry Hughes, Daryl Washington, Tank Carder and a host of others, TCU arguably has the fastest and most aggressive defense in the nation. But don’t expect the Broncos to cower to the Frogs’ dominant defense. Led by quarterback Kellen Moore, Boise ranks first in scoring, 20th in rushing and 30th in passing. They average over 44 points per game, are No. 1 in sacks allowed and 8th in total offense. But if there was one thing they struggle with, it’s red zone efficiency. Thanks to their spread offense, Boise can score quickly with big plays. But the closer they get to the end zone, the harder it becomes for them to score because they lack a power running game. Can Boise improve in that area in order to beat TCU?

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2010 BCS Bowl Preview: 5 Things to Watch for in the Sugar Bowl

No. 3 Cincinnati will try to put Brian Kelly’s departure to Notre Dame behind it when it takes on No. 5 Florida at 8:30PM ET on New Year’s Day. As part of our 2010 BCS Bowl Preview, here are five things to watch for in the Sugar Bowl.

1. Cincinnati’s potent passing attack vs. Florida’s vaunted defense
Led by quarterback Tony Pike and explosive receiver Mardy Gilyard, the Bearcats rank sixth in the nation in passing offense, total offense and scoring offense. Cincinnati averaged almost 40 points per game this season and houses one of the most deadly passing games in the country. That said, they’ll be heavily tested by a Florida defense that has the third best pass defense in the nation, the fourth best overall defense and the third best scoring defense. Only Alabama (11.0) and Nebraska (11.23) have allowed fewer points than Florida’s mark of 11.54. Led by defensive backs Joe Haden, A.J. Jones and Major Wright, the Gators have virtually been impossible to throw on. Making matters worse for opponents, Florida also has a fearsome pass rush, led by defensive linemen Jermaine Cunningham and Carlos Dunlap. At the center is linebacker Brandon Spikes, who is the heart and soul of the Gators’ defense. Cincinnati will certainly have to earn everything it gets come New Year’s Day.

2. The Gators’ rushing attack vs. the Bearcats’ suspect run defense
Florida boasts the 10th best rushing attack in the nation, averaging 225.23 yards per game. That doesn’t bode well for a Cincinnati run defense that is surrendering over 140 yards per game this season. The Bearcats’ defense is fast and aggressive, but struggles when opponents attack them right up the middle. In their three closest games this season, Connecticut, West Virginia and Pittsburgh all had success running up the gut. If Florida starts pounding the rock up the middle, it could take control of the game early by grinding out the clock and keeping Cincinnati’s high-powered offense on the sidelines.

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The Official Sugar Bowl Smack Talk Thread: Cincinnati vs. Florida

The 2010 Sugar Bowl will have plenty of intrigue surrounding it when the Florida Gators take on the Cincinnati Bearcats on New Year’s Day. For the Gators, Tim Tebow will be playing his last collegiate game of his career, while the Bearcats will try to overcome the loss of their head coach, Brian Kelly, who ditched them for Notre Dame.

2010 Sugar Bowl Game Information
Matchup: Florida (12-1) vs. Cincinnati (12-0)
Venue: Superdome, New Orleans
Kickoff: 8:30PM ET, January 1
TV: FOX
Odds: Florida –10

Key Stats:
Cincinnati will have its hands full trying to move the ball against a Florida team that ranks 4th in the nation in total defense, 3rd in pass defense and third in scoring. Led by linebacker Brandon Spikes, the defensive line pair of Jermaine Cunningham and Carlos Dunlap, as well as a secondary headed by safety Major Wright, the Gators have one of the best defenses in the country. Offensively, Tebow leads a group that has averaged over 225 rushing yards per game this season and over 34 points per outing.

If any team were to move the ball on Florida, it might be Cincinnati, which has the sixth best offense in college football. Led by quarterback Tony Pike and receiver Mardy Gilyard, the Bearcats rank 6th in passing offense and 6th in scoring (averaging 39.83 points per game). Defensively, Cincinnati has the top passing efficiency unit in the country and are 48th in total defense.

The Bottom Line:
Cincinnati has more than enough weapons to contend in this game, but how will they fair without Kelly calling the plays? And even though this looks like a great matchup for Florida, will the Gators get up for the Sugar Bowl after failing to reach the national title game again? One would think that Tebow would get his team up to play this game, but don’t forget Alabama quit last year in this same venue and got rolled by Utah.

Let the smack begin:

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Who will win the 2010 Sugar Bowl?
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The Official Rose Bowl Smack Talk Thread: Ohio State vs. Oregon

The Big Ten Champion Ohio State Buckeyes will battle the Pac-10 Champion Oregon Ducks in the 2010 Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day. In order to help get you ready for the game, below is a viewing guide complete with TV information, kickoff times, odds and more.

2010 Rose Bowl Game Information
Matchup: Ohio State (10-2) vs. Oregon (10-2)
Kickoff: 4:30PM ET
TV: ABC
Odds: Oregon –3.5

Key Stats:
Ohio State comes into this game with the 19th best rushing offense in the nation, led by running backs Daneil “Boom” Herron and Brandon Saine, as well as quarterback Terrelle Pryor (who almost went to Oregon before deciding on OSU). The Buckeyes also have the fifth best run defense in country, the 17th best pass defense and are ranked fifth in both total defense and scoring defense.

Oregon has been an offensive juggernaut this season, averaging over 37 points (they rank seventh in the nation in scoring offense) and over 236 rushing yards per game (sixth in the nation). The backfield tandem of LaMichael James and Jeremiah Masoli has been tough to stop this season and the duo is aided with the return of one-time Heisman candidate LeGarrette Blount, who missed 10 games after serving a suspension. Defensively, the Ducks rank 32nd against the run and 37th against the pass.

The Bottom Line:
This game offers a great matchup between the Ducks’ sixth-rated rushing attack versus the Buckeyes’ fifth-rated run defense. But the key to victory might be whether or not the undersized, fast Oregon defense can match up to the physical (yet inconsistent) OSU offense.

Let the smack talk begin:

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Who will win the 2010 Rose Bowl?
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