One question continues to dominate the minds of Miami fans. Everything seemed to heat up yesterday, and by Monday we'll finally have some closure one way or another. Some fans are in full support while others seem apathetic to the whole situation. Vanderbilt Coach James Franklin might play a vital role in determining the outcome. By now I'm sure you guessed the question I'm referring to: Will John Pickens finish bowl season with a winning record? Sit back, relax, and watch things unfold in front of you.
Alabama’s surprising loss was a setback, but I rallied with two huge wins last night. Clemson stepped up and earned a bragging-rights win for the ACC. Missouri did just enough to survive by relying on RB Henry Josey in the red zone. My bowl record is 15-16-1 with just three games remaining. To finish with a winning record, I have to go 3-0. My strategy is simple. Take it one game at a time. Enjoy your weekend.
BBVA Compass Bowl
VANDERBILT -2.5 vs Houston 1pm – TODAY – ESPN
Will this be the last game at Vanderbilt for HC James Franklin? He is certainly a hot name and is being considered for several potential openings at the moment. Franklin has done an amazing job in Nashville and I trust him to have his team ready, regardless of the distractions surrounding him. Backup QB Patton Robinette gets the start for Vandy and I expect him to play well after gaining valuable experience in November. He has one of the best WR‘s in the nation to help him out. Look for Jordan Matthews to have a huge afternoon. Vanderbilt is now a team built on toughness and the Dores’s defense will create problems for Houston’s spread offense. Houston’s schedule was tougher in November and the Cougars showed they weren’t ready to compete for a conference championship by losing three of their last four. QB John O’Korn is a talented freshman, but he’ll make a few mistakes against a solid Vanderbilt defense. Franklin’s team sends him off a winner.
BALL STATE -7 vs Arkansas State 9pm – SUNDAY – ESPN
The MAC has been dreadful this bowl season, but Ball State will help stop the bleeding. Arkansas State HC Bryan Harsin left for Boise State, leaving the Red Wolves searching for answers once again. Blake Anderson is the new HC, but DC John Thompson will lead Ark State into a bowl game for the second straight season. Ball State has an explosive offense, led by veteran QB Keith Wenning and WR Willie Snead. Ball State averages 40ppg and will start fast and open up an early lead. Ark State QB Adam Kennedy is efficient, but threw just 11 TD on the season in a run-heavy offense for the Red Wolves. Arkansas State isn't build to come from behind and won't have the firepower to stay with Wenning and company. Ball State wins by double digits on Sunday night.
SOTU STAFF PICKS
Jerry Steinberg (17 – 14 - 1 record) – Vanderbilt, Ball State
Josh Maser (16 – 15 - 1 record) – Vanderbilt, Arkansas State
Michael Grunewald (15 – 16 - 1 record) – Vanderbilt, Arkansas State