Today's bowls

College Football

December 30, 2005|By ORLANDO SENTINEL

Music City Bowl

Minnesota (7-4) vs. Virginia (6-5)

WHERE -- The Coliseum, Nashville, Tenn.

TIME -- Noon

TV -- ESPN

ABOUT MINNESOTA -- It's all about the run for the Golden Gophers, who have a strong 1-2 punch at tailback in Laurence Maroney (fifth in nation at 135.5 ypg) and Gary Russell (40th at 95.0 ypg).

ABOUT VIRGINIA -- The Cavaliers gave up an average of 220.4 rushing yards in their losses, and that bodes ill for today.

THE BUZZ -- This is the third time in four seasons the Golden Gophers - who always seem to start fast, then fade once Big Ten play starts - have been in this bowl. Virginia is losing both coordinators to head-coaching jobs after this game. Presumably, they can pass along to their new teams their knowledge about how to underachieve.

THE LINE -- Minnesota by 4 1/2 .

THE PICK -- Minnesota, 27-24.

Sun Bowl

Northwestern (7-4) vs. UCLA (9-2)

WHERE -- El Paso, Texas.

TIME -- 2 p.m.

TV -- Chs. 13, 9

ABOUT NORTHWESTERN -- Senior QB Brett Basanez (3,206 passing yards with 19 TDs, 391 rushing yards with seven TDs) and freshman TB Ty rell Sutton (sixth nationally at 126.4 ypg) headline a powerful offense, but the defense is terrible.

ABOUT UCLA -- The Bruins' offen sive players have to be eager to get their shot at Northwestern's defense. On the other hand, their defensive players likely are edgy about going against Northwestern's offense.

THE BUZZ -- Defense? What's that? Let's hope each team reaches deep into its offensive arsenal.

THE LINE -- UCLA by 3.

THE PICK -- UCLA, 48-42.

Independence Bowl

Missouri (6-5) vs. South Carolina (7-4)

WHERE -- Shreveport, La.

TIME -- 3:30 p.m.

TV -- ESPN

ABOUT MISSOURI -- Senior QB Brad Smith is the only player in NCAA history to run for 4,000 career yards and throw for 8,000.

ABOUT SOUTH CAROLINA -- The offense has struggled all season, but if QB Blake Mitchell gets time, he'll carve up the Tigers' secondary.

THE BUZZ -- This would get an even bigger ho-hum except that it's Smith's college finale. He should make things interesting for the Gamecocks' defense.

THE LINE -- South Carolina by 4.

THE PICK -- South Carolina, 23-17.

Peach Bowl

LSU (10-2) vs. Miami (9-2)

WHERE -- Georgia Dome, Atlanta.

TIME -- 7:30 p.m.

TV -- ESPN

ABOUT LSU -- Starting QB JaMarcus Russell will miss the game with a sep arated shoulder, meaning sopho more Matt Flynn - who threw 26 passes this season - will get his first career start. It's vital for LSU to get big games from TBs Joseph Addai, Justin Vincent and Shyrone Carey.

ABOUT MIAMI -- The Hurricanes must be able to run or QB Kyle Wright is going to be in big trouble.

THE BUZZ -- That No. 3 ranking among the 28 bowls came before it was known Russell was out; his in jury makes this less of a big game.

THE LINE -- Miami by 7.

THE PICK -- Miami, 17-7.

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