Scouting report: Tuesday's bowl games

December 27, 2010|By Tribune Newspapers

CHAMPS SPORTS BOWL

N.C. State (8-4) vs. West Virginia (9-3)

When: 6:30 p.m.

Where: Orlando

TV: ESPN

About N.C. State (5-3 ACC): The Wolfpack could have won the ACC's Atlantic Division with a victory at Maryland in the final week of the regular season, but getting eight regular-season victories — N.C. State's most since 2002 — isn't a bad consolation.

About West Virginia (5-2 Big East): The Mountaineers closed out the season on a four-game Big East winning streak, but it wasn't enough to earn the conference's BCS bid. A 19-14 loss to Syracuse and a 16-13 overtime loss at Connecticut cost West Virginia a BCS bowl slot. Junior DE Bruce Irvin leads a punishing West Virginia defense with 12 sacks, while senior RB Noel Divine and sophomore QB Geno Smith lead the balanced offense.

Watchability: 3 stars out of 5

INSIGHT BOWL

Iowa (7-5) vs. Missouri (10-2)

When: 10 p.m.

Where: Tempe, Ariz.

TV: ESPN

About Iowa (4-4 Big Ten): The Hawkeyes have had a tough season. They entered an Oct. 23 game against Wisconsin unbeaten in the Big Ten and ranked but lost. They bounced back the next week with a win over Michigan State, which kept them in the title hunt. But they lost their last three games of the regular-season, including the finale to Minnesota, to finish 7-5.

About Missouri (6-2 Big 12): The Tigers raced out to a 7-0 start, including a 36-27 upset of eventual Big 12 champion Oklahoma. Missouri's offense then stalled under more intense defensive pressure. The Tigers lost 31-17 at Nebraska and 24-17 at Texas Tech, tumbling out of the Big 12 title race. Missouri closed out its season on a three-game winning streak. Senior C Tim Barnes, junior TE Michael Egnew and sophomore DE Aldon Smith all earned first-team All-Big 12 honors for helping Missouri post a 10-2 record. The Tigers' defense has been especially effective, ranking second nationally by limiting opponents to 15.2 points per game.

Watchability: 2 stars out of 5

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