December 24, 1998
By RICHARD ROSENBLATT
AP Football Writer
The bowl season has come to this: One game matters, maybe two; the others
College football wants a national title game, and just about has one when
No. 1 Tennessee (12-0) plays No. 2 Florida State (11-1) in the Fiesta Bowl on
While the winner will be crowned national champion in the USA Today-ESPN
coaches’ poll, No. 3 Ohio State still has an outside shot at finishing No. 1 in
The Associated Press’ media poll.
The Buckeyes (10-1) would need a convincing win over No. 8 Texas A&M (11-2)
in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, followed three days later by a lackluster
Seminoles’ victory over the Volunteers in Tempe, Ariz.
Voters in the AP poll consider all bowl games before casting final ballots,
while the coaches have agreed to make the Fiesta Bowl winner No. 1 no matter
what happens in the other bowls. The final AP poll is released on Jan. 5.
Looking for a few other entertaining games over the holidays? Try the Micron
PC, Alamo, Holiday, Liberty, Gator and Orange for starters.
– Micron PC: Features two intriguing pro prospects – North Carolina State
wide receiver Torry Holt vs. Miami running back Edgerrin James.
– Alamo: Can a depressed No. 4 Kansas State (11-1) shake off the
disappointment of being bounced out of a Bowl Championship Series game and
rebound against Drew Brees and unranked Purdue?
– Holiday: Will speed-demon No. 5 Arizona (11-1), deflated after losing out
on a Rose Bowl trip when UCLA lost to Miami, outrun No. 14 Nebraska (9-3), or
will the Huskers avoid their first four-loss season since 1968?
– Liberty: Shaun King, the nation’s passing efficiency leader, tries to put
the finishing touches on a perfect season when No. 10 Tulane (11-0) plays
– Gator: No. 17 Notre Dame (9-2) is reason enough to tune in, but in No. 12
Georgia Tech (9-2), the Irish are dealing with a team it was lucky to beat last
season. And the Yellow Jackets haven’t forgotten.
– Orange: If you like the color orange, then show up in Miami on Jan. 2 when
No. 7 Florida (9-2) plays No. 18 Syracuse (8-3) in an all-orange Orange Bowl –
at the Orange Bowl. Footballs will be flying, too, with Donovan McNabb – in his
last game for the Orangemen – going pass-for-pass with the Gators’ Doug
Tune in to the Cotton Bowl, too, for Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams’
last game at Texas. The Longhorns go against Mississippi State, which put a
scare into Tennessee before losing in the SEC title game.
Aloha Bowl (Friday)
No. 21 Oregon (minus 5 1/2) vs. Colorado
Ducks may not be over season-ending loss to Oregon State. … COLORADO,
Oahu Bowl (Friday)
No. 16 Air Force (minus 3 1/2) vs. Washington
Running of Blane Morgan vs. passing of Brock Huard. … AIR FORCE, 24-20.
Insight.com Bowl (Saturday)
No. 23 Missouri (minus 3 1/2) vs. West Virginia
Tigers’ defense capable of shutting down Famous Amos. … MISSOURI, 31-24.
Music City Bowl (Dec. 29)
Virginia Tech (minus 5) vs. Alabama
‘Bama is 10-0 vs. Hokies; Tech lost three times by combined 10 points. …
Micron PC Bowl (Dec. 29)
No. 24 Miami (minus 7) vs. North Carolina State
Look for a game of big plays. … MIAMI, 34-31.
Alamo Bowl (Dec. 29)
No. 4 Kansas State (minus 12) vs. Purdue
Wildcats are down, Purdue QB Drew Brees can put them out. … PURDUE,
Humanitarian Bowl (Dec. 30)
Southern Mississippi (minus 16) vs. Idaho
Eagles’ 1-2 punch of RB Derrick Nix and WR Sherrod Gideon should dominate.
… SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI, 41-14.
Holiday Bowl (Dec. 30)
No. 14 Nebraska (minus 3) vs. No. 5 Arizona
Huskers may outsize Wildcats, but ‘Zona will outrun them. … ARIZONA,
Liberty Bowl (Dec. 31)
No. 10 Tulane (minus 7) vs. Brigham Young
Green Wave try for perfect season with a new coach. … TULANE, 38-21.
Sun Bowl (Dec. 31)
Southern California (minus 16) vs. Texas Christian
Does TCU belong in the postseason? … SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, 35-13.
Peach Bowl (Dec. 31)
No. 13 Virginia (minus 2) vs. No. 19 Georgia
With two-way star Champ Bailey, ‘Dawgs may have the edge. … GEORGIA,
Independence Bowl (Dec. 31)
Texas Tech (minus 9 1/2) vs. Mississippi
Ole Miss has much to overcome – new coach, three-game losing streak. …
TEXAS TECH, 28-14.
Outback Bowl (Jan. 1)
No. 22 Penn State (minus 6 1/2) vs. Kentucky
Wildcats have a QB (Tim Couch); Lions have a defense. … PENN STATE,
Gator Bowl (Jan. 1)
No. 12 Georgia Tech (minus 1 1/2) vs. No. 17 Notre Dame
Irish lack offense, Tech doesn’t. … GEORGIA TECH, 28-21.
Citrus Bowl (Jan. 1)
No. 15 Michigan (minus 3) vs. No. 11 Arkansas
Both teams looking for a 10-win season. … ARKANSAS, 27-24.
Cotton Bowl (Jan. 1)
No. 20 Texas (minus 6 1/2) vs. No. 25 Mississippi State
Longhorns can pass, too. … TEXAS, 35-24.
Rose Bowl (Jan. 1)
No. 6 UCLA (minus 9 1/2) vs. No. 9 Wisconsin
Bruins’ Cade McNown passes for more points than Ron Dayne can run for. …
Sugar Bowl (Jan. 1)
No. 3 Ohio State (minus 12 1/2) vs. No. 8 Texas A&M
Buckeyes 2-7 in bowls under coach John Cooper. … OHIO STATE, 31-23.
Orange Bowl (Jan. 2)
No. 7 Florida (minus 7 1/2) vs. No. 18 Syracuse
Last time Gators coach Steve Spurrier was part of this one, it was as the
’66 Heisman winner. … FLORIDA, 34-31.
Fiesta Bowl (Jan. 4)
No. 2 Florida State (minus 5) vs. No. 1 Tennessee
Watch for a Bobby Bowden trick play to turn game. … FLORIDA STATE, 17-13.