Bowling On, Part 2

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Bowling On, Part 2
by Warren DeLuca

We complete our preview of the bowls with a look at the games to be played after the calendar is flipped. All times listed are Central time, and asterisks (*) indicate underclassmen who are eligible to enter the draft.

January 1

Outback Bowl: Tennessee vs. Penn St.
(10:00 am, ESPN)
Tennessee WR Robert Meachem* (#3) has over 1,200 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns this year. LT Arron Sears (#76) is very athletic and has started at least one game at every O-line position other than center. CB Jonathan Wade (#4) can fly but is rough around the edges after splitting time as a wideout early in his career and devoting most offseasons to running track. Penn St. RB Tony Hunt (#26) is a between-the-tackles bruiser. LT Levi Brown (#67), a converted defensive tackle, has the quickness to thrive in a zone blocking scheme. OLB Paul Posluszny (#31) was a top prospect before suffering a knee injury a year ago in the Orange Bowl, and he finally appears to be fully recovered.

Cotton Bowl: Auburn vs. Nebraska
(10:30 am, Fox)
Auburn RB Kenny Irons (#23) is a tough, physical runner who has battled through injuries as a senior. LG Ben Grubbs (#69) was a tight end as a freshman and is very light on his feet for a lineman. Nebraska DE Adam Carriker (#90) is the best run-stuffer at his position in the draft and could play end in a 3-4 defense.

Gator Bowl: West Virginia vs. Georgia Tech
(Noon, CBS)
Georgia Tech WR Calvin Johnson* (#21) is an elite talent who has been compared favorably to Randy Moss.

Capital One Bowl: Arkansas vs. Wisconsin
(Noon, ABC)
Wisconsin LT Joe Thomas (#72) is the top O-line prospect in the draft and a top-five overall pick.

Rose Bowl: USC vs. Michigan
(4:00 pm, ABC)
Southern Cal WR Dwayne Jarrett* (#8) is not a burner but has great size, leaping ability, and hands. C Ryan Kalil (#67), the son of a former Houston Gambler, is undersized but has the intangibles to do the job. LT Sam Baker* (#79) would be a first rounder if he came out but appears to be staying in LA for his senior season. DE Lawrence Jackson* (#96) leads the Trojans with 11 tackles for loss but his sack total dropped to four this year after registering 10 in 2005. OLB Keith Rivers* (#55) flies around the field. Michigan LT Jake Long* (#77) is similar to Baker in that he’d be an early pick if he came out, but has indicated that he’s staying in school. DT Alan Branch* (#80) is a two-gapper who can collapse the pocket. DE LaMarr Woodley (#56) is a tweener who could end up as a 3-4 outside linebacker. CB Leon Hall (#29) will likely be the top defensive back in the draft.

Fiesta Bowl: Boise St. vs. Oklahoma
(7:00 pm, Fox)
OU RB Adrian Peterson* (#28) is expected to play in his first game since breaking his collarbone in October; he’s a franchise back if he can stay healthy. OLB Rufus Alexander (#42) has the speed but struggles when taking on blockers.

January 2

Orange Bowl: Louisville vs. Wake Forest
(7:00 pm, Fox)
Louisville QB Brian Brohm* (#12) will likely stay in school, especially after missing time due to injury this year. DT Amobi Okoye (#91) can clog up the middle but what really intrigues the scouts is the fact that he is only 19 years old and still has a great deal of physical development in front of him.

January 3

Sugar Bowl: Notre Dame vs. LSU
(7:00 pm, Fox)
Notre Dame QB Brady Quinn (#10) is the consensus choice, at least at this point, to be the first pick in the draft. WR Jeff Samardzija (#83) has the height, reach, and hand-eye coordination to give him a shot at any ball thrown in his direction and is very difficult to defend in the red zone. DE Victor Abiamiri (#95) showed what he could do against top competition last year when he dominated USC OT Winston Justice, a 2006 second rounder. SS Tom Zbikowski* (#9) is a hitter but will struggle if manned up on receivers. LSU QB JaMarcus Russell* (#2) has a combination of size, arm, and mobility comparable to a pre-2005 Daunte Culpepper. WR Dwayne Bowe (#80) is a big, physical receiver who makes his living going over the middle, while WR Craig Davis (#3) is more of a speedster. DT Glenn Dorsey* (#72) explodes off the ball to wreak havoc in the backfield. FS LaRon Landry (#30) has great instincts and makes plays against both the run and the pass.

January 8

BCS Championship Game: Florida vs. Ohio St.
(7:00 pm, Fox)
Florida WR Andre Caldwell* (#5), the brother of Patriots WR Reche Caldwell, has rare speed. DE Jarvis Moss* (#94) is a pass rusher who preserved the Gators’ one-point win over South Carolina by blocking an extra point attempt and a field goal attempt. MLB Brandon Siler* (#40) is a big hitter and a leader on the Florida defense. OLB Earl Everett (#30) has great speed but does not take on blockers well so he is best suited for the weak side. FS Reggie Nelson* (#1) is an outstanding athlete and is having a big year. OSU QB Troy Smith (#10) has always been very mobile but has opened eyes this year with his ability as a passer. RB Antonio Pittman* (#25) plays bigger than his size and has the speed to break off long runs. WR Ted Ginn, Jr.* (#7) is a gamebreaker as both a receiver and as a return man. WR Anthony Gonzalez* (#11) is more of a possession receiver. C Doug Datish (#50) has played center, guard, and left tackle, but will play inside in the NFL. DT Quinn Pitcock (#90) is a run stuffer who plays hard on every snap.

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