The bowl season kicks off this weekend with three of the 35 games being played and the New Mexico Bowl which features the BYU Cougars taking on the UTEP Miners is the first game. BYU hails from the Mountain West and UTEP comes out of Conference USA, but even though the schools are in different leagues the schools have a fairly deep history from when the two were in the WAC from 1967-1999.
Both teams are heading in opposite directions, BYU started the season 1-4 while playing two quarterbacks -- freshman Jake Heaps and junior Riley Nelson -- and then turned things around once Heaps was named the starter. BYU then finished the season going 4-2. UTEP started off 5-1 and then went into a tailspin by finishing 1-5, but that one win came against C-USA West winner SMU. Also, UTEP is coming in with a slightly banged up quarterback Trevor Vittatoe, but he is expected to play and is regarded as the Brett Favre of C-USA since he has started every game since a freshman.
Do not sleep on this game, for one it is the first bowl game of the season and last years game between Wyoming and Fresno State was an exciting game went into overtime with Wyoming winning, and the New Mexico Bowl curse will be in full effect. Since the New Mexico Bowl was formed in 2006 the winning team has yet to ever have a winning season again. So, beware of your rooting interest.
As for the result of the game my prediction is that it will be a close game with BYU pulling out the win 31-27. This game kicks off at 2 p.m. (eastern) and will be on ESPN, as will all of Saturday's games.
Since this is the first weekend of college football in two weeks with more then one game, I will blindly pick the other two games of the day. The game following the New Mexico Bowl is Fresno State (8-4) taking on Northern Illinois (10-3) in the Humanitarian Bowl at 5:30 p.m. (eastern), and the night cap takes everyone south to New Orleans where Troy (7-5) takes on Ohio (8-4) 9 p.m. (eastern).
For the Humanitarian Bowl I am going with Fresno State because Northern Illinois lost their coach Jerry Kill to Minnesota and they will be coached by Tom Matukewicz who is the linebacker coach. Their replacement is Wisconsin defensive coordinator Dave Doeren, but he is staying with Wisconsin to coach in the Rose Bowl. I am going with Fresno State because head coach Pat Hill has the best mustache out West. Fresno State 35 Northern Illinois 24.
As for the finale, I really do not know much of Ohio or Troy. Well, I know Troy was a Sun Belt power for the past few years besides this current year. However, since picking bowl games is exciting I will go with Troy topping Ohio 30-24 mainly because Troy may bring in more fans and have had recent success of being good.