Greg Bloatedtag….

Former Utah Jazz center Greg Ostertag has been out of professional basketball for 5 years.  Until now.  Ostertag made his D-League debut last night for the Dallas Maverick affiliate Texas Legends.  Apparently, he thought the “D” stood for his cup size.  Ostertag was never a fitness role model, but this is just bad….

I never could stand ‘Tag when he was with the Jazz.  He was lazy, out of shape and never once reached his full potential.  Good to know things haven’t changed.

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NBA Season/Playoff Preview and Predictions.

With the NBA season upon us, it’s only right that an “NBA meth-head” like me makes my predictions on playoff teams, awards and who’s going to win the NBA Finals.

The lockout presents some interesting changes to basketball this season – a 66 game schedule played in 126 days.  This means a multitude of back-to-back games that are sure to take a beating on player’s bodies both mentally and physically.

With the whirlwind of free agency happening so quickly due to the aforementioned lockout, a lot of players were moved very quickly, and with no summer league and a shortened training camp and preseason it will be very interesting to see how teams develop chemistry.

I expect a roller coaster season filled with unpredictable wins and losses from teams all across the board. Unlike seasons in the past, the competition is balanced with talented, hungry and experienced teams in both conferences.

EASTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF TEAMS

1. Miami Heat:  After a heartbreaking loss in the Finals last year I expect the Heat to play with a vengeance all season long.  After seeing them in their first few games this season, they look unbeatable when focused.  They play the best defense in the league and have a multitude of scoring threats with two potential MVP’s (Lebron and D-Wade) at the helm.

2. Chicago Bulls:  Picking up where they left off a season ago, the Bulls are now a year older and more experienced.   Led by MVP Derrick Rose, the Bulls are hungrier than ever to avenge their loss to the Heat in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals.  Adding veteran Rip Hamilton was a great move, The Bulls now have a catch and shoot scorer who will be able to capitalize off Rose’s penetrating and playmaking ability.

3. New York Knicks – A full season of Amar’e and Melo together should spell trouble for opposing defenses all season.  Throw in Tyson Chandler and Baron Davis and you have a team that can make some serious noise in the East.  The biggest question is whether or not the Knicks can play anything that resembles respectful defense.

4. Atlanta Hawks: After finally bouncing out their division rivals the Orlando Magic in the playoffs last year, the Hawks look to move beyond the second round for the first time in franchise history.  Having invested heavily in keeping their core intact, the Hawks will have the exact same starting lineup as they had a year ago.  I’m thinking another year of experience will bode well for this team; however, Kirk Hinrich recovering from shoulder surgery will be a big loss.

5. Boston Celtics: With the “Big Three” another year older, the Celtics seem to be a little less threatening.   They are still feeling the effects of trading away Kendrick Perkins and to top off that deal, Jeff Green is out for the season with an aortic aneurysm (wishing you a safe and speedy recovery).   Acquiring Brandon Bass was a nice move, but the C’s desperately need an addition of youth/talent if they hope to have any real success.

6. Orlando Magic: The Magic’s entire season is covered in a cloud of uncertainty and confusion.  The ultimate goal of the front office is to convince Dwight Howard to stay while keeping him happy and motivated.  If the Magic can persuade Howard to align himself with the franchise, they will at the very least remain competitive.   The additions of Glen Davis and Von Wafer are helpful, but the Magic are a shadow of the Finals team they were a few years ago and are in need of some talented acquisitions in order to once again seriously compete.  If Dwight Howard does end up getting moved, all bets are off and the Magic once again go back into rebuilding mode – having lost two of the greatest centers of the past 20 years.

7. Indiana Pacers:  The Pacers are my sleeper team this season.  Not to win it all, but to surprise the league with how well they can play.  Adding David West to their already solid, young core the Pacers could challenge in the East.  Tyler Hansborough and Paul George have another year of experience under their belt and the addition of George Hill gives this team another point guard option.  The biggest key to this team is Roy Hibbert; if he can continue to improve, Indiana could be scary.

8. Philadelphia 76ers:  With the leadership of Doug Collins, I expect the 76ers to continue to improve on their promising season from a year ago.  This team has a myriad of gifted young players – Jrue Holiday, Lou Williams, Jodie Meeks, Thaddeus Young and Evan Turner.  The question will be if Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand can step up and be leaders, because this team will definitely have go through some growing pains this year in order to reach their potential.

WESTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF TEAMS

1 Oklahoma City Thunder:  The Thunder are no longer the up-and-coming team they have been deemed the past few seasons.  2010-2011 was a breakthrough year for the Thunder and there’s no reason to think that they won’t continue to improve and contend.  This team has their entire core back, including a healthy and much slimmer Kendrick Perkins.  They had a taste of success last year reaching the Western Conference Finals and now they are ready to take the next step.  Kevin Durant is the truth and will gather his fair share of MVP votes this season.

2. Dallas Mavericks:  Coming off a fairytale like playoff run that included a sweep of the Lakers and a stunning defeat of the favored Miami Heat in six games of the NBA Finals, the Mavs are in the enviable position of having to defend an NBA title.  Nowitzki will once again put up numbers and having both Jason Terry and Lamar Odom (acquired from the Lakers) off the bench, this team will still be incredibly dangerous but will miss Tyson Chandlers game changing defense, as well as JJ Barea’s firepower.

3. San Antonio Spurs:  Sure the Spurs haven’t won it all since 2007, but they are in the mix year in and year out regardless of age.  Age will play a factor, especially with Tim Duncan, but the Spurs are still tough and will now have to focus on developing young players like Kawhi Leonard, James Anderson, Gary Neal, DeJuan Blair and Tiago Splitter.  Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili can still carry a team and Gregg Popovich is the best coach in the NBA.  I’m not saying the Spurs are going to win it all, I’m just saying don’t write them off just yet.

4.  Los Angeles Lakers:  After last year’s monumental collapse to the Dallas Mavericks, change was apparent and necessary for the Lake Show. Enter new coach Mike Brown.  The Lakers essentially traded Lamar Odom for Troy Murphy, Josh Mcroberts and Jason Kapono – all of which have talent.   However, the Lakers desperately need a point guard (missing out on Chris Paul was a huge blow) and neither Matt Barnes nor Metta World Peace (I can’t believe I really have to call him that) are the players they once were.  Kobe’s wrist could be problematic and their entire season relies on whether or not the Mamba will be able to play.   I am very interested to see how the changes the Lakers made end up panning out.

5. Memphis Grizzlies:  After upsetting the Spurs and pushing the Thunder to seven games in last season’s playoffs, the Memphis Grizzlies have officially arrived as a legitimate threat in the Western Conference.  Zach Randolph proved himself to be a reliable and legitimate star that came up big time and time again for the Grizz all season long.  The re-signing of Marc Gasol, keeps a young, exciting core intact and ready to make a big push this season.  The biggest question will be whether or not a healthy Rudy Gay will add to or take away from the chemistry of an already burgeoning team.

6. Los Angeles Clippers:  With the Clippers making the biggest trade of the offseason for perennial all-star point guard Chris Paul, “Lob City” was born.  Throw in veterans Chauncey Billups and Caron Butler with human highlight reels Deandre Jordan and Blake Griffin and you have the most exciting team in the league.  The Clippers are my pick to fill the void left by the Thunder as the up-and-coming team to watch out for in the NBA.  They need to figure out how to clear up the logjam at the point guard position (Paul, Billups, Mo Williams and Drew Bledsoe all deserve minutes) and are still young and will need some to gel and gain chemistry, but once they do – watch out.

7. Portland Trailblazers:  The loss of Brandon Roy was a significant blow to the Blazers.  Nonetheless, the additions of Gerald Wallace (last season), Jamal Crawford and Raymond Felton alongside rising stars Lamarcus Aldridge and Wesley Matthews (I miss him in Jazz uniform) give Portland a solid, young, athletic team poised to do some damage.  Nate McMillan is a brilliant coach, who amongst incredible adversity (injuries and letdowns), continues to find ways to win.  Portland fans have plenty to be optimistic about.

8. Denver Nuggets:  Much like Indiana in the East, the Nuggets are my sleeper team out west.   They are continuously left for dead (Carmelo trade, JR/Kenyon/Wilson Chandler China deals) and still find ways to win.  Brining back Nene was a key move alongside bringing in solid role players such as Andre Miller and Corey Brewer.  Expect the Nuggets to be just as exciting as they have been in past seasons.

PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS

1st Round, East:  Heat over 76ers, Bulls over Pacers, Knicks over Magic, Hawks over Celtics

1st Round West:  Thunder over Nuggets, Mavericks over Blazers, Clippers over Spurs, Lakers over Grizzlies (Finally a Pau v Marc Gasol matchup!)

2nd Round East:  Heat over Hawks, Bulls over Knicks

2nd Round West:  Thunder over Lakers, Mavericks over Clippers

Eastern Conference Finals:  Heat over Bulls

Western Conference Finals : Thunder over Mavericks

NBA FINALS: Heat over Thunder

Leaders of the New School….

This  is a picture of Lil Wayne sitting court side at the Lakers v Bulls game on Christmas Day.

(MEWN BOOTS!)

First the Jeggings at the VMA’s and now this atrocity.  Rap is about being fly, it always has been.  There is NOTHING fly about what Wayne is doing here.  He’s not a martian, he’s a clown out for attention.  The ONLY dude who could ever pull anything like this off is Andre 3k.  Period.  Lil Wayne deserves to have both his hood and manhood passes revoked.

Between the aforementioned, his face tattoos and a laundry list of other suspect behaviors, Wayne is no longer “misunderstood,” he’s full blown confused with how to live.  I’ve never seen a more eligible candidate for a life coach.  I hope no other rapper calls him out,  b/c it would be a disappointment – the biggest battle Wayne will ever face is with his identity crisis.

Next we have Aubrey.  With a name like that, he’s been doomed since Jump Street.  I will further elaborate my loathing for this individual in an upcoming post.

No self-respecting hip hop artist should be playing tennis.  Play a sport with some credibility; like basketball, or maybe toss the football around a little.

However, if you must play tennis, keep your shirt on and don’t expose your Aaliyah tattoo.   I am a fan of Aaliyah as much as the next guy but that doesn’t excuse inking her face on your body.  Buy a painting or a sticker.

The only men who should be allowed to ink a woman’s face on their body are those who have served prison time.  Drake is the antonym of that.  In the case that he did get locked up, he would be passed around for enough cigarettes to give every inmate in Rikers lung cancer.

The most disturbing thing about these pictures are that these are artists topping the hip-hop charts, winning Grammy’s and are widely excepted as some of the best, most talented people in the industry.  I won’t deny that both Drake and Wayne have talent, I just can’t except their lack of masculinity and shame.  If this is the direction hip hop is headed, I’ll be listening to the Zeppelin for the rest of my days.

At least I can take solace in knowing that some artists can still stick to the code and be men.  Common not only dropped the best hip-hop album of 2011, but elaborated quite well on the point I am trying to bring home in his video for the song “Sweet.”  Thank you Mr. Common Sense.

I will say this, Drake wants no part of Common.

Goodbye Memo.

I’m a huge Jazz fan.  Having grown up a few short blocks from the stadium I have witnessed a few different generations of this team.

The trading of Mehmet Okur (to New Jersey for a 2015 second round pick and a trade exception) marks a sad day in my Jazz fandom.  He was a key piece to the resurgence of the Jazz in the post Stockton and Malone era, especially the year he made the All-Star team.

I understand and actually like the trade.  The Jazz get rid of the log jam in their front court, allowing more minutes for young guns Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors, and clearing $10.8 million off the books.

Now, Kevin O’Connor (The Utah Jazz GM) can trade any Jazz player or draft pick for another player whose contract is within 10.8 million of the traded players. Also, there is some flexibility with the trade exception .  The Jazz can’t combine it with trades, but can split it to take multiple players – such as signing a $5M player and then a $4M player later. And since this happened in late December, the Jazz will have all of the 2011-2012 season plus the first month of the 2012-2013 season to see if a team wants to dump a good player.

I’m sure the front office was happy to dump Memo’s salary after several injuries cost him the majority of his 2010-2011 season.  However, I’m also sure they weren’t happy to get rid of Memo the person.  He’s a fantastic individual (I had the privilege of interviewing him several times) who’s steady play helped the Jazz tremendously during his seven year tenure.

I’m also bummed he won’t be able to continue making Kanter feel more comfortable, as both big men hail from Turkey.  Although this does allow for the rest of the team to rally around Kanter to acclimate him, thus building friendships and chemistry.

Farewell Money Man, I wish you nothing but the best, unless you’re playing the Jazz.

I will admit, losing Larry Miller, Hot Rod Hundley Jerry Sloan, Phil Johnson, Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer, Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver, Ronnie Price, Andrei Kirilenko (most likely) and now Memo has been hard to take as a fan.  Although, I have faith in Kevin O’Connor and am optimistic in the rebuilding process.

*** PS – I will be posting both my NBA and Utah Jazz season previews in the next few days.

The Dark Knight Rises Film Trailer 2. (OMG!)

I saw The Dark Knight three separate times in the theater and at least another dozen on DVD.  It’s one of my all time favorite movies, so my anticipation for The Dark Knight Rises is through the roof.

The second trailer for the film gives us a much better look at what seems to be a much more vulnerable and older Batman, as well as his enemies – Catwoman and Bane (who looks absolutely menacing).

Director Christopher Nolan is genius and one of the best filmmakers currently in the industry. He’s completely resurrected not only the Batman franchise, but elevated the quality and expectations of super hero movies.

In the original comic, Bane attacks Batman in the Batcave, defeats him, and breaks his back, leaving him a paraplegic.  It will be very interesting to see if Nolan follows that storyline – consequently ending the Batman franchise.

Needless to say, my excitement for this movie has officially reached a fever pitch.  July 20, 2012 (the films release date) has been marked in red ink on my calendar

Album Review: B-Side – B, Myself and I.

One of my goals with this blog is to try and help out Salt Lake City’s music scene by writing reviews, posting new songs and helping with whatever other promo I could offer.  After extending this offer via a few social networking sites, B-Side emailed me with his album and press kit asking me to review it for him.

B-Side (B. Masina) is a local emcee, born in California and raised in Salt Lake City’s west side neighborhood Rose Park.  His album B, Myself and I is a collection of stories of street life, struggle, love and the everlasting desire to achieve ones dreams.

The album boasts solid production from a handful of locals and a sharp, steady flow from B-Side.  In his press kit it was mentioned that B draws comparisons to Scarface – which I find dead on.  Both emcees have voices that are undeniable, throaty deliveries and straight forward cadences.  One thing that sticks out to me about B-Side, is his no nonsense approach.  He foregoes technicalities and overly flashy mechanics and sticks to what he’s good at.

Another element to B-Side, is his gift to sing.  This added talent creates depth and diversity to the album.

You can download the album HERE.

Stick to the Code – This is a good intro song.  The beat (produced by Tonga Kid) has a little knock to it; which I like.  B makes his presence felt right off the bat and the Nate Dogg-esque hook works well.  However, the braggadocio, street life subject matter is cliché.

B, Myself and I (featuring Kombo) – This is the type of song that happens to rappers all the time – a good concept with flawed execution.  B tells a story of growing up with little to no options.   Although gifted, smart and talented, he feels hopeless due to his environment, and bad decision making.   I don’t like the hook at all, it sounds forced and unnecessary, alongside a Kombo verse that takes away instead of adding to the song.  I’ve never been a fan of unnecessary collaborations; the goal is to add depth and enhance the song, but in this case it took a potentially powerful and cathartic message and made it sound like a group therapy session.

Love (featuring Koa) –   I think B-Side’s girl was upset that he had been spending too much time in the studio and not with he, so he did what any logical man would do to justify more time in the booth – he wrote a song to try and patch things up.   I think B-Side is a smart guy, but there is nothing inspired or intelligent about this.   It’s a run of the mill advice column about treating your girl right.   Everything about this song is juvenile; the concept, the lyrics, the intended audience, all the way down to the beat, which sounds like it was made using a Speak and Spell.

Come Too Far (featuring Ya Boy Pell) – I call this the “hook, line, sinker.”  What I mean by this is, potentially amazing songs are sunk to a lower level by a poor hook.  This is a plague that has affected a myriad of great emcees throughout hip-hop history (Eminem, Nas, Pac Div).   Pell and B-Side go back and forth trading fantastic bars over a dope, choppy, synth beat.  This song would have been one of the stand outs of the album with a different hook.

Dream Killas (featuring Melody) – This song has a ballad type feel to it.   From the classical piano instrumental to the powerfully sung hook.  B-Side delves deep into his feelings about never giving up.  The entire concept stresses the significance of continuity.  I could hear this on popular radio.

Dopeman (featuring Decoy) – This is my favorite song on the album so far.  This is meat and potatoes rap.  Dope lyrics, dope beat (which comes secondary to the emcees) and a simplified hook.  B-Side and Decoy pull off a solid collaboration, using drugs as a metaphor of falling victim to a corrupted lifestyle all while staying true to the unwritten laws of the streets.

High Heels – This sounds like a failed attempt to mimic a YMCMB love song.  I hate when artists dumb down their material to try and make a hit.  I feel the exact same way about this as I do with “Love.”

Okay, I am now more than half way done with this album and I’ve noticed a trend that I don’t dig that much.  7 of the first 8 songs have hooks that have been sung.  It’s getting to the point of overdose.

I Want Mines – B-Side dreams big about how he wants the “good” life.  He’s focused and determined to once again reach his goals.  This song reminds me of the scene in Scarface, where Tony tells Manolo he wants the world and everything in it.

Stone Cold (featuring Mad Max) – Despite the singing (again) on this track, I really dig it.  Tonga Kid drops the hardest beat on the album so far and Mad Max and B sound determined to punch a hole through it.   B-Side shows his versatility, weaving in and out of the beat with both a slow and sped up flow.

Definition of Cool (featuring Liu Vakapuna) – B-Side can rap.  Point blank.  He does his thing on this song, spitting with swagger and confidence, proving he’s as cool as he says he is.  However, the hook  is absolutely terrible and ruins this song for me.  It’s unfortunate, because this song had a lot of potential, but it has no replay value whatsoever.

Tell Me Why (featuring Josh Wawa White) – I like this.  The hook and instrumental have a very reggae/island feel to it and B-side some poignant bars about struggling and the confusion, anger and heartache that come with it.

Wussup Uce (featuring Kombo) – This is dope – reminds me of something Westside Connection would drop in the late 90’s.  B and Kombo go back and forth onwhat is sure to be a hood anthem.  I LOVE when emcees are able to incorporate their own slang into a song and make it relatable to everyone .  This song has some hair on its chest.  Well done.

Glass Ceilings (featuring Lem Seumanu & Kis B) – This is my favorite song on the album.  It’s powerful.  B-Side and Kis wax poetically about the struggles of immigrant families.  They tell a story of the difficulties to succeed and how most families continue the trend of working multiple jobs.  This is a song with a beautiful message, performed nearly flawlessly.  You can hear the pain in both emcees voices and the hook becomes the summation of the entire concept.

Cleaning out the Lake (featuring Kis B, Mike Skilz, Syncronice, & Ya Boy Pell) – There’s nothing not to like about this song.  I dig posse cuts and this one is no exception.  B recruited a bunch of my favorite local dudes and the result was dope.  There was no concept to this song, just a bunch of dudes going in.  No one person stole the show, but no one came weak either.

B-Side has a lot of talent.  He flows nearly effortlessly and has the ability to express his thoughts on multiple issues.  Though, upon listening to the album, I feel like I’ve heard it before.  The subject matter and concepts have been touched on by a multitude of emcees. (outside of glass ceilings).  However, the potential of B can’t be denied and am excited to see his growth and progression as an artist.

Another thing that impresses the hell out of me, is B-Side’s professional approach to his music.  I’ve heard WAY too many local albums that sound like they were recorded in a shower stall located in the basement of steel manufacturing plant.   The sound quality, artwork, mastering and his press kit highlight his focus and dedication towards his music.  There are so many artists who are talented music wise, but do not understand the business aspect of the industry.  B-Side is one of those rare breeds that understands and handles both sides.

Additionally, not once on the album did B-Side sounds hesitant, out of place or uncomfortable.  This can be attributed to the confidence he has in himself and his abilities.  This is a strength very few emcees possess.

B-Side has aligned himself with local label Green Light Records and Boomboxx Music.  A local powerhouse, chock-full of talent, that has taken the Salt Lake City music scene by storm over the last few years.  The label continuously pumps out quality music, videos and performances.  If B continues his relationship with his label, I only see him gaining more success and popularity.

B, Myself and I is a solid album filled with genuine emotion, grit and desire.  I have no doubts that B-Side will continue to  progress and advance over time.

Leblog James Official College Football Bowl Predictions

There are WAY too many bowls and The BCS is a corrupted, greed filled system.  I couldn’t care less about 90% of these games, but I’ll do my best to put in my two pennies.

Gildan New Mexico Bowl  (Wyoming v Temple)–  Wyoming is much improved from last year, but Temple’s balanced offensive attack will win them the game. Pick – Temple.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Utah State v Ohio) – Congrats to coach Gary Andersen for getting his team to their first bowl game this century.  I loved him when he was Utah and he’s done amazing things up in Logan.  Robert Turbin runs wild in this game.  Pick – Utah State.

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl (San Diego State v Louisiana Lafayette) – Louisiana obviously has the home field advantage in this match up, but  SDSU’s offensive firepower will prove too much for the Cajuns. Pick – San Diego State.

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl  (Florida International v Marshall) – Marshall, at 6-6, barely squeaked into this game playing in a weak conference.  Meanwhile the FIU defense holds opponents to the 16th fewest points in the nation. Pick – FIU

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl (TCU v Louisiana Tech) -LTU is riding a 7 game win streak.  TCU has lost 2 games in the last 2 years.  TCU has steadily improved all year and will prove to be strong in all aspects of the game.  Pick – TCU

MAACO Bowl Las Vegas (Arizona State v Boise State) –  The Sun Devils looked poised to take the Pac-12 South early in the season, and then their season took a fast and hard nose dive including a 4 game losing streak that cost Dennis Erikson his job.  Boise State is another missed field goal away from the BCS and are offended and insulted that they received this bowl invite.  I fully expect them to take out that anger on the field the same way they did against Utah last year.  Pick- Boise State.

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl (Nevada v Southern Mississippi) – Colin Kaepernick is not walking through the door for Nevada.  Southern Miss won their first C-USA title since 2003.  The party doesn’t stop there.  Pick – Southern Miss.

AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl  (Missouri v North Carolina) -Both team were disappointing throughout the season.  UNC rode a weak schedule, while Missouri posted impressive wins over ranked opponents.  The Tiger are the better, more talented team and that should manifest itself in this game.  Pick – Missouri.

Little Caesars Bowl  (Purdue v Western Michigan) – I would rather watch a Toddlers and Tiaras marathon than this game.  Purdue is a better team playing in a better conference.  Pick – Purdue.

Belk Bowl (Louisville v North Carolina State) –  After starting 2-4, Louisville won 5 of their last 6 games.  NC State posted it’s first back to back winning seasons since 2002-2003.  However, they have never been able to recover from Russell Wilson jetting to Wisconsin.  Pick – Louisville.

Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman (Toledo v Air Force) – Toledo will score early and often in this game, like they have all season (avg 42.3 ppg).  Air Force’s run game will put up yards and points, but they won’t be able to keep up.  Pick – Toledo.

Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl (Texas v California) – Texas still isn’t back to their perennial powerhouse status, though they have improved from last year.  Cal has a lot of weapons on both sides of the ball, but they still don’t stack up to the Longhorns.  Pick – Texas.

Champs Sports Bowl  (Florida State v Notre Dame) -The QB carousel at Notre Dame will not go well against Florida State’s 4th ranked defense.  Notre Dame has been plagued by turnovers all season and I don’t expect that to change in this game.  Pick – Florida State

Valero Alamo Bowl (Baylor v Washington) –  Heisman winner Robert Griffin will continue his incredible season by shredding the Washington defense.  However, The Huskies will be able to keep this game close and interesting led by All-American running back Chris Polk.  I’m very excited for this game.  Pick- Baylor.

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl (Tulsa v BYU) – BYU had a very weak schedule, but did win 9 games this year.  Since Riley Nelsen became the full time QB, BYU has played a more inspired and clean brand of football.  Boasting a steady offense and stout defense, I expect BYU to be able to handle Tulsa’s balanced ground attack.  Pick – BYU.

New Era Pinstripe Bowl (Iowa State v Rutgers) – I know nothing of these two teams, and I don’t care to.  Iowa State beat OK State so I assume they can beat Rutgers.  Pick – Iowa State

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl (Mississippi State v Wake Forest) – Both teams have 6-6 records. One team plays in the SEC and has losses to Auburn, LSU and Alabama.  Pick – Mississippi State.

Insight Bowl (Iowa v Oklahoma) – Both teams have been up and down this season.  Iowa lose to Minnesota one week, then beats Michigan.  Oklahoma was once in contention for a national title shot, but a rash of injuries left the team depleted.  The Sooners still have the #4 offense in the country and I expect them to roll in this game.  Pick- Oklahoma.

Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas (Texas A&M v Northwestern) – A&M was ranked as high as #8 in the polls before falling to a 6-6 record.  Northwestern had a mid season 5 game losing streak before bouncing back with a win over #10 Nebraska.  However, NW’s one-dimensional offense will prove to be their downfall. Pick – Texas A&M.

Hyundai Sun Bowl (Utah v Georgia Tech) – Georgia Tech continues their mastery of the run game, leading a balanced attack (3 players posted 600+ rushing yards this season).  The Utes have a very strong run defense, but they have sputtered at times throughout the season (versus Washington and Colorado).  The true Achilles’s Heel for the Utes, as it has been all season, will be their offense, which has been nothing short of anemic.  Although, Utah Coaches Kyle Whittingam and Norm Chow are masters of preparation and schematics and have posted impressive bowl records respectively.  Pick – Utah

AutoZone Liberty Bowl (Cincinnati v Vanderbilt) – Cincinnati lost their QB Zach Collaros, and were still able to post a 9-3 record.  Vandy is an improving team, but still don’t have what it takes to win a bowl game.  Pick – Cincinnati

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (UCLA v Illinois) – You couldn’t pay me to watch this suck fest. UCLA won the Pac-12 South in embarrassing fashion and shouldn’t even be playing in a bowl game (6-7 record).  Illinois started the season 6-0 and ended up tail spinning- losing their next six to finish the season at .500.  The Illini’s losing streak doesn’t end here.  Pick – Illinois.

Chick-fil-A Bowl (Auburn v Virginia) – Losing Cam Newton as well as having to play in SEC West proved problematic for Auburn this year.  The Tigers will also be without RB Michael Dyer, who has been suspended for the game.  Virginia beat ranked foes Georgia Tech and Florida State while posting their first winning season in four years.  However, SEC > ACC.  Pick – Auburn

TicketCity Bowl (Penn State v Houston) – Quite possibly the most intriguing match up this bowl season.  Amidst the Sandusky scandal, Penn St. boasts an absolutely suffocating pass defense. Houston QB Case Keenum etched his name in the record books, passing for over 5,000 for the third time in his college career.  The Cougars fell one game short of a perfect season and a BCS bid.  This is classic clash of offense vs defense. Pick- Houston

Outback Bowl (Georgia v Michigan State) – The match up between the BCS’s 16th and 17th-ranked teams proves to be incredibly compelling.  Both teams played and lost in their conference championship games.  Both have elite quarterbacks and an arsenal of weapons making them very evenly matched.  Pick – Michigan State.

Capital One Bowl (Nebraska v South Carolina) – South survived the dismissal of QB Stephen Garcia and a season-ending injury to RB Marcus Lattimore to maintain a 10-2 record.  The Cornhuskers competed in the Big Ten for the first time this season.  At 9-3 they sit one win behind their record from last year in the Big 12.  Resiliency  shines the brightest in this game.  Pick – South Carolina.

Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl (Florida v Ohio State) –  This rematch of the 2007 title game will post much different teams and results.  Florida is still rebuilding and Ohio State is still recovering from the scandal that rocked their program significantly.  Florida had a brutal schedule, which can account for the majority of their losses.  Home field advantage will play a big part in this game.  Pick – Florida.

Rose Bowl Game (Wisconsin v Oregon) – This game will be a shootout!  Both teams bring in top-flight offenses led by Heisman candidate running backs.  Montee Ball and company will prove to be big and strong for the Ducks as they lose their third straight BCS game.  Pick – Wisconsin.

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl (Stanford v Oklahoma State) –  Both teams were oh-so-close to making the national title game.  Both teams have explosive offenses and much like the Rose Bowl, this game will be a high scoring affair.  I have no idea how this game will pan out because both teams are so evenly matched, but I have a feeling it will go down to the wire and have a score similar to an Arena League game.  Pick- Stanford (only because I want to see Andrew Luck win one more game before replacing Peyton Manning).

Allstate Sugar Bowl (Michigan v Virginia Tech) – The Wolverines are officially back!  Michigan averaged 34.2 points per game on offense and both teams allow 17.2 ppg.  Virginia Tech’s two losses this season came at the hands of Clemson.  This will be a defensive battle, but I feel that Michigan has the offensive firepower to prevail.  Pick – Michigan.
Discover Orange Bowl (Clemson v West Virginia) – Clemson won their first ACC title since 1991 behind solid QB play and defense.  West Virginia won the incredibly overrated Big East with one of the best passing attacks in College Football.  However, The Mountaineers have a terrible run offense that will prove to be problematic in this game.  Pick – Clemson.

AT&T Cotton Bowl (Arkansas v Kansas State) – Arkansas is one of the best teams in the nation, but has the misfortune of playing in the SEC West.  Their only losses on the season come to Alabama and LSU.  Kansas State has a strong offense led by dual threat QB Collin Klein.  Oklahoma and Oklahoma State collectively exposed the weaknesses of the Wildcats and I expect the Razorbacks to do the same thing.  Pick – Arkansas.

BBVA Compass Bowl (SMU v Pittsburgh) – Pitt sucks.  Their offense is terrible (Utah held them scoreless) and they are without their star RB Ray Graham.  SMU has sputtered through the second half of their season, but they did beat TCU.  Pick – SMU.

GoDaddy.com Bowl (Northern Illinois v Arkansas State) – Huh?  I care more about the crumbs collected in my truck than this game.  Pick – Northern Illinois.

BCS  National Championship Game (LSU v Alabama): I hate this game.  These two teams have already played (and the game sucked).  Time to let someone else have a chance ‘Bama, you had yours and lost at home.   I sincerely hope that these teams can actually score a touchdown or two.  However, I feel that the Tigers are flat out the better team and I loathe Nick Saban.  Pick- LSU.