8-4 (4-4), 3rd Big 12 - South Division
9-3 (6-2), 2nd Atlantic Coast - Coastal
January 1, 1:00 pm, CBS
The Gator Bowl is a game where the strength of the high powered Texas Tech offense will go up against the tough Virginia defense. I will be the first to admit that I thought that the Cavaliers would be lucky to finish with 6 wins and go to a bowl game, but Al Groh got his team focused and had them challenging for the ACC Coastal division title. Texas Tech on the other hand, had what I would call a normal year for them winning eight games. Their marquee win was their last game where they beat Oklahoma and consequently knocked them out of the BCS title game.
The Red Raiders are a spread you out, throw the ball 50 plus times a game kind of team. Graham Harrell threw for a ton of yards this year, passing for 5298 yards with 45 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Reading numbers like that you will see why this offense is ranked 1st in passing offense, 2nd in total offense, and 6th in scoring offense, garnering 41 points per game. Youngster Michael Crabtree is Harrell's main recieiver. The speed and size of Crabtree allowed him to catch 125 ball for 1861 yards and 21 touchdowns. The Tech defense is about average but they do hold their opponents to only 20 points per game, which is peanuts when you compare it to how many they score each game.
As I said before, the Cavs have been so good because of the way they play defense. The Cavs won 5 games this year by 2 points or less. So they are use to being in close game. Offensively, Virginia is a below average team, 92nd in rushing offense, 78th in passing offense, and 85th in scoring offense with 24 points per game. Chris Long, son of TV announcer Howie Long, is the one of the main reasons the Cavs are 16th in total defense and 13th in scoring defense giving up just under 19 points per game. Long was third in the nation with 14 sacks, and he will be key in getting pressure on Harrell and hopefully forcing him into making bad throws.
Even though Virginia had an impressive resume' winning 9 games this year, they could've easily only won 6 with all the games that were really close. The Cavs definitely do not have the offense to keep up in a scoring fest with the Red Raiders, so for them to win they have to keep the Red Raiders under 20 points. I don't see that happened, especially with the Harrell-Crabtree connection. The Red Raiders will be held below their season average, but the Cavs won't be able to score enough to keep it close. Texas Tech 38 Virginia 13
Picking Texas Tech to Win
ITB Brian Sakowski, Bastard Sons of Pinfall Marks, ITB Charlie Swager, The LSC Scoop, Corn Nation, Pitch Right, Kansas It's Business Time, Sportsbone TV, MizzouRAH, Matt Kieta, Lorena The Dodgerchick, Jason Stiver, Rodney Polston, Dan Schoonover, Timmy B, Greg Gowins, Richard Dixon, Brian Isaacson, Logan Jaffe, Brant Churscial
Picking Virginia to Win
The Enlightened Spartan, ITB Ron Juckett, Football Frontier, Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician, Rizzo Sports, Sunny Verma, Pete Boivin, Cyril Tircuit, Jeff Brancolini, Lou Nemec, Mrs Corn Nation