David’s Unstoppable Force vs. Goliath’s Immovable Object: 2013 Orange Bowl Preview

The Orange Bowl has been devoid of hype the past several years, but this year’s game is one of the most intriguing games of the postseason.

#13 Florida State (11-2) vs. #16 Northern Illinois (12-1)

For the first time ever, a team from the MAC will be playing in a BCS game as the Northern Illinois Huskies take on the Florida State Seminoles. The Huskies earned an automatic berth in the BCS by finishing in the top-16 of the BCS rankings and ahead of two AQ champions—Wisconsin from the Big 10 and Louisville of the Big East.  

Northern Illinois has been one of the top mid-major programs in recent history, winning 21-of-its-past-22 games and back-to-back conference titles, yet never achieved the same recognition or accolades as teams like Boise State, TCU, and Utah. Now, the Huskies will get their chance against a resurgent FSU squad.

They will be led by quarterback Jordan Lynch, a second-team All-American who was the fourth-leading rusher in the country with 1,771 yards—a FBS record for a quarterback. He has rushed for at least 100 yards in 11 consecutive games, which is another FBS quarterback record. He is just as potent through the air, racking up 2,962 yards and 24 touchdowns passing with only 5 interceptions.

His 4,733 total yards led the nation and were the driving force behind a Northern Illinois offense that ranks 9th in the country in both scoring offense (40.8 points per game) and rushing offense (250.2 yards a game).

Not only is this a classic David vs. Goliath matchup, it’s also one between an unstoppable force and an immovable object. That high-powered NIU offense will be going up against a vaunted Florida State defense that was second nationally in yards allowed seventh in scoring defense.

Lynch will have to keep an eye out for relentless defensive end Bjoern Werner, an All-American who has 13 sacks and 18 tackles for loss on the season.

The Seminoles entered the year harboring national championship hopes, but an upset at the hands of NC State scuttled those dreams. Still, Florida State rallied and managed to win the ACC and make a BCS bowl for the first time since 2005.

Keys to the Game

The major key to this game will be Lynch. How he fares will determine the outcome. If Florida State can shut him down, then the Seminoles will pull it out. If he can make some plays and be effective, then Northern Illinois will have a shot. He’ll have to be able to sustain drives to keep the Huskies’ defense from getting worn down by a bigger and more athletic FSU team.

The other big key will be the teams’ mental states. Northern Illinois will certainly be motivated to prove the naysayers wrong and show they deserve to be here. The Huskies are hungry, but this is also their first time in front of such a big audience. Will nerves get the better of them?

On the other side, how will Florida State respond? This isn’t exactly how they envisioned their season ending. The Seminoles were dreaming about playing in the national title game, not the Orange Bowl, and certainly not against an upstart like Northern Illinois. It’s a no-win situation for the Seminoles. If they win, they won’t get credit for the victory because they were supposed to win. If they lose, it’s another knock against a Florida State team lacking substance in its resume.

The Verdict

On paper, Florida State should win this game. Northern Illinois is good, but they haven’t played athletes anywhere near the caliber of Florida State’s. The questions will be whether Florida State shows up ready to play and how long Northern Illinois’ defense can hold up physically.

As much as I want Northern Illinois to win, I don’t think they can hold up for four quarters against a talented, albeit inconsistent, Florida State squad. The scrappy Huskies will give Florida State all it can handle, but in the end, the Seminoles will pull out a win.  

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The Granddaddy of Them All: Rose Bowl Preview

Happy New Year everyone! Hope you all had an enjoyable Christmas (or an awesome Tuesday for those of you who don’t celebrate the holiday) and a fun, safe New Year’s Eve.

January 1 not only marks the start of a new year but also traditionally is one of the most highly-anticipated days of the college football season. The marquee bowl games, the much-maligned BCS games, begin with both the Rose Bowl and Orange Bowl kicking off on the first day of 2013. Both offer intriguing matchups, but let’s look first at the Granddaddy of Them All, the Rose Bowl.

2013 Rose Bowl: #6 Stanford Cardinal (11-2) vs. Wisconsin (8-5)

This year’s edition of the Rose Bowl pits two smash-mouth teams who are almost mirror images of one another: #6 Stanford against Big 10 champ Wisconsin. Both teams like to play power football and pummel the opposition behind big, bruising offensive lines.

Before the season started, it wasn’t a stretch to think the Badgers would return to Pasadena for the third-straight year. After all, they returned star running back Montee Ball and had experienced quarterback Danny O’Brien transferring from Maryland to lead a team that went 11-3 a year ago. Not many people would have picked Stanford after the Cardinal lost standout quarterback Andrew Luck to the NFL while having to get past Oregon and USC in the Pac-12.

It’s a good thing they actually play out the season, then, because things didn’t quite work out that way.

Stanford proved it wasn’t a flash-in-the-pan with Andrew Luck, going 11-2 and knocking off both Oregon and USC when both were undefeated and ranked #2 in the nation. The Cardinal gave undefeated and top-ranked Notre Dame all it could handle, losing in overtime on a controversial goal line call. Stanford comes into the game with a seven-game winning streak that included wins over ranked opponents in its last four games.

Wisconsin stumbled this year, becoming the first five-loss team to ever play in the Rose Bowl. The Badgers actually finished third in their division but advanced to the Big 10 championship game because both Ohio State and Penn State were ineligible for postseason play. Once there, Wisconsin throttled Nebraska 70-31 to claim the Big 10 title. Shortly thereafter, Bret Bielema left to take over Arkansas in a move that stunned pretty much everybody. Current athletic director and former Wisconsin coaching legend Barry Alvarez announced he will return to the sidelines and coach the team for this game, adding even more intrigue. Alvarez is 3-0 in Rose Bowls, but he hasn’t coached a game since 2005. Does he still have what it takes, and if so, will that be enough against a tough Stanford team?

Keys to the Game

Whichever team is successful running the ball will win. Wisconsin is led by the aforementioned Ball, who set all-time FBS records for rushing touchdowns (76) and total touchdowns (82). He has rushed for 1,730 yards and 21 touchdowns on the year but will be facing one of the best run defenses in the nation. Stanford ranks third nationally against the run, yielding only 87.7 yards a game. Ball and backup James White (802 yards, 12 touchdowns) will have to find some holes because the Badgers are woeful through the air, ranking 115th at 162.6 passing yards a game.

Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor is no slouch himself, rushing for 1,442 yards and 12 touchdowns to go along with 38 receptions and 2 receiving touchdowns this year. Since Stanford only averages a little over 200 yards passing a game, Taylor will have to carry the load. He’ll be running against the country’s 22nd-best rush defense. He’ll have some help, though, as freshman quarterback Kevin Hogan has changed the Stanford offense with his dual-threat ability. Since taking over the starting role, Hogan has thrown 8 touchdowns against 3 interceptions while rushing for 193 yards.

The Verdict

Wisconsin ran all over Nebraska, but they won’t be able to do the same against a stout Stanford defense that shackled Oregon’s explosive attack. The loss of Bielema has to sting, and while the return of Alvarez should provide the Badgers with a morale boost, one has to wonder if he can shake the rust off in so little time. Fact is, this isn’t a great Wisconsin team. The Badgers finished third in their division, and if it weren’t for other teams’ ineligibility, they wouldn’t be anywhere close to this game.

Stanford is too good, too tough, and too disciplined for Wisconsin. Hogan has played well and transformed their offense, and he continues to get better. The Cardinal will win.

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How Not to Handle Asking Your Friends to be Bridesmaids [Bridezilla Alert]

As someone who has never been married, I always find it a bit comical when Brides go down the road of becoming a Bridezilla.

From thoroughly enjoying the trainwreck that is the show Bridezillas to watching friends have to suffer through some of the same ordeals, it does sincerely shock me that some women take one day so incredibly serious and over the top that it’s a wonder if their groom is completely obvious to all of it? But who cares if it makes for great entertainment, amiright?

Enter this letter that was sent to Gawker media and written by the Bride-to-be to all ten of her Bridesmaids that includes direct quotes such as:

  • I’m going to be setting some ground rules and its very important you read and think about everything through before you accept this honor to be a bridesmaid.
  • Also if you accept this honor another thing is that you need to be available, I’m not going to harass you with wedding stuff every hour of everyday but if its something important and it takes you a week even 2-3 days to get back to me seeeee ya!
  • Also if money is tight and you cant afford to contribute to say the bachelorette party or wont be able to afford a dress etc then L*** and Myself don’t have time to deal with that, I’m sorry. This includes flights as well, everyone knows the states where the parties are going to be held so if you wont be able to afford a flight then that means you cant make a party which ultimately means I cant have you as a bridesmaid.

Hit the jump to read the rest of the letter….

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Bridesmaids Deleted Scenes Are Just as Hilarious as the Movie

Most of you who saw Bridesmaids know it was one of the funniest movies made in years and was finally the.

With quotes like “I just shit in the street” and “I bet she meets him at the door beaver first” it might be hard to believe there was actually more to the movie that was left out of the theatrical version.

Lucky for you, the folks over at Funny or Die posted a video over 3 minutes long containing dozens and dozens of deleted scenes from the movie that easily can make you laugh your ass off again.

Clearly, this video is NSFW but you should check it out anyway…

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