Pac-12: NC State Wolfpack

Orange Bowl prediction

January, 3, 2011
1/03/11
11:12
AM ET
You may have noticed that I am not in South Florida for the Discover Orange Bowl, which has been capably covered by Heather Dinich and Andrea Adelson.

But that doesn't mean I'm not going to pick the game!

Andrea provided some insights here and here and predicted Stanford to win 37-24.

That sounds pretty reasonable. I'm going with Stanford, too, 35-28.

I see a game that figures to be in doubt until well into the fourth quarter. And I think that, in the end, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is the difference. Virginia Tech has faced a few good quarterbacks -- Boise State's Kellen Moore and NC State's Russell Wilson top the list -- but no one like Luck. And no one with an elite running game to support him.

I expect Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor and the Hokies' outstanding rushing attack to give the Cardinal some trouble. Further, we really don't know if all the "We don't know where Harbaugh is going but he is going" talk has been a distraction. There's a lot of down time at bowl games. Players chat. You know that has been a hot topic, particularly with the young guys coming back in 2011.

Count on that being the excuse/explanation if Stanford lays an egg.

Still, this has been a mentally tough, focused team. And it's a talented one. By season's end, the Cardinal were playing as well as any team in the nation.

So Stanford should get it done. Then we all can worry about where Harbaugh will land (and if Luck is headed to the NFL draft).

WSJ: USC is the big show

December, 28, 2010
12/28/10
3:00
PM ET
When NCAA sanctions against USC included a two-year postseason ban, the bowl season took a major hit.

Or at least that's what the Wall Street Journal says. "When Southern California is in a bowl game, TV viewers tune in," the business newspaper reported this week.

How so? Well, the WSJ wanted to measure which teams moved the needle among viewers: "To figure out which teams are the most popular TV draws during the bowl season, we looked at the national viewership figures for every bowl since 1998. We then ranked each school based on whether it exceeded or fell short of its bowls' average audience size."

And the numbers showed that USC was the top draw, even over Notre Dame.
The best was USC, which exceeded its expected audience size by 29%. The most famous example of this was its epic national-title loss to Texas in 2006, which drew 35.6 million viewers—33% more than what the title game has averaged since its inception.

The ACC won't like the numbers. Four of the worst draws hail from the conference: Clemson, Georgia Tech, NC State and Virginia.

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PAC-12 SCOREBOARD

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