Happy freakin New Year!

Great line-up of College football games today. Let’s dive right in.

  • 4.00pm Live South Carolina vs. Iowa - Outback Bowl - The South Carolina Gamecocks face the Iowa Hawkeyes in the 2008 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay
  • 9.30pm Live Penn State vs. USC - Rose Bowl - Pete Carroll and his USC Trojans face a stern test against the Penn State Nittany Lions in the 2009 Rose Bowl

Those are just the games live on Irish television. It’s funny, isn’t it? Over the other side of the Atlantic Ocean people will be watching the big College Bowl games of the day. It’s not just Americans living in Ireland either. There is a pretty big American football league here, so many of the thousand or so people who play in that will be tuned in. As will those who got hooked to the NFL when it was on C4 in the eighties. Plus the new batch, the ‘blow in’ NFL fans who came upon the sport more recently on Sky TV.

Looking at the three games. First up South Carolina against Iowa. First thing that jumps off the page, recent form. South Carolina is coming off losses to Florida and Clemson by a combined score of 87-20. Iowa won five of its final six games, including an upset of Penn State, to reach its fifth January bowl game since 2002. That’s finishing with a flourish. ESPN’s college scouts predict;

‘’ The running of Shonn Greene and a stout defense will carry Iowa to an Outback Bowl win over South Carolina.’’

From what I have read it’s hard to see past Iowa. The line? Iowa –3.5. That’s pretty appetising.

Penn State against USC. Ex Patriots coach Pete Carroll against the old stalwart Joe Paterno. Two brilliant defences slugging it out, and 11-1 Penn State getting nine points. Take the points and run. Enjoy the hits, too.