Thursday, December 28, 2006

BOWL PREVIEW: Champs Sports Bowl

This is the kind of game where you look at the line-up and say, "That team is in the Champs Sports Bowl?"

For the Maryland Terrapins, it's the kind of question you ask because you're shocked that a team once vying for a major conference crown (and, yes, calling the ACC this year "major" was a stretch, but technically correct) is playing in a game named for a sports merchandise store.

But look at this picture and doubt that Josh Wilson can kick your butt.

On the other hand, you look at Purdue and say, "Purdue is in a bowl?" Yes, after their ignomious defeat at the hands of such powerhouses as Notre Dame and Iowa (and calling the caning at Iowa an "ignomious defeat" is being generous), Purdue ran through every unranked team on their schedule to finish 8-5.

Bowl: Champs Sports Bowl
Location: Orlando
When: Dec. 29, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
Purported reason for existence: To pair an ACC team and a Big Ten team.
Real reason for existence: So that the PetroSun Idependence Bowl doesn't sound quite so bad.
Teams: Maryland vs. Purdue
Interest level: Standard Oil in its heyday. There's no competition (unless you have NFL Network), so there's no choice.
Key player for Maryland: The other team. There is literally no statistical category that justifies Maryland having a winning record. This indicates that most of their opponents imploded. Looking at their schedule -- which includes Miami and Florida State -- simply confirms the obvious.
Key player for Purdue: DE Anthony Spencer, who has (gulp) 26.5 tackles for loss -- no, you're not reading that wrong -- and 10.5 sacks, five forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
Winner: Maryland. They seem to have accomplished more. But both these leagues were weak so, really, who can tell?

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