LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
If it seems like there's been a college bowl game every night for two weeks, it's because there has been. And couch potatoes get ready: There are six football games today. NPR's Mike Pesca is here with a preview of some of them. Even Mike can't talk fast enough to get them all.
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WERTHEIMER: Mike, welcome.
MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: Hello.
WERTHEIMER: Now, there are some big name college teams playing today: Penn State, Nebraska, Florida, Ohio State. Those are just some of the games, of course. Which match-ups interest you most?
PESCA: I'm looking at Houston and Penn State. Now, let's be clear. Even though I'm talking about Houston, this is not the Houston Bowl, which was later renamed the Texas Bowl, which is now the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas. It's not that bowl game.
But this is why I like the Houston-versus-Penn State matchup: Houston has an amazing offense. They average over 600 yards a game, and they're scoring about 50 points a game. It is a juggernaut. Of course, these numbers were put up against such teams as the North Texas Mean Green.
The Penn State team is a much more conventional, solidly constructed Big 10 team, and they allow only 15 points a game, one of the best defenses in the country. And that's the kind of matchup - for all the flaws of the bowl system, when you get two teams of such differing types playing against each other, it can be interesting. I'm going to check out Houston versus Penn State.
And another good early game, just because I think the teams are good and a little underrated: Michigan State versus Georgia. That'll be one I'm watching, too.
WERTHEIMER: OK. So, on to the Rose Bowl. Big 10 champion Wisconsin meets Oregon's high-powered offense. How does that one look?
PESCA: Yes. And Wisconsin has a high-power offense, too. Oregon does it a lot of ways. They're competent through the air. They have an excellent ground game. And Wisconsin, as Wisconsin usually does, really compound the ball - and by ball, I mean their running back Montee Ball. He's a monster on the ground.
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PESCA: Wisconsin won the Big 10, thus landing them in the Rose Bowl. Oregon, historically, in the last few years, they've been great. But I would like to point out they haven't won a Rose Bowl since 1917, when they beat the Penn Quakers. Perhaps history gives the edge to Wisconsin, although I think that of all the units - in other words, both teams' offenses and both teams' defenses - perhaps the Oregon offense will have a little easier time with the Wisconsin defense than vice versa.
WERTHEIMER: And the nightcap features a team that some say should be playing in the BCS championship game next week, Oklahoma State. The Cowboys take on Andrew Luck and the Stanford Cardinal in the Fiesta Bowl. What should we watch for?
PESCA: Yeah. And it is Andrew Luck and the Stanford Cardinal, right? Like Martha Ray and the Vandellas. No one remembers who the Vandellas are. And it's a little unfair, because Stanford has a pretty good defense. Oklahoma State doesn't have a good defense, but I was just talking about how great Houston's offense is. Right beneath them is Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma State has done it against much better competition. Oklahoma State is the number three team in the country. Stanford is the number four team in the country. So other than the national championship game, just in terms of rankings, this is the best possible matchup you could get. And fans of the NFL who want to watch perhaps this next future great quarterback, do tune in to see what Andrew Luck does. He's not quite Peyton Manning. I mean, he's only 22 years old. But he's a master and he's a craftsman out there on the field. I will definitely be tuning in.
WERTHEIMER: Mike, we've got to go. But first, the BCS championship game, it takes place next Monday.
PESCA: Yes. And thankfully, they fit it in in 2012, given this expanded, seemingly never-ending bowl season. They will actually play a championship within a week.
WERTHEIMER: Thank you, Mike.
PESCA: You're welcome.
WERTHEIMER: NPR's Mike Pesca.
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