After several months off of the prediction game and well into the throws of a brand new calendar year, I am excited to share with you the first prediction of 2010. It would be hard to imagine a more exciting matchup between two of the region's best teams- in the Florida Sunshine for the biggest trophy of all. Let's get at it!
Mid Ohio Jets Vs. Ohio River Bearcats
There is no question that these two teams are among the greatest to take the field at this level in a long, long time. Both teams to some extent owe their fortunes to great programs that preceded them. Though we will never see a game between the Central Ohio Lions and the Evansville Vipers, without the great programs and talent that those teams developed, we would certainly never see this great game today without them. Both teams have elite talent and big play ability. Both teams feature stingy defense and exciting offenses. Both teams feature well prepared and disciplined special teams- each of whom are capable of beating any opponent on the strength of that unit alone.
Let's be clear here, though, these January contests are a very different animal than the games in the summer and fall. Team rosters can significantly change over the holiday season, so these games are as much a measure of the quality of practice and preparation for new players as it is any measure of what the teams did during the regular season. There can be no doubt that both teams have an advantage over most of their regular season opponents in this respect. Both teams feature relatively well practiced and disciplined practice regimens. These teams are very well balanced in many, many respects, and one can imagine that if this game were played several times, it's likely to go either way from game to game.
There are some key differences which do favor one side over the other. Though the team (in its present form) is only a few years old, the Jets have played in a National Title game in each of the last three years. One cannot overstate the value of this kind of experience. Not just playing in these kinds of games, but as mentioned above, knowing how to prepare for them is an invaluable asset. The Jets are also bigger and deeper than their foes and feature the kind of offense that is best suited to take on tough opponents. The Jets' running game is among the most dependable and productive in the nation, and to beat the Bearcats, they'll need to establish the run game. Finally, the Jets' schedule has prepared them as well as can be expected for this game. Though we'll see the quality of play we have come to expect from the Bearcats, there will simply not be enough gas in the tank to hold of the mighty Jets.
Funny, the Sunshine Bowl looks to be played in the Pouring Rain.
7 Jets - 0 Cats - Running Dive into Endzone from the 1 - 8:02 1qt
14 Jets - 0 Cats - 15 yard run ~ 4:00 1qt
14 Jets - 0 Cats - Half
Jets 21 - Cats 0 - 8:00? 3rd
28 Jets - 0 Cats - 14:00 4th - 2 yd run
Correction - 27 Jets - 0 Cats blocked PAT
27 Jets - 6 Cats - 11:33 4th - 15 Yard pass - Failed 2 pt
34 Jets - 6 Cats - pass for 40 yds ~ 8:16 4th
Jets 40 - Cats 6 - 1/2 yd QB keeper :11 4th