Orange Bowl First Half Observations

Thursday, January 1, 2009

I got pretty jacked up seeing Cincinnati storm down the field on their first drive of the game. Mardy Gilyard made an incredibly athletic catch for a touchdown and Tony Pike looked very comfortable in the pocket. Unfortunately, Virginia Tech had a nice opening drive of their own.

The story of the first half has been the defenses of both teams. Cincy has been able to move down the field through the air, but has struggled mightily on the ground (eight carries for 12 yards). Virginia Tech is benefiting from a solid ground game (21 carries for 131 yards and a touchdown) and Tyrod Taylor is playing solid football at QB for the Hokies.

There is no question that Brian Kelly is going to have to figure out a way to get the Bearcats' running game going. Because Cincinnati has been relatively effective in throwing the ball thus far, a better ground game in the second half has the potential of opening up the passing game even more. Expect to see more draw plays and delayed hand-offs in the second half for the Bearcats, playing off Virginia Tech's expectation of more to come in the Cincy passing attack.

All in all I think both of these teams have had their moments and flubs in the first half and are playing equally as well in most respects. It should be an exciting second half, so enjoy! In the meantime, here are my updated bowl conference standings through all games prior to the Orange Bowl:

Pac 10 5-0
Big East 3-1
CUSA 3-1
SEC 3-1
Big 12 3-1
MWC 2-2
Sun Belt 1-1
ACC 3-6
WAC 1-4
Big 10 1-5
Indies 0-2
MAC 0-3