Daily Blog •December 13, 2009

Last week I gave my case for Notre Dame to pick Brian Kelly as their head coach as I felt he was the perfect fit for that team. I just found another perfect fit for a school so here is my recommendation for the next Cincinnati head coach.

Two words. “Butch Jones”. In 2006 Central Michigan got to their first bowl in 12 years and had by far their best season in that span. In2006 Brian Kelly’s last year they outscored teams 29.7-22.3 and out gained them by an average of 375-342. Butch Jones took over and guided the team to the MAC title game in 2007. In 2008 his team suffered tremendous attrition on the defense due to injuries and “only” went 8-5. This year with 74 of Central Michigan's players being underclassmen (71.4% of the team) he guided the team to an undefeated season in the MAC and they outscored foes by an average of 33-17 and out gained them by a 417-327 yard average. The Chips only two losses were AT Arizona (Holiday Bowl) and AT Boston College (Emerald Bowl) and they knocked off Big Ten member Michigan St with a 27-17
first down edge in that game. This years Central Michigan team is BETTER than Brian Kelly’s 2006 Central Michigan squad was and the down years between both resulted in bowls. Can he follow in Kelly’s footsteps again and not only maintain but excel? I think he can and he would be an excellent hire for Cincinnati.

Last year I had a Bowl Confidence Contest that generated a lot of interest on our site and we had hundreds and hundreds of entries. Congratulations again to last years champion Wade Hotsenpiller who accumulated 483 points or
81% of the points available. Had Oklahoma won the National Title game then Larry Grossman would have taken home the award. Bob Kwatnez tied with Larry for second place at 479 points. Last year I was at a disadvantage as I posted my plays first and they were up for everyone to see before they made their plays but I was pleased to finish #15 in the contest with 450 total points. If you followed my forecasts on the site last year I hit 24 of the 34 bowls for 71%.

This year we will again have a “Bowl Confidence Contest” and I hope there will be even more participants! Like last year I will update two categories after each bowl game. The first category is total points. If you picked a team and they won their bowl you receive the points that you risked. Sometimes the early leaders are the ones that risked the most on the early bowls and they fall by the wayside as the contest goes on. Sometimes the early leaders in this category will remain at the top through it all it all. I will also keep track of those that have the best win percentage of their points. The morning after each bowl game I will list the current leaders in two categories on the website. Like last year we will have great prizes with 1st place getting $250!! 2nd place receives $100 and a set of regional magazines and 3rd place $50 and a set of regionals!!

You can enter the contest by simply e-mailing your picks and contact information to Brandon@philsteele.com. To enter just pick who you think will win each of the 34 bowl games. You then award your confidence points to each. The team you think will definitely win there game would get 34 points and the team who who picked at the bottom which was very tough for you to call would get 1. For each team that wins their bowl game that you picked correctly, you get the confidence points you assigned to them. Those with the highest points are the winners.The first bowl game takes place on December 19th at 4:30 EST and Good Luck!!

Also make sure to check PhilSteele.com everyday for complete information and coverage on all the bowl matchups. On the homepage click on the Bowl matchups link, where you will find all 34 bowl games. Click on the bowl logo for each game to get all the information you need to become an expert! Start doing your homework now and get your 34 bowl predictions done and email them in.