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Nevada vs. Southern Miss: Pick 'Em and Open Thread

7-5 (5-2) 3rd WAC

Hawaii Bowl
Aloha Stadium
Honolulu, HI
7:00 pm CST

11-2 (6-2) C-USA Champion

ed. We invited Southern Miss fan and friend of RBR Landon Howell to do the write-up for tonight's Hawaii Bowl. Hope you all are enjoying time with family & friends and days off of work.

Thanks to Nico for inviting me to scribble in your space. You can find me on Twitter @landonhowell.

Tiders, lend me your ears. You see, I love Southern Miss football as much as you love Alabama football. Growing up in the heart of Crimson Tide country (Walker County, represent) I always looked forward to the annual Southern Miss-Alabama game, which ended, at least for the time being in 2005. It was a rivalry, though one that Alabama easily dominated. However, on the rare occasion that Southern Miss has defeated Alabama it has done so in somewhat embarrassing fashion:

- 1953: Southern Miss 25, #1 Alabama 19
- 1982: Southern Miss 38, Alabama 29 in Bear Bryant's last home game
- 1990: Southern Miss 27, #13 Alabama 24 in Gene Stallings' first season at HC
- 2000: #25 Southern Miss 21, #15 Alabama 0 on ESPN with all points scored in the first quarter

Had Oklahoma State finished undefeated and Southern Miss avoided the death clutches of UAB and their haunted tundra of Legion Field, this post would discuss the impending Sugar Bowl match-up between 11-1 Alabama and 12-1 Southern Miss. I miss our rivalry, y'all. I looked forward to a battle on the bayou as anyone but Craig James pontificated with cliche "David vs. Goliath" one-liners during an ESPN broadcast.

But that didn't happen, and now I'm writing about the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl which is held on Christmas Eve. Nevada (as of Monday) had sold 10 tickets on its website, where Southern Miss had sold 350-400. Believe me when I say that there will almost be as many people on your block on Christmas Eve as there will be in Aloha Stadium.

The only point of comparison between the Nevada and Southern Miss is LA Tech, who lost by a last minute field goal in (literally, y'all) a tropical storm to Southern Miss, yet edged Nevada by 4.

Southern Miss will win because: Larry Fedora is a prideful and cocky son of a gun who wants his wins. How cocky? The man said, with full conviction, in front of God and ABC's television audience that 11-2 USM should go to a BCS game. You can't say those kind of things with loses to Marshall and UAB. Big things are expected of Fedora at UNC, and walking in the door with a 12-2 season under his arm will buy him even more time to right the ship in Chapel Hill.

Nevada will win because: Let's look at Nevada's loses... Oregon, Boise, Texas Tech (by 1), LA Tech (who held their own with TCU, Southern Miss, Houston and Miss State), and Utah State (who "lost" to Auburn). Those are not bad loses, and if Nevada opts for UC Davis or Sacramento State as opposed to Oregon and Texas Tech... you're looking at a 9-3 team. Also, Southern Miss is playing with a lame ducking coaching staff. Almost all are certainly gone to UNC when the final whistle sounds.

Bros To Know:
- Austin Davis (QB @ USM) broke all - ALL - of Brett Favre's records at Southern Miss that didn't involve cellphones.
- Lampford Mark (RB @ NEV) & Mike Ball (RB @ NEV) both average over 5 yards per carry.
- Tracy Lampley (WR @ USM) was the kryptonite to Houston's BCS dreams. He returns kickoffs, punts, plays RB and WR. He's the size of a Micro-Machine but deadly as a machete.
- Rishard Matthews (WR @ NEV) has 1,364 receiving yards in 2011. That adds up to something longer than a football field.
- Cordarro Law (DL @ USM) likes to be called "The Law". Do you need me to tell you more?

FanSTATstic STATs:
- Southern Miss' defense broke a 40 year old NCAA record in 2011 with 8 interceptions for touchdowns. One of those was for 100 yards and another was 97.
- This is Nevada's third (3rd!) time to appear in Sheraton Hawaii bowl. The surfing, hula skirts, and sunsets will not distract them in the same way that it will smitten Southern Miss.
- Nevada is fifth in total offense, averaging 522 yards per game.
- Southern Miss is averaging 41.3 points per game in its last three games (UAB, Memphis, Houston).
- Southern Miss has 18 consecutive winning seasons and this will be its 10th consecutive bowl game.
- This is Nevada's seventh consecutive bowl game.

My fearless prediction: Southern Miss 44, Nevada 20

Current Bowl Records by Conference:

Conference Record
ACC 0-0
Big East 0-0
Big Ten 0-0
Big XII 0-0
C-USA 1-0
Independents 0-0
MAC 2-0
Mountain West 2-2
Pac-12 0-1
SEC 0-0
Sun Belt 1-1
WAC 0-2