Since Al Davis has been associated with Oakland (which of course includes John Madden's tenure as coach, the Raiders have never lost at Denver - an amazing statistic considering the Broncos' record at home. But the Raiders have never played a championship game in Denver. The teams are about even, with an edge to Denver's healthier secondary but the advantage to Oakland's offensive line and Kenny Stabler. Oakland by 3.
Dallas looked awesome in handling Chicago. For the conference championship the Cowboys are at home against the Vikings and Bud Grant had better bring his mirrors. The Cowboys have too many offensive weapons and their safeties will cover Bob Lee's play-action maneuvers, Dallas by 8.
While the "big four" college football bowls will not be played until Monday, this weekend offers equally interesting matchups; starting with the Gator Bowl Friday featuring Pittsburgh and Clemson.
Although there is a tendency to downgrade the skills of the Atlantic Coast Conference teams, they have come on strong the past few seasons. Clemson goes into this game with an 8-2-1 mark.
Pitt's offense, led by quarterback Matt Cavanaugh; a fine passer and option-play man, has more depth and variety with Elliot Walker a bonafide big-play back.
Clemson was its own talented signal-caller in Steve Fuller, Give Pitt an edge on experience, but the Tigers, who may be hungrier for this one, cannot be taken lightly. Pitt by 6.
On New Year's Eve, the Peach Bowl pits Iowa State against North Carolina State and two of the nation's best running backs. Both have gained more than 1,200 yards, with Dexter Green an outside threat for the Cyclones and Ted Brown more of a straight-ahead runner. But Iowa State's defensive tackles will force the Wolfpack to go to the air, Iowa State by 3.
Louisiana State and Stanford clash in the Sun Bowl, one of the best matches of the bowl season. It shapes up as a high-scoring affair, both side having defensive troubles but explosive offenses.
Stanford's top-notch quarterback Guy Benjamin was tutored by Bill Walsh, one of the sharpest offensive minds in the land. LSU will counter with a short passing game ans multiple formations designed to get the ball to fine ruuning back Charles Alexander. The Tiger also boast superior kicking. Louisiana State by 3.
Another high-scoring game will send Southern Cal against Texas A&M at the Bluebonnet Bowl. The Aggies found a new weapon in freshman Mike Mosley, who has 9.5 speed. With 270-pound George Woodard and speedster Curtis Dickey coming out of the backfield the Trojan defense will have a busy day.
For Southern Cal, Rob Hertel is a pinpont passer, and tailback Charles White is out of the Ricky Bell-Anthony Davis O. J. Simpson mold. A&M's defense has been unable to stop either the run or the pass of late. Southern Cal by 6.