2013-14 BOWL PREVIEW
NEW MEXICO BOWL
Colorado State 31 Washington State 27
Both of these teams are making their first bowl appearance after a long drought as Colorado State has not seen the bowl season since 2008, while Washington State is in its first bowl in a decade. The two teams are complete opposites, with the Rams relying on their running game led by Kapri Bibbs, as the Cougars attack through the air with Connor Halliday. The game is nearly in Colorado State's backyard and that will be a help as Colorado State with Bibbs continuing his late season surge score the first first win of the 2013 bowl season.
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BEEF O' BRADY'S BOWL
East Carolina 47 Ohio 17
No bowl may have a worse name or a worse venue. Of all the bowls in Florida, why put one in a baseball stadium with all the charm of a Costco. So many other cities and stadiums could be a much better choice. However, nothing can save this match up. East Carolina is a live team that has some pro prospects, as they were a top team in Conference USA. Ohio was just good enough in the MAC to get a bid. This one has blowout written all over it. Look for the Pirates high powered offense led by Shane Carden to dominate the overmatched Bobcats.
NEW ORLEANS BOWL
Tulane 24 Louisiana-Lafayette 20
Get the Jambalaya and Gumbo ready as two teams from The Pelican State meet at the Super Dome. Louisiana-Lafayette is in the New Orleans Bowl for the third straight season as champions of the Sun Belt Conference, while Tulane has not been to a bowl game since 2002. The talent would suggest that the Ragin' Cajuns would have the odds in their favor, as Tulane is one of the lowest ranked offenses in the country. However, the Superdome is where the Green Wave plays their home game and they have been successful this season, winning five of six. Meanwhile, ULL lost their last two games of the season against mediocre 6-6 teams.
Boise State 44 Oregon State 41
The Broncos are in a bowl game for the 12th straight season, but this was not the best season for Boise State who lost four times, than lost their coach Chris Pedersen. Interim Coach Bob Gregory will lead Boise State as they leave behind the blue turf for Blue Hawaii. Oregon State enters the bowl game despite five straight loses still has a solid passing game led by Sean Mannion, but there defense will leave them with a Blue Christmas as Boise State wins a shootout.
LAS VEGAS BOWL
Fresno State 45 USC 24
Looking for an early bowl game with some juice? This is the one for you. Fresno State with the passing of Derrick Carr lost just once this year and may have gotten serious BCS considerations had they not lost a shootout to San Jose State. Heck, the Bulldogs should be in the BCS, the Mountain West is screwed every year by the BCS as it is a superior conference to the Big Least American Athletic Conference. Here is where they get to shine and boost Carr's draft stock. The Trojans had a good late season run, but could but it was not enough for interim coach Ed Orgeron to get the job, which I think will lead to a letdown as Fresno State lights up the Vegas strip.
Northern Illinois 31 Utah State 20
The Northern Illinois Huskies biggest opponent could be disappointment, as their loss to Bowling Green likely cost them a chance at playing in a BCS Bowl game, as they went 12-0 in the regular season. Utah State presents some of the same challenges that Bowling Green gave them in that they are one of the top ten defenses in FBS. Still Northern Illinois will have the best player on the field with Heisman finalist Jordan Lynch playing the final game of his NCAA career. Look for Lynch to have a big day for the NFL scouts as the Huskies end the season with a win.
FIGHT HUNGER BOWL
BYU 37 Washington 27
This could be a good a game, as both teams have talent on offense. For Washington, the biggest issue is playing without a coach, as Steve Sarksian left to take over at USC. The Huskies have already tabbed Boise State Coach Chris Pedersen, but he will not take over until next season and within two seasons Washington will be serious Rose Bowl contenders. However, this game it will be the Cougars who will win the day as Quarterback Taysom Hill continues his strong play that saw BYU win seven of its last nine regular season games.
Minnesota 27 Syracuse 6
It was a very good year for the Gophers, who posted a solid 8-4 record despite the continued health problems from their Coach Jerry Kill who is suffering from epilepsy. Included in that win total was a win over Nebraska. Three of Minnesota's four losses came against ranked opponents, and the Orange are far from being ranked at 6-6. Syracuse struggled badly in their first year in the ACC with an offense that was among the worst in FBS. This looks like a game that will be all Gophers as Syracuse will be lucky if they find the endzone in Houston.
Bowling Green 23 Pittsburgh 10
Despite an upset win over Notre Dame, Pittsburgh had to claw its way at the end of the season just to be bowl eligible as they beat Syracuse in the final game of the regular season. Bowling Green meanwhile won the MAC Championship Game over previously unbeaten Northern Illinois thanks a defense that was one of the best in Division 1 Football Bowl Subdivision. The Falcons also have a strong balanced attack led by Quarterback Matt Johnson and Running Back Travis Greene. Look for Bowling Green to roll over the Panthers.
MUSIC CITY BOWL
Georgia Tech 34 Ole Miss 30
Nashville will be swingin' with this matchup of solid 7-5 teams. The Rebels are battle tested facing four Top Ten teams during the season, winning against LSU in October. Georgia Tech also did not have a cake walk, as the ACC had a strong season. This could be a high scoring game, which would give the edge to the Yellow Jackets, as their option attack averages 311.7 yards per game, good for sixth best in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Maryland 37 Marshall 17
At one point this season Maryland was 4-0 with a cameo appearance in the Top 25. That was before a crushing loss to Florida State and a string of injuries to key players. Marshall meanwhile made it to the Conference USA Title game. Even though this game is not on Maryland's campus and Marshall is not too far away, the fact that this game is being played within the borders of Maryland should be a boost to the Terrapins as they need a strong postseason performance to help get ready for play in the Big Ten starting next year, led by C.J. Brown
ADVO CARE V100 BOWL
Boston College 38 Arizona 30
Want to see who will be the top Running Backs in the upcoming NFL Draft, mark your calendars for this New Year's Eve game in Shreveport. Heisman Finalist Andre Williams leads the Eagles attack with 2,102 yards, while Ka'Deem Carey averaged 156 yards per game for Arizona. Arizona also had a strong season from QB BJ Denker, but lost three of their last four games in the regular season. Boston College struggled when facing stronger teams, but this game should be on even footing as Williams leads the way with a 200 yard performance.
Arizona State 45 Texas Tech 17
At one point Texas Tech looked like it could be a threat for the BCS as they won their first seven games, and reached the Top Ten. However, the Red Raiders became the ghostly faders losing their last five games. The Sun Devils meanwhile, won the Pac 12 South Division, and posted a solid 10-3 record, with two of their three defeats coming against Stanford. This one looks like it will be all Arizona State, Taylor Kelly will show why one of the best passers in the country with an offense that averaged 41 points per game.
IDAHO POTATO BOWL
San Diego State 37 Buffalo 21
San Diego State is making its fourth straight bowl appearance, while Buffalo is in a bowl game for just the second time in school history. The Aztecs have been the Mountain West Conference's cardiac kids, with several late game comebacks and a 3-1 record in overtime games. The Bulls may have to adjust to their surrounding a bit as the blue turf of Boise will be a new experience for them. However, the Aztecs are a conference rival to Boise State and play on the blue turf every other season. Do not underestimate the advantage that can cause. SDSU has been the hotter team as they overcame an 0-3 start to finish 7-5.
CHAMPS SPORTS BOWL
Louisville 41 Miami 24
If not for an early season loss to Central Florida, Louisville would have been in a BCS Bowl and possibly even the Championship Game. Teddy Bridgewater is expected by many to be the top pick in the upcoming NFL draft and the best overall quarterback in the College Football. Here he gets a chance to shine and end his college career on a high note. The Hurricanes will not have any answers for Bridgewater as the Cardinals fly up and down the field in Orlando.
UCLA 20 Virginia Tech 10
Virginia Tech had one of the top defenses in FBS, allowing 17.4 points per game. However, the Hokies offense struggled all season only scoring 23.4 per game themselves. The Bruins meanwhile, were one of the top teams in the Pac 12, posting a solid 9-3 record. They have a decent defense in their own right, but also have a strong offensive game led by Quarterback Nick Hundley who was also the Bruins leading rusher.
ARMED FORCES BOWL
Navy 38 Middle Tennessee 27
It was another solid season for Navy, who beat Army for the 12th year in a row to wrap up the 2013 regular season. The Midshipmen like to keep the ball on the ground with the third best rushing attack in FBS. Navy's option Quarterback Keenan Reynolds set a FBS record with seven touchdowns in a game in November against San Jose State. It's hard to imagine that Middle Tennessee will be able to contain Keenan Reynolds, and will need to outscore Navy to have a chance, and that is a very slim chance.
Cincinnati 31 North Carolina 24
North Carolina may have the home field edge in Charlotte, but they don't nearly have the talent of the Bearcats. Despite just one win over a team with a winning record, Cincinnati was near the top of the American Athletic Conference all season, led by QB Brendon Kay and an improved defense. The Tar Heels do have some talent themselves with NFL bound Tight End Eric Ebon leading the way. However, they have been up and down all season at 6-6, and will not be able to stop Kay from carving up the field.
LSU 30 Iowa 10
In an ordinary season a 9-3 record in the SEC would have been a great year, but for LSU the season had a series of what ifs? A bad road loss to Ole Miss, plus tough losses to Alabama and Georgia prevented the Tigers from becoming a BCS team. However, it was LSU that handed #2 Auburn its only loss of the season. Iowa had a solid year, but their four losses saw them get blown out. This will also be a blowout loss for the Hawkeyes, as the LSU running attack will be too much for them to handle.
Texas A&M 52 Duke 41
The Blue Devils had the best football season in over half a century as they won ten games and played in the ACC Championship Game. However, they were given a cold slap of reality when they faced Florida State. Now in the Peach Bowl they have to face yet another Heisman winning QB as Johnny Manziel plays in what is likely his final college game for Texas A&M. The Aggies did again, have one of the most exciting offenses in the country thanks to Johnny Football, but their defense was often one of the worst as well. This will keep Duke in the game, but in the end Texas A&M and Johnny Manziel end the year on a happy note.
BUFFALO WILD WINGS BOWL
Michigan 31 Kansas State 27
It was an up and down season for both teams, as Michigan stated strong but struggled in the Big Ten, while Kansas State started poorly, with a loss to a FCS team and finished strong by taking five of their last six games. The Wolverines did end the regular season with a near upset of Ohio State, as Coach Brady Hoke rolled the dice and came up craps by going for two. Michigan Quarterback Dave Gardner has shown he can move the ball and that will help in what should be a close hard fought game in the desert.
Stanford 24 Michigan State 20
Andrew Luck and Jim Harbuagh are both now enjoying success in the NFL, but Stanford continues to be the class of the Pac-12 playing in the Rose Bowl for the second straight season and making a BCS bowl for the fourth year in a row. The Spartans meanwhile have not played for the Roses in a quarter century. However, both teams had strong seasons and have solid defenses. Both teams also enjoyed big wins and big games, this year with Michigan State's only loss coming to Notre Dame, while Stanford lost twice in their own conference. Sparty's biggest win came in the Big Ten Championship Game as they handed Ohio State its only loss of the season. That win was Michigan State's crowning achievement to beat Stanford they have to bring the same emotion and the same level of play. However, upon looking at Stanford's biggest win against Oregon it's hard to imagine that Michigan State can overcome the Cardinal defense. It will be a close one, but Stanford gets the win in Pasadena.
Georgia 34 Nebraska 17
Two teams that had rather frustrating seasons, meet in Jacksonville. The Bulldogs know this stadium well; in they play Florida every season here in the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, where they have had recent success. Georgia lost four games this year some in the most heart wrenching ways as they suffered several key injuries, including to QB Aaron Murray. However, the Cornhuskers have underachieved all season and appear to be in the midst of a coaching change with Bo Pelini becoming unpopular with boosters after a tirade following a loss to UCLA earlier in the season.
CAPITAL ONE BOWL
South Carolina 24 Wisconsin 13
Last year Jadeveon Clowney of South Carolina made himself a household name with his hit on Vincent Smith of Michigan in the Outback Bowl. Some even speculated that Clowney would contend for the Heisman, but he had a very quiet season, missing several games as he was more concerned with his heath for the NFL draft. Facing Wisconsin another Big Ten team I see Clowney ending his college career with a big game to lead the Gamecocks to a win in Orlando on New Year's Day.
Alabama 45 Oklahoma 17
Had this been next year with the four team College Football Playoff, Alabama would be alive and well in its quest for a third straight National Championship. The Crimson Tide's only loss came on the ultimate fluke play by Auburn with Chris Davis 108 yard return of a missed Field Goal. A title game matchup of Florida State versus Alabama would have been thrilling, as the Seminoles are the only team that would have a chance to stem the Tide. The Sooners are a solid team, but they are barely worthy of a BCS berth and will provide little challenge to Alabama. Also there is a sense that Quarterback A.J. McCarron will be out to impress the pro scouts as the angry Tide look to make someone pay for their loss to Auburn. This game has blowout written all over it.
Missouri 27 Oklahoma State 17
This may not be a BCS Bowl, but it is not far off and the Cotton Bowl is expected to be back in the spotlight when the new FBS Playoffs start next year. Both were in the top Ten and lost on the last weekend of the season, with their conference titles on the line. The loss for Oklahoma State came at the hands of rival Oklahoma in their own backyard, costing them the Big XII Title. Missouri up until 2012 was a member of the Big XII and showed this year it belonged in the SEC by winning the SEC East, before getting beaten by Auburn. The Tigers defense was the reason behind their success and they should be able to box up OSU and get a nice solid bowl win in Dallas.
Notre Dame 48 Rutgers 20
It was a season of disappointment for the Scarlet Knights as they needed a win in their final game of the season just to gain eligibility for a bowl game. Truthfully the only reason they got a bowl game is that they will be bring more fans to the Bronx than Houston who had a better record and crushed the Knights on their Homecoming day. Rutgers did not beat a team with a winning record and had a defense that was awful all season and now they get ready for life in the Big Ten by facing Notre Dame. When this game is over everyone in New York will know all the words to the Notre Dame Fight Song.
Oregon 47 Texas 20
Both teams enter bowl season with distractions, as Oregon is dealing with a scandal involving a snowball throwing incident that has gotten Tight End Pharaoh Brown suspended for the Alamo Bowl. While Texas Coach Mack Brown has taken to hiding from University officials to avoid his inevitable canning. This strategy did not work for George Costanza and won't work for Brown, as operation lure Nick Saban to Austin gets under way with Marcus Mariota leading the Ducks in a laugher.
Rice 20 Mississippi State 17
Conference USA was hit hard by defections to the American Athletic Conference, losing several of the league's top teams. This opened the door for Rice to win its first Conference Title since 1957. The Owl have a solid defense that was able to slow down the offenses in their conference all season. Mississippi State comes in at 6-6, again playing one of the toughest schedules in the country in the SEC Western Division. However, the Bulldogs offense does not match up well with Rice. It will be a close game, but Rice led by QB Taylor McHargue will win by a Field Goal.
BBVA COMPASS BOWL
Vanderbilt 20 Houston 16
Like a box of stale crackers, this is one of those left over bowl games that come in between the BCS Bowls and the Championship Game. The matchup does look good as both Houston and Vanderbilt have solid defenses. Houston started strong at 5-0 , but struggled in the second half, while the Commodores won their last four allowing just 13.5 points per game in the SEC battle zone. This is the first time ever Vanderbilt has been in three straight bowl games, and they will cap it with a win.
Baylor 37 Central Florida 17
Of the five BCS matchups none is as less interesting than this one. Both teams may have gone 11-1, but the Big XII had a down year and the Atlantic Athletic Conference is not worthy of an automatic BCS bid. Central Florida caught Louisville on the right night and handed the Cardinals their only loss of the season. Otherwise the rest of the conference was terrible and no better than Conference USA where the Golden Knights previously played. The Bears are a solid offensive team and their only loss to Oklahoma State was erased when the Cowboys could not win the conference when facing their cross state rivals. It's hard to imagine UCF can slow down the Baylor attack led by Quarterback Bryce Petty who is a top level professional prospect.
GO DADDY.COM BOWL
Ball State 38 Arkansas State 27
Arkansas State is making its third straight appearance in the GoDaddy Bowl with a third different coach, as the Red Wolves have been an excellent leaping off point. Last year's coach Gus Malzhan went on to Auburn and will be playing for the BCS Title. Meanwhile, Ball State is looking to win its first ever bowl game, after losing six previous trips. With their high powered offense that averages 40 points per game led by Keith Wenning, who needs to just 67 yards for a 4,000 yard season the Cardinals finally breakthrough for its famous Alumnus David Letterman.
Clemson 45 Ohio State 42
No bowl game other than the Championship Game itself looks better on paper than the Orange Bowl. Both teams feature good athletic quarterbacks that can light up the scoreboard. The Tigers defense is considerably better than Ohio State, in that they are ranked in the Top 20 in fewest points allowed. The Buckeyes defense is their weak spot as it nearly cost them against Michigan and finally caught up with them in the Big Ten Championship against Michigan State. A comparison of the quarterbacks is where this game will be decided. Braxton Miller is a solid quarterback, but I give the edge on experience and arm strength to Tajh Boyd of Clemson. Boyd could be one of the top quarterbacks taken in the upcoming NFL draft and with his speed and arm he is a dual threat that will lift the Tigers to a win a in an old fashioned shootout in Miami.
BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Florida State 37 Auburn 24
It's the dominance of Florida State against Auburn destiny's darling. The Seminoles led by Heisman winning Quarterback Jameis Winston crushed their opponents by an average 36 points per game. Meanwhile, Auburn made it to #2 with two miracle wins over Georgia and Alabama. Jameis Winston already successfully played with the cloud of a police investigation around his head and should be able to handle the pressure of a Championship Game and the Heisman Bowl curse. If the Tigers are going to have a chance they need Tre Mason to take over and have a game similar to the SEC Championship where he rushed for 303 yards with four touchdowns. Auburn was the top rushing team in the nation and that will be to their advantage if they can use it to dominate the time of possession. At the same time Florida State's dominance can't be ignored it can also be a concern as they have not been tested all year, Auburn has the edge in this department as they have won five games against ranked opponents. You would like to think Auburn can keep it close, but to me the Seminoles just have too many weapons and will win the game by two scores.
HEART OF DALLAS BOWL
North Texas 27 UNLV 21
Two teams are ending long bowl droughts meet in noon kickoff New Year's Day game. North Texas had a strong first season in Conference USA, and played some other top teams tough, (including a win over Rice) is making their first bowl appearance since 2004, while UNLV has not made a bowl since 2000, and the last bowl game they played outside of Las Vegas had Randall Cunningham leading their offensive attack. With the home fan edge helping them this one looks like a win for the Mean Green.
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