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September 2014

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Son's predictions below. He is currently standing at 2 correct predictions and 1 incorrect.

1. New Mexico Bowl, Dec. 17, Temple vs. Wyoming: Both teams are 8-4, coming out of mid-major conferences. What really stands out to me is that Wyoming's rush defense is ranked 115th, and Temple's rushing offense is ranked 7th. Bernard Pierce, Temple's feature back, has run for at least 3 TDs in 6 of 12 games. I see Pierce gashing the Cowboys for big gains in a Temple win.

2. Potato Bowl, Dec. 17, Ohio vs. Utah St.: I suppose that the Potato Bowl name is fitting, given the bowl's location. This game matches the solid Ohio Bobcats against the Utah State Aggies, whose season could have been so much better were it not for several late-game losses. Both teams are pretty good statistically, and come out of decent conferences. I'm going to give the edge to Ohio because Utah St. seems to have trouble holding on to leads.

3. New Orleans Bowl, Dec. 17, San Diego St. vs. UL-Lafayette: The key in this game will be the play of Ronnie Hillman, SDSU's running back. He's a talented back, and if he gets going, he's tough to stop. One more thing: SDSU gets to the quarterback, and that's something that Lafayette has had trouble with this season. Lafayette makes it close, but Hillman gives the Aztecs the win.

4. Beef O'Brady's Bowl, Dec. 20, Florida International vs. Marshall: The name of this bowl makes me sick. Both of these teams beat Louisville, but neither is very good. Though it's hard to pick a team that lost to Duke, but I'm going with FIU because they have strong defense and special teams, and because of Marshall's overall mediocrity.

5. Poinsettia Bowl, Dec. 21, TCU vs. La. Tech: This game ought to be interesting for at least a couple of quarters. Tech's the WAC champion and a pretty good team, but they're no match for TCU.

6. Las Vegas Bowl, Dec. 22, Arizona St. vs. Boise St.: This one, on the other hand, ought to be not very interesting, unless you like blowouts. It sucks that Boise is in this game, but at least Kellen Moore will go out in style with a big day against the hapless Sun Devils.

7. Hawai'i Bowl, Dec. 24, Nevada vs. Southern Miss: Losing Larry Fedora has to hurt USM, but I don't see anything that indicates Nevada will be good enough to beat them. Nevada runs the ball well as always, but Southern Miss wins this game pretty easily.

8. Independence Bowl, Dec. 26, Missouri vs UNC: In this one, Mizzou has the better offense, but UNC has the better D. I'm gonna go with Mizzou for this one because I like their dual-threat QB, James Franklin, and because they have won 4 of their last 6, while UNC has lost 4 of 6.

9. Little Caesars Bowl, Dec. 27, Western Michigan vs. Purdue: Neither team has a lot going for them, but Western's offense is a lot more explosive than Purdue's. They can't play defense of course, but I like their pointyness over Purdue's uninspiring play. I hope this'll be a lot of fun, as Western beats Purdue in a shootout.

10. Belk Bowl, Dec. 27, Louisville vs. NC State: Louisville is a team with a solid freshman QB in Teddy Bridgewater, and a top-25 defense. Their offense is pretty putrid, and they have some ugly early-season losses. To be honest, I think the outcome of this game depends on which State team shows up, not how Louisville plays. If the Pack gets the ground game going, good things should happen. I'll say the good Pack shows up and State wins.

11. Military Bowl, Dec. 28, Toledo vs. Air Force: Initially, I was going to pick Toledo in this one, because short of having an excellent defense, the only way to beat Toledo is to outscore them, which is hard to do. Then I saw that Air Force ranks 6th in pass defense and I remembered they beat Case Keenum and Houston's prolific passing game last year. I'll go with Air Force on the strength of their outstanding rushing attack and pass defense.

12. Holiday Bowl, Dec. 28, Cal vs. Texas: A couple of underachievers in this bowl game. I was tempted to pick Cal because they had won 3 of 4 and Texas had lost 3 of 4, but then I remembered the most important rule about bowl picks: DON'T PICK CAL. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DON'T PICK CAL. Plus, they only have two wins over bowl teams. Texas by a little.

13. Champs Sports Bowl, Dec. 29, Florida State vs Notre Dame: I really don't like Notre Dame. So this pick was made easier when I noticed that other than Michigan State, Notre Dame doesn't really have a win over a good team. I'll take the Noles in this one by a few, and hope I'm wrong on the points.

14. Alamo Bowl, Dec. 29, Washington vs. Baylor: It's too bad Baylor doesn't have a better bowl for RGIII to showcase his talent in. But whatever, let's take Baylor by a bunch (UW is 116th in pass defense) and good luck to RGIII in the NFL.

15. Armed Forces Bowl, Dec. 30, BYU vs. Tulsa: Don't be fooled by the name, there are no service academies in this game. What we have here is Tulsa's explosive offense and poor defense versus BYU's strong D and average offense. I'll say that BYU wins this one by exploiting the gaps in Tulsa's D and making just enough stops.

16. Pinstripe Bowl, Dec. 30, Rutgers vs. Iowa State: Iowa State played a tougher schedule, but I like the Scarlet Knights in this one. They've got one of the best defenses in the country, and Greg Schiano has done a lot with this team that was predicted to finish near the bottom of the conference.

17. Music City Bowl, Dec. 30, Mississippi St. vs. Wake Forest: This one's hard to predict because you never want to pick Mississippi St., but Wake has just struggled to end the season. I'll take the Deacs in a low-scoring game where MSU needs to pass to win the game, but can't. Something like 17-13.

18. Insight Bowl, Dec. 30, Iowa vs. Oklahoma: Oh, how the mighty have fallen. It must hurt for Oklahoma to have sunk this low, but I think they'll demolish Iowa. Landry Jones will wash the bad taste of Bedlam out of his mouth and go for 3 TDs.

19. Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas, Dec. 31, Texas A&M vs. Northwestern: Another toughie because both these teams are nothing special, but I'll go with TAMU and their 13th-ranked rushing defense to wrap up the victory against Dan Persa and the Wildcats.

20. Sun Bowl, Dec. 31, Utah vs. Georgia Tech: Traditionally, Georgia Tech loses their bowl because the opponent has time to stop the triple option. Fortunately for Georgia Tech, Utah has just one quality win this season. I think Tech grinds out a win because Utah's offense is just pitiful.

21. Liberty Bowl, Dec. 31, Cincinnati vs. Vanderbilt: Vanderbilt surprises by making a bowl in its first year under coach James Franklin. They have a great defense and good running game, but Cincy has a great rushing defense, good offense, and ranks #1 in sacks. Plus they have Munchie Legaux at QB (the name alone warrants the pick). Expect Vandy to put up a good fight, but fall in the end.

22. Fight Hunger Bowl, Dec. 31, Illinois vs. UCLA: This is probably the most depressing bowl of them all. One team is 6-6 and has a 6-game losing streak. The other lost 50-0 in its season finale and fired its head coach. Western Kentucky (a 7-5 team) deserves a bid more than either of these two. But I have to pick a winner, and that will be the Fighting Illini. Their 7th-ranked defense gets after the QB, while UCLA struggles at everything. Final score: Something like 13-10.

23. Chik-Fil-A Bowl, Dec. 31, Virginia vs. Auburn: This one's tough to pick because while I consider UVa to be a paper tiger, Auburn is just dismal. Auburn couldn't come close to the big boys in their conference, while Virginia did have some good wins. Look for Perry Jones to get 20+ carries and 100+ yards against Auburn's porous run defense.

24. TicketCity Bowl, Jan. 2, Houston vs. Penn State: Houston threw for scads and scads of yardage this year, but flopped in their only real test, vs. USM. Penn State's defense is already ranked 10th in the country, including #5 against the pass. PSU's braintrust is too good not to learn from USM's gameplan and improve on it. The Nittany Lions will play a ball-control offense to keep the ball out of Keenum's hands and score just enough to win.

25. Outback Bowl, Jan. 2, Michigan State vs. Georgia: This promises to be one of the better bowls of the season. Georgia looks to be the better team, but then you look at their schedule. They didn't have to play Alabama, Arkansas, or LSU in the regular season. When they did play LSU, they got humiliated. MSU's no LSU, but I like the Spartans to gut this one out.

26. Capital One Bowl, Jan. 2, Nebraska vs. South Carolina: I agonized over this pick, but came to my decision. I think Nebraska will win this one. I can't give a good reason why except that South Carolina's missing Marcus Lattimore and they turn the ball over too much. Rex Burkhead and Taylor Martinez will chew up clock and yardage as they upset the Gamecocks.

27. Gator Bowl, Jan. 2, Ohio State vs. Florida: The media will be all over this with the Urban Meyer dynamic. Personally, I couldn't care less. All I see is two mediocre teams going at it in a bowl they only got into because of name recognition. Will Muschamp's got the defense going at UF, but not much else. Ohio State's got the big win over Wisconsin, but not much else. I'll take the Gators' athletes by a little.

28. Rose Bowl, Jan. 2, Wisconsin vs. Oregon: Two big rushing attacks going at it in this one, Wisconsin's power vs. Oregon's speed. I like Oregon in this one because of their instant scoring ability. If Oregon's defense can keep them close, then I think they have a good shot to win it late.

29. Fiesta Bowl, Jan. 2, Stanford vs. Oklahoma State: I was in the OSU-LSU championship game camp, so I guess I should pick the 'Pokes. If you look at Stanford's schedule, the games they had the most trouble with were when they played strong offenses: USC and Oregon. Oklahoma State plays zero defense, but they can just outscore their opponents. I expect a lot of points, with Oklahoma State coming out on top.

30. Sugar Bowl, Jan. 3, Michigan vs. Virginia Tech: Maybe there are better teams than Tech that should be in this bowl, but that doesn't change the fact that they are still a good team. That being said, Michigan will win this game, and they'll do it on the back of their diminutive and dynamic QB Denard Robinson.

31. Orange Bowl, Jan. 4, West Virginia vs. Clemson: West Virginia has won three straight and Clemson has a tendency to flop on the big stage. but I can't pick a team from the Big East in a BCS bowl. WVU's Geno Smith throws the ball like all get out, but that doesn't necessarily translate into wins. They've outgained their opponents in all of their three losses. I'll take Clemson and the combination of Tajh Boyd to Sammy Watkins.

32. Cotton Bowl, Jan. 6, Kansas State vs. Arkansas: I like the Wildcats in this one for one reason: Collin Klein. Arkansas' got a great offense, but their run D is suspect. Both teams will put up a lot of points, but Klein, the one-man wrecking crew, won't allow KSU to lose.

33. Compass Bowl, Jan. 7, Pittsburgh vs. SMU: This one also has no attraction for me. I was going to pick Pitt for no particular reason, but then they lost their coach to Arizona State. Crazy prediction of the bowl season: SMU beats Pitt by two scores and Pitt hires SMU's June Jones as their new head coach.

34. GoDaddy.com Bowl Jan. 8, Arkansas State vs. Northern Illinois: This one I am actually interested to watch, as two mid-major powerhouses go at it. Arkansas State has very quietly put together an amazing season, while Northern Illinois' Chandler Harnish has done it all for the Huskies this year. I like the Red Wolves in this one because Northern Illinois' D doesn't stop much. They've won shootouts before, but they won't this time.

35. BCS National Championship, Jan. 9, Alabama vs. LSU: I've liked LSU since they beat Oregon in week 1, and they haven't disappointed me yet. I don't think it'll be 9-6 again, so Alabama will make it more interesting. However, LSU still comes away with the crown by virtue of their amazing defense and special teams.

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