Rant Sports Predictions for All 35 College Football Bowl Games
Rant Sports Predictions For All 35 College Football Bowl Games
The 2012 college football season was one of the more exciting in recent history, wrought with bizarre, entertaining, and confounding story-lines, as two undefeated teams emerged to face-off in the National Championship game in Pasadena on January 7, 2013: the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Alabama Crimson Tide. The matchup between these two traditional powers promises to be one of the most-watched in college football history, but it isn't the only game on this season's bowl slate that is worth some attention.
With the addition of the Northern Illinois Huskies to the Orange Bowl as the MAC Champion, plenty of feathers have been ruffled. NIU's addition is far from the only controversial addition to this year's bowl slate, as the 6-7 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets maintained bowl eligibility in spite of a losing record due to making the ACC Championship game.
There are plenty more stories where these two came from and we'll outline these for you in our preview of all 35 of the college football bowl games this season. Sit back, click through, and enjoy as we outline our predictions of who will take home the trophies from this winter's post-season tilts.
New Mexico Bowl
The Gildan New Mexico Bowl will take place on Saturday, December 15th in Albuquerque, New Mexico and will feature the Nevada Wolfpack and Arizona Wildcats. Both teams feature high powered offenses led by outstanding individual players in Arizona's Matt Scott, and Nevada's Stefphon Jefferson. This one should be a scoring festival with whoever has the ball last likely coming out on top.
Our Prediction: ARIZONA 37- NEVADA 34
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl will take place on Saturday December 15th in Boise, Idaho and features the Toledo Rockets and the Utah State Aggies. Toledo is the typical MAC team that scores points in bunches, while the Aggies have given plenty of BCS conference teams fits in non-conference match-ups over the past few seasons.
Our Prediction: TOLEDO 41- UTAH STATE 27
Beef O’Brady’s Bowl
The Beef O'Brady's Bowl is slated for December 21st in St. Petersburg, Florida and features the Central Florida Golden Knights and the Ball State Cardinals. This should be another high-scoring affair as the Ball State offense scored 30 or more points in 10 out of it's 12 games, and Central Florida has scored 50 points twice this season and hit the 40-point mark three other times. This one should be an old-fashioned shootout, but we'll give the Knights the slight edge.
Our Prediction: UCF 48- BALL STATE 37
The Poinsettia Bowl kicks off on December 10th at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego and features the BYU Cougars and San Diego State Aztecs. Coming off a 9-3 finish (7-1 in conference play) the San Diego State Aztecs earned a share of the Mountain West Conference title and should carry through with a victory over a fiesty BYU team that is always well-coached by head man Bronco Mendenhall.
Our Prediction: SAN DIEGO STATE 24 - BYU 14
New Orleans Bowl
This year's version of the New Orleans Bowl is scheduled for December 22nd in the Big Easy and showcases two high-scoring teams in Louisiana-Lafayette and East Carolina, the newest member of the Big East. East Carolina is the only team in Conference USA history with both a 1,000 yard passer and 1,000 yard rusher in the same season, and has one of the top-five redzone efficiency offenses in the country. Louisiana-Lafayette is making their second-consecutive appearance in New Orleans, after taking home the Sun Belt Conference title.
Our Prediction: LOUISIANA 35- EAST CAROLINA 27
Las Vegas Bowl
The Las Vegas Bowl is slated for December 22nd as well, this time in Sin City, and matches up the Washington Huskies against the perennial mid-major power, the Boise State Broncos. Boise State at 10-2 is coming off of another great Mountain West season in preparation for their move to the Big East in 2013, while Washington limped to a 7-5 finish in a tough PAC 12. We see this one as a relatively easy win for the Broncos.
Our Prediction: BOISE STATE 31- WASHINGTON 14
The Hawaii Bowl is slated for Christmas Eve in Honolulu and matches up the Fresno State Bulldogs and the SMU Mustangs. This one should be an interesting home-coming for former Hawaii coach June Jones. The 9-3 Bulldogs had an impressive season under head coach Tim DeRuyter and QB Derek Carr-- younger brother of NFL backup Derek Carr-- while SMU struggled to a 6-6 finish under QB Garrett Gilbert in his last attempt to prove himself as a D-I QB. We'll go with the Bulldogs here.
Our Prediction: FRESNO STATE 27- SMU 20
Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl
The oddly-sponsored Little Caesars Pizza Bowl-- yep seriously-- is slated for Detroit's Ford Field on December 26th and will feature the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and the Central Michigan Chippewas. The two teams have a combined 13-11 record and both barely became bowl eligible in the last few weeks of the season. We'll give the edge to Central Michigan just because of the MACtion potential.
Our Prediction: CENTRAL MICHIGAN 31- WESTERN KENTUCKY 21
The 2012 Military Bowl kicks off on December 27th at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., and features the San Jose State Spartans and the Bowling Green Falcons. At 8-4, Bowling Green enters this matchup with San Jose State who finished the season at 10-2 and ranked 25th in the final Associated Press Poll. San Jose State quarterback David Fales is the nation's most efficient passer, and one of the more underrated prospects in the junior class and should slice and dice the Falcons defense. Advantage Spartans.
Our Prediction: SAN JOSE STATE 27- BOWLING GREEN 17
Charlotte's Belk Bowl matches up two of the country's more surprising teams in 2012, the Cincinnati Bearcats and Duke Blue Devils the evening of December 27th. Cincinnati was one of the top teams in the Big East in 2012, coming a few games away from securing a BCS bid at the end of the season. David Cutcliffe's Duke squad was one of the most surprising not only in the ACC, but in college football, becoming one of the first bowl eligible teams. This one will be closer than some may imagine.
Our Prediction: CINCINNATI 20- DUKE 17
The 2012 Holiday Bowl kicks off as the second bowl played at Qualcomm in San Diego on December 27th, and will feature the high-flying Baylor Bears and the upstart UCLA Bruins in what promises to be a high-scoring affair. This one will come down to how well the two quarterbacks fare against the opposing defenses. Baylor's Nick Florence can light the scoreboard up with the best of them, and UCLA freshman Brett Hundley has been outstanding also.
Our Prediction: BAYLOR 48- UCLA 45
The Shreveport, Louisiana-based Independence Bowl matches up the Ohio Bobcats, who had another strong season under Frank Solich, against the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks, who made a splash early in the 2012 season by knocking off the Arkansas Razorbacks at home. Plenty of controversy is surrounding this one already, due to Louisiana Tech being left out. Any buzz is good buzz for a bowl this size.
Our Prediction: LOUISIANA-MONROE 27 - OHIO 21
Russell Athletic Bowl
The Russell Athletic Bowl-- formerly known as the Champs Sports Bowl-- kicks off in Orlando, Florida on December 28th and features the disappointing Virginia Tech Hokies who were ranked among the country's best in the pre-season, and a Rutgers team that was a game short of a BCS bid after a final week loss to the Louisville Cardinals. Rutgers gets the edge here.
Our Prediction: RUTGERS 27- VIRGINIA TECH 13
Meineke Car Care Bowl
Another on the all-odd-name-team, the Meineke Car Care Bowl is slated for Houston's Reliant Stadium on December 28th and will feature the Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Minnesota's had it's share of drama around the program and the health of head coach Jerry Kill, and Tech's had the same with the Tommy Tuberville headphones incident. The Red Raiders can put up a ton of points and should overwhelm the Gophers' defense in this one.
Our Prediction: TEXAS TECH 41- MINNESOTA 21
Armed Forces Bowl
The Armed Forces Bowl will take place on the morning of Saturday, December 29th and features the Rice Owls who are bowl-eligible for the first-time in some time, and the Air Force Falcons as the traditional Armed Forces representative. I'm not really sure what to think of this one on paper. Both teams match up fairly well, but Rice has been on fire as of late. I give them the small edge.
Our Prediction: RICE 20 - AIR FORCE 17
In it's second-year of existence, the Pinstripe Bowl kicks off at Yankee Stadium on December 29th and features tWO explosive offenses as the Syracuse Orange take on the West Virginia Mountaineers. This should be a classic QB battle between Syracuse's Ryan Nassib and early-season Heisman Trophy candidate Geno Smith of West Virginia. I would definitely take the over in this one, we'll take the Mountaineers.
Our Prediction: WEST VIRGINIA 45- SYRACUSE 34
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl
The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl kicks off at AT&T Park in San Francisco on December 29th and features the Navy Midshipmen and the Arizona State Sun Devils. As always, Navy will look to establish the ground game against a porous Arizona State run defense. Arizona State can put up some points, however, and should be able to tip the tempo balance in their favor and emerge with a victory.
Our Prediction: ARIZONA STATE 28- NAVY 13
Valero Alamo Bowl
San Antonio's Alamo Bowl is set for the evening of December 29th and has the Texas Longhorns and Oregon State Beavers slated in what should be an interesting battle of wills. Sean Mannion is certainly capable of lighting up the scoreboard for the Beavers, and the Longhorns will be looking for a positive end to a frustrating 2012 campaign. This one will be a battle of wills, and with a ton on the line, Mack Brown will have his troops ready for battle.
Our Prediction: TEXAS 27 - OREGON STATE 21
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl
The Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl is scheduled for December 29th in Tempe, Arizona and features the TCU Horned Frogs and Michigan State Spartans, both teams who faced different types of adversity in 2012. With the loss of Casey Pachall at QB, TCU turned to redshirt freshman Trevon Boykin who stepped in admirably and let the Frogs to the post-season. Michigan State was ranked in the pre-season top ten and fell flat, barely becoming bowl eligible late in the season.
Our Prediction: TCU 21 - MICHIGAN STATE 13
Music City Bowl
The Music City Bowl is slated for mid-day on New Year's Eve in Nashville and features the North Carolina State Wolfpack, who recently poached Northern Illinois head coach Dave Doeren as their own, and the Vanderbilt Commodores who are a program on the rise under energetic young coach James Franklin. Just because of NC State's instability, we'll give the Commodores a slight edge.
Our Prediction: VANDERBILT 20 - NC STATE 17
One of the older bowls on record, the Sun Bowl welcomes Matt Barkley and the USC Trojans to El Paso on New Year's Eve to take on the 6-7 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets who were granted a waiver by the NCAA to be bowl eligible as the ACC runner-up in spite of their losing record. This one's USC in a blowout.
Our Prediction: USC 56 - GEORGIA TECH 17
The Liberty Bowl is scheduled Memphis on New Year's Eve and will feature the Conference USA champion Tulsa Golden Hurricane and the Iowa State Cyclones, who showed more incremental improvement this season under Paul Rhodes and a sign of what's to come. This should be a close one, but Iowa State's playing well lately and we'll roll with them.
Our Prediction: IOWA STATE 30 - TULSA 28
Chick Fil A Bowl
Atlanta's Chick-Fil-A Bowl is set for the evening of New Year's Eve and will feature Tigers from two conferences, as the defense-first LSU Tigers take on the high-flying Clemson Tigers in what could well be one of the more exciting non-BCS games on the schedule this season. Our bet is that Les Miles' team grinds down the pace and keeps Tajh Boyd and company in check to win a low-scoring slugfest.
Our Prediction: LSU 17 - CLEMSON 14
The Gator Bowl is scheduled for New Year's Day in Jacksonville, Florida and will feature the Mississippi State Bulldogs and Northwestern Wildcats. Dan Mullen's team got off to an outstanding start and fizzled somewhat toward the end of the year, while the Wildcats finished strong in the Big Ten, barely missing out on an opportunity to play in the conference's inaugural championship game. This one will be a battle of wills, but we give the SEC-tested Bulldogs a slight edge.
Our Prediction: MISSISSIPPI STATE 28 - NORTHWESTERN 21
Heart of Dallas Bowl
The upstart Heart of Dallas Bowl is scheduled for New Year's Day at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas and matches up the Purdue Boilermakers against the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Purdue's in flux with the firing of Danny Hope and the arrival of Darrell Hazell from Toledo, while the Cowboys are on some solid footing, in spite of a few tepid rumors about Mike Gundy and Tennessee. This one should be all Cowboys.
Our Prediction: OKLAHOMA STATE 41 - PURDUE 17
Capital One Bowl
Just on the fringes of the BCS, Orlando's Capital One Bowl is slated for Orlando on New Year's Day afternoon and features the SEC runner-up Georgia Bulldogs and Big Ten runner-up Nebraska Cornhuskers in what should be an interesting battle of wills. Aaron Murray and Taylor Martinez will tell the tale here. It's a huge game for Murray to potentially finish his Georgia career on a high note, and we think he'll do just that.
Our Prediction: GEORGIA 27 - NEBRASKA 24
Tampa's Outback Bwol is also scheduled for New Year's Day afternoon and features the South Carolina Gamecocks and Michigan Wolverines in a battle of two teams in transition. Watch for Michigan QB Devin Gardner, and also your last chance to watch Denard Robinson in a college uniform. Should be fun. The Gamecocks balance, and grizzly defense will be too much here.
Our Prediction: SOUTH CAROLINA 24 - MICHIGAN 14
The big-time bowls kick off with the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on December 1st as the PAC-12 Champion Stanford Cardinal take on Big Ten Champion Wisconsin. Montee Ball will look to continue his crazy late-season momentum against a stout Stanford defense, while Kevin Hogan and the Cardinal will look to continue their outstanding offensive production on the flipside. This one has all the makings of a classic.
Our Prediction: STANFORD 34 - WISCONSIN 31
The 2013 Orange Bowl features the Northern Illinois Huskies, who became BCS-bowl bound at the last minute thanks to the world-class performance of QB Jordan Liles in the MAC Championship Game win over Kent State, and the Florida State Seminoles who made plenty of noise themselves this season en route to an ACC Championship. In spite of the NIU hype, there's a big overall talent gap here. Easy Seminoles win.
Our Prediction: FLORIDA STATE 52 - NORTHERN ILLINOIS 27
The 2013 Sugar Bowl should be a classic battle on January 2nd, as the Louisville Cardinals and Florida Gators make their way to the Big Easy. Louisville signal caller Teddy Bridgewater has still been great even playing through pain, and Will Muschamp finally has his Gators on track as one of the SEC's powers. This should be a knock-down, drag-out battle from the kickoff. With Charlie Strong now firmly in place, the Cardinals pull the upset.
Our Prediction: LOUISVILLE 28 - FLORIDA 27
The Fiesta Bowl is slated for January 3rd in Glendale, Arizona and features the Oregon Ducks in Kansas State Wildcats in a battle that promises to break the scoreboard. Two of the nation's highest octane offenses enter this one. Take the over. Whoever has the ball last wins.
Our Prediction: OREGON 55 - KANSAS STATE 48
The classic Cotton Bowl is scheduled for January 4th in Arlington at the not-so-affectionately known Jerry World, as the Oklahoma Sooners take the field against the Texas A&M Aggies. These former Big 12 foes will both have plenty to prove, and we'll likely be watching a Heisman Trophy winner under center for A&M in true freshman phenom Johnny Manziel. In reality, this is better than some of the BCS bowls. Should be a great one.
Our Prediction: TEXAS A&M 28 - OKLAHOMA 24
The BBVA Compass Bowl is mixed in with the BCS games on January 5th in Birmingham, Alabama and pairs the Pittsburgh Panthers against the Ole Miss Rebels. Ole Miss' aerial assault led by Bo Wallace and Donte Moncrief will be too much for the Panthers to handle, even with Paul Chryst still on board, for now.
Our Prediction: OLE MISS 41 - PITTSBURGH 24
Go Daddy Bowl
Like the BBVA Compass, the Go Daddy is also slotted in during BCS season on January 6th in Mobile, Alabama and features the Kent State Flashes and Arkansas State Red Wolves. Both teams are now in flux with their head coaches moving to greener pastures for 2013, so there should be plenty of awkwardness in the air that doesn't just deal with the scantily-clad models the title sponsor is famous for. When given the chance, we'll always roll with the MAC.
Our Prediction: KENT STATE 34 - ARKANSAS STATE 28
BCS National Championship Game
Don't have to do much describing here. The Alabama Crimson Tide and Notre Dame Fighting Irish will tilt on January 7th for the BCS National Championship in what promises to be one of the best battles for all the marbles we've seen in years. It'll be a knock-down, drag-out with plenty at stake for both teams. Notre Dame's defense emerges and plays its best game of the year, helping the Irish pull a shocker.
Our Prediction: NOTRE DAME 21 - ALABAMA 20