Predictions For Every 2013-14 College Football Bowl Game
Previewing and Predicting All 35 College Football Bowl Games
College Football Bowl season is finally here. With all the matchups set, it's time to start taking a looking at the game lines and who will walk away victorious after the final contests of the 2013-14 season.
Bowl games are definitely a hot topic of debate this time of year. The talk begins with Bowl projections and where certain teams might play. Then once the Bowls are announced, it becomes a case of where officials hit and missed with their selections. With 35 games on the slate, it's impossible to make everyone happy.
But the big question that comes around this time of year - are there too many Bowls?
Simply put, the answer is yes. There are way too many Bowl games. Most casual fans just don't care about the lower-tier games. Outside of friends and family, battles of 6-6 teams are just irrelevant to most folks. But obviously, the games do generate a lot of money, which is obviously why there are so many lower-tier games.
However, the classic Bowl games shouldn't go anywhere. What CFB fan doesn't love classic New Year's Day games like the Rose Bowl and Cotton Bowl? Games like that are what the sport of CFB is all about. But with that being said, it wouldn't be a terrible thing if the winner of every BCS game went on to play in the next round of a championship tournament. Right now, we're looking at just a four-team playoff starting in 2014. Hopefully it expands to eight teams before too long and every BSC game becomes a stepping stone to a National Championship.
For now, the current system will have to do. Speaking of that system, here's a look at all 35 Bowl games from start to finish (predictions included):
New Mexico Bowl - Colorado State vs. Washington State
Washington State's experience against the tough Pac 12 will be the difference in the one.
Colorado State 14, Washington State 28
Las Vegal Bowl - Fresno State vs. USC
The Las Vegas Bowl scored big with near BCS bound Fresno State and the storied program that is USC. Given that some of the USC players are upset about Ed Orgeron not being named the new head coach, I'll take Fresno State in a close one.
Fresno State 38, USC 35
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl - San Diego State vs. Buffalo
Buffalo opened 2013 with seven straight wins, while SDSU finished 2013 by winning four out of five. This game could go either way, but I'll take Buffalo because of their NFL prospects like Khalil Mack.
Buffalo 28, SDSU 21
New Orleans Bowl - Tulane vs. LA Lafayette
LA Lafayette won eight straight to start 2013, but have now dropped two straight. However, I like them to rebound in their back yard against Tulane on December 21st.
Tulane 10, LA Lafayette 21
Beef O' Brady's Bowl - East Carolina vs. Ohio
Shane Carden will prove to be the star of this game between 9-3 East Carolina and 7-5 Ohio. The Pirates' QB is a player to watch next season and could become a solid NFL QB prospect in 2014.
East Carolina 35, Ohio 24
Hawaii Bowl - Boise State vs. Oregon State
Boise State is now without its long-time head coach, Chris Peterson, as it prepares to head to Hawaii for a Christmas Eve battle with Oregon State. Will his absence affect the Broncos? I believe it will. Plus, Oregon State has faced a much tougher schedule in 2013.
Boise State 21, Oregon State 35
Little Caesars Bowl - Pittsburgh vs. Bowling Green
Pittsburgh and Bowling Green are set to battle for lifetime supply of $5 'Hot and Ready' pizzas in the Little Caesars Bowl. Okay, not really, but that would awesome. I'll take the the Panthers based on the higher level of competition they've faced in 2013.
Pittsburgh 21, Bowling Green 14
Poinsettia Bowl - Utah State vs. Northern Illinois
NIU choked to end its season, but now they're heading to sunny San Diego as a consolation prize. I like Jordan Lynch and company to rebound against a tough Utah State team.
NIU 34, Utah State 31
Military Bowl - Maryland vs. Marshall
Maryland will be playing from its back yard in this one, in their final game before joining the Big Ten in 2014. I like them to leave the ACC in style with a victory in the Military Bowl.
Maryland 31, Marshall 21
Texas Bowl - Minnesota vs. Syracuse
The Gophers stumbled down the stretch and now have to settle for the Texas Bowl from Houston. Syracuse had an up-and-down season and finished right at .500. I'll take Minnesota in this one.
Minnesota 28, Syracuse 14
Pinstripe Bowl - Notre Dame vs. Rutgers
The Pinstripe Bowl scored big with this matchup. They got Notre Dame and their great following and Rutgers who won't have to travel far to play at Yankee Stadium. The stands will be packed, no doubt about it. As for the winner? I'll take the Fighting Irish in a close one.
Notre Dame 20, Rutgers 17
Fight Hunger Bowl - Washington vs. BYU
The Huskies are now without Steve Sarkisian, but they did win four out of five to finish the season. As for the Cougars, they played a tough slate on their way to 8-4. Even given the coaching change and all that goes along with it, I'll still take Washington.
Washington 27, BYU 24
Belk Bowl - North Carolina vs. Cincinnati
The Tar Heels will be playing from their back yard in this one from Charlotte, NC. However, both teams will be coming in hot. UNC won five of its last six games, while the Bearcats won six out of seven. After a flip of the coin, I've decided to take the Tar Heels.
UNC 21, Cincinnati 17
Russell Athletic Bowl - Miami vs. Louisville
The RA Bowl scored a really nice matchup here with The U and Louisville. Teddy Bridgewater is the top QB prospect for next year's NFL Draft, so that means this game will get solid ratings in the 6:45 pm slot on December 28th. Can Bridgewater live up to the hype? I think he can and will.
Miami 28, Louisville 38
BWW Bowl - Michigan vs. Kansas State
Michigan fans certainly aren't happy about this berth in the BWW Bowl. However, it gives the Wolverines a solid chance to end their season with a win.
Michigan 31, Kansas State 17
Armed Forces - Middle Tennessee vs. Navy
You can't pick against Navy in the Armed Forces Bowl, can you?
Middle Tennessee 10, Navy 24
Music City Bowl - Georgia Tech vs. Ole Miss
The Music Bowl will feature a battle of a 7-5 ACC and a 7-5 SEC team. This matchup is basically a pick em', so I'll take Georgia Tech on a whim.
Georgia Tech 21, Ole Miss 20
Alamo Bowl - Texas vs. Oregon
The Alamo Bowl hit a home run with Texas and Oregon. The Longhorns almost won the Big 12, while Oregon sputtered towards the end of 2013. With Marcus Mariotta out to prove himself, I'll take the Ducks in convincing fashion.
Texas 24, Oregon 42
Holiday Bowl - Texas Tech vs. Arizona State
The Sun Devils' run at the Rose Bowl came to a screeching halt in the Pac 12 championship. However, they'll have a very solid opportunity to rebound against Texas Tech, who dropped five straight to end the season.
Texas Tech 14, Arizona State 42
Independence Bowl - Boston College vs. Arizona
Arizona was up-and-down all season long in 2013, while BC started slow and finished strong. I'll take the Eagles in this pick em' battle of 7-5 teams.
Boston College 17, Arizona 14
Sun Bowl - Virginia Tech vs. UCLA
Two notable CFB head coaches will clash in this one as Frank Beamer's Hokies with clash with Jim Mora's Bruins from El Paso, TX. The two squads are fairly evenly matched, but I like UCLA to win its first Bowl game since 2009.
VA Tech 21, UCLA 28
Liberty Bowl - Rice vs. Miss. State
Rice will enter the Liberty Bowl with an impressive 10-3 record, while Mississippi State just made it to Bowl eligibility at 6-6. However, the Bulldogs played a much more impressive slate of opponents all season long in the SEC.
Rice 17, Miss State 24
Chick-Fil-A Bowl - Texas A&M vs. Duke
Duke will be coming off a crushing defeat in the ACC title game, while A&M will also limp into the Chick-Fil-A Bowl with its less than spectacular defense. Johnny Manziel will be the best player on the field in this one, so I like the Aggies to walk away with a Bowl win for the third straight year.
Texas A&M 45, Duke 24
Gator Bowl - Nebraska vs. Georgia
The Gator Bowl is a rematch of last year's Capital One Bowl. Let's be honest, Bowl game rematches aren't the greatest thing of all time. As for the action on the field, though, I like the Cornhuskers. Bo Pelini's streak of three straight Bowl losses will come to an end on January 1st.
Nebraska 21, Georgia 10
Heart of Dallas Bowl - UNLV vs. North Texas
UNLV and North Texas are set to square off in this less traditional New Year's Day game from Dallas. You know there will be plenty of North Texas fans in attendance, but I just can't pick a team ranked 104th in strength of schedule.
UNLV 42, North Texas 28
Captial One Bowl - Wisconsin vs. South Carolina
The Badgers blew their chances of a BCS berth by faltering in week 14, while the Gamecocks finished 2013 on a major hot streak by winning five straight games. Wisconsin is a good team, but not good enough to beat SEC-strong South Carolina.
Wisconsin 28, South Carolina 38
Outback Bowl - LSU vs. Iowa
Iowa finished its season on a high note by defeating Nebraska on the road to get to eight wins on the season. LSU finished its season on an incredibly low note, as starting QB Zach Mettenberger went down with a torn ACL. It's because of those different directions that I like the Hawkeyes in this battle from Tampa, FL.
Iowa 24, LSU 21
Cotton Bowl - Oklahoma State vs. Missouri
The Cotton Bowl is a decent consolation prize for the Cowboys and Tigers. However, you know both teams are very disappointed after failing to clinch BCS berths during Championship week. Which team is in better shape heading into the classic that is the Cotton Bowl?
Oklahoma State 21, Missouri 35
BBVA Compass Bowl - Houston vs. Vanderbilt
Both Houston and Vanderbilt went 8-4 this past regular season. Who has the edge in this one? Give me the team that played against the stiffer competition.
Houston 28, Vanderbilt 31
GoDaddy.com Bowl - Ball State vs. Arkansas State
The Fighting Cardinals are coming off one of the best seasons in school history at 10-2, while Arkansas State managed to put seven wins on the board in 2013. Give me Ball State in the Danica Patrick Bowl.
Ball State 34, Arkansas State 21
Rose Bowl - Michigan State vs. Stanford
Michigan State is set to make its first Rose Bowl appearance since 1988 against Stanford, who will be trying to win its second straight Grand Daddy of Them All. MSU brings arguably the nation's best defense to the table and I think that unit will be the difference in the game.
Michigan State 21, Stanford 17
Fiesta Bowl - Baylor vs. UCF
Let's be honest, the Fiesta Bowl didn't get the greatest of draws with this matchup. Can UCF hang with Baylor's high-powered offense? I don't think so. Give me the Bears in convincing fashion.
Baylor 45, UCF 21
Sugar Bowl - Alabama vs. Oklahoma
What a matchup the Sugar Bowl landed this season. Alabama and Oklahoma are both legendary CFB programs and you can bet that the Superdome will be packed to the brim for this one. The Sooners have more than a puncher's chance to beat the Crimson Tide, but I like Nick Saban's team to rebound following their disappointing loss in the Iron Bowl.
Alabama 24, Oklahoma 14
Orange Bowl - Clemson vs. Ohio State
Fresh off a crushing loss in the the Big Ten title game, look for Ohio State to bounce back in a big way. Urban Meyer will have his team ready to play and the Buckeyes will be too much for the ACC-weak Clemson Tigers.
Clemson 17, Ohio State 28
BCS Title Game - Florida State vs. Auburn
FSU will head into the National Championship game with a ton of momentum after an undefeated season and a beatdown of Duke in the ACC title game, but Auburn is undoubtedly the hottest team in CFB right now. FSU is favored to take care of business, but I like the Tigers in an upset.
Florida State 31, Auburn 34
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