Jan. 1, 12:00 PM
Nebraska (8-4) vs. #22 Georgia (8-4)
Both teams battled injuries throughout the season and just haven’t had quite the years they had planned. Nebraska seemed to be rolling along at 5-1 when they were beaten by Minnesota and lost starting QB Taylor Martinez. They have been forced to go to the third option, senior Ron Kellogg III, who did lead the Huskers to fantastic finish in a win over Northwestern. Georgia battled a murderous schedule early then dropped consecutive games to Missouri and Vanderbilt in the middle of the season. Four-year starting QB Aaron Murray tore his ACL in the regular season finale, a win over rival Georgia Tech. Georgia may have more fans in attendance…Georgia 20, Nebraska 17.
Jan. 1, 12:00 PM
UNLV (7-5) vs. North Texas (8-4)
It’s been quite a while, 13 years exactly, since UNLV has seen any bowl action. Head coach Bobby Hauck finally put it together and probably saved his job in the process. QB Caleb Herring has 2,522 yards passing and 22 touchdowns, but he’ll face a North Texas defense that is pretty good. The Mean Green defense is 27th in the nation in yards allowed per game (355.5) and ninth in scoring defense. WR Brelan Chancellor has 718 yards receiving and is in the top 15 in the country in both punt and kickoff returns…North Texas 28, UNLV 17.
Jan. 1, 1:00 PM
Iowa (8-4) vs. #16 LSU (9-3)
Iowa improved mightily from a year ago and their four losses this season were to teams with a combined record of 45-6. The Hawkeyes have a powerful running game led by junior RB Mark Weisman and a solid QB in sophomore Jake Ruddock (2,281 passing yards, 18 TDs) and are stout on defense (11th in scoring defense). They will face an explosive offense in LSU (37 points a game). QB Zach Mettenberger is out after being injured in the season finale. The running back tandem of Jeremy Hill (1,185 yards rushing) and Terrence Magee (614) is as good as any in the nation. While everyone clamors for the SEC, watch out for the big boys from the farm…Iowa 27, LSU 24.
Jan. 1, 1:00 PM
#19 Wisconsin (9-3) vs. #9 South Carolina (10-2)
The power running game of Wisconsin must battle one of the nation’s better defenses led by All-Everything DE Jadaveon Clowney. The Badgers run for 283 yards per game led by the tandem of Melvin Gordon (1,466 yards) and James White (1,337). On the other side, the Ole Ball coach at South Carolina, Steve Spurrier, has a pretty good RB of his own, Mike Davis, who has run for 1,134 yards and 11 touchdowns. This could be an old school, smash-mouth type football game. The Gamecocks have more experience…South Carolina 17, Wisconsin 14.
Jan. 1, 5:00 PM
#5 Stanford (11-2) vs. #4 Michigan State (12-1)
If the Capital One Bowl is a smash-mouth game, there may be no words to describe this one. Two big, physical defensive-minded teams match up in this Rose Bowl, the first for Michigan State since 1987. Both teams feature a 1,000-yard rusher: Jeremy Langford (1,338) for MSU and Tyler Gaffney (1,618) for Stanford. The game could come down to the quarterbacks. Stanford’s Kevin Hogan (2,487 yards passing, 20 TDs) has won a ton of games for the Cardinal. The Spartan’s Connor Cook (2,423 yds., 20 TDs) has only one loss as a starter. This one will be close…Stanford 14, Michigan State 13.
Jan. 1, 8:30 PM
#15 UCF (11-1) vs. #6 Baylor (11-1)
It’s the first BCS bowl game for both schools. Each team recorded the best season in school history. Baylor features one of the most prolific offenses in college football history. The Bears are first in the nation in scoring, averaging 53.3 points per game. QB Bryce Petty has thrown for 3,844 yards and 30 touchdowns and Lache Seastrunk (1,060 yards rushing) and Shock Linwood (862) give the Bears a solid one-two punch in the ground game. UCF has one of the more underrated QBs in the country in Blake Bortles (3,280 yards passing, 22 TDs). The level of competition in the AAC and the fact that Baylor is pretty good on defense gets the Bears the win…Baylor 49, Central Florida 28.
Jan. 2, 8:30 PM
#11 Oklahoma (10-2) vs. #3 Alabama (11-1)
The Sooners snuck into the BCS by virtue of their upset win over Oklahoma State in the Bedlam Rivalry. They will face two-time national champion Alabama, which lost out on a chance for a third straight title when it lost in dramatic fashion to rival Auburn. Who Oklahoma plays at QB might make a difference. Trevor Knight started the OSU game, but Blake Bell threw the game-winning TD pass. Alabama is solid all around. They have a stingy defense (11.2 points per game), a powerful running game (T.J. Yeldon, 1,163 yards rushing), and a Maxwell Award winning QB in A.J. McCarron…Alabama 27, Oklahoma 17.
Jan. 3, 7:30 PM
#13 Oklahoma State (10-2) vs. #8 Missouri (11-2)
Two teams beaten in their final game meet up to rekindle the old days of the Big 12. The Cowboys fell to Oklahoma in their final game costing them a BCS bowl bid. They feature one of the nation’s best offenses led by QB Clint Chelf. Missouri proved it belonged among the nation’s elite by winning the SEC East. With senior QB James Franklin back and RB Henry Josey (1,074 yards rushing, 13 TDs) lighting it up on offense and a defense that led the SEC in sacks, the Tigers get this one…Missouri 44, Oklahoma State 33.
Jan. 3, 8:30 PM
#12 Clemson (10-2) vs. #7 Ohio State (12-1)
Two of the best dual-threat QBs square off in the first meeting between these two schools since a 1978 Gator Bowl when then Ohio State coach Woody Hayes punched a Clemson player. Clemson’s Tajh Boyd has had an amazing career. He has 3,473 yards passing and 38 total touchdowns this season leading an offense that scores 40 points a game. The Buckeyes’ Braxton Miller leads the nation’s 4th-best rushing offense (317.5 yards per game) and has scored 32 total touchdowns. Both offenses can score. It will come down to which defense can get more stops. The money is on the Buckeyes…Ohio State 35, Clemson 31.
Jan. 4, 1:00 PM
Vanderbilt (8-4) vs. Houston (8-4)
Vandy has been one of the brightest surprises the past two seasons and heads to a second consecutive bowl. The Commodores have the SEC’s career leader in receiving in Jordan Matthews, who has 107 receptions this year for 1,334 yards. Houston has a rising star of its own at wide receiver, Deontay Greenberry who caught 76 passes for 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. Vandy won their final four games of the season. Houston won one of its last four…Vanderbilt 28, Houston 17.
Jan. 5, 9:00 PM
Arkansas State (7-5) vs. Ball State (10-2)
Arkansas State goes to a bowl again and for the fourth straight season watches its head coach move on. Bryan Harsin, who came from Texas to take the job last year, will become the new head coach at Boise State. The Red Wolves, who won four of their last five games, will get head coach Pete Lembo’s Cardinals and the all-time leading passer, Keith Wenning. The senior QB has thrown for 3,933 yards and 34 touchdowns this season. Ball State features two 1,000-yard receivers - Willie Snead (1,429) and Jordan Williams (1,016). It’s the third straight appearance in this bowl for the Sun Belt champion Red Wolves, who won the game last year. This one will be tougher…Ball State 37, Arkansas State 28.
VIZIO BCS National Championship
Jan. 6, 8:30 PM
#1 Florida State (13-0) vs. #2 Auburn (12-1)
Game Spreads by Online Sportsbooks
- 9 pts
- 8 pts
- 8.5 pts
+ 9 pts
+ 8 pts
+ 8.5 pts
It’s been a season of destiny for Auburn. After going 3-9 a year ago, Gus Malzahn took over and has led the Tigers into the title game. A Hail Mary against Georgia and the improbable field goal return to upset Alabama have delivered Auburn to the championship for the first time since they won it in 2010.
Florida State will be trying to win its first title since 1999. The Tigers have the nation’s top-ranked rushing offense (335.7 yard per game). FSU features Davey O’Brien Award winner Jameis Winston. The redshirt freshman QB has thrown for 3,820 yards and 38 touchdowns. The Seminoles defense is ranked No. 1 in scoring defense. The SEC has won the past seven national championships. Will this be the year? It will…Florida State 45, Auburn 38.
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Below you will find our entire prediction scores for the past college football bowls.
Dec. 21, 2:00 PM
Colorado State 7-6 vs. Washington State (6-6)
It’s been awhile since either team has been bowling. Nick Saban disciple Jim McIlwain has Colorado State back to a bowl for the first time since 2009 and Mike Leach gets Wazzou back for its first bowl since 2003.
The Rams feature more of a power offense, while Leach loves to sling the ball around in his Air Raid offense. The caliber of play is a little tougher in the Pac-12 than in the Mountain West. Give the edge to Washington State…WSU 24, Colorado State 17.
Dec. 21, 3:30 PM
#20 Fresno State (11-1) vs. #25 USC (9-4)
A season full of drama for USC closes with their first bowl game since being placed on probation in 2010. Fresno State features one of the nation’s best QBs in David Carr, who has thrown for 4,866 yards and 48 touchdowns this season. The Trojans hired their next coach, Steve Sarkisian, who won’t take over until January, but current offensive coordinator Clayton Helton will take the reins for the bowl game. The Bulldogs catch the Trojans in limbo…Fresno State 44, USC 28.
Dec. 21, 5:30 PM
Buffalo (8-4) vs. San Diego State (7-5)
Buffalo started the year 7-2 before dropping two of their last four. They feature a tough defense led by future NFL draft pick LB Khalil Bell. Head coach Jeff Quinn has done a wonderful job turning the program back around. San Diego State started the year 0-3, but a 7-2 finish puts them into the Potato Bowl. The UB offense features QB Quinn Koehler (2,796 passing yards), RB Adam Muema (1,015 rushing yards), and WR Ezell Ruffin (1,061 receiving yards).…Buffalo 27, San Diego State 33.
Dec. 21, 9:00 PM
Tulane (7-5) vs. LA-Lafayette (8-4)
It’s a great draw for this bowl with both teams from the state of Louisiana. For Tulane, it’s been 11 years since they have been to a bowl. The problem for the Green Wave is their opponent - the Ragin’ Cajuns have won this game two years in a row. Junior QB Terrance Broadway leads a pretty explosive offense, LA-Lafayette averages 35 points per game, but they will face a much-improved Tulane defense that is 19th in the country in scoring defense. Three in a row will be tough to pull off against a Tulane program on the rise…Tulane 24, LA-Lafayette 20.
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Dec. 23, 2:00 PM
East Carolina (9-3) vs. Ohio (7-5)
Even though they didn’t enjoy the success they have the past two seasons, Ohio still winds up in a bowl game. QB Tyler Tettleton (2,623 yards passing, 20 TDs) will play his final game against a vastly improved East Carolina. The Pirates may have the best QB the nation has never heard of in Shane Carden. Carden finished the regular season with 3,866 yards and 32 touchdowns. A loss to Marshall in the regular season finale kept the Pirates out of the Conference USA title game. The offense averages over 40 points per game. The Bobcats just didn’t have the kind of year they were expecting…East Carolina 42, Ohio 28.
Dec. 24, 8:00 PM
Boise State (8-4) vs. Oregon State (6-6)
The Boise State football program has advanced so far that an 8-4 season is somewhat of a disappointment. No matter, the Broncos head to Hawaii with an offense that averages 39 points a game. The key for Boise State, which lost head coach Chris Petersen to Washington, will be their defense. Oregon State, led by QB Sean Mannion, features the nation’s third-best passing offense. Boise had more trouble with teams that had power running games like BYU and San Diego State…Boise State 38, Oregon State 28.
Dec. 26, 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh (6-6) vs. Bowling Green (10-3)
It’s an encore trip to Detroit for the Falcons who earlier this month defeated Northern Illinois for its first MAC title in 21 years. Surprisingly, Bowling Green is fifth in the country in scoring defense (14.8 points per game) while playing in the spread offense-happy MAC. ACC Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald led the nation in tackles for loss with 25 and also had 10 sacks. Still, the Panthers didn’t finish in the top 50 in scoring defense. They also didn’t run the ball very well. Look for the better defense to get the win…Bowling Green 51, Pittsburgh 42.
Our Pick Bovada Lines: Bowling Green -6pts
Dec. 26, 9:30 PM
Utah State (8-5) vs. #23 Northern Illinois (12-1)
An intriguing match-up in San Diego as the nation’s best dual-threat QB, Jordan Lynch, leads his Huskies against the top defensive unit in the Mountain West, Utah State. The Aggies are actually seventh in the entire nation in scoring defense, yielding just 17.3 points a game. Lynch is incredible, though. He threw for 2,676 yards and ran for 1,881 more while scoring 45 total touchdowns. Utah State just won’t be able to keep up…Northern Illinois 48, Utah State 28.
Our Pick Bovada Lines: Pick, no spread
Dec. 27, 2:30 PM
Marshall (9-4) vs. Maryland (7-5)
Maryland head coach Randy Edsall saved his job by getting the Terrapins back to a bowl game for the first time since the Ralph Friedgen era. Maryland started the season 4-0, but battled injuries through the bulk of the ACC schedule. Marshall earned a berth in the Conference USA title game, but fell to Rice. Junior QB Rakeem Cato is one of the nation’s most exciting players with 3,579 yards passing and 36 TDs. Maryland won just two of their last six, but one of those was a 27-24 OT win over perennial ACC power Virginia Tech. A test for both teams, but Marshall has the more recent bowl success…Marshall 28, Maryland 17.
Dec. 27, 6:00 PM
Syracuse (6-6) vs. Minnesota (8-4)
Minnesota enjoyed its best season since Glen Mason was around while Syracuse had to upset Boston College in the final seconds of the final game of the regular season in order to become bowl eligible. Minnesota has also overcome some adversity in dealing with head coach Jerry Kill’s ordeal with epilepsy. The Golden Gophers feature a pretty solid running game led by junior RB David Cobb who has 1,111yards rushing and seven touchdowns. The Orange is still trying to find itself both offensively and defensively. Minnesota may smack them around some… Minnesota 24, Syracuse 17.
Dec. 27, 9:30 PM
BYU (8-4) vs. Washington (8-4)
The Huskies battled through a murderous Pac-12 schedule and then saw head coach Steve Sarkisian jump ship to USC prior to the bowl game. QB coach Marques Tuiasosopo will take over the head coach duties and his first order of business will be trying to stop the BYU running game. The Cougars rush for 275 yards per game, led by sophomore QB Taysom Hill, their leading passer and rusher (2,645 yards passing, 1,211 yards rushing). RB Jamaal Williams is also over 1,000 yards rushing (1,202) for the season. Washington was better on defense that some might think but still managed to give up 40 points three times during the season. They won’t do well in their lame duck period…BYU 45, Washington 38.
Dec. 28, 12:00 PM
Rutgers (6-6) vs. Notre Dame (8-4)
New York City will welcome neighbor Rutgers and fan favorite Notre Dame. The Scarlet Knights needed a win over USF in the final game of the season to reach the postseason. Notre Dame, which played for the national championship a year ago, is clearly not where they would like to be. The Irish running game has been average at best and senior QB Tommy Rees has done his best, but he just isn’t Everett Golson, who was lost prior to the season to academics. Rutgers isn’t much better. Give the edge to the athletes on Notre Dame’s defense…Notre Dame 19, Rutgers 15.
Dec. 28, 3:20 PM
Cincinnati (9-3) vs. North Carolina (6-6)
Head coach Tommy Tuberville kept the Bearcats in the thick of the American Athletic Conference race in his first season. Larry Fedora started the season 1-5 before rallying to qualify for a bowl. It will be Cincinnati’s second consecutive Belk Bowl. Senior QB Brendon Kay took over early in the season and has thrown for 3,121 yards and 22 TDs while the Bearcat defense has been solid (12th nationally in scoring defense). The Tar Heels and their 5-1 finish get them back to a bowl game after a year off due to NCAA sanctions. Tight end Eric Ebron (55 rec., 895 yds.) is headed to the NFL after this one. Bearcats are just better…Cincinnati 28, North Carolina 23.
Dec. 28, 6:45 PM
Miami (9-3) vs. #18 Louisville (11-1)
If not for a loss to AAC champ Central Florida, Louisville would have been in the BCS title mix. Instead, the Cardinals will battle an improved Miami squad in the Russell Athletic Bowl. QB Teddy Bridgewater will likely be the first QB taken in next year’s NFL Draft and leads a Louisville offense that scores 35 points a game. The Cardinals’ defense is equally adept. They are third in the nation in scoring defense, giving up just 12.4 points per game. Louisville faces old Big East foe Miami, which was ranked as high as No. 7 but then dropped three straight games at the beginning of November…Louisville 38, Miami 17.
Dec. 28, 10:15 PM
Michigan (7-5) vs. Kansas State (7-5)
Two programs who have seen better days meet up in Tempe for their first-ever meeting. The Wolverines lost five of their last seven games raising questions about head coach Brady Hoke and offensive coordinator Al Borges. Michigan does have some offensive weapons in QB Devin Gardner (2,960 yards, 21 Tds), WR Jeremy Gallon (80 rec., 1,284 yds.), and TE Devin Funchess (47 rec., 727 yds.). Kansas State has a few of their own led by WR Tyler Lockett who has 71 catches for 1,146 yards and eight touchdowns. If defenses win championships, then the Wolverines pull this one out…Michigan 42, Kansas State 38.
Dec. 30, 11:45 AM
Middle Tennessee State (8-4) vs. Navy (7-4)
One of the nation’s top rushing attacks meets up with a Middle Tennessee State defense that gives up 405 yards of offense per game. Navy’s triple-option running attack averages 320 yards per game led by their most dangerous player, sophomore QB Keenan Reynolds who has 1,028 yards passing and 1,124 yards rushing. He has accounted for 34 touchdowns and MTSU will be hard-pressed to stop him. The Blue Raiders offense is led by senior QB Logan Kilgore (2,289 yards passing) but is somewhat average when compared to the Midshipmen. Could be a long night for the MTSU defense…Navy 47, Middle Tennessee State 30.
Dec. 30, 3:15 PM
Ole Miss (7-5) vs. Georgia Tech (7-5)
Rebel’s head coach Hugh Freeze has Ole Miss back in a second consecutive bowl game. Their defense will have to contend with a Georgia Tech offense that runs for 311.7 yards per game. But, Freeze’s Rebels are no slouches offensively, averaging 473 yards of total offense per game. Freeze has even used last year’s No. 1 high school prospect Robert Nkemdiche at RB to mix things up. QB Vad Lee makes the Yellow Jacket offense go. The scoreboard should light up in this one…Ole Miss 38, Georgia Tech 35.
Dec. 30, 6:45 PM
#10 Oregon (10-2) vs. Texas (8-4)
Texas may lose head coach Mack Brown, who is expected to resign soon. The Longhorns started slow, going 1-2, then reeled off six straight wins and had a chance to win the Big 12. They then dropped two out of their last three to finish out of the running again. Oregon fell out of a BCS bowl game for the first time in five years. Ducks QB Marcus Mariota (39 total touchdowns) has said he will return next year. This game will be a tune up for what could be a Heisman season… Oregon 44, Texas 14.
Dec. 30, 10:15 PM
#14 Arizona State (10-3) vs. Texas Tech (7-5)
With two high-flying offenses squaring off, this could be one of the more exciting games of the bowl season. ASU QB Taylor Kelly (3,510 passing yards, 28 TDs) leads a Sun Devil offense that is 10th in the nation in scoring (41 points per game). Head coach Todd Graham led ASU to seven straight wins to close the season prior to the loss in the Pac-12 title game to Stanford. Red Raiders head coach Kliff Kingsbury led Tech to a fabulous 7-0 start to the season. They haven’t won since… Arizona State 41, Texas Tech 31.
Dec. 31, 12:30 PM
Arizona (7-5) vs. Boston College (7-5)
Two of the nation’s best running backs will square off in this match up. The country’s leading rusher, Andre Williams (2,102 yards) is a Heisman finalist and the key to BC’s offense. Arizona features Ka’Deem Carey, who rushed for 1,716 yards for the Wildcats in coach Rich Rodriguez’s spread-to-run offense. The difference maker might be the quarterback. Both teams have seniors leading the way. Arizona’s B.J. Denker is a dual threat - 2,241 passing yards, 898 rushing yards - while BC’s Chase Rettig is an NFL-type drop back passer. The better running game and more experience QB win…Boston College 27, Arizona 24.
Dec. 31, 2:00 PM
Virginia Tech (8-4) vs. #17 UCLA (9-3)
While the Hokies may not have had the year they hoped, their defense is still ranked No. 4 in total defense. That defense will face one of the nation’s best dual-threat QBs in UCLA’s Brett Hundley. The 6-3 sophomore has 3,432 total yards and 31 touchdowns and Virginia Tech has struggled with QBs that can run. It will be the final game for Hokies’ QB Logan Thomas, who has underachieved his entire. Only fitting he do so in his final bowl appearance…UCLA 38, Virginia Tech 17.
Dec. 31, 4:00 PM
Rice (10-3) vs. Mississippi State (6-6)
Mississippi State won the Egg Bowl over rival Ole Miss in overtime to qualify for a bowl game. Rice had one of its better seasons in memory, capturing its first Conference USA title ever and first conference title since 1957. The Owls offense revolves around big (6-1, 235) back Charles Ross, who rushed for 1,252 yards and 14 touchdowns. The Bulldogs offense centers on sophomore QB Dak Prescott, who has been injured. It won’t matter if he plays or not. Rice hasn’t faced the level of competition Mississippi State has…Mississippi State 27, Rice 23.
Dec. 31, 8:00 PM
#24 Duke (10-3) vs. #21 Texas A&M (8-4)
This could be the final college game for Johnny Manziel, who has thrown for more yards this year than last. The A&M offense is still dangerous with Manziel and WR Mike Evans (65 rec., 1,322 yds., 12 TDs) and consider the Aggies losses were to a then No. 1 Alabama, a now No. 2 Auburn, No. 8 Missouri, and No. 16 LSU. Duke has had its finest season ever winning the ACC Coastal Division and 10 games. The Blue Devils will battle, but cannot hang on…Texas A&M 55, Duke 28.
Last Year's College Bowl Previews:
Gildan New Mexico Bowl - Dec. 15 1:00 PM
The Wolfpack, 6-1 at one point this season, bring their high-flying pistol offense led by QB Cody Fajardo (2,530 yards passing, 17 TD; 981 yards rushing, 11 TD) and RB Stefphon Jefferson (1,703 yards rushing, 22 TD) to New Mexico. The first year of “Rich Rod” has produced one of the nation’s top offenses, 521 yards per game, and seven wins. QB Matt Scott has 3,238 yards passing and 24 touchdowns while star RB Ka’deem Carey is the nation’s leading rusher with 1,757 yards and 20 scores. Lots of offense in this one. The better defense wins… Nevada 55, Arizona 48.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl - Dec. 15 4:30 PM -
Toledo (9-3) vs. (22) Utah State (10-2)
Head coach Gary Anderson has created a monster at Utah State, this year’s WAC champs. The Aggies have won 10 games and Anderson has been mentioned for several big-name BCS coaching jobs. USU is tough on defense giving up just 15 points a game (8th in the nation) and rely on QB Chuckie Keeton (3,144 yards passing, 27 TD, 527 yards rushing, 7 TD) on offense. The Aggies will have to contend with a pretty good Rocket offense that features QB Terrance Owens (2,677 yards passing, 14 TD), RB David Fluellen (1,460 yards rushing, 13 TD), and WR Bernard Reedy (1,051 yards receiving, 6 TD). Toledo will have trouble defending Keeton… Utah State 38, Toledo 25.
|(22) Utah State
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia - Bowl Dec. 20 8:00 PM -
BYU (7-5) vs. San Diego State (9-3)
The independent Cougars take on the Mountain West Conference co-champion Aztecs. BYU is known for its defense, which is ranked fifth in the nation in scoring defense giving up just 14.7 points per game. Other than a blowout loss to top ten-ranked Oregon State, all of the Cougars’ losses have come by six points or less. San Diego State, which won seven in a row to close the season, including a 21-19 win over Boise State, averages 35 points a game on an offense that stars RB Adam Muema who has rushed for 1,355 yards and 16 touchdowns. Defense wins in this one…Brigham Young 24, San Diego State 21.
San Diego st
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl - Dec. 21 7:30 PM -
Ball State (9-3) vs. Central Florida (9-4)
Conference USA runners-up, UCF, which dropped two of their last three games to conference champ Tulsa, takes on resurgent Ball State. The Knights feature QB Blake Bortles, who has thrown for 2,787 yards and 22 touchdowns, and RB Latavius Murray who leads the team with 1,035 yards rushing and 14 scores, on an offense that scores 35 points per game. Head coach Pete Lembo has worked magic at Ball State and after a six-win season a year ago, the Cardinals are on the verge of a 10-win season. That will depend on QB Keith Wenning (2,878 yards, 22 TD) and RB Jahwan Edwards (1,321 yards rushing, 14 TD). Coach Lembo finds a way… Ball State 31, UCF 27.
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl - Dec. 22 12:00 PM -
East Carolina (8-4) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (8-4)
The Sun Belt runner-up Cajuns won their final three games of the season averaging just under 40 points in each victory. The spread offense revolves around QB Terrance Broadway who has passed for 2,526 yards and 16 touchdowns. He has also rushed for 661 yards and eight more scores. East Carolina also won its last three including a 65-59 double overtime thriller in the season finale over Marshall. Vintavious Cooper (1,030 yards) leads the ground game while WR Justin Hardy (1,046 yards on 83 receptions, 10 TD) and QB Shane Carden (2,838 yards, 21 TD) shine in the passing game. Give the edge to the more experienced bowl team… East Carolina 38, Louisiana-Lafayette 24.
MAACO Las Vegas Bowl - Dec. 22 3:30 PM -
Washington (7-5) vs. Boise State (10-2)
The Broncos quietly won 10 games in the first year of the post-Kellen Winslow era. New QB Joe Southwick has been effective throwing for 2,466 yards and 17 touchdowns to lead the Bronco offense. The big key for the Broncos, however, is the defense which is ranked sixth in the country in scoring defense giving up just 14.9 points per game. The Huskies stumbled a little this year losing three straight to Oregon, USC, and Arizona in consecutive weeks before closing the season with four out of five wins. QB Keith Price leads the Washington offense with 2,486 passing yards and 18 touchdowns. Boise wins another bowl game… Boise State 35, Washington 17.
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl - Dec. 24 8:00 PM -
SMU 6-6) vs. Fresno State (9-3)
The Mustangs upset Conference USA champion Tulsa, 35-27, in the regular season finale to become bowl eligible. Head coach June Jones, the former Hawaii head coach, returns to the islands once again with four-year starter RB Zach Line, who once again went over 1,000 yards on the season, finishing with 1,207 on 258 carries to go with 12 touchdowns. Texas transfer Garrett Gilbert has thrown for 2,720 yards and 14 touchdowns. Fresno State, which won a share of the Mountain West title, counters with one of the nation’s more prolific offenses scoring 40.3 points per game. QB Derek Carr has 3,742 yards passing and 36 touchdowns most of which have gone to Davante Adams who has 89 catches for 1,168 yards and 13 scores… Fresno State 33, SMU 18.
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl - Dec. 26 7:30 PM -
Western Kentucky (7-5) vs. Central Michigan (6-6)
Head coach Willie Taggart has led a resurgence at WKU. The Hilltoppers started strong going 5-1 (the only loss to Alabama) to begin the year, but stumbled down the stretch losing three of their last four. RB Antonio Andrews has 1,609 yards rushing to lead a strong WKU running game. CMU won four of their last five to get back into a bowl game for the first time since 2009. The Chippewas will need a big game from RB Zurlon Tipton (1,391 yards, 19 TD) to pull this one off…Western Kentucky 28, Central Michigan 14.
Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman - Dec. 27 3:00 PM -
Bowling Green (8-4) vs. San Jose State (10-2)
Another of the nation’s big surprises, Mike MacIntyre’s rebuilding of the program has come full circle in year three as the Spartans were runners-up in the WAC losing only to Stanford and WAC champ Utah State. MacIntyre has one of the country’s unsung quarterbacks in David Fales who has thrown for 3,798 yards and 31 touchdowns. MacIntyre improved the Spartan defense as well as they rank 25th nationally in points against. Their opponent is also very good defensively and the big reason the Falcons won eight games this year. BGSU ranks seventh in the country in total defense giving up just 290 yards per game. The Falcons won eight of their last nine losing only to MAC East champ Kent State. The streak continues… Bowling Green 24, San Jose State 17.
Belk Bowl- Dec. 27 6:30 PM -
Cincinnati (9-3) vs. Duke (6-6)
Only two close losses to Louisville (34-31 in OT) and Rutgers (10-3) kept the Bearcats from winning the Big East and earning a BCS bowl bid. QB Munchie Legaux and RB George Winn lead the Cincy offense while coach Butch Jones’ defense ranks 12th in scoring defense (17.2 points per game). Head coach David Cutcliffe had Duke at 6-2 after an impressive 33-30 win over rival North Carolina. The Blue Devils then lost four in a row but get a crack at the Bearcats. Duke is 107th in the country in rush offense and 105th in scoring defense (35 points a game). Cincinnati wins easily… Cincinnati 48, Duke 17.
Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl - Dec. 27 9:45 PM -
Baylor (7-5) vs. UCLA (9-4)
Jim Mora, Jr., looks to complete a dramatic turnaround as the Bruins, the Pac-12 runner up, takes on one of the nation’s best offenses. The Bears, who upset Oklahoma State 41-34 to end the season, are fifth in the nation in scoring (44.1 points per game) and won four of their last five games including wins over then top-ranked Kansas State (52-24) as well as last week’s win over the Cowboys. QB Nick Florence leads the country in total offense averaging 389 yards per game. UCLA comes off consecutive losses to Stanford, the last in the Pac-12 title game. RB Johnathan Franklin leads the Bruin offense with 1,700 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns. UCLA wins with defense… UCLA 38, Baylor 21.
AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl - Dec. 28 2:00 PM -
Louisiana-Monroe (8-4) vs. Ohio (8-4)
ULM pulled one of the biggest upsets of the year knocking off then No. 8 Arkansas, 34-31, in overtime, then following that up with near misses, 31-28 at Auburn and 47-42 against Baylor. Coach Mark Hudspeth has rejuvenated the program and it starts with his QB Kolton Browning. Browning has thrown for 2,830 yards and 27 touchdowns and leads the team in rushing with 441 yards on 122 carries. After seven straight wins to start the year, Ohio stumbled down the stretch in an effort to get back to the MAC title game. QB Tyler Tettleton commands the Bobcat offense with 2,513 yards passing and 16 touchdowns. Beau Blankenship is the leading rusher with 1,500 yards. Frank Solich’s squad lost three in a row to close the season. Make it four… ULM 30, Ohio 20.
Russell Athletic Bowl - Dec. 28 5:30 PM -
Rutgers (9-3) vs. Virginia Tech (6-6)
Consecutive losses to Pittsburgh and Louisville to close the season left Rutgers out of the BCS bowl picture. The Rutgers’ defense is stellar, fourth in the nation in scoring defense (14.3 points per game) and 12th in total defense. They also feature dynamic RB Jawan Jamison who has rushed for 1,054 yards on the season. The Hokies suffered through their worst season in a decade needing an overtime win over lowly Boston College and a narrow 17-14 victory over rival Virginia to become bowl eligible. QB Logan Thomas has been erratic but leads the VT offense having thrown for 2,783 yards and 17 touchdowns. The Scarlet Knights are better… Rutgers 24, Virginia Tech 10.
Meineke Car Care of Texas Bowl - Dec. 28 9:00 PM -
Minnesota (6-6) vs. Texas Tech (7-5)
Year two of the Jerry Kill era produces a bowl appearance for the Gophers, who have suffered through QB injuries but have been resilient. Marqueis Gray, who started the season, has been hampered by injuries all year. RB Donnell Kirkwood is the team’s leading rusher with 849 yards. Max Shortell took over for Gray and leads the team in passing with 853 yards and six touchdowns. Texas Tech was a huge surprise starting the season 7-1 including big wins over ranked West Virginia and TCU. Coach Tommy Tuberville’s squad features a prolific offense led by QB Seth Doege who has 3,934 yards passing and 38 touchdowns. Tech wins with offense… Texas Tech 39, Minnesota 19.
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl - Dec. 29 11:45 AM -
Rice (6-6) vs. Air Force (6-6)
The Owls finished the year 5-1 to qualify for a bowl. The Rice offense averages 32 points a game behind a strong rushing attack led by running backs Charles Ross (743 yards) and Taylor Charge (628). Coach David Bailiff’s running game ranks 29th (201 yards per game) in the nation. Their opponent, Air Force, knows a little about running the football. The Falcons’ triple option offense is second in the country averaging 329 yards per game. Running back Cody Getz leads the team with 1,213 yards while QB Connor Dietz is runs the attack and has rushed for 658. The Rice defense will have trouble with the multiplicity of the Air Force offense… Air Force 38, Rice 20.
New Era Pinstripe Bowl - Dec. 29 3:15 PM -
West Virginia (7-5) vs. Syracuse (7-5)
After reaching No. 5 in the polls, West Virginia and its defense faltered down the stretch losing five of its last seven. QB Geno Smith was a Heisman candidate and has thrown for 4,004 yards and 40 touchdowns. Wide receivers Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin each have over 1,000 yards receiving, but the Mountaineer defense is one of the nation’s worst giving up 38 points per game. Syracuse and coach Doug Marrone had a streak of their own, winning five of their last six. The Orange offense is fast-paced and ground based led by senior QB Ryan Nassib (3,619 yards and 24 touchdowns). The Syracuse defense is a little stronger than WVU… Syracuse 28, West Virginia 17.
Kraft Fight Hunger - Dec. 29 4:00 PM -
Navy (7-4) vs. Arizona State (7-5)
The Midshipmen are back in a bowl after missing out last year. After a 1-3 start, Navy reeled off five straight wins and their spread option offense was a big part of that turn around. Freshman Keenan Reynolds took over at QB midway through the season and has provided the spark the offense needed. Senior RB Gee Gee Greene leads the team in rushing with 750 yards on 104 carries. Arizona State and new head coach Todd Graham will have their hands full with the Navy offense. The Sun Devils lost four of their last six games (three to ranked opponents) and would love to end on a high note. The triple option wins this one… Navy 31, Arizona State 28.
Valero Alamo - Dec. 29 6:45 PM -
Texas (8-4) vs. Oregon State (9-3)
Head coach Mack Brown continues to take heat especially after losing their final two games to TCU on Thanksgiving night and last week to Kansas State. The Longhorns settle for the Alamo Bowl and will solid play from RB Jonathan Gray (683 yards rushing) and whoever starts at QB, either Case McCoy or David Ash. Ash started most of the season throwing for 2,458 yards and 17 touchdowns, but was hurt late in the year. Oregon State and coach Mike Riley had one of the better turnarounds (3-9 to 9-3) of 2012. Improvements to their defense, ranked in the top 25 in scoring defense, and a prolific passing game, led OSU to within a game of a berth in the Pac-12 title game. Look for the better defense to win… Oregon State 34, Texas 21.
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl - Dec. 29 10:15 PM -
TCU (7-5) vs. Michigan State (6-6)
The first year in the Big 12 was interesting for coach Gary Patterson’s Horned Frogs. Facing much tougher competition than in the Mountain West, TCU won two of their last four games, all against ranked opponents. Losing QB Casey Pachall mid-season didn’t help, but freshman Trevone Boykin has been impressive throwing for 1,853 yards and 15 scores. Michigan State opened the year with a big win over Boise State, but spotty QB play saw the Spartans struggle to repeat back-to-back 11-win seasons. MSU is very good on defense, 10th in the nation in scoring defense (16.3 points per game), and have RB Le’Veon Bell (1,648 yards rushing, 11 TD). MSU suffers in the passing game though. TCU exploit’s the Spartan defense and shuts down Bell… TCU 21, Michigan State 10.
Franklin American Mortgage
Music City Bowl - Dec. 31 12:00 PM -
NC State (7-5) vs. Vanderbilt (8-4)
The Wolfpack recorded a mid-season upset over Florida State but got blown out by Virginia and Clemson later in the year. QB Mike Glennon is one of the country’s best throwing for 3,648 yards and 30 touchdowns. NC State’s lackluster finish led to the firing of head coach Tom O’Brien. Vanderbilt, on the other hand, has one of the hottest names in coaching in James Franklin. The Commodores, incredibly, won five games in the SEC. School-record holder RB Zac Stacy leads the ground attack with 1,034 yards rushing and the Vandy defense is 15th in the country in scoring defense (15.3 points per game). The upbeat Franklin will have Vandy ready for a win… Vanderbilt 29, NC State 13.
Hyundai Sun Bowl - Dec. 31 2:00 PM -
USC (7-5) vs. Georgia Tech (6-7)
Since starting the year as a pre-season favorite to play for the national title, USC promptly lost early to Stanford (for the third year in a row) and then lost four of their last five. The Yellow Jackets backed into a bowl game, losing in the ACC championship, but getting a waiver from the NCAA to participate. The big question is will QB Matt Barkley be ready to play in his final game for the Trojans. Regardless, Lane Kiffin’s squad has too much talent. Tech’s triple option will give the Trojan defense some fits but won’t produce enough to win… USC 34, Georgia Tech 17.
AutoZone Liberty Bowl - Dec. 31 3:30 PM -
Tulsa (10-3) vs. Iowa State (6-6)
The Conference USA champs are strong in the run game averaging 240 yards per game with running backs Trey Watts (959 yards) and Ja’Terian Douglas (857) leading the way. QB Cody Green has thrown for 2,499 yards and 17 touchdowns. Iowa State counters with a hard-nosed defense, characteristic of coach Paul Rhoads’ style. The Cyclones are not flashy on offense relying on QB Steele Jantz (1,562 yards passing, 13 TD) and running backs Shontrell Johnson (504 yards rushing) and James White (469). ISU played four ranked opponents, beating one; Tulsa played none… Iowa State 27, Tulsa 24.
Chick-fil-A Bowl - Dec. 31 7:30 PM -
LSU (10-2) vs. Clemson (10-2)
One of the best bowl match ups, Clemson’s vaunted offense goes up against the powerful defense of LSU. Clemson with QB Tajh Boyd (3,550 yards passing, 30 TD), RB Andre Ellington (1,031 yards rushing), and receivers Deandre Hopkins (1,214 yards, 16 TD) and Sammy Watkins (708 yards) is sixth in the country in scoring with 42 points per game. The Tigers have not faced a defense like LSU, though. Les Miles’ defense gives up 16.9 points per game, good for 11th nationally, and just 101 yards rushing per game, ninth best. LSU is best when the ground game featuring Jeremy Hill (631 yards) and Kenny Hilliard (456) is in synch with QB Zach Mettenberger and the passing game. Mettenberger has been erratic but has 2,489 yards passing to go with 11 touchdowns. Defense wins championships… LSU 24, Clemson 23.
TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl - Jan. 1 12:00 PM -
Mississippi State (8-4) vs. Northwestern (9-3)
Two of the nation’s bigger surprise teams, Dan Mullen’s Bulldogs started 7-0 and were ranked in the top 15 before having to take on Alabama, Texas A&M, and LSU in consecutive weeks. MSU is good defensively and can run the football with junior Ladarius Perkins who has rushed for 940 yards on 186 carries. QB Tyler Russell has thrown for 2,791 yards and 22 touchdowns. Northwestern suffered a one-point loss to Big Ten runner-up Nebraska and lost in overtime to Michigan. All-everything Kain Colter is the offensive spark. Colter has thrown for 796 yards and eight touchdowns while rushing for 820 yards and 12 more scores. The Wildcats’ offense is dynamic and averages 231 yards per game on the ground. MSU will have a tough time but prevail… Mississippi State 28, Northwestern 17.
Heart of Dallas - Jan. 1 12:00 PM -
Purdue (6-6) vs. Oklahoma State (7-5)
The Cowboys had an up-and-down year winning some games they maybe shouldn’t have and losing a few they probably should have won. Coach Mike Gundy has had to deal with three different starting quarterbacks and has still managed to average almost 45 points per game (4th best in the nation). Clint Chelf has started most recently and has thrown for 1,391 yards and 12 touchdowns. RB Joseph Randle leads the run game with 1,351 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground. Purdue won its final three games of the season to become bowl eligible. Even so, head coach Danny Hope was fired. The Boilermakers have had some similar troubles at QB with sixth-year senior Robert Marve (1,522 yards) and Caleb Tarbush (1,150 yards) both handling the job during the season. OSU has more firepower… Oklahoma State 38, Purdue 14.
Outback Bowl - Jan. 1 1:00 PM -
South Carolina (10-2) vs. Michigan (8-4)
The Ole Ball Coach leads the Gamecocks against Big Ten opponent Michigan and the dynamic Denard Robinson. South Carolina gets it done SEC-style with defense (13th in scoring defense), running the football (143 yards per game), and solid QB play. Connor Shaw has been the starter most of the year (1,732 yards passing, 15 touchdowns) but Dylan Thompson (910, 8) has been admirable in relief. The Wolverines feature one of college football’s most dynamic players in Robinson. The senior is the team’s leading passer (1,319 yards) and rusher (1,166) although teammate Devin Gardner has started at QB the last three games after Robinson suffered an elbow injury. The SEC prevails again… South Carolina 27, Michigan 21.
Capital One Bowl - Jan. 1 1:00 PM -
Georgia (11-2) vs. Nebraska (10-3)
The Bulldogs came within a few seconds of defeating Alabama for the SEC championship while Nebraska was getting pounded by Wisconsin in the Big Ten title tilt. Coach Mark Richt relies on his senior QB Aaron Murray who has thrown for 3,466 yards and 31 touchdowns. The ground game is also strong with freshman Todd Gurley (1,260 yards, 16 TD) and Keith Marshall (723, 8). Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez improved immensely from a year ago and has completed 212-of-341 passes for 2,667 yards and 21 touchdowns. He is also second on the team in rushing with 973 yards. The Blackshirt defense got torched for 70 points in the Big Ten championship… Georgia 23, Nebraska 14.
Rose Bowl presented by Vizio - Jan. 1 5:00 PM -
Stanford (11-2) vs. Wisconsin (8-5)
With Wisconsin surprisingly repeating as Big Ten champion, the stage is set for the Granddaddy of Them All. The Cardinal, with Kevin Hogan at QB, and one of the nation’s best defenses, will match with the Badgers whose five losses have all been by three points, three of those in overtime. RB Montee Ball, the NCAA’s leader in career touchdowns, leads the Wisconsin offense, which put up 70 points against Nebraska in the Big Ten championship game. It should be a classic match up of hard-nosed defense and powerful running games. Edge goes to… Stanford 27, Wisconsin 17.
Discover Orange Bowl - Jan. 1 8:30 PM -
Northern Illinois (12-1) vs. Florida State (10-2)
NIU is this season’s BCS-buster earning a shot at Florida State after winning the MAC championship for the second consecutive year. The Huskies have the best QB no one has heard of in Jordan Lynch. Lynch, who ran for three touchdowns including the game winner in the MAC title win over Kent State, has thrown for 2,962 yards and 24 touchdowns while running for 1,771 and 19 scores. The rushing yard total eclipses Denard Robinson’s mark for rush yards by a quarterback. FSU, though, is one of the nation’s better defensive teams. The Seminoles are stingy giving up just 15 points a game (7th in the nation) and are fifth in rush defense yielding just 93 yards on the ground per game. FSU has more athletes and talent… Florida State 47, Northern Illinois 23.
Allstate Sugar Bowl - Jan. 2 8:30 PM -
Louisville (10-2) vs. Florida (11-1)
Two late-season upset losses, to Syracuse and Connecticut, are the only thing standing in the way of an unbeaten season for the Cardinals. For their efforts, they get Will Muschamp’s Gators, one of the most relentless defensive teams in the nation. Florida is the third-best scoring defense in the country giving up just 12.9 points per game. They shut down the run (97 yards per game) and have held five opponents to a touchdown or less. Louisville is not very good at running the football averaging only 100 yards per game and rely heavily on sophomore QB Teddy Bridgewater (3,452 yards passing, 25 touchdowns). Another SEC win… Florida 31, Louisville 10.
Tostitos Fiesta - Jan. 3 8:30 PM -
Oregon (11-1) vs. Kansas State (11-1)
Two of the nation’s more high-flying offenses square off as QB Collin Klein meets the speedy Oregon offense. It will be up to the Wildcat defense to slow down Ducks’ QB Marcus Mariota, RB Kenjon Barner, and all-purpose player De’anthony Thomas. The three account for 90 percent of the Oregon offense. Barner has run for 1,624 yards (21 TD) and Mariota has thrown for 2,511 yards and 30 touchdowns. Klein (2,490 yards passing) and RB John Hubert have run for 892 and 890 yards respectively to lead KSU. Only a 52-24 upset loss to Baylor prevented coach Bill Snyder from possibly landing in the national championship game. Oregon will be too much…Oregon 37, Kansas State 31.
AT&T Cotton Bowl - Jan. 4 8:00 PM -
Texas A&M (10-2) vs. Oklahoma (10-2)
In what was supposed to be a building year for new coach Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M rocked the football world handing Alabama its only loss of the season, a 29-24 win in November. The Aggies have one of the nation’s best players in redshirt freshman QB Johnny Manziel who has 3,419 yards passing, 1,181 yards rushing and 43 total touchdowns. A&M is third in the nation in scoring averaging 44.8 points per game. Oklahoma lost early to Kansas State falling out of national title contention but won their last five games. QB Landry Jones leads the Sooners having thrown for 3,989 yards and 29 touchdowns. In a battle of offenses, whose defense comes through? Texas A&M 48, Oklahoma 39.
BBVA Compass Bowl - Jan. 5 1:00 PM -
Pittsburgh (6-6) vs. Mississippi (6-6)
Two programs with new coaches trying to recapture the glory days of their respective programs meet in the Compass Bowl. Former Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst brought his run-heavy offense and tough defense to the Steel City. Senior QB Tino Sunseri (3,103 yards passing, 19 TD) and senior RB Ray Graham (1,042 yards rushing, 11 TD) lead the Panthers’ offense. On the other side, coach Hugh Freeze, he of Michael Oher-Blind Side fame, brings his wide-open style of offense led by QB Bo Wallace who has thrown for 2,843 yards and 19 touchdowns. The Rebels lost three of their last four but did beat rival Mississippi State, 41-24, in the annual Egg Bowl. Pitt capped the regular season by giving up just nine points in wins over Rutgers and South Florida… Pittsburgh 24, Mississippi 21.
GoDaddy.com Bowl - Jan. 6 9:00 PM -
Kent State (11-2) vs. Arkansas State (9-3)
Everyone’s favorite offensive mind, Gus Malzahn, leads his Sun Belt champion Red Wolves against one of the biggest surprises in all of college football, Kent State. The Golden Flashes, one of the worst programs in the history of the game, won 11 games including a win over a ranked Rutgers team. Coach Darrell Hazell’s team averages 228 yards per game rushing led by Dri Archer (1,352) and Trayion Durham (1,248). Arkansas State has QB Ryan Aplin, who has thrown for 3,129 yards and 23 touchdowns. The Red Wolves are also very good on the ground averaging 217 yards per game led by David Oku (1,024 yards, 15 TD). It’s a toss up… Arkansas State 37, Kent State 33.
Discover BCS National Championship - Jan. 7 8:30 PM -
Alabama (11-1) vs. Notre Dame (12-0)
For the seventh straight season, an SEC team will battle for the national championship as Alabama gets a chance to repeat as champs. Notre Dame will attempt to become the second team to win a national title after starting the season unranked (BYU in 1984 was he first). Both teams are strong on defense. The Irish are No. 1 in scoring defense (10.3) while the Tide is second (10.7). Both are ranked among the top ten in every major defensive statistical category. Both average over 200 yards per game on the ground; Notre Dame 202, Alabama 225. The difference may come down to QB play. Notre Dame’s Everett Golson is in his first season as a full-time starter and has thrown for 2,135 yards and 11 touchdowns. The Tide’s A.J. McCarron has a national championship under his belt, has thrown for 2,669 yards, and has 26 touchdown passes this year. A defensive battle, the Tide win again… Alabama 13, Notre Dame 7.
2012 College Football Season