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College football bowl game predictions

By McClatchy News Services

POSTED:



You can try this cold turkey, but picking bowl-game winners is my job. While you're at work solving world problems, I'm doing full-time what you do in your spare time. Some years are better than others.

The general rule is to look for motivation in each bowl matchup. The best example was UCLA in the 2004 Las Vegas Bowl against Wyoming.

One team wanted to be there and the other went by the nickname Bruins.

My other theory is to stay away from schools led by "interim" or distracted coaches. This year, though, some choices were extremely tough.

Is Fresno State less motivated to play in Las Vegas because the Bulldogs wanted to play in the Fiesta Bowl? Yes, but that factor is offset by USC being the opponent.

Fresno State will be highly motivated to defeat the Trojans, an interim-coached team that is emotional mystery meat in the aftermath of the Ed Orgeron saga. The most important adage in bowl picking, however, is this: when in doubt, just guess.

The annual worst-to-best bowl rankings:

 

TEXAS BOWL
Syracuse (6-6) vs. Minnesota (8-4)
This is Syracuse's first Texas-based bowl trip since the 1960 Cotton. Minnesota will find cotton gym socks it left in the locker room at last year's Texas Bowl.
» Winner: Minnesota

 

HEART OF DALLAS BOWL
UNLV (7-5) vs. North Texas (8-4)
UNLV recovered from early losses to Minnesota and Arizona by a combined 109-36. North Texas' season was approved by the USDA even though the Mean Green fell to Texas San Antonio.
» Winner: North Texas

 

BEEF 'O' BRADY'S BOWL
Ohio (7-5) vs. East Carolina (9-3)
Tom 'O' Brady will love this game that features two of the nation's top QBs in East Carolina's Shane Carden and Ohio's Tyler Tettleton.
» Winner: East Carolina

 

NEW ORLEANS BOWL
Tulane (7-5) vs. Louisiana Lafayette (8-4)
Bobby Boucher serves as honorary "Waterboy" and Ed Orgeron provides Cajun commentary in this all-Louisiana bowl bottle of Red Rooster hot sauce.
» Winner: Tulane

 

FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL
Buffalo (8-4) vs. San Diego State (7-5)
The most impressive terrain-coverage meeting in a wide-open space since the transcontinental train track hookup at Promontory Summit, Utah, in 1869.
» Winner: San Diego State

 

MILITARY BOWL
Maryland (7-5) vs. Marshall (9-4)
After careful analysis, we're going with the team that lost to Florida State 63-0 over the team that gave up 51 points to Middle Tennessee.
» Winner: Maryland

 

ARMED FORCES BOWL
Middle Tennessee (8-4) vs. Navy (8-4)
This is a pretty even game between the Midshipmen and the Mid-Tennessee men. Navy, in the end, has more triple options on offense.
» Winner: Navy

 

LITTLE CAESARS BOWL
Pittsburgh (6-6) vs. Bowling Green (10-3)
Bowling Green's reward for beating Northern Illinois in Detroit was a bowl game in Detroit? That's like giving your kid broccoli as a reward for eating spinach.
» Winner: Bowling Green

 

GODADDY BOWL
Ball State (10-2) vs. Arkansas State (7-5)
This bowl, played the night before Florida State-Auburn, should make everyone appreciate just how good the Bowl Championship Series title game might be.
» Winner: Ball State

 

LIBERTY BOWL
Rice (10-3) vs. Mississippi State (6-6)
Common denominator: Both teams lost at Texas A&M this year and, afterward, asked Johnny Manziel to sign their sweatbands.
» Winner: Mississippi State

 

NEW MEXICO BOWL
Colorado State (7-6) vs. Washington State (6-6)
Colorado State played Alabama tough in Tuscaloosa and Washington State nearly defeated Auburn. Never forget, though, the Southeastern Conference is king.
» Winner: Washington State

 

PINSTRIPE BOWL
Rutgers (6-6) vs. Notre Dame (8-4)
Rockne's "Win one for the Gipper" speech at Yankee Stadium in 1928 helped inspire a win over Army. FWIW: The following week, Notre Dame lost at home to Carnegie Tech.
» Winner: Notre Dame

 

HAWAII BOWL
Oregon State (6-6) vs. Boise State (8-4)
People still don't get it: Chris Petersen loves Boise and has no intention of leaving any time soon. What's that, he just bailed out for Washington?
» Winner: Oregon State

 

BELK BOWL
North Carolina (6-6) vs. Cincinnati (9-3)
Cincinnati played Duke in last year's Belk and is hoping to play NC State next year to complete its ACC "Research Triangle" bowl fulfillment.
» Winner: North Carolina

 

MUSIC CITY BOWL
Georgia Tech (7-5) vs. Mississippi (7-5)
First meeting since Ole Miss made Georgia Tech look like the pits in the 1971 Peach Bowl. But the rosters have turned over several times since then.
» Winner: Georgia Tech

 

BBVA COMPASS BOWL
Houston (8-4) vs. Vanderbilt (8-4)
Vanderbilt could be distracted by speculation that James Franklin will become the next coach at Texas. But Vanderbilt also earned its 8-4 record in the SEC.
» Winner: Vanderbilt

 

FIGHT HUNGER BOWL
BYU (8-4) vs. Washington (8-4)
The first bowl game in history that will feature a coach named Bronco, an interim coach at Washington and two female game officials from Conference USA.
» Winner: Brigham Young

 

POINSETTIA BOWL
Northern Illinois (12-1) vs. Utah State (8-5)
We like Northern Illinois' chances against the "state" it plays this year in a bowl if only because last year the Huskies drew Florida "State" in the Orange.
» Winner: Northern Illinois

 

RUSSELL ATHLETIC BOWL
Miami (9-3) vs. Louisville (11-1)
This game is already better than Virginia Tech's 13-10 overtime win over Rutgers in which the teams combined for five turnovers and neither surpassed 200 yards of total offense.
» Winner: Miami

 

BUFFALO WILD WINGS BOWL
Kansas State (7-5) vs. Michigan (7-5)
In a close game, Michigan coach Brady Hoke has indicated he will go for 2 instead of the tie again, only this time it's to get one more round of golf in at TPC Scottsdale.
» Winner: Michigan

 

OUTBACK BOWL
Iowa (8-4) vs. Louisiana State (9-3)
The instinct here was to pick Iowa because of the injury to Tigers quarterback Zach Mettenberger. Then four of my typing fingers reminded me Iowa was in the Big Ten.
» Winner: LSU

 

ADVOCARE V100 BOWL
Boston College (7-5) vs. Arizona (7-5)
It's too bad the Independence Bowl has been replaced by a stock car race, but it still features two of college football's best pacesetters in Andre Williams and Ka'Deem Carey.
» Winner: Arizona

 

HOLIDAY BOWL
Texas Tech (7-5) vs. Arizona State (10-3)
Remember when Texas Tech was 7-0 and taking on Oklahoma? That was five straight losses ago.
» Winner: Arizona State

 

SUN BOWL
Virginia Tech (8-4) vs. UCLA (9-3)
Jim Mora will turn down four more job offers before kickoff while leveraging the athletic director for a new on-campus racquetball court.
» Winner: UCLA

 

ALAMO BOWL
Oregon (10-2) vs. Texas (8-4)
Texas will rally around Mack Brown in his final game, but it's too late to rally around the Texas defense.
» Winner: Oregon

 

LAS VEGAS BOWL
Fresno State (11-1) vs. USC (9-4)
The third game in the "trilogy" finds these culturally similar California programs deadlocked at 1-1. Fresno State won the Freedom Bowl in 1992 and USC won in '05.
» Winner: Fresno State

 

GATOR BOWL
Nebraska (8-4) vs. Georgia (8-4)
It's never smart to bet against the SEC in a game that features Bo Pelini as Nebraska's coach, but Georgia is playing without injured QB Aaron Murray.
» Winner: Nebraska

 

FIESTA BOWL
Baylor (11-1) vs. Central Florida (11-1)
With the last pick in the BCS order, the Fiesta had to take UCF, but, in better news, Arizona won the bid for the 2016 championship game.
» Winner: Baylor

 

CHICK-FIL-A BOWL
Duke (10-3) vs. Texas A&M (8-4)
Chick-fil-A becomes a major bowl next year in the new format but will never get a better BCS going-away present than Johnny Manziel.
» Winner: Texas A&M

 

COTTON BOWL
Oklahoma State (10-2) vs. Missouri (11-2)
The battle of Big 12 and SEC title losers is one of the better games.
» Winner: Missouri

 

ORANGE BOWL
Clemson (10-2) vs. Ohio State (12-1)
Ohio State was crushed after its title hopes were ruined by a loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten title game. Clemson was crushed by Florida State and South Carolina.
» Winner: Ohio State

 

CAPITAL ONE BOWL
South Carolina (10-2) vs. Wisconsin (9-3)
Jadeveon Clowney perked up when told he'd get another chance at a highlight-reel tackle against a Big Ten back at a bowl game in Florida.
» Winner: South Carolina

 

SUGAR BOWL
Alabama (11-1) vs. Oklahoma (10-2)
The last time Alabama was this uninterested about playing in the Sugar Bowl, it got Salt Lake sideswiped by the 2008 Utah Utes.
» Winner: Oklahoma

 

ROSE BOWL
Stanford (11-2) vs. Michigan State (12-1)
Ticket demand for this game has been roughly equivalent to Bruce Springsteen announcing a 24-city concert tour of Waffle Houses.
» Winner: Stanford

 

BCS CHAMPIONSHIP
Florida State (13-0) vs. Auburn (12-1)
The SEC's seven-year streak of titles ends in a tightly contested, down-to-the-wire game.
» Winner: Florida State

———

Chris Dufresne, Los Angeles Times






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Loki wrote:
Everytime someone says that one team wanted to be there and therefore the other team loss instantly loses credibility with me. If you've ever played college football let alone ANY sport. You'd know that no one goes into a game wanting to lose. It's only after the beating commences that the excuse becomes convenient.
on December 21,2013 | 08:06AM
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