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College Football Bowl Predictions 2012-13: Picks for Week 1 of Bowl Season

Trey HunterContributor IIIDecember 12, 2012

College Football Bowl Predictions 2012-13: Picks for Week 1 of Bowl Season

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    The 2012-13 college football bowl season begins Saturday, and it's time to predict the Week 1 postseason matchups.

    The Gildan New Mexico Bowl and Famous Idaho Potato Bowl kick off the first week of college football's postseason Saturday. The San Diego County CU Poinsettia Bowl and Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl follow on Dec. 20 and 21. 

    Here are Week 1 predictions to kick off college football's bowl season. 

Gildan New Mexico Bowl

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    Teams: Arizona Wildcats (7-5) vs. Nevada Wolf Pack (7-5) 

    Date and Time: Saturday, Dec. 15 2012, 1 p.m. ET (ESPN)

    Site: University Stadium in Albuquerque, New Mexico

     

    The Gildan New Mexico Bowl features two high-octane offenses between Arizona and Nevada

    Arizona finished seventh in the NCAA in total offense with 521.83 yards per game. Nevada finished 11th with 502.83.

    Each team relied on dynamic rushing attacks in 2012. The Wildcats averaged 230 yards per game on the ground, while Nevada finished seventh in the nation with 260 yards per game. 

    Neither team plays much defense. Arizona gave up 34.4 points per contest, and Nevada surrendered 32.5, proving this one will turn into a shootout.  

    The difference in this game will be Arizona's balance on offense. It runs the ball well, but senior quarterback Matt Scott can sling it too. He averaged over 290 yards per game and threw 24 touchdowns. Nevada averaged 230 yards per game with just 17 touchdowns.

    Prediction: Arizona 42, Nevada 35 

    (Stats via arizonawildcats.com, nevadawolfpack.com and NCAA.com)  

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

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    Teams: Toledo Rockets (9-3) vs. Utah State Aggies (10-2)

    Date and Time: Saturday, Dec. 15 2012, 4:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

    Site: Bronco Stadium in Boise, Idaho

     

    The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl features the balanced offense of the Toledo Rockets and the 15th-ranked defense of the WAC champion Utah State Aggies.

    Toledo averaged 197.5 rushing yards and scored 32.9 points per game. However, Utah State, ranked 22nd in the final BCS standings, gave up just 111.4 yards per game on the ground and allowed opponents an average of 15.4 points.

    Utah State also averaged 34.4 points per game on offense. It scored 21 touchdowns on the ground and 19 through the air. Toledo surrendered over 27 points per contest in 2012 and allowed 296 passing yards per game as well.

    The Aggies are the more well-rounded team. Their defense should be the difference in this matchup. Look for an up-and-down game, but don't expect much scoring.

    Prediction: Utah State 28, Toledo 24

    (Stats via utrockets.com, utahstateaggies.com and NCAA.com)

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl

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    Teams: BYU Cougars (7-5) vs. San Diego State Aztecs (9-3) 

    Date and Time: Thursday, Dec. 20 2012, 4:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

    Site: Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California

     

    The BYU Cougars, led by their sixth-ranked defense, square off against the San Diego State Aztecs in the San Diego County CU Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 20. 

    BYU's defense will have its hands full with San Diego State's stout rushing attack. The Aztecs averaged 229.2 yards per game on the ground and scored 30 touchdowns. Adam Muema led the way with 1,391 yards and 16 touchdowns.

    However, the Cougars allowed their opponents just 84.2 rushing yards per contest with only five touchdowns.

    The Aztecs had a better record in 2012, but the Cougars hold the advantage in the Poinsettia Bowl. BYU has a balanced offense that scored 21 rushing touchdowns and 25 passing touchdowns. San Diego State allowed over 375 total yards per game and gave up a total of 38 touchdowns.

    Look for a close game, but with the better defense, BYU should pull off the victory. 

    Prediction: BYU 23, San Diego State 17

    (Stats via byucougars.com and goaztecs.cstv.com)

Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl

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    Teams: Ball State Cardinals (9-3) vs. UCF Knights (9-4)

    Date and Time: Friday, Dec. 21 2012, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

    Site: Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida 

     

    The Ball State Cardinals and UCF Knights feature two high-powered offenses at the 2012 Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl

    Ball State averaged 35 points per game this season, while UCF averaged 35.2. Each team has an explosive run game. The Cardinals rushed for 214.2 yards per game, and UCF rushed for 178.7. 

    The Knights defense could be the difference-maker in the game. It gave up 22.5 points per game, while Ball State gave up 31.5. UCF allowed only 14 passing touchdowns, which signals trouble for the Cardinals. 

    UCF lost two of its last three games to Tulsa, but it should rebound against Ball State. 

    Look for a lot of scoring, and look for the Knights to pull off a close victory.  

    Prediction: UCF 38, Ball State 35

    (Stats via ballstatesports.com and ucfathletics.com 

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