College Bowl Games That Are Easy Pickings in Vegas
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2012 hasn't treated USC well, but the Trojans should be an easy pick in Vegas as college bowl-game season continues on.
Matt Barkley, Robert Woods and Marqise Lee form arguably the nation's most explosive trio—a trio that will be looking to finish the season with a bang in the Sun Bowl against a Georgia Tech defense that has allowed 30 points per game.
The Sun Bowl isn't the only game that should be easy pickings, as the Alamo Bowl (Oregon State vs. Texas) and Cotton Bowl (Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma) should make many people winners.
Let's take a look at five bowl games that are surefire bets.
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas: Texas Tech (-13) vs. Minnesota
Seth Doege put up fantastic numbers as a redshirt senior.
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In the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas, it'll be Texas Tech which will be celebrating a home-state victory.
Led by quarterback Seth Doege, the Red Raiders' patented high-octane offense operated at full capacity in 2012, averaging 37.8 points per game.
Doege, a redshirt senior, threw for nearly 4,000 yards and tossed 38 touchdown passes during the regular season in leading Texas Tech to a 7-5 record.
The Red Raiders drew Minnesota in their bowl game, but the Golden Gophers don't present much of a matchup problem for Doege and company.
Minnesota has an anemic offense (21.3 points per game), including the nation's No. 108 passing game.
With the opening line favoring Texas Tech by 13, the Red Raiders should be the team to pick in the Car Care Bowl. Doege and receivers Eric Ward (75 REC, 974 YDS, 11 TD) and Darrin Moore (81 REC, 948 YDS, 13 TD) should put up plenty of points on the Golden Gophers this Friday.
Alamo Bowl: No. 13 Oregon State (-1) vs. No. 23 Texas
Alex Okafor is a first-round prospect who can disrupt Oregon State's attack.
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Texas hasn't been a national-championship contender in years, but the Longhorns have the pieces in place to be pretty solid in the near future.
Armed with some great defensive talent and a stable of running backs, Mack Brown's team managed to go 8-4 during the regular season, including a 31-22 win against Texas Tech.
Despite the final numbers, the Longhorns defense has been trending in the right direction the past two months. Outside of a blowout loss to Kansas State, Texas had allowed just 66 points in its previous four games.
Mack Brown will need defensive end Alex Okafor and company to step up in the Alamo Bowl, as the Longhorns face a stiff test in Oregon State.
The Beavers have a high-flying passing attack, including a pair of 1,000-yard receivers in Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks.
Oregon State averaged 33 points per game while surrendering just under 20 in its 9-3 run, making the Beavers (-1) a great pick in Vegas against a Longhorns defense that allowed 42 points against Kansas State.
Cotton Bowl: No. 9 Texas A&M (-3) vs. No. 11 Oklahoma
Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy.
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Johnny Manziel has been living the dream in 2012, and the first freshman Heisman Trophy winner will top the season off with a big win in the Cotton Bowl.
In his first season at the helm, Johnny Football proved the Aggies belonged in the SEC, leading his team to a fantastic 10-2 overall record.
The dual-threat stud threw for 3,419 yards and 24 touchdowns while running for an eye-popping 1,181 yards and 19 more scores.
Manziel's offensive exploits overshadowed a terrific season for the Aggies defense, which allowed 22.5 points per game. Defensive end Damontre Moore turned in one of the finest overall performances by any player in the country, racking up 80 tackles (20 for loss) and 12.5 sacks.
Although Oklahoma features a high-scoring attack of its own, the Sooners traditionally falter in big games.
In two matchups against prime defenses, the Sooners were held to just 19 points against Kansas State and 13 points against Notre Dame.
With Moore and Sean Porter anchoring the front seven, the Aggies should apply consistent pressure on Jones, and Manziel should have no problem picking apart the Sooners' 43rd-ranked scoring defense in what should be a convincing win.
Capital One Bowl: No. 7 Georgia (-8.5) vs. No. 16 Nebraska
Just ask Alabama how good Georgia freshman Todd Gurley is.
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The Georgia Bulldogs were a few plays away from making it to the BCS National Championship, but now they'll have to take out their frustrations on Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl.
Freshman running back Todd Gurley matched Alabama's Eddie Lacy carry for carry in the SEC Championship Game, racking up 122 yards and two touchdowns in the four-point loss.
His blend of speed and size makes him one of the most difficult running backs to stop, especially running behind the Bulldogs' big offensive line.
Complementing Gurley and the running game is quarterback Aaron Murray. The junior signal-caller is prone to some boneheaded turnovers, but his arm talent is still among the best.
Georgia's offense moved the ball effectively against Alabama, so Nebraska should be a cake walk.
Then again, after giving up an astronomical 70 points to Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship, defense isn't the name of the game for the Cornhuskers.
Taylor Martinez is a solid dual-threat quarterback who can give defenses trouble, but Georgia's front seven should overwhelm the undersized junior. Expect Alec Ogletree, Jarvis Jones and company to wreak havoc and force some turnovers in this Capital One Bowl matchup that shouldn't be close at all.
Georgia should easily cover the 8.5-point spread in its consolation game.
Hyundai Sun Bowl: USC (-10.5) vs. Georgia Tech
Matt Barkley will be looking to finish his career off with a big win against the Yellowjackets.
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It's been a fall from grace for preseason favorite USC.
The Trojans entered the season as the No. 1 team in the nation, so no one expected their season to end with a spot in the Hyundai Sun Bowl and no spot in the national rankings.
Matt Barkley put up good numbers as a senior but ultimately couldn't finish off his four-year career with a national championship.
The projected first-round pick will have one more chance to throw to future NFL studs Robert Woods and Marqise Lee as the Trojans square off against one of the nation's most porous defenses.
Georgia Tech has allowed nearly 30 points per game in its disappointing 6-7 campaign, including 42 points against Miami and 49 points against Middle Tennessee State.
Although the Yellow Jackets have a solid offense in their own right, there's just no way they'll be able to shut down the trio of Barkley, Woods and Lee. Throw in running backs Silas Redd and Curtis McNeal, and it will be a long day for the Yellow Jackets defense.
Expect USC to put up big points and cover the 10.5-point spread in the Sun Bowl.
All point spread information courtesy of www.collegefootballpoll.com