College Football Bowl Picks 2012: Favorites in for Rude Awakenings

Jeremy FuchsCorrespondent IIIDecember 26, 2012

Bowling Green Football
Bowling Green FootballKirk Irwin/Getty Images

It's the most wonderful time of the year as bowl games are getting underway. While these games can be nearly impossible to predict, there are a bunch of favorites that seem like they have it under control.

Every year, however, there are upsets and this year will be no different. Plenty of teams will enter as favorites, and there are a few who will be in for a rude awakening as they find themselves upset.

Which teams will face the upset? We have our picks for the teams in for a rude awakening. 


Military Bowl: San Jose State vs. Bowling Green

The 24th-ranked San Jose State Spartans are the favorite in the Military Bowl, but could find themselves on the losing end.

For one, they'll be playing under an interim coach in Kent Bear after their head coach, Mike McIntyre, took the Colorado job. That is a huge disadvantage. Bear was an interim coach in 2004 for Notre Dame for a bowl game and lost in what was his only head coaching experience. 

Additionally, Bowling Green is on a roll. They've won seven of their last eight and have the 11th-ranked defense in the country. They give up a little under 16 points per game.

Since September 15th, only one team has thrown for more than 230 yards against the Falcons. While San Jose State has a fine passing offense, this will be the best pass defense they've faced since Utah State, which the Aggies won by a score of 49-27. 

The biggest question is how the Spartans respond to a new coach. Will it be a seamless transition? Or will the bumps be too big to overcome? Playing for an interim coach is always difficult and they'll struggle against the stingy Bowling Green defense and take a tough loss.


Russell Athletic Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. Rutgers

Virginia Tech has had a rough year, going 6-6. Their biggest struggle has been on defense where they have given up 49 plays of 20 or more yards.

Luckily for the Hokies, they face a poor Rutgers offense in the Russell Athletic Bowl. Rutgers has produced fewer amounts of plays of more than 20 yards than 13 other teams. 

Rutgers has lost their last two games and Virginia Tech gives up 23 points per game, while Rutgers scores only 22.

Look for the Hokies to eke out a win in this matchup.


Cotton Bowl: Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma

Texas A&M and Hesiman winner Johnny Manziel look like favorites against the Oklahoma Sooners. But, they could find themselves in for a rude awakening in the Cotton Bowl. 

For one, the Aggies will be without their offensive coordinator, Kliff Kingsbury, who took the head coaching job at Texas Tech. 

Additionally, Heisman winners tend to struggle in their bowl games after winning the trophy. Since 1985, Heisman winners are a paltry 9-17. Quarterbacks especially struggle, going 6-10 in that time.

While Manziel has taken the college football world by storm, he has the odds against him.

Oklahoma will have a month to prepare for him. Moreover, the Sooners are a very good team whose two losses have come against Notre Dame and Kansas State, two teams in BCS Bowls. Look for the Sooners to pull off the upset.


Orange Bowl: Florida State vs. Northern Illinois

Northern Illinois sneaked into the Orange Bowl under much criticism, but they are a legit team. Led by quarterback Jordan Lynch, the Huskies average 40 points a game, which is good for 9th-best in the nation. Their defense isn't bad either, as they give up only 19 points per game.

Florida State has a great defense too, giving up only 15 points per game. But they haven't faced a team like Northern Illinois or a player like Lynch. Lynch has thrown for almost 3,000 yards, rushed for 1,771 yards and has combined for 43 touchdowns. 

Northern Illinois has Cinderella written all over them and should win in a thrilling matchup in the Orange Bowl.