Bowl Game Predictions 2013-14: Picks for All 35 College Bowl Games

Tyler Brooke@TylerDBrookeSenior Analyst IIDecember 9, 2013

Bowl Game Predictions 2013-14: Picks for All 35 College Bowl Games

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    Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

    It's been a very long and wild season, but the bowl games are officially set around college football.

    The big game will obviously be the BCS National Championship between the Florida State Seminoles and Auburn Tigers, but there are a number of other big games.  There will be 70 teams playing in 35 bowl games, giving us a few weeks of exciting action.

    With the games set, let's take a look at predictions for each and every bowl game, breaking down the teams and giving a final score for each one.

Gildan New Mexico Bowl: Colorado State vs. Washington State

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    Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

    When: December 21 at 2 p.m. ET

    Watch: ESPN

    The Colorado State Rams and Washington State Cougars will get the bowl season started before Christmas, and this should be a fun game to watch.

    The Rams have a balanced offensive attack, putting up over 460 total yards per game.  However, they went just 7-6 this season and 5-3 in the Mountain West.

    The Cougars struggled in the tough Pac-12, going just 6-6 and 4-5 in conference play.  However, they have one of the most productive quarterbacks in the nation in Connor Halliday, as he's thrown for 4,187 yards and 28 touchdowns this season.

    However, considering the Cougars have allowed 31.3 points per game, I think that the Rams can use their balanced attack to keep up with Halliday and the rest of Washington State's offense.

    Prediction: Colorado State 30, Washington State 28

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl: Fresno State vs. USC

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    Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    When: December 21 at 3:30 p.m.

    Watch: ABC

    Personally, I think this is could be one of the most fun games to watch all bowl season, with the Fresno State Bulldogs taking on the USC Trojans.

    It's hard not to be impressed with what the Bulldogs did this year.  They went 11-1 and took the Mountain West title thanks to the top passing attack in the country.  Derek Carr has thrown for 4,866 yards and 48 touchdowns this season, with the team averaging 45.3 points per game.  Both Davante Adams and Josh Harper had great seasons, combining for 201 receptions, 2,656 yards and 36 touchdowns.

    It hasn't been the best season for the Trojans, but they've still gone 9-4 thanks to a great five-game win streak that included wins over Oregon State and Stanford.  They aren't the offensive powerhouse that they once were, but the Trojans still have plenty of talent.

    The Bulldogs have had a lot of success this year, but they haven't played a team as good as the Trojans.  I expect this to be a big wake-up call for them, and for USC to grab its 10th win.

    Prediction: USC 30, Fresno State 28

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Buffalo vs. San Diego State

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    Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Spor

    When: December 21 at 5:30 p.m. ET

    Watch: ESPN

    The Buffalo Bulls have stumbled recently, losing two of their last three games, including an ugly 24-7 loss to the MAC champion in Bowling Green.

    However, it's still been a strong year for the Bulls, as they've gone 8-4 and 6-2 in the MAC.  A strong defense led by Khalil Mack, who has 10.5 sacks this season, has helped them out quite a bit.

    The San Diego State Aztecs can't be overlooked, however.  They went 7-5 this season, but they were able to nearly take down Fresno State in overtime back in October and beat San Jose State and Boise State later in the year.  Adam Muema has been a productive running back, putting up 1,015 yards and 12 touchdowns this season.

    This will be one of the few times all year that fans get to see Mack for what he really is, and that's a potential first-round prospect heading to the NFL.  I expect him to break out and help lead Buffalo to victory.

    Prediction: Buffalo 30, San Diego State 24

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Tulane vs. LA-Lafayette

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    When: December 21 at 9 p.m. ET

    Watch: ESPN

    The two-time defending R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl champions in the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns return, and they're looking for a third consecutive bowl win.

    A strong 8-4 season has ended with two straight losses for the Ragin' Cajuns, but it's still been a good year.  They were Sun Belt champions, in large part thanks to a rushing attack that averaged 207.6 yards per game on the ground.

    Tulane has been equally shaky down the stretch, losing three of its last four games.  The Green Wave don't have the best offense, but their defense is solid, allowing just 21.2 points per game.

    The one-two combo of Alonzo Harris and Elijah McGuire should be able to open things up for the Ragin' Cajuns, and they should be able to grab their third straight title at the New Orleans Bowl.

    Prediction: Louisiana-Lafayette 24, Tulane 17

Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl St. Petersburg: East Carolina vs. Ohio

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    James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

    When: December 23 at 2 p.m. ET

    Watch: ESPN

    It's been a very solid season for the East Carolina Pirates, as they've gone 9-3 with losses to Virginia Tech, Tulane and Marshall.  They have one of the best passing attacks in the country thanks to Shane Carden, who has thrown for 3,866 yards, 32 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.  His No. 1 target, Justin Hardy, has 105 catches for 1,218 yards and eight scores.

    The MAC has not been kind to the Ohio Bobcats, who went just 4-4 in conference play.  They were able to grab a win in their last game, but they lost the previous three by a combined score of 123-16.

    Few big wins on their schedule have me skeptical about Ohio entering this one, and their defense, which gives up 26.7 points per game, could be ripped apart by this high-powered offense from the Pirates.

    Prediction: East Carolina 33, Ohio 20

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl: Boise State vs. Oregon State

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    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    When: December 24 at 8 p.m. ET

    Watch: ESPN

    I'm really hoping that these two teams don't wear solid colors.

    The Boise State Broncos didn't have the same amount of success we're used to, but they still went 8-4 and 6-2 in their conference.  Jay Ajayi has been their most productive player, averaging 5.9 yards per carry while running for 1,328 yards and 17 touchdowns.

    The passing attack of the Oregon State Beavers will be the big key in this game.  They've lost their last five games, but they still rank third in the nation in passing.  Brandin Cooks has been the team's top receiver, recording 120 receptions for 1,670 yards and 15 touchdowns.

    This would be a great time for the Beavers to end their losing streak.  Sean Mannion is capable of putting up huge numbers under center, and I think he will do just that in a big win for Oregon State.

    Prediction: Oregon State 37, Boise State 28

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl: Bowling Green vs. Pittsburgh

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    Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

    When: December 26 at 6 p.m. ET

    Watch: ESPN

    The Bowling Green Falcons have gone overlooked all season, but a dominating 47-27 win over Northern Illinois showed that this team is the real deal.

    With a five-game win streak, the Falcons are currently 10-3 with a strong offense.  Matt Johnson has been great under center, putting up over 3,400 total yards and 28 total touchdowns.

    For the Pittsburgh Panthers, they've struggled with consistency, not winning two consecutive games since September.  They don't do anything particularly well, and they have some ugly losses on their schedule.

    I like the MAC team in this one.  The Falcons should be able to win once again and keep showing that the MAC is becoming a legitimate college football conference.

    Prediction: Bowling Green 27, Pittsburgh 23

S.D. County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl: Utah State vs. Northern Illinois

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    Brian Kersey/Getty Images

    When: December 26 at 9:30 p.m. ET

    Watch: ESPN

    The Utah State Aggies got to represent the Mountain Division in the Mountain West Championship Game, but they lost, 24-17, to the Fresno State Bulldogs.  Still, they've had a strong 8-5 season with a defense that's allowed just 17.3 points per game.

    All of the attention in this game, however, will be on the Northern Illinois Huskies.  They were able to go 12-0 and had a shot at being a non-automatic qualifier for a BCS bowl game, but a loss to Bowling Green in the MAC Championship ended those hopes.

    The Huskies will have a chance to turn things around in this one.  They've relied heavily on their offense all season, which is averaging 41.6 points and 312.5 rushing yards per game.  

    Had he not struggled against Bowling Green, Jordan Lynch could have been a legitimate Heisman contender.  But he still may very well get a call to go to New York, considering he's put up 4,557 yards and 45 touchdowns on the ground and through the air.

    Lynch and the rest of the Huskies are going to be playing angry, and that's bad news for the Aggies.

    Prediction: Northern Illinois 35, Utah State 21

Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman: Maryland vs. Marshall

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    Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

    When: December 27 at 2:30 p.m. ET

    Watch: ESPN

    A 2-4 skid at the end of the year was ugly for the Maryland Terrapins, and the injuries to several star players have hurt them offensively.

    Still, the Terrapins have some solid wins against teams like West Virginia and NC State, which were essentially blowouts.  A balanced offensive attack and a solid defense make this an overall above-average team.

    The Marshall Thundering Herd lost in the Conference USA Championship Game to Rice, which certainly hurts, but they were riding a five-game win streak before that.  They have one of the most efficient offenses in the nation, averaging 43 points per game.

    The level of competition hasn't been the same, but I think Marshall's offense, led by Rakeem Cato, will lead the Thundering Herd to victory.

    Prediction: Marshall 33, Maryland 28

Texas Bowl: Syracuse vs. Minnesota

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    Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

    When: December 27 at 6 p.m. ET

    Watch: ESPN

    Thanks to an upset win over Boston College, the Syracuse Orange were able to become bowl-eligible.  They've had some very ugly losses this season, but the Orange are hoping that their win over the Eagles can give them momentum heading into this one.

    The Minnesota Golden Gophers have had one of their best seasons in quite some time, going 8-4 even with the two straight losses to end the season.  David Cobb has been terrific out of the backfield, averaging 5.1 yards per carry for 1,111 yards and seven touchdowns.

    Thanks to a solid defense and powerful backfield, the Golden Gophers should grab the win over the Orange.

    Prediction: Minnesota 27, Syracuse 21

Fight Hunger Bowl: Washington vs. BYU

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    Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

    When: December 27 at 9:30 p.m. ET

    Watch: ESPN

    After a three-game losing streak to Stanford, Oregon and Arizona State, the Washington Huskies came up with a nice 4-1 stretch to end the regular season.  

    Keith Price and Bishop Sankey are the two stars of this team.  Price has thrown for 2,843 yards and 20 touchdowns, while Sankey has carried the ball 306 times for 1,775 yards and 18 scores of his own.

    The Brigham Young Cougars went 8-4 this season as well, but they weren't tested as often as the Huskies.  When they were tested, they were beaten by Notre Dame and Wisconsin.  However, they have a terrific ground game thanks to Taysom Hill and Jamaal Williams, who have combined for 2,413 yards and 16 touchdowns.

    The Huskies should win this one.  They were considered one of the best teams in the country at one point, and they should look like that once again later in the month.

    Prediction: Washington 27, BYU 24

New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Rutgers vs. Notre Dame

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    When: December 28 at noon ET

    Watch: ESPN

    It's safe to say that neither team has had the season that it was hoping for.

    After losing three straight games, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights ended their regular season on a high note with a 31-6 win over South Florida.  Still, it was a 6-6 season with one big win against Arkansas, and the program became bowl-eligible after its last game.

    The Notre Dame Fighting Irish can't be too happy either considering they booked a trip to the BCS National Championship last season, because they went just 8-4.  Still, Tommy Rees hasn't been terrible, throwing for 2,938 yards, 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, but fans were hoping for more.

    I'm looking for the Fighting Irish to end things on a positive note this season, and they'll be looking ahead to a more promising 2014 campaign.

    Prediction: Notre Dame 27, Rutgers 17

Belk Bowl: Cincinnati vs. North Carolina

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    Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

    When: December 28 at 3:20 p.m. ET

    Watch: ESPN

    A strong 9-3 season was just what the Cincinnati Bearcats needed in a new conference.  They won six straight games before falling this past week against the Louisville Cardinals in overtime, but that's encouraging considering how well they played against a Top 25 team.

    With Munchie Legaux getting injured early in the season, Brendon Kay has had to step up, and he has.  This season, he's thrown for 3,121 yards and 22 touchdowns with 11 interceptions.  The defense has been strong for the Bearcats as well, allowing just 19.5 points per game.

    The North Carolina Tar Heels started the season at just 1-5, but a five-game win streak helped them turn things around.  Eric Ebron has become one of the most exciting tight ends in college football, catching 55 passes for 805 yards and three touchdowns, and he's become an exciting potential NFL prospect.

    The Tar Heels have lost against some bad teams, so it's hard to like them in this one.  The Bearcats have some questionable losses as well, but they've proved over their past seven games that they're a team that's playing very well right now.

    Prediction: Cincinnati 23, North Carolina 20

Russell Athletic Bowl: Louisville vs. Miami (FL)

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    Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

    When: December 28 at 6:45 p.m. ET

    Watch: ESPN

    Teddy Bridgewater and the Louisville Cardinals were hoping for another shot at a BCS bowl this season, but after losing to Central Florida, those chances were ruined.

    Still, the Cardinals are 11-1 and have had a lot of success this year.  Bridgewater has been great, throwing for 3,523 yards, 28 touchdowns and just four interceptions.  This could be his last game with Louisville, as he's expected to be the top quarterback taken in the NFL draft.

    The Miami Hurricanes just haven't been the same without Duke Johnson, who was injured in the game against Florida State.  They finished the year with two wins, but they came against Virginia and Pittsburgh.  Stephen Morris was supposed to have a big year, but he's struggled at times, and he will have to hope that Dallas Crawford can help him out in the backfield.

    Don't expect that to happen, however.  The Cardinals allow just 12.4 points per game, and Bridgewater should lead his team to a big win.

    Prediction: Louisville 31, Miami (FL) 20

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Kansas State vs. Michigan

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    John Weast/Getty Images

    When: December 28 at 10:15 p.m. ET

    Watch: ESPN

    After an ugly start to the year, the Kansas State Wildcats were able to turn things around thanks to a 5-1 finish, including a big win over the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

    Tyler Lockett has been the go-to guy for the Wildcats on offense at wide receiver.  He's already caught 71 passes for 1,146 yards and eight touchdowns this season, making big plays in almost every game.

    The Michigan Wolverines ended the season with a 2-5 record, with the two wins coming against Indiana and Northwestern in triple overtime.  Devin Gardner has 32 total touchdowns, but the team as a whole has made some bad plays at the worst times.

    I don't think the Wolverines can get it done against the Wildcats.  Kansas State has figured things out lately, while the Wolverines have started to fall apart a bit.

    Prediction: Kansas State 30, Michigan 24

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl: Middle Tennessee vs. Navy

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    Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

    When: December 30 at 11:45 a.m. ET

    Watch: ESPN

    Both teams come in red hot for the Armed Forces Bowl, which will make this game quite an interesting one to watch.

    After going just 3-4 to start the season, the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders have exploded recently, winning five straight games to put them in this game.  They have a strong ground game, with seven players running for at least 100 yards this season.

    While the Blue Raiders have a successful ground game, the Navy Midshipmen put up more rushing yards than almost any team in the nation, but that's because they rely almost entirely on the triple option.  They've gone 7-4 this season, including three straight wins, although they have a rivalry game coming up against Army before the bowl game. 

    The Midshipmen have averaged 320.1 rushing yards and 34.4 points per game.  Keenan Reynolds leads the team with 1,124 yards and 26 touchdowns this season.

    There will be plenty of big plays on the ground in this one, and those can end up being some of the more entertaining games to watch.  Both teams are hot, but Navy has been the more tested team, and that will pay off.

    Prediction: Navy 33, Middle Tennessee 30

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Georgia Tech vs. Ole Miss

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    When: December 30 at 3:15 p.m.

    Watch: ESPN

    The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets were able to go 7-5 this season thanks to a terrific ground game, averaging 311.7 rushing yards per contest.  They have 12 players who have run for at least 100 yards this season, and it seems like anyone could get the ball at any time in their triple-option scheme.

    The Ole Miss Rebels have had to play in the tough SEC, and they've been very streaky.  They have a big win over the LSU Tigers, but other than that, they have few true statement wins.

    Bo Wallace has run the offense all season, but he struggled in the team's last two games, throwing zero touchdowns and four interceptions.

    I like watching the triple option, but the Rebels are coming out of the SEC, and they've played a much higher level of competition, which will certainly pay off as they prepare for this one.

    Prediction: Ole Miss 24, Georgia Tech 20

Valero Alamo Bowl: Oregon vs. Texas

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    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    When: December 30 at 6:45 p.m. ET

    Watch: ESPN

    It seems fitting that two teams that failed to meet high expectations go head-to-head in this bowl game.

    The Oregon Ducks have scored 46.8 points and put up over 570 yards per game, but their national title hopes ended after losses to Stanford and Arizona.  Marcus Mariota has thrown all four of his interceptions in the past two games, but he's still put up nearly 4,000 total yards and 39 total touchdowns.

    The expectations weren't as high for the Texas Longhorns, but losses to BYU and Ole Miss were certainly disappointing at the beginning of the year.  They had a chance to win the Big 12 title this past week, but a 30-10 loss to Baylor quickly ended those hopes.

    With how explosive their offense is, the Ducks shouldn't have a problem taking down Texas.

    Prediction: Oregon 42, Texas 24

National University Holiday Bowl: Arizona State vs. Texas Tech

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    When: December 30 at 10:15 p.m. ET

    Watch: ESPN

    Two high-powered offenses will go against each other in the Holiday Bowl, but one is hotter right now than the other.

    The Arizona State Sun Devils lost their first game since the beginning of October in the Pac-12 Championship Game against Stanford.  However, their offense has been hot all year, scoring 41 points per game, and they've gone 10-3 with some impressive wins.

    On the other side, the Texas Tech Red Raiders have completely collapsed, losing five straight games after starting the season at 7-0.  However, they still rank second in the nation, averaging 392 passing yards per game.

    The Sun Devils should win this one, mostly because the Red Raiders focus almost entirely on their passing game, yet they keep switching between quarterbacks.  If Marion Grice is healthy and ready to go, I don't think Arizona State will have any problem winning.

    Prediction: Arizona State 39, Texas Tech 33

AdvoCare V100 Bowl: Arizona vs. Boston College

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    Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

    When: December 31 at 12:30 p.m.

    Watch: ESPN

    Two of the best running backs in the country will be playing in this one, but the teams around them will be the key to them winning.

    Both teams are 7-5 but are coming out of different conferences, with the Wildcats out of the Pac-12 and the Eagles out of the ACC.  Ka'Deem Carey and Andre Williams have been great all season, with the two combining for 3,818 yards and 34 touchdowns.

    While the teams have similar records, the wins for Arizona have been more impressive.  The Wildcats recently were able to take down Oregon, along with a few other Pac-12 teams, while Boston College's biggest win came against Virginia Tech.

    Arizona has looked good this season, and I expect the Wildcats to be able to outplay the Eagles in this one.

    Prediction: Arizona 31, Boston College 27

Hyundai Sun Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. UCLA

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    When: December 31 at 2 p.m. ET

    Watch: CBS

    With some tough defenses and balanced offenses, the Sun Bowl should be interesting between the Virginia Tech Hokies and UCLA Bruins.

    The Hokies have one of the best defenses in the country, allowing just 17.4 points per game.  On the other side of the ball, Logan Thomas has led the team with almost 3,200 total yards and 20 total touchdowns.

    The Bruins have played some tough opponents, but they've still allowed just 24.1 points per game while scoring 36.5.  Brett Hundley was a Heisman contender at the beginning of the year, and although he fell out of the running, he's still been a very solid quarterback.

    Of course, everyone has been talking about Myles Jack, the electric freshman who has been playing running back and linebacker.  In the four games that the Bruins have put Jack in the backfield, he has run for 267 yards and seven touchdowns.

    UCLA has significantly more talent on its roster, and that will show in this game.

    Prediction: UCLA 28, Virginia Tech 14

AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Rice vs. Mississippi State

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    When: December 31 at 4 p.m.

    Watch: ESPN

    Can a Conference USA team actually take down someone from the SEC?  Probably not.

    The Rice Owls have been a solid team in their own conference, but their only real test came against Texas A&M to start the season, and they lost 52-31, even with Johnny Manziel not playing in the first half.

    While the Mississippi State Bulldogs are only 6-6, all of their losses have come against top-tier opponents, with all of them currently in the Top 25.  They have a balanced offensive attack and have allowed just 24.3 points per game despite playing some of the best offenses in the nation.

    Don't expect Rice to pull off an upset here, as the Bulldogs will be able to grab the win.

    Prediction: Mississippi State 28, Rice 10

Chick-fil-A Bowl: Duke vs. Texas A&M

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    When: December 31 at 8 p.m. ET

    Watch: ESPN

    The Duke Blue Devils have exceeded expectations this year, going 10-3 and making it all the way to the ACC Championship Game.  While they fell to Florida State, they still had an eight-game win streak before that, showing just how hot they were.

    Johnny Manziel might not be winning his second straight Heisman Trophy, but he and the Texas A&M Aggies had a strong season, going 8-4 while scoring 43.6 points per game.  Manziel has put up huge numbers, racking up over 4,400 total yards and 41 total touchdowns.

    Both teams have played well this season, and while the Aggies struggle defensively, the Blue Devils don't have the offense to keep up with Manziel.

    Prediction: Texas A&M 41, Duke 28 Gator Bowl: Nebraska vs. Georgia

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    Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

    When: January 1 at noon ET

    Watch: ESPN2

    Neither starting quarterback at the beginning of the season will be playing in this one, which certainly makes this game a bit less interesting, but it should still be a close game.

    The Nebraska Cornhuskers have had to rely on a heavy ground game this season, with Ameer Abdullah leading the way with 1,568 yards and eight touchdowns.  As a team, the Cornhuskers' biggest win came against Michigan, and that's not exactly a good thing.

    For the Georgia Bulldogs, they've been banged-up all year, but they've been able to win without Aaron Murray, even if it was against some relatively weaker opponents.  The return of Todd Gurley has certainly helped, as he's run for 903 yards and 10 touchdowns this season on just 144 carries.

    With a solid defense and reliable ground game, the Bulldogs should win this game over a team that hasn't been able to beat any top-tier teams.

    Prediction: Georgia 33, Nebraska 21

Heart of Dallas Bowl: UNLV vs. North Texas

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    Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

    When: January 1 at noon ET

    Watch: ESPNU

    The UNLV Rebels have had an above-average season in the Mountain West conference, going 7-5 and 5-3 in the conference.  They've averaged 31.3 points per game, but they've also allowed 31.5.  Their star player has been Devante Davis, who has caught 77 passes for 1,194 yards and 14 touchdowns.

    The North Texas Mean Green have had a successful season out of C-USA, going 8-4.  They've been one of just two teams to beat the Ball State Cardinals, and held their own for the most part against Georgia.  On just 182 carries, Brandin Byrd has run for 1,023 yards and 11 touchdowns.

    With how well they've played against tougher competition, the Mean Green should be able to beat the Rebels.

    Prediction: North Texas 27, UNLV 21

Capital One Bowl: Wisconsin vs. South Carolina

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    When: January 1 at 1 p.m. ET

    Watch: ABC

    After a rough 31-24 loss to Penn State, the Wisconsin Badgers certainly hurt themselves in the BCS standings.  Before that, they had just two losses, with one coming on a very controversial ending against Arizona State.

    The running game for Wisconsin is arguably one of the best in the nation.  James White and Melvin Gordon are two of the best running backs in the country, combining for 2,803 yards and 25 touchdowns on the ground.  Meanwhile, their defense is allowing just 14.8 points per game, which is sixth in the country.

    But the Badgers can't sleep on the South Carolina Gamecocks.  With just two losses, the Gamecocks have been one of the best teams in the country, coming up with impressive wins against Clemson and Missouri.  There are plenty of playmakers on offense, including players like Connor Shaw and Mike Davis.  

    Defensively, the Gamecocks have allowed just 20 points per game.  With Jadeveon Clowney on that side of the ball, the Badgers could struggle to get things going in the running game, and that could be the difference in what will be a great game.

    Prediction: South Carolina 24, Wisconsin 21

Outback Bowl: Iowa vs. LSU

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    When: January 1 at 1 p.m. ET

    Watch: ESPN

    The Iowa Hawkeyes haven't had the most impressive season, but they're still 8-4 and were eligible for a bigger bowl game like the Outback Bowl.  Their biggest win came against Minnesota, but they've lost all of their games against teams currently in the Top 25.  Their defense has carried them this season, as the Hawkeyes are allowing just 18.8 points per game.

    Although Zach Mettenberger won't be playing in this game, the rest of the team is still one of the best in the country.  Players like Jeremy Hill, Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. will all be able to carry the load on offense, while the defense is still in good shape.

    The Tigers have had some tough losses against great teams, but they've also beaten teams like Auburn and Texas A&M.  They should have no problem taking down Iowa, even with Anthony Jennings playing quarterback.

    Prediction: LSU 35, Iowa 20

Rose Bowl Game Presented by VIZIO: Michigan State vs. Stanford

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    Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    When: January 1 at 5 p.m. ET

    Watch: ESPN

    As the Pac-12 and Big Ten champions, the Stanford Cardinal and Michigan State Spartans will be going head-to-head in what will likely be a classic Rose Bowl game.

    The Cardinal have some tough losses to Utah and USC this year, but wins over UCLA, Oregon State, Oregon and Arizona State have proved that they're one of the best teams in the country.  A strong offense led by Tyler Gaffney, who has run for 1,618 yards and 20 touchdowns, is complemented by a top-tier defense led by Shayne Skov and Trent Murphy.

    Much like Stanford, the Spartans rely on a strong ground game and solid defensive play.  Jeremy Langford leads the rushing attack with 1,338 yards and 17 touchdowns, while the defense ranks fourth in the nation, allowing just 12.7 points per game.

    These two teams are nearly identical in terms of how they play, and that means that this could be a very low-scoring affair.  Still, based off of the teams both sides have played, I think that Stanford has proven itself as the better team, and it should win a tightly contested game.

    Prediction: Stanford 21, Michigan State 20

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: Baylor vs. Central Florida

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    When: January 1 at 8:30 p.m. ET

    Watch: ESPN

    A late loss against Oklahoma State made it look unlikely that the Baylor Bears would win the Big 12 title.  However, thanks to a big upset, with Oklahoma taking down the Cowboys, the Bears were able to grab the conference title thanks to a win over Texas, letting them represent the Big 12 in the Fiesta Bowl.

    As the American Athletic Conference champions, the Central Florida Knights were the last team to earn a BCS bowl bid, putting them in the Fiesta Bowl as well.

    Despite that one loss, the Bears are still 11-1 with the best offense in the country, averaging 624.5 yards and 53.3 points per game.  Those numbers have dropped recently, but they're still quite impressive.  Bryce Petty leads the offense thanks to 3,844 yards and 30 passing touchdowns along with another 11 scores on the ground.

    The Knights were able to win the American Athletic Conference thanks to a perfect 8-0 conference record, going 11-1 overall.  Blake Bortles is starting to get a lot of attention from NFL scouts, throwing for 3,280 yards, 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions this year.

    These two quarterbacks should keep going back and forth, but Baylor's offense should be able to make plenty of big plays and come away with a win.

    Prediction: Baylor 37, Central Florida 28

Allstate Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. Oklahoma

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    When: January 2 at 8:30 p.m.

    Watch: ESPN

    With Auburn going to the national championship, the Alabama Crimson Tide will represent the SEC in the Sugar Bowl, while the Oklahoma Sooners will represent the Big 12 as an at-large bid after taking down the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

    The Crimson Tide are still considered the best team in the country, even after the loss to Auburn.  They're allowing just 11.3 points per game while scoring 38.8 of their own.  AJ McCarron and T.J. Yeldon lead the offense, while players like Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and C.J. Mosley lead the defense.

    Even though the Sooners have lost to Baylor and Texas this season, they've still beaten some solid teams, posting a 10-2 record and showing off some well-rounded play.  They've scored at least 33 points in five of their last six games, and they're really starting to heat up.

    Still, it's Alabama we're talking about.  The Crimson Tide will win this game, but they still won't be satisfied since they weren't able to grab another national title.

    Prediction: Alabama 33, Oklahoma 14

Discover Orange Bowl: Clemson vs. Ohio State

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    When: January 3 at TBD

    Watch: ESPN

    The Clemson Tigers will replace the Florida State Seminoles and represent the ACC in the Orange Bowl.  Meanwhile, the Ohio State Buckeyes were hoping to go to the national championship, but a loss in the Big Ten Championship Game has them as an at-large bid for this game.

    A tough loss to South Carolina in Clemson's last game was the only other loss besides the 51-14 blowout loss against Florida State earlier in the year, as the Tigers went 10-2 this season.  Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins have been huge for this team.  Boyd has thrown for 3,473 yards and 29 touchdowns, while Watkins has caught 85 passes for 1,237 yards and 10 scores of his own.

    Ohio State has gone 12-1 this season, but that recent loss certainly stings.  Braxton Miller has dealt with injuries this season, but he still finished with nearly 2,900 total yards and 36 touchdowns on the year.  Meanwhile, Carlos Hyde has been a monster on the ground, going for 1,408 yards and 14 scores.

    This game should be close, and both teams certainly have their flaws, but I really think that the combination of Boyd and Watkins will be limited by Ohio State's talented defense, as the Buckeyes will go on to win by just three points.

    Prediction: Ohio State 38, Clemson 35

AT&T Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Missouri

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    Richard Rowe-USA TODAY Sports

    When: January 3 at 7:30 p.m. ET

    Watch: Fox

    Both of these teams had a chance to win their respective conference titles, but both fell just short this past week.

    The Oklahoma State Cowboys fell to Oklahoma, but it's still been a great year for them.  They were the one team to take down Baylor, and they destroyed the Bears, winning 49-17.  Their only other loss came against West Virginia, while they have other wins against Mississippi State, Texas Tech and Texas.

    Clint Chelf has been terrific lately, putting up 12 total touchdowns and just two interceptions over the past four games.  Meanwhile, Justin Gilbert has led the defense by making some big plays while helping boost his draft stock.

    The Missouri Tigers have come out of nowhere this season, going 11-2 with losses to South Carolina and Auburn.  With tall receivers like L'Damian Washington and Dorial Green-Beckham to throw to, James Franklin is capable of making big plays in their offense, while their defense, with players like Kony Ealy and Michael Sam, does a great job of getting to the passer.

    The Cowboys are a pretty underrated team, and I think that Gilbert will help eliminate at least one option for Franklin.  Oklahoma State will get the win because of that, but I think that it will be a really close one.

    Prediction: Oklahoma State 28, Missouri 27

BBVA Compass Bowl: Vanderbilt vs. Houston

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    Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

    When: January 4 at 1 p.m. ET

    Watch: ESPN

    Thanks to four straight wins after a tough loss against Texas A&M, the Vanderbilt Commodores were able to go 8-4 and grab a spot in the Compass Bowl.  They certainly aren't the best team in the SEC, but a 4-4 record in the conference is certainly respectable.

    Jordan Matthews is the star player for the Commodores.  He is the team's best option at wide receiver, as he's caught 107 passes for 1,334 yards and five touchdowns.  

    The Houston Cougars looked like they had a shot in the American Conference, but they lost three straight games against conference opponents by just a combined 19 points, which killed those chances quickly.  However, the Cougars are still 8-4, and that helped them get into this bowl game.

    As a team, the Cougars average 33.9 points per game and allow just 20.2.  John O'Korn leads the offense at quarterback, throwing for 2,889 yards, 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions.  The combination of Ryan Jackson and Kenneth Farrow has been great in the backfield as well, with the two combining for over 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns.

    The fact that the Cougars lost to some of the better teams in their own conference is concerning, especially when going against an SEC team.  Vanderbilt has played well this season against opponents out of its conference, and the Commodores shouldn't have too much trouble taking down Houston.

    Prediction: Vanderbilt 30, Houston 23

GoDaddy Bowl: Arkansas State vs. Ball State

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    Brian Kersey/Getty Images

    When: January 5 at 9 p.m. ET

    Watch: ESPN

    Neither of these teams are coming from huge powerhouse conferences, but there is still a clear favorite in this one.

    Arkansas State has gone 7-5 this year and hasn't beaten a good team all season.  The Red Wolves recently lost a tough 34-31 game against Western Kentucky, and their ground game is the key to their offense, as they average 206 rushing yards per game.

    The Ball State Cardinals are having a great season out of the MAC, going 10-2 and 7-1 in their conference.  Their two losses came to North Texas and Northern Illinois, but their high-powered offense has been fantastic all season, averaging 40.1 points per game.

    Keith Wenning has had a breakout season, throwing for 3,933 yards, 34 touchdowns and just six interceptions, which are all the best marks in his career.  He has the opportunity to make big plays against a defense that's allowing 26.7 points per game, and he should have a huge day in a win for the Cardinals.

    Prediction: Ball State 42, Arkansas State 21

VIZIO BCS National Championship: Florida State vs. Auburn

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    When: January 6 at 8:30 p.m. ET

    Watch: ESPN

    After the Alabama Crimson Tide and Ohio State Buckeyes went down, the Auburn Tigers were able to snag a spot in the biggest game in all of college football, as they've officially become a team of destiny.

    Meanwhile, the Florida State Seminoles dominated the competition all season, going 13-0 thanks to a terrific season by redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston.

    The dominance on both sides of the ball for the Seminoles will be put to the test against the Tigers, especially on defense.  Nick Marshall and Tre Mason are capable of running all over opposing defenses, combining for over 2,600 yards and 33 touchdowns on the ground this season.

    However, the Seminoles have the nation's best defense in terms of scoring, allowing just 10.7 points per game.  With a stifling defense and a Heisman favorite under center, I expect them to come out on top as the BCS champions.

    Prediction: Florida State 38, Auburn 31