College Football Bowl Picks 2013: Predictions for Best Remaining Non-BCS Games

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College Football Bowl Picks 2013: Predictions for Best Remaining Non-BCS Games
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Kony Ealy and No. 8 Missouri play in the non-BCS bowl involving the highest-ranked teams.

There have been six bowl games played thus far in the college football postseason, so as the holiday action on the gridiron continues, there are still plenty of marquee matchups to look forward to.

And those don't even include the BCS bowls. A number of ranked teams will be doing battle within the next couple of weeks and should make for some compelling entertainment.

Below is a look at the best non-BCS games left on the schedule and predictions for them, along with a list of picks for every remaining contest.

Note: Team statistics are courtesy of NCAA.com. Individual defensive statistics were obtained via CFBStats.com.

 

Chick-fil-A Bowl (Dec. 31, 2013): No. 21 Texas A&M vs. No. 24 Duke

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The good news is that sophomore sensation Johnny Manziel has had some time to recuperate from putting the Texas A&M program on his back.

Manziel succeeded in compensating for a horrendous defense for much of 2013, but his performance dropped off in the final two contests—both Aggies losses.

As if the outlook couldn't get any worse for the No. 105-ranked Texas A&M defense, freshman middle linebacker Darian Claiborne won't be making the trip to Atlanta's Georgia Dome due to a suspension.

Duke is no cakewalk, either, because the Blue Devils—the loss in the ACC title game to No. 1 Florida State aside—have improved a ton this season and have enough weapons on offense to be a force in this game.

Wide receiver Jamison Crowder (96 receptions, seven touchdowns) is a dynamic punt returner in addition to being an amazing target for QB Anthony Boone.

However, with the time Manziel has had to mend and with this being his last chance at making an impression on NFL scouts, expect the Johnny Football legend to grow in one (probably) last virtuoso performance in an Aggies victory.

Prediction: Texas A&M 38, Duke 31

 

Capital One Bowl (Jan. 1, 2014): No. 9 South Carolina vs. No. 19 Wisconsin

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Speaking of top-flight prospective NFL players getting their last chance to impress evaluators, that goes for some notable players in this bowl game and obviously Gamecocks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.

The 6'6", 275-pound freak of an athlete has had a bit of a lackluster 2013 campaign (35 total tackles, three sacks and one forced fumble). This matchup presents a chance to go out with a bang.

NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah weighed in with a Dec. 9 piece discussing the top bowl games NFL scouts will be keeping an eye on:

Now that he's had time to rest and heal, will Clowney show improved effort? I'm not that concerned about the drop in Clowney's production. He still puts his imprint on every game because opposing teams devote extra resources to slowing him down. However, I am a little concerned about the up/down motor he's displayed.

Not only is Badgers QB Joel Stave deceptively elusive, but he also has one of the most consistent, sizable offensive lines protecting him. Plus, Stave has the electric running back tandem of Melvin Gordon and James White to hand the ball to.

A big loss for South Carolina is that of Damiere Byrd, the team's second-leading receiver who averaged 17.6 yards per catch on 33 receptions this season.

The onus will be even more on Gamecocks running back Mike Davis to carry the load offensively, but Wisconsin has the sixth-ranked rush defense in the country, while USC's is 33rd.

Given the depth of the Badgers backfield with White, Gordon and even freshman Corey Clement (515 yards, seven TDs), this physical Big Ten foe has all the elements to knock off its SEC adversary in Orlando.

Prediction: Wisconsin 24, South Carolina 20

 

Cotton Bowl (Jan. 3, 2014): No. 8 Missouri vs. No. 13 Oklahoma State

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Until the SEC Championship Game loss to Auburn, Mizzou hadn't lost a game all season with senior James Franklin under center.

That game wasn't Franklin's fault, either, because he was unable to play defense and threw for 303 yards and three touchdowns while running for 62 yards and another score.

There is a bit of a geographic advantage for the Cowboys, who will have the benefit of closer proximity in playing at the Dallas Cowboys' NFL stadium.

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Oklahoma State is coming off a crushing loss in Stillwater to Oklahoma, though, so it will be interesting to see how Mike Gundy's bunch responds to the adversity.

The inconsistent accuracy of Cowboys QB Clint Chelf showed itself against the Sooners, and he won't have a much easier time when he goes up against the likes of Kony Ealy, Michael Sam and a terrifying Tigers front seven.

Mizzou got lit up on the ground by Auburn and will be eager to prove itself on this grand stage and justify its status as still being a top-10 team—even after this massive turnaround catalyzed by head coach Gary Pinkel.

Cornerback Justin Gilbert is a great player, but the Cowboys' 86th-ranked pass defense is a sign of their overall shaky secondary. Gilbert alone won't be enough to account for the Tigers' plethora of sizable targets in L'Damian Washington (6'4", 205), Dorial Green-Beckham (6'6", 225) and Marcus Lucas (6'5", 220).

Combine that with the balance provided by Franklin's mobility and running back Henry Josey (13 rushing TDs), and the Tigers have too much firepower for Oklahoma State to keep up with.

Prediction: Missouri 35, Oklahoma State 17

 

Remaining College Football Bowl Picks
Bowl Date and Time (EDT) Pick
Little Caesar's Pizza: Pitt vs. Bowling Green Dec. 26, 6 p.m. Panthers
Poinsettia: Utah State vs. No. 23 Northern Illinois Dec. 26, 9:30 p.m. Huskies
Military: Marshall vs. Maryland Dec. 27, 2:30 p.m. Terrapins
Texas: Syracuse vs. Minnesota Dec. 27, 6 p.m. Golden Gophers
Fight Hunger: BYU vs. Washington Dec. 27, 9:30 p.m. Huskies
Pinstripe: Rutgers vs. Notre Dame Dec. 28, Noon Fighting Irish
Belk: Cincinnati vs. North Carolina Dec. 28, 3:20 p.m. Bearcats
Russell Athletic: Miami vs. No. 18 Louisville Dec. 28, 6:45 p.m. Cardinals
Buffalo Wild Wings: Michigan vs. Kansas State Dec. 28, 10:15 p.m. Wolverines
Armed Forces: Middle Tennessee vs. Navy Dec. 30, 11:45 p.m. Midshipmen
Music City: Ole Miss vs. Georgia Tech Dec. 30, 3:15 p.m. Rebels
Alamo: No. 10 Oregon vs. Texas Dec. 30, 6:45 p.m. Ducks
Holiday: No. 14 Arizona State vs. Texas Tech Dec. 30, 10:15 p.m. Sun Devils
AdvoCare V100: Arizona vs. Boston College Dec. 31, 12:30 p.m. Wildcats
Sun: Virginia Tech vs. No. 17 UCLA Dec. 31, 2 p.m. Bruins
Liberty: Rice vs. Mississippi State Dec. 31, 4 p.m. Bulldogs
Chick-fil-A: Texas A&M vs. Duke Dec. 31, 8 p.m. Aggies
Gator: Nebraska vs. No. 22 Georgia Jan. 1, Noon Bulldogs
Heart of Dallas: UNLV vs. North Texas Jan. 1, Noon Mean Green
Capital One: No. 9 South Carolina vs. No. 19 Wisconsin Jan. 1, 1 p.m. Badgers
Outback: Iowa vs. No. 16 LSU Jan. 1, 1 p.m. Hawkeyes
Rose: No. 5 Stanford vs. No. 4 Michigan State Jan. 1, 5 p.m. Cardinal
Fiesta: No. 15 UCF vs. No. 6 Baylor Jan. 1, 8:30 p.m. Bears
Sugar: No. 11 Oklahoma vs. No. 3 Alabama Jan. 2, 8:30 p.m. Crimson Tide
Cotton: No. 13 Oklahoma State vs. No. 8 Missouri Jan. 3, 7:30 p.m. Tigers
Orange: No. 12 Clemson vs. No. 7 Ohio State Jan. 3, 8:30 p.m. Buckeyes
BBVA Compass: Vanderbilt vs. Houston Jan. 4, 1 p.m. Cougars
GoDaddy: Arkansas State vs. Ball State Jan. 5, 9 p.m. Cardinals
BCS National Championship: No. 1 Florida State vs. No. 2 Auburn Jan. 6, 8:30 p.m. Seminoles

Source: ESPN.com

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