2010 Bowl Schedule: Power Ranking the 10 Likeliest Upsets

Thomas CopainCorrespondent IDecember 9, 2010

2010 Bowl Schedule: Power Ranking the 10 Likeliest Upsets

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    The 2010 Bowl Schedule is out and the hype has already begun as we're only days away from the start of the bowl season.

    And with bowls, invariably, comes upsets. Not to say that upsets are mutually exclusive to bowls but there is something about the neutral field, the by-partisan crowd that makes it exciting and has a special feel to it.

    Since some of the matchups are 6-6 and 7-5 teams matching up against each other, the upsets wouldn't be upsets in the classical sense. But here are the 10 picks for the most likely upsets of this bowl year,

10. Fresno State Over Northern Illinois (uDrove Humanitarian Bowl)

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    Northern Illinois comes in to the bowl seconds away from a MAC Championship. Instead Miami (OH) took the title and the Huskies head to Boise without a head coach. Fresno State has a pretty good coach in Ryan Colborn and a pretty good running back in Robbie Rouse. Northern Illinois will have to fight a letdown as well as the Bulldogs to win this game, and I don't know if they can do both.

9. San Diego State Over Navy (SD County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl)

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    Ryan Lindley is one of the better quarterbacks that no one knows about and the Aztecs have come very close to a couple of upsets already this year. Navy will have a lot of support in San Diego, but one has to wonder if the Aztecs playing on their home field in front of their fans will be a big boost in the school's first bowl game in a while. I think it will.

8. Penn State Over Florida (Outback Bowl)

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    Penn State struggled at Alabama early in the season, but the Nittany Lions have been playing much better of late with Matt McGloin as the quarterback and the running game turning around. The fact that Florida's offense has struggled mightily and as much as the Lions' have this season makes this game a push, although Urban Meyer's resignation might motivate the Gators.

7. Troy Over Ohio (R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl)

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    Troy has one of the best passing offenses in the nation and can put up points at will. They've beaten better teams in this bowl before, too. Troy will have to be able to make some stops on defense and also get some help from their running game if they want to knock off Frank Solich's Bobcats.

6. Illinois Over Baylor (Texas Bowl)

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    Baylor's a great story but the Bears struggled down the stretch and they have struggled on defense. Illinois has a pretty good back in Mikel LeShoure and can exploit the Bears, as can quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, who can be a threat both running and throwing. Illinois has a pretty good chance to pull the upset.

5. Arkansas Over Ohio State (Allstate Sugar Bowl)

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    Ohio State is the better team in this matchup, but Jim Tressel has had trouble in BCS games in the past. Nevertheless, Arkansas will be the best offense Ohio State faces this season and could give the secondary trouble. If the Razorbacks' running game can get going, the Buckeyes could be in trouble. Remember, Arkansas almost beat Alabama.

4. Louisville Over Southern Miss (Beef O'Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl)

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    Bilal Powell has helped bring the Cardinals back to a bowl game for the first time in a few years. Despite the record, Louisville is a slight favorite in this game in the early lines, but this would still be considered an upset in my books. Southern Miss would be a big challenge but Louisville is close to getting a signature win.

3. Wisconsin Over TCU (Rose Bowl Presented By Vizio)

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    The Badgers are the best team the Horned Frogs have faced this season and present the most issues. Three running backs that can dice the defense and a passing attack that is better than people might think. Plus a stout defense to boot. If Wisconsin wins this game it may not be thought of as an upset, but it'll still be one.

2. Texas A&M Over LSU (AT&T Cotton Bowl)

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    Texas A&M might be the hottest team in college football with a quarterback that's playing with a lot of confidence, a tough running game and a stout defense. LSU's offense is playing better as of late but it's still very shaky at the quarterback position and the defense has shown it can be beaten. LSU could be in big trouble in this game.

1. Oregon Over Auburn (BCS National Championship Game)

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    Oregon has a better defense than people think and short of injuries (or fake injuries for that matter), only Cal has been able to slow down the offense so far. Auburn has been in closer games but have been able to win those games. But Auburn hasn't faced an offense like Oregon's that can run and throw the football. If Thomas can get going and LaMichael James gets in a groove, then Oregon has a great chance.