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2011 Bowl Predictions: Five Teams That Will Surprise Us

Sean LansingContributor IDecember 4, 2011

2011 Bowl Predictions: Five Teams That Will Surprise Us

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    Every season there are bowl shockers. 

    Either a non-AQ conference team beats a traditional powerhouse in or a school that everyone thinks was snubbed by the BCS lays an egg in a lesser bowl game.

    Will this season see another TCU-Wisconsin or Boise State-Oklahoma?  You betcha. 

    Here are five teams that could surprise you this bowl season. 

Clemson Tigers

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    You could argue that Clemson limped into the BCS and might not deserve to be there at all.

    Not counting their impressive victory over No. 5 Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game to finish the season, the Tigers lost three of their last four regular season games. 

    However, Clemson has one of the most explosive offenses in the country, and they should be matched up in the Orange Bowl against a very beatable West Virginia team. 

    Add it all up, and a team that many fans don't respect could win a BCS game. 

Michigan Wolverines

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    For most fans, the Wolverines are still an afterthought following the disastrous RichRod era in Ann Arbor. 

    But in his first season, new head coach Brady Hoke has guided Michigan to a 10-2 record, bringing them to the cusp of the BCS. 

    All of a sudden, a team that many expected to fight just for bowl eligibility could be in the Sugar Bowl against a Kansas State team they might be favored against. 

Auburn Tigers

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    For Auburn fans, it was tough to watch the Tigers claw their way to a 7-5 record just one year after winning the BCS national championship. 

    Still, Gene Chizik's squad can score a big win at season's end. 

    Many are predicting that Auburn will play in the Chick-fil-A Bowl against 11-2 Virginia Tech. 

    The Hokies showed that they're very beatable against Clemson in the ACC championship game, and a win over what should be a heavily-favored Virginia Tech team would provide a nice end to the Tigers' season. 

Virginia Cavaliers

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    A lot of people don't know it, but Virginia played their way to a very successful 8-4 season with big wins over Georgia Tech, Miami and Florida State. 

    In fact, the Cavaliers were just one win away from a spot in the ACC title game. 

    This team is good, so don't be surprised to see them win against a school from a "better" conference in a bowl game. 

Boise State Broncos or TCU Horned Frogs

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    It almost seems inevitable that one of the nation's two most popular BCS busters will lay an egg in a lesser bowl game they don't want to play in. 

    In particular, 11-1 Boise State is likely to finish in the BCS top 10, only to get a spot in the Las Vegas Bowl. 

    That is a tough pill to swallow. 

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