Bowl Games 2011: 10 Predictions & Shockers You Won't See Coming

Michael MillSenior Analyst IIIDecember 16, 2011

Bowl Games 2011: 10 Predictions & Shockers You Won't See Coming

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    The college football postseason still isn't what many fans across the nation would prefer but there still are plenty of great matchups on this year's bowl schedule.

    One of the greatest things about bowl season is that we see teams matched up against each other from different conferences that haven't faced each other all season.

    Well, maybe not in this year's National Championship but, for the most part, that statement holds true.

    That makes the postseason play in college football difficult to predict. Plenty of favorites will fall and underdogs will triumph.

    Here are ten predictions and upsets that you will see this year.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

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    Ohio (9-4) vs. Utah State (7-5)

    The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl surely isn't the most well-known bowl game in college football. It doesn't have two very prestigious teams taking the field tomorrow afternoon either.

    That said, it should actually be one heck of a game.

    The Utah State Aggies are actually the favorites heading into this game. Running back Robert Turbin is the tenth leading rusher in the nation and has carried the team in recent weeks.

    Ohio is coming off of a disappointing loss in the MAC Championship Game.

    However, the Bobcats are still the more complete football team. They can run, pass and play defense. All the Aggies can do is run.

    They are being underlooked.

    Prediction: 31-27, Ohio Bobcats

Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas

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    Northwestern (6-6) vs. Texas A&M (6-6)

    If you like offense, then this is a bowl game that you need to tune in for.

    Texas A&M boasts one of the best offenses in the country, making them a pretty big favorite over Northwestern in this matchup.

    What people fail to realize is that the Wildcat offense is very capable of putting up points as well.

    The reason for their inconsistency was due largely because of health problems with quarterback Dan Persa.

    With him in the game, Northwestern is going to match Texas A&M point for point down to the wire.

    Prediction: 41-38, Northwestern Wildcats

AutoZone Liberty Bowl

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    Cincinnati (9-3) vs. Vanderbilt (6-6)

    Before anybody accuses me of sipping on the SEC kool-aid, I'll be straight up and tell you that isn't the case.

    In fact, I hate the SEC.

    The kool-aid I am sipping on is the "Rodgers" kool-aid.

    Jordan Rodgers, younger brother of Aaron Rodgers, has been great since taking over at the starting quarterback spot for Vanderbilt midseason.

    On paper and in the stat book, Cincinnati looks like the superior team.

    This game will give all the SEC fanatics just more reason to talk after the Commadores pull off the win.

    Prediction: 27-24, Vanderbilt Commadores

Capital One Bowl

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    Nebraska (9-3) vs. South Carolina (10-2)

    South Carolina may be the better team but Nebraska has the matchup advantage in this year's Capital One Bowl.

    This season, the only time Nebraska has faced any problems was against teams with superior run defenses and top tier passing games.

    The Gamecocks may have a great run defense but they don't have the passing game to give the Cornhuskers any problems.

    This game should be a relatively low scoring, defensive slugfest.

    Mark one down for the Big Ten over the SEC.

    Prediction: 20-17, Nebraska Cornhuskers

Outback Bowl

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    Georgia (10-3) vs. Michigan State (10-3)

    At the start of the month I was ranting and raving about Aaron Murray and how the Bulldogs had a chance for an upset in the SEC Championship Game against LSU.

    Thanks for nothing Georgia.

    The Bulldogs and the Michigan State Spartans are both teams that are very difficult to get a read on.

    Both have good defenses, but those defenses have also fallen apart against certain opponents and given up loads of points.

    For some reason, likely SEC-biased, many have already counted the Spartans out of this game.

    I won't do it. These are two very evenly matched teams and this could be one of the best bowl games this year.

    It's going to come down to the wire.

    Prediction: 23-20, Michigan State Spartans

Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl

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    Florida (6-6) vs. Ohio State (6-6)

    I'm starting to sense a trend.

    Give me an SEC team and I'll go with whoever they are playing.

    Seriously though, just take a look at who Florida has taken down this season.

    They have wins against Florida Atlantic, UAB, Tennessee, Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Furman.

    At least Ohio State has pulled off wins against some challenging opponents like Illinois and the Big Ten Champion Wisconsin Badgers.

    Braxton Miller is going to be the difference maker in this one. Florida fans will get a good look at the player Urban Meyer will try to mold into another Tim Tebow.

    Prediction: 31-20, Ohio State Buckeyes

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl

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    Oklahoma State (11-1) vs. Stanford (11-1)

    If you like defense, watch the National Championship Game.

    If you like offense, be sure to tune in for the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

    Oklahoma State and Stanford boast the second and fifth ranked scoring offenses in the nation respectively.

    This is going to be an exciting shootout between Andrew Luck and Brandon Weeden.

    The difference in this game is going to be on the defensive side of the ball.

    There is no way that either team will be shut down, but the Cardinal do have the advantage on defense. That edge may be all they need.

    Prediction: 48-42, Stanford

Allstate Sugar Bowl

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    Michigan (10-2) vs. Virginia Tech (11-2)

    Virginia Tech may just be the most overrated team in the country.

    In fact, the Hokies ranking in the BCS at No. 11 shows just how big of a problem the BCS really is.

    This is a team that has relied completely on their defense all season. The problem is that they occasionally need to score points.

    Michigan has relied just as heavily on their defensive play this year. The difference is that with Denard Robinson at quarterback, they can score points.

    They will score so many Virginia Tech won't know what to do.

    Prediction: 31-17, Michigan Wolverines

Discover Orange Bowl

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    Clemson (10-3) vs. West Virginia (9-3)

    The Clemson Tigers may be the best worst team in college football this season.

    I look at their schedule and wonder why they aren't 13-0 and playing LSU in the National Championship Game.

    They took out all of their toughest opponents, but managed to fall to teams like North Carolina State and lesser opponents.

    Simply put, they have been inconsistent on the defensive side of the ball.

    When they have struggled, it's been in the secondary. Look for Geno Smith to keep the Mountaineers in a tight game that most are counting them out of.

    Prediction: 34-31, West Virginia Mountaineers

Allstate BCS National Championship Game

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    Alabama (11-1) vs. Louisiana State (13-0)

    The Game of the Century is about to happen for the second time this season.

    The first time the top ranked and second ranked defenses in the country faced off, LSU pulled off a 9-6 overtime victory over the Crimson Tide.

    What people forget is that a lot fell their way in that game.

    The no-call for pass interference on the goal line interception was one. The missed field goals were another.

    Alabama really played the better game the first time around.

    I don't think it would be much of a surprise to see either of these teams walk away with a win.

    What will be a surprise is that it won't be nearly as close as the first time around.

    Prediction: 20-10, Alabama Crimson Tide