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College Football Bowl Picks 2014: Game Predictions for Every Matchup of Season

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 18, 2014

Nov 15, 2014; Lawrence, KS, USA; TCU Horned Frogs quarterback Trevone Boykin (2) throws a pass against the Kansas Jayhawks in the second half at Memorial Stadium. TCU won the game 34-30. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

The most exciting bowl games are not always the ones that have the biggest names attached to them.

Fans are heavily anticipating the first-ever College Football Playoff and its matchups between Oregon and Florida State and Alabama versus Ohio State. However, each game has close to a double-digit spread, according to Odds Shark.

But there are battles outside the two biggest that feature plenty of talent and a potentially close matchup. This makes it hard to predict the outcomes, but the games will certainly be fun to watch. 

Here is a full breakdown of the bowl schedule with picks for every game. I also take a deeper look at some of the more underrated competitions to watch.

2014-15 Bowl Schedule with Picks
BowlMATCHUPDateTimeTVPick
R+L Carriers New Orleans BowlNevada vs. Louisiana-LafayetteDec. 2011 a.m.ESPNNEV
Gildan New Mexico BowlUTEP vs. Utah StateDec. 202:20 p.m.ESPNUSU
Royal Purple Las Vegas BowlColorado St. vs. UtahDec. 203:30 p.m.ABCUTAH
Famous Idaho Potato BowlWestern Michigan vs. Air ForceDec. 205:45 p.m.ESPNAF
Raycom Media Camellia BowlBowling Green vs. South AlabamaDec. 209:15 p.m.ESPNBG
Miami Beach BowlBYU vs. MemphisDec. 222 p.m.ESPNBYU
Boca Raton BowlMarshall vs. Northern IllinoisDec. 236 p.m.ESPNMAR
San Diego County CU Poinsettia BowlNavy vs. San Diego StateDec. 239:30 p.m.ESPNNAVY
Popeyes Bahamas BowlWestern Kentucky vs. Central MichiganDec. 2412 p.m.ESPNCMU
Sheraton Hawaii BowlRice vs. Fresno StateDec. 248 p.m.ESPNRICE
Zaxby's Heart of Dallas BowlIllinois vs. Louisiana TechDec. 261 p.m.ESPNLT
Quick Lane BowlRutgers vs. North CarolinaDec. 264:30 p.m.ESPNRUT
BITCOIN St. Petersburg BowlNC State vs. UCFDec. 268 p.m.ESPNUCF
Military BowlVirginia Tech vs. CincinnatiDec. 271 p.m.ESPNCIN
Hyundai Sun BowlDuke vs. Arizona StateDec. 272 p.m.CBSASU
Duck Commander Independence BowlMiami (Fl.) vs. South CarolinaDec. 273:30 p.m.ABCMIA
New Era Pinstripe BowlBoston College vs. Penn StateDec. 274:30 p.m.ESPNBC
National University Holiday BowlNebraska vs. USCDec. 278 p.m.ESPNNEB
AutoZone Liberty BowlWest Virginia vs. Texas A&MDec. 292 p.m.ESPNWVU
Russell Athletic BowlClemson vs. OklahomaDec. 295:30 p.m.ESPNOKLA
AdvoCare Texas BowlTexas vs. ArkansasDec. 299 p.m.ESPNTEX
Franklin American Mortgage Music City BowlNotre Dame vs. LSUDec. 303 p.m.ESPNLSU
Belk BowlLouisville vs. GeorgiaDec. 306:30 p.m.ESPNUGA
Foster Farms BowlMaryland vs. StanfordDec. 3010 p.m.ESPNSTAN
Chick-fil-A Peach BowlOle Miss vs. TCUDec. 3112:30 p.m.ESPNTCU
Vizio Fiesta BowlBoise State vs. ArizonaDec. 314 p.m.ESPNARI
Capital One Orange BowlMississippi State vs. Georgia TechDec. 318 p.m.ESPNMIST
Outback BowlWisconsin vs. AuburnJan. 112 p.m.ESPN2AUB
Goodyear Cotton BowlMichigan State vs. BaylorJan. 112:30 p.m.ESPNBAY
Citrus BowlMinnesota vs. MissouriJan. 11 p.m.ABCMIN
Rose Bowl GameOregon vs. Florida StateJan. 15 p.m.ESPNORE
Allstate Sugar BowlAlabama vs. Ohio StateJan. 18:30 p.m.ESPNBAMA
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces BowlPittsburgh vs. HoustonJan. 212 p.m.ESPNPITT
TaxSlayer BowlIowa vs. TennesseeJan. 23:20 p.m.ESPNIOWA
Valero Alamo BowlKansas State vs. UCLAJan. 26:45 p.m.ESPNKSU
Cactus BowlOklahoma St. vs.WashingtonJan. 210:15 p.m.ESPNWASH
Birmingham BowlFlorida vs. East CarolinaJan. 31 p.m.ESPN2FLA
GoDaddy BowlToledo vs. Arkansas StateJan. 49 p.m.ESPNTOL
College Football Championship GameTBDJan. 128:30 p.m.ESPNORE

Top Bowls to Watch

Alamo Bowl: UCLA vs. Kansas State

The storyline of this game will be the battle between two talented quarterbacks making a final start at the collegiate level.

UCLA star Brett Hundley is preparing to enter the 2015 NFL draft, but he still has a lot to prove, as noted by Bryan Fischer of NFL.com:

He might be among the most divisive players scouts will look at over the coming months—some scouts see star potential, others see a potential bust. His last performance was a clunker against a good Stanford defense, costing his team a trip to the Pac-12 title game, so pressure is on to prove he's making the right decision to come out with a good game against a solid Kansas State team.

On the other side of the ball will be Kansas State senior Jake Waters, who is unlikely to have much of a pro career but can still make a major impact in this one. With the ability to make plays with his arm and his legs, he finished 12th in the nation with a Total QBR of 77.7, just ahead of Hundley.

He is also helped out by the play of senior receiver Tyler Lockett, who has amassed 44 catches for 669 receiving yards and four touchdowns in the last four games. That's a good season for a lot of people.

While UCLA has its own playmakers like Paul Perkins, Kansas State has a much more consistent defense and should be able to slow down the Bruins throughout the game.

Hundley will be the one auditioning for scouts, but Waters will end his career on a high note with a win in the Alamo Bowl. 

Peach Bowl: Ole Miss vs. TCU

TCU and its fans might be disappointed by the fact it is not competing for a national championship in either the Rose Bowl or Sugar Bowl, but there will be a serious test ahead in the Peach Bowl.

While the Horned Frogs have the No. 2 scoring offense in the nation behind talented quarterback Trevone Boykin, things will not be easy against an Ole Miss defense that has been dominating opponents all year long.

After shutting down Mississippi State in a win at the Egg Bowl, Rebels coach Hugh Freeze was proud of his team's effort.

They're pretty good. They are going to get some yards. They have all year, against everyone, and they've scored some points. But at the same time I'm not surprised because we are No. 1 in the country in scoring defense and been pretty stingy in giving up points in the redzone.

Ole Miss finished the year with the top defense in the country, allowing just 13.8 points per game.

Even if TCU is limited to well below its average of 46.8 points per game, the team will probably only need to score in the 20s to beat an offense that has struggled at times this year. Quarterback Bo Wallace has at least one interception in four of the last five games and often gets little help in the run game.

The Horned Frogs have a talented defense that is often overlooked, but it will be able to play a big role in this one. The surprise season ends on a high note.

Russell Athletic Bowl: Clemson vs. Oklahoma

NORMAN, OK - NOVEMBER 8:  Quarterback Trevor Knight #9 of the Oklahoma Sooners looks to throw against the Baylor Bears November 8, 2014 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. Baylor defeated Oklahoma 48-14.  (Photo by Brett Deeri
Brett Deering/Getty Images

Clemson and Oklahoma may be disappointed to be playing this game. Both teams were expecting more from this season, but there will still be a lot of action in this battle of talented opponents.

For Oklahoma, a lot of the success will depend on the health of the backfield. Starting quarterback Trevor Knight, who missed the last three games of the season, should be healthy for the bowl game. Bob Przybylo of Scout.com notes the team has seen a difference lately:

Bob Przybylo @BPrzybylo

Daryl Williams said Trevor Knight has looked like himself during bowl practices for #Sooners

Running back Samaje Perine, who rushed for an NCAA-record 427 yards against Kansas, is also questionable after spraining his ankle in the final game of the year against Oklahoma State.

If these two players are healthy, the Sooners can do a lot of damage.

Of course, Clemson comes back strong with a defense that ranked seventh in the nation with just 17.6 points allowed per game. Star players like All-American Vic Beasley have the ability to affect the game on their own.

The problem is the Tigers are dealing with their own injuries at quarterback, as noted by ESPN:

ESPN CollegeFootball @ESPNCFB

QB Deshaun Watson will miss The @RussellAthBowl. Clemson will now turn to Cole Stoudt » http://t.co/L1oBsgdavn http://t.co/QKycpse4Kh

Cole Stoudt will play better with some extra practice time, but Clemson will struggle offensively as Oklahoma earns the victory for the Big 12.

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