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College Football Bowl Picks 2017: Schedule and Predictions for Upcoming Action

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 20, 2017

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 09: Roquan Smith #3 of the Georgia Bulldogs reacts during a game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on September 9, 2017 in South Bend, Indiana. Georgia won 20-19. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The college football bowl season is entertaining but often difficult to predict.

While you can use analytics, the eye test or whichever metric you want to judge teams, the reality is there is a lot of uncertainty heading into the postseason. Full conferences that are considered strong could be weaker than expected and vice versa.

Additionally, the different mentalities for each team often plays a major role in deciding the outcome.

This is a recipe for a lot of upsets throughout the next few weeks. Here are full predictions for the bowl season and a breakdown of some of the biggest potential upsets on the schedule.

                

Schedule and Predictions 

Wednesday, Dec. 20

Frisco Bowl (8 p.m., ESPN): SMU vs. Louisiana Tech; 41-28 SMU

     

Thursday, Dec. 21

Gasparilla Bowl (8 p.m., ESPN): Temple vs. FIU; 31-27 FIU

     

Friday, Dec. 22

Bahamas Bowl (12:30 p.m., ESPN): UAB vs. Ohio; 28-27 UAB

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (4 p.m., ESPN): Central Michigan vs. Wyoming; 24-21 CMU

     

Saturday, Dec. 23

Birmingham Bowl (12 p.m., ESPN): USF vs. Texas Tech; 38-20 USF

Armed Forces Bowl (3:30 p.m., ESPN): San Diego State vs. Army; 21-17 SDSU

Dollar General Bowl (7 p.m., ESPN): Appalachian State vs. Toledo; 35-24 Toledo

     

Sunday, Dec. 24

Hawaii Bowl (8:30 p.m., ESPN): Fresno State vs. Houston; 20-17 Fresno

     

Tuesday, Dec. 26

Heart of Dallas Bowl (1:30 p.m., ESPN): Utah vs. West Virginia; 30-23 WVU

Quick Lane Bowl (5:15 p.m., ESPN): Duke vs. NIU; 24-17 Duke

Cactus Bowl (9 p.m., ESPN): Kansas State vs. UCLA; 35-31 UCLA

     

Wednesday, Dec. 27

Independence Bowl (1:30 p.m., ESPN): Florida State vs. Southern Miss; 28-20 FSU

New Era Pinstripe Bowl (5:15 p.m., ESPN): Boston College vs. Iowa; 21-16 Iowa

Foster Farms Bowl (8:30 p.m., Fox): Arizona vs. Purdue; 31-17 Zona

Texas Bowl (9 p.m., ESPN): Texas vs. Missouri; 27-20 Texas

     

Thursday, Dec. 28

Military Bowl (1:30 p.m., ESPN): Virginia vs. Navy; 28-24 Navy

Camping World Bowl (5:15 p.m., ESPN): Oklahoma State vs. Virginia Tech; 34-21 OSU

Alamo Bowl (9 p.m., ESPN): Stanford vs. TCU; 21-20 STAN

Holiday Bowl (9 p.m., FS1): Michigan State vs. Washington State; 28-27 MSU

     

Friday, Dec. 29

Belk Bowl (1 p.m., ESPN): Texas A&M vs. Wake Forest; 35-21 Wake

Sun Bowl (3 p.m., CBS): Arizona State vs. NC State; 34-24 NCSU

Music City Bowl (4:30 p.m., ESPN): Kentucky vs. Northwestern; 27-21 NW

Arizona Bowl (5:30 p.m., CBS Sports): New Mexico State vs. Utah State; 30-20 USU

Cotton Bowl Classic (8:30 p.m., ESPN): Ohio State vs. USC; 28-21 OSU

     

Saturday, Dec. 30

TaxSlayer Bowl (12 p.m., ESPN): Mississippi State vs. Louisville; 38-28 LOU

Liberty Bowl (12:30 p.m., ABC): Iowa State vs. Memphis; 31-27 MEM

Fiesta Bowl (4 p.m., ESPN): Penn State vs. Washington; 30-21 PSU

Orange Bowl (8 p.m., ESPN): Wisconsin vs. Miami; 20-10 Miami

     

Monday, Jan. 1

Outback Bowl (12 p.m., ESPN2): Michigan vs. South Carolina; 16-13 MICH

Peach Bowl (12:30 p.m., ESPN): Auburn vs. UCF; 35-14 AUB

Citrus Bowl (1 p.m., ABC): Notre Dame vs. LSU; 27-17 ND

Rose Bowl (5 p.m., ESPN): Oklahoma vs. Georgia; 38-28 OKLA

Sugar Bowl (8:45 p.m., ESPN): Clemson vs. Alabama; 24-21 BAMA

     

Monday, Jan. 8

College Football Playoff National Championship (8 p.m., ESPN); 30-21, OKLA

        

Upsets to Watch

Miami (+6.5) over Wisconsin

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 14:  Travis Homer #24 of the Miami Hurricanes rushes during a game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Sun Life Stadium on October 14, 2017 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Wisconsin has had one of the best defenses in college football this season, ranking third with just 13.2 points allowed per game. However, the schedule played a pretty big role in the team's success.

The Badgers only beat one team, Northwestern, that finished the year in the CFP Top 25.

Against the best competition it saw all year, Wisconsin allowed 27 points to Ohio State, which ran wild with 238 yards on the ground in the Big Ten championship. 

Miami certainly has question marks after scoring only 17 points in its final two games of the year, but it showed more against quality opponents. Even with an embarrassing Clemson loss on the resume, the team still ranks tied for second in the nation in turnover margin. This could go a long way against Alex Hornibrook and the inconsistent Wisconsin offense.

Effectively playing a home game at Hard Rock Stadium, Miami should be able to use its defense to win a low-scoring battle against a tough opponent.

          

West Virginia (+7) over Utah

MANHATTAN, KS - NOVEMBER 11:  Quarterback Will Grier #7 of the West Virginia Mountaineers throws a pass against the Kansas State Wildcats during the first half on November 11, 2017 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kansas.  (Photo by Peter G. Ai
Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

It's hard to bet against Kyle Whittingham and Utah in bowl games. The head coach has a 10-1 bowl record in his career, winning each of the last four years.

"We are very aware of their history, especially in bowl games," West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said of Utah, per Dirk Facer of the Deseret News. "So it's going to be a challenge for us."

The problem is the Utes don't have the same type of team they have had in past years. They finished the year 6-6 with losses in six of the last eight games. There were tough breaks and good wins in this stretch, but the defense isn't as good as we have come to expect.

This could make things difficult against West Virginia, which has one of the top passing attacks in the country at 324.8 yards per game. Will Grier can spread the ball around all over the field, with David Sills V, Gary Jennings and Ka'Raun White all putting together impressive seasons.

Utah doesn't have enough players in the secondary capable of sticking with this aerial attack.

Even without Justin Crawford, who will sit out the game to prepare for the draft, West Virginia has enough offensive talent to win this game.

              

Florida International (+7) over Temple 

John Raoux/Associated Press

Although Florida International will be without top receiver Thomas Owens, quarterback Alex McGough could actually benefit from spreading the ball around more to the rest of his targets.

The Panthers scored 104 points in the final two games of the year with Owens on the sideline, with the team utilizing a wide variety of weapons offensively.

This could be too much for Temple to handle, a team that ranked 97th in the country in points scored per game. Whether Logan Marchi or Frank Nutile were under center, turnovers were a problem and the offense remained stagnant.

FIU hasn't been great defensively this year, but Butch Davis has gone a good job of getting his team prepared in his first season with the program and his player should be ready to shut down the Owls offense.

Adding in the fact Florida International should have a lot of local fans at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, this game is ripe for an upset.

              

All spread info courtesy of OddsShark.

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