On Saturday, the middle stretch of the bowl season officially begins. Twelve bowl games in a four day span. Luckily for you, we have them all covered. If you didn’t read our 3rd Annual Bowl Extravaganza Spectacular of Ridiculousness: Part 1 to begin with… don’t bother. Our lovefest for all things MAC has taken its toll. Hopefully this part will be better than the last…
New Era Pinstripe Bowl, Bronx, 12:00 p.m.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights (6-6) vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-4)
Notre Dame is a 14 point favorite.
Rutgers punched their bowl ticket by knocking off South Florida in their last game to become bowl eligible. If it weren’t for some #karma in week 4 against Arkansas and a zany overtime win at SMU that provided some of the best radio broadcasting I’ve ever heard, we wouldn’t be talking about you right now. Congrats on making the show. On the other side of the coin we have an underachieving Notre Dame team. An 8-4 season is not what the Irish expected after playing for all the Tostito’s last year. However, they did beat Michigan State early on which kept them out of Pasadena. This game may be as lopsided as Notre Dame’s bowl game last year…
JP Predicts: Notre Dame is a good team… Rutgers is not. 31-13 Golden Domers.
Ash Predicts: Everyone in the country seems to have the consensus that any quality BCS team would destroy Notre Dame (huge assumption but whatever) and still somehow they find themselves as 8-4 this season. They probably deserved a better bowl than this but they’ll have a good showing in the Bronx. ND’s defense should be able to contain Rutgers and they’ll likely cover this large spread with ease. 28-10 Notre Dame.
Nate Predicts: The Scarlet Knights will come out with some fight. They will hold it tight for a quarter and a half; until the talent, depth, and coaching take over for the Golden Domers. The game will stay interesting until midway through the third, but touchdown Jesus will have the Irish walking on water as they pull away to win 33-17.
Honest Abe Predicts: Oh joy. Rutgers… Que the pic of the creepy mascot and the weird lookin’ cheerleader. Notre Dame 24-21
Belk Bowl, Charlotte, 3:20 p.m.
Cincinnati Bearcats (9-3) vs. North Carolina (6-6)
UNC is a 2.5 point favorite
North Carolina started out the season 1-5 before reeling off 5 straight wins to become bowl eligible. They closed out their season with a 2 point loss at home to Coastal Division champion Duke. The Tarheels recently lost their Offensive Coordinator, Blake Anderson, to the revolving door that has been the Arkansas State job. On the other side, Cincinnati comes into the game with just three losses… but two of them were bad losses to Illinois (4-8) and USF (2-10). That’s what they called the Tommy Tuberville special at Auburn. Don’t let the disparity in record fool you, this should be a pretty good game…
JP Predicts: Smart money is on UNC. That means Tommy’s cats should play their best… Cincinnati 28-24.
Ash Predicts: Every opportunity to be impressive by Cincinnati this year has come up somewhat underwhelming. They are a good team but they lack that spark that ‘great’ teams need. I’m not saying a BCS bowl game was in their hands if they were a better team, but they could have likely gone undefeated into that Louisville game. North Carolina is a decent team and playing from the underdog spot is always appealing. Look for this to be a close game, I think Tubby pulls the ‘upset’ very late in the game Cinn 31-28
Nate Predicts: The Tar Heels are not to be overlooked… Cincinnati has not impressed me this year, regardless of their record and Tommy Tuberville hasn’t been a consistent coach since 2004. So I am seeing Carolina blue in this one. UNC, who has played better competition this season(barely, but still better), will grind this one out with experience. It will be tight and may even take a miracle finish, but they will squeak this one out one way or another, 31-27. UNC
Honest Abe Predicts: Belk bowl??? Seriously? How unmanly can we get? Cincinnati 24-21
Russell Athletic Bowl, Orlando, 6:45 p.m.
Miami Hurricanes (9-3) vs. Louisville Cardinals (11-1)
Louisville is a 2.5 point favorite
The Hurricanes and the Cardinals clash in Orlando as bowl foes. Next year they will clash as conference foes. Miami has been a Jekyll and Hyde team this year. They won their first 7 games before dropping 3 straight. They closed out the season with 2 wins. Louisville’s only blemish came to Central Florida as home on some random weeknight earlier in the season. Otherwise, we might be talking about the first automatic qualifying conference to have their undefeated team jumped over by a one loss team.
JP Predicts: Is Duke Johnson back for Miami? No you say? 34-31 Cardinals.
Ash Predicts: Miami was the ‘next great ACC team’ then they ran into FSU and disappeared. Louisville was the dark horse National Championship team then they lost to UCF and vanished from the conversation. I think Louisville is genuinely the better team. In Florida you’d think Miami would have the crowd advantage but that rarely matters in bowl game. I’m looking for Louisville to come in and play like the team that got the preseason hype. Louisville 42-17
Nate Predicts: There’s a hurricane approaching! I am going with the U, from South Beach. Call me crazy, but I love the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Whenever Dr. Jekyll drank his potion and transformed into Mr. Hyde… you talk about a monster! Al Golden will have his boys drinking the potion (or gatorade, whatever the hell is in those green bottles nowadays) and the will come out in beast mode. Teddy Bridgewater will put the Cardinals on his back and keep them close; but alas, it is not to be. Miami will have visions of sugarplums and Warren Sapp, Bernie Kosar and candy canes, as they end up winning in front of a home crowd. 45-41 Canes.
Honest Abe Predicts: A cardinal in a hurricane. Now THAT, is a funny mental picture! The U 24-21
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Tempe, 10:15 p.m.
Michigan Wolverines (7-5) vs. Kansas State Wildcats (7-5)
Kansas State is a 4 point favorite.
Buffalo Wild Wings always has those fun commercials about keeping the game going longer so that friends can eat, drink, and be merry. This is not one of those games. Last time out, the Wolverines came a two-point conversion away from knocking off then undefeated Ohio State. Fortunately for Auburn fans, Sparty was able to make up for Michigan’s shortcomings. Overall, Michigan fans would describe their season as “below expectations.” Speaking of “below expectations,” we have Kansas State. The defending Big 12 Champions opened the season by losing to FCS powerhouse, North Dakota State. The Wildcats never completely recovered from that. That’s why they are playing in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. At least it’s not the Beef O’Brady Bowl…
JP Predicts: Now there is word that the Michigan starting QB won’t play. I’m going to have to go with Billy Snyder and friends, even though they haven’t won a bowl game in over a decade. 27-21 Wildcats.
Ash Predicts: I honestly was a bit shocked to find that Michigan had a winning record. I only saw them play a few times and other than the Ohio State game they could barely move the ball and looked terrible. KSU should route this game on paper, and given the ‘strength’ of the big 10 and Michigan’s 7 wins I would expect it to get ugly for the Wolverine’s in Tempe. KSU 41-17
Nate Predicts: Hail to the shell of a program that used to be Maize and Blue football. As a child, I watched players like Tom Brady, Desmond Howard, and Charles Woodson earn the words in their fight song. But not anymore… Those days are gone as the Wolverines limp into the BWW Bowl. Wolverines are supposed to be some of the most vicious and tenacious creatures on this planet. These Wolverines look more like duckbill platypus on steroids. Nothing intimidating about that… Kansas State wins a sloppy, grimey game 34-29.
Honest Abe Predicts: Don’t ever eat wings with JP. He orders them Chernobyl hot, then spends the rest of the day crop dusting. Michigan 24-21
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, Ft. Worth, 11:45 a.m.
Middle Tennessee State University (8-4) vs. Navy Midshipmen (8-4)
Navy is a 6 point favorite.
Yay! It’s an armed forces game with one of the service academies actually playing in it! Yeah, we’re looking at you Military Bowl… Middle Tennessee State comes into this game with an impressive 8-4 record… until you realize they play in Conference USA. Navy comes into the football game averaging 322 yards rushing a game. That’s second to only Auburn. Last time out they beat Army for the 12th straight time.
JP Predicts: Navy actually runs a triple option offense… and they do it well. Good luck with that MTSU. You are going to need it. 35-24 Navy.
Ash Predicts: MTSU is a solid mid-level team but struggles against the better teams. Navy brings their quirky triple option to the table that nobody sees and usually gives teams trouble. The extra time to prepare should help MTSU keep it close, but Navy will pound the ball and pull away with this game by mid-3rd. Navy 42-24
Nate Predicts: I had a couple of really close friends that went to MTSU and that is my home state, so I will go with the homer pick. Doooh… Plus I really despise the triple option so I am saying MTSU wins, 32-27.
Honest Abe Predicts: Well I’m glad to know that the armed forces bowl is sponsored by a helicopter co. That’s at least manly. Navy 24-21
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, Nashville, 3:15 p.m.
Ole Miss Rebels (7-5) vs. Georgia Tech Yellowjackets (7-5)
Ole Miss is a 3 point favorite.
The best part about this bowl game is its location. Last year, the Rebels returned to bowl season in Birmingham against Pitt… where they outnumbered Pitt fans at least 50-1 (I’m not joking either.) That’s about the same ratio you will find of beautiful Ole Miss women to Georgia Tech women this time around (Once again, not joking.) This year the Rebels continued to improve, but against a much tougher slate in the SEC West. Dr. Bo Wallace and company will look to bounce back from their season ending loss to State. However, the Yellowjackets are no pushover. Georgia Tech features the nation’s 5th best rushing attack, averaging just over 311 yards a game. They finished in a 3 way tie for 2nd in the ACC Coastal Division behind Duke. Can Ole Miss slow down this ACC juggernaut?
JP Predicts: Ole Miss played a much tougher sled of games. That will pay off when they play the Yellowjackets in Nashville. It is time for the doctor to redeem himself. You don’t want to meet Bo Wallace when he is angry… or without Pert Plus… Ole Miss 24-17.
Ash Predicts: I thought Ole Miss was going to be the next up and coming SEC team but they’ve struggled down the stretch of this year. On paper this was their year to put all the pieces of last year they had going right together and make a step forward, but losing the Egg Bowl really stung. Georgia Tech isn’t a slouch and their rushing attack should give Ole Miss some problems. My gut says Tech might pull this out, but I’m going to trust my numbers and say Ole Miss wins 28-24.
Nate Predicts: This is actually an intriguing matchup to me. The Manbearpigs from Oxford going up against one of the most awnry members of the insect kingdom. I have a few Tech fans for friends, and we are all in agreement that Paul Johnson needs to take his option somewhere else and Tech needs a new, fiery coach to bring it back to its glory days. The Rebels have been a charismatic enigma this season, lulling us into loving them before slinking back into the shadows only to break our hearts. They have a ton of talent and athleticism on both sides of the ball and I look forward to watching them try to stop the triple option. I am going with the SEC over the ACC, with the Rebels whistling Dixie as the win 42-26.
Honest Abe Predicts: A bear and a pissed off yellowjacket, what could be more hilarious to watch? Ole Miss 21-24
Valero Alamo Bowl, San Antonio 6:45 p.m.
Oregon Ducks (10-2) vs. Texas Longhorns (8-4)
Oregon is a 13.5 point favorite
This will be Mack Brown’s last game as a head coach at Texas. Texas’s season was almost lost before replacing a defensive coordinator mid stroke. The Longhorns went into the last game with a chance to win the conference title despite some embarrassing out of conference losses. But it wasn’t meant to be… Oregon comes into the Alamo Bowl feeling slighted by the BCS. Technically, they should have been in a BCS bowl ahead of Oklahoma. That way their wish would have come true and they would have gotten Bama. But alas, money decisions come into play. Instead they get to be the team that sends off Mack Brown to his own private 40 acres.
JP Predicts: “Remember the Alamo Bowl!” That’s what Texans will be saying to commemorate the day that Texas became relevant again. 42-21 Ducks.
Ash Predicts: Ylvis said it. Duck say Quack. But what does the fox say? The fox say Mack Brown’s last game will have Texas fighting hard, so against my better judgement (they’ve let me down every time I’ve pulled for them) I’m taking Oregon’s offense to come alive and win this. Oregon 45-32
Nate Predicts: I am going with the Longhorns… With all of the drama and emotion swirling around the whole Mac Brown situation not to mention the fact that this is damn near a home game for the Horns, I just see them pulling it out. Oregon will start fast but the Texas D will get it together as the ghosts of Longhorns past show themselves. Texas shocks the world, 38-35. Ride into your deserved sunset, Mac, and hook em’ horns!
Honest Abe Predicts: Donald Duck to Texas? Oregon 21-24
National University Holiday Bowl, San Diego, 10:15 p.m.
Arizona State Sun Devils (10-3) vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders (7-5)
Arizona State is a 14 point favorite.
This game will have something for everyone. For the guys, there will be hot Arizona State coeds gracing your television screen. For the ladies, there will be young Kliff Klingsbury, who y’all swoon over for whatever reason. And yes, there will be even more hot Arizona State coeds gaze upon. So what about the game? Who cares about the game? I remembered to mention hot Arizona State coeds didn’t I?
JP Predicts: Two of Arizona State’s three losses came to Stanford. Texas Tech is no Stanford. Arizona State 34-21.
Ash Predicts: Arizona State wins the game on the party before/after the game as well. Sun Devils 32-14
Nate Predicts: YES! Now here’s a game that I don’t give two horse turds about. Sun Devils use their std’s to win this one, 42-31.
Honest Abe Predicts: Ahh the Sun Devils again… 24-21
Advocare V100 Bowl, Shreveport, 12:30 p.m.
Arizona Wildcats (7-5) vs. Boston College (7-5)
Arizona is a 7.5 point favorite.
Back in the day, this bowl used to host the greatest named bowl ever: The Poulan Weedeater Bowl. It served as purgatory for SEC teams that were just good enough to make bowl season. It served as a sanctuary to embattled SEC head coaches desperately trying to avoid being fired. This year it feature an Arizona team who beat the doors off Oregon this year and a Boston College team who only lost to FSU by 14 points. Arizona stifled the Ducks in their next to last game, costing them a shot at the PAC-12 Title game. Boston College is home to the leading rusher this year, Andre Williams. I hate to admit it, but Shreveport actually has a great matchup for bowl season.
JP Predicts: Two great running backs in this game. Ka’Deem Carey (UA) and Andre WIlliams (BC). I think Mr. Carey will find the sledding much easier than his counterpart on New Year’s Eve. 31-21 Arizona.
Ash Predicts: I like Boston College in this game. Not sure why, should be pretty close. BC 24-21
Nate Predicts: Arizona takes this one, just because I don’t have much faith in the Eagles. They haven’t done much to impress me this year, and I don’t think they will start now. Arizona wins pretty handily, 45-30.
Honest Abe Predicts: uh… Heads? Boston College. 24-21
Hyundai Sun Bowl, El Paso, 2:00 p.m., CBS
Virginia Tech Hokies (8-4) vs. UCLA Bruins (9-3)
UCLA is a 7 point favorite.
Last year, this game was the beginning of the end for the Lane Kiffin Dynasty of Mediocrity at USC. The Trojans got beat by a Georgia Tech team that had to get special permission from the NCAA to play in a bowl game with a losing record because of their loss to Florida State in the ACC Championship Game. Virginia Tech enters this game on a slight downturn, losing 3 of their last 5 games. They will play a UCLA team whose 3 losses this season came to nationally ranked Stanford, Oregon, and Arizona State teams.
JP Predicts: Virginia Tech has a secret weapon in Scot Loeffler. Unfortunately, that benefits UCLA. 30-21 Bruins.
Ash Predicts: Virginia Tech has let me down at every opportunity this year. I pick them to win they don’t. I pick them to lose and they win. They are impossible for me to figure out. My good friend Jeremie is a VT die hard and given that I can’t get them figured out I’ll pick against them and assume they’ll win for his enjoyment. UCLA crushes VT 38-10.
Nate Predicts: UCLA has a coach that I personally think was built to possibly end up being one of the better player coaches of all time. This is important in the college ranks because these young men are looking for a father figure and a friend; a hard line to walk but both of which are traits instilled in Jim Mora Jr. Because of this, his team comes out and gives maximum effort for their ball coach. UCLA wins a tough, hard fought game with heart and determination, 37-31.
Honest Abe Predicts: What is a “hokie” anyway? Va Tech 24-21
Autozone Liberty Bowl, Memphis, 4:00 p.m.,
Rice Owls (10-3) vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs (6-6)
Mississippi State is a 7 point favorite.
The Liberty Bowl is a magical place… or at least it was back in 1982. Now it has been relegated to hosting Memphis home games and a low tier bowl. Legion Field feels your pain. This year, Conference USA champ Rice gets to face Mississippi State. The Owls reached Memphis by virtue of beating Marshall in a conference championship game that received worse ratings than the pre-recorded bowling final it aired against. The Bulldogs reached the Liberty Bowl by beating Ole Miss on the last play of the Egg Bowl. So can Conference USA’s best beat the SEC’s worst bowl eligible team?
JP Predicts: Mississippi State went 6-6 with losses to Oklahoma State, Auburn, LSU, South Carolina, Texas A&M, and Alabama… All of them are still ranked teams. Rice lost to Texas A&M (without Manziel for a half), Houston, and North Texas. They had to come from behind to beat UAB in overtime. If the Bulldogs don’t win this game by at least two touchdowns, former rising coaching superstar Dan Mullen should be fired. Mississippi State 31 – 14.
Ash Predicts: Mississippi State struggled early in this year to get things figured out and then played Bama close and beat Ole Miss. Not sure they’ve ‘figured it out’ but they seem to have the momentum at the right time. We’ll see if MSU’s defense can keep them in this game while their newly tweaked offense tries to figure out what it’s going to look like next year. MSU 24-21
Nate Predicts: Rice’s offense is something serious. Even though Miss State is an SEC defense, I still don’t have faith that they can stop the Rice juggernaut. I definitely don’t have faith that MSU’s offense can keep pace with the Texas hooters. Rice wins, even though the Liberty Bowl will be full of cowbells. What the hell do those have to do with Bulldogs, anyway? Rice wins, 42-27.
Honest Abe Predicts: Get in the zone. The end zone! Rice 21-24
Chick-Fil-A Bowl, Atlanta, 8:00 p.m.
Duke Blue Devils (10-3) vs. Texas A&M Aggies (8-4)
Texas A&M is a 12 point favorite.
The last bowl game of 2013 will feature two teams that didn’t expect to be in Atlanta. Traditionally, Duke is just happy to reach a bowl. This is the the first time in the history of the program that the Blue Devils have reached the 10 win mark. On the flipside, Texas A&M had loftier goals that included BCS bowls or more. There paths will cross in Atlanta in what will likely be Johnny Football’s last football game as an Aggie.
JP Predicts: Johnny’s a winner… even if he lost his last two games. I expect lots of fireworks this game. I just expect more of them to involve Johnny and Mike Evans than the nerds. 10-4 on what was a good season Duke. Texas A&M 42-28.
Ash Predicts: The last game of 2013 should be a doozy. I don’t think Manziel really cares too much about this game and with the NFL next up for him I can’t seem him putting his body on the line to win this game. Duke’s won a lot of games but that FSU game wasn’t even close. Dome = speed, and speed has to favor Manziel and A&M. This should be a high scoring game, I think A&M plays one last good game before they try to figure out what the SEC looks like for them post-Manziel. A&M 38-28.
Nate Predicts: This isn’t even fair… Congrats to the Blue Devils for putting a product on the field that finally rivals the one from the hard court. They had a great season with an incredible record, all be it in a depleted ACC. But after the scalping that the Seminoles of Florida State laid on them in the conference championship, the Blue Devils had to run back to Durham and lick their wounds. Unfortunately for them, their bowl game opponent arguably has a better offense than that of FSU. Manziel is going to run roughshod over the Dukeys in his farewell tour with A&M. It won’t even matter that his defense is a porous as a colander. This one will not even be close, as A&M wins, 49-31.
Honest Abe Predicts: I’ll have a 12 pack of nuggets and a coke please. A&M 24-21
We’d like to thank you for reading part 2 of our bowl predictions. Be sure to check back on Tuesday for part 3, which will include the rest of this season’s bowl slate.