College bowl game previews, part 1

By Cole FrederickBy Cole Frederick

December 21

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg: Ball State vs. Central Florida (-7). Ball State finished 9-3 on the season, and the Cardinals ended the regular season on a six game winning streak. Central Florida finished the year 9-4, including two narrow losses to Tulsa, who won the Conference USA championship. CENTRAL FLORIDA 27, Ball State 23

December 22

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: East Carolina vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (-5). East Carolina enters its bowl game boasting an 8-4 record on the year. Louisiana-Lafayette also finished 8-4, and the Ra-gin’ Cajuns nearly upset Florida in Gainesville on Nov. 10. LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE 38, East Carolina 34

MAACO Bowl Las Vegas: Washington vs. Boise State (-5).
Steve Sarkisian’s Washington Huskies had a season full of ups and downs. The Huskies finished 7-5 in the regular season, with wins over ranked teams such as Oregon State and Stanford. However, Washington was also embarrassed by LSU and Oregon, and the Huskies were upset at home by archrival Washington State to close out the year. Boise State had yet another 10-win season, and the Broncos had narrow losses against Michigan State and San Diego State. The Broncos have also won two consecutive MAACO Las Vegas Bowl’s. BOISE STATE 23, Washington 20

December 24

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl: Fresno State vs. Southern Methodist (+12.5). Following a disappointing 4-9 season in 2011 under former coach Pat Hill, first year head coach Tim DeRuyter led the Bulldogs to a 9-3 season this year. The Bulldogs have also won five consecutive games. SMU finished the year 6-6, and the Mustangs defeated Tulsa in the last week of the regular season to become bowl eligible. FRESNO STATE 45, Southern Methodist 37

December 26

Little Caesars Bowl: Western Kentucky vs. Central Michigan (+5.5). Western Kentucky ended the season with a 7-5 record under head coach Willie Taggart, although Taggart left the Hilltoppers to take the head coaching job at South Florida. The new head coach for the Hilltoppers is Bobby Pe-trino, although he will not be on coaching the bowl game. Central Michigan enters its bowl game with a 6-6 record, and the Chippewas are currently on a three-game winning streak. WESTERN KENTUCKY 24, Central Michigan 17

December 27

Military Bowl: San Jose State vs. Bowling Green (+7). After nearly upsetting the Florida Gators to start the year, Bowling Green finished the regular season 8-4. San Jose State ended the season 10-2 under head coach Mike MacIntyre, but MacIntyre left after the regular season ended to become the head coach at Colorado. BOWLING GREEN 26, San Jose State 24

Belk Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Duke (+7.5). Cincinnati narrowly missed winning the Big East championship, but the Bearcats still finished 9-3 under head coach Butch Jones. Jones, however, left Cincinnati to become the head coach at Tennessee. The Bearcats replaced Jones with former Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville. Duke is making its first bowl game appearance since 1995. The Blue Devils finished the season 6-6 under head coach David Cutcliffe, although they have lost four straight games. Duke has not won a bowl game since 1961. DUKE 33, Cincinnati 31

Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl: Baylor vs. UCLA (-1). Baylor head coach Art Briles led the Bears to a 7-5 record, including a major upset over Kansas State. UCLA nearly won the Pac-12 championship under first-year head coach Jim Mora, but the Bruins still ended the regular season with a 9-4 record. UCLA 48, Baylor 38

December 28

AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl: Ohio vs. Lousiana-Monroe (-7). Ohio started the season 7-0, including an upset win over Penn State in Happy Valley. However, the Bobcats lost four of the next five games to finish the regular season 8-4. Louisiana-Monroe upset Arkansas in early September, and the Warhawks also nearly defeated both Auburn and Baylor. After finishing the season 8-4, Louisiana-Monroe was invited to its first ever bowl game. LOUISIANA-MONROE 37, Ohio 27

Russell Athletic Bowl: Rutgers vs. Virginia Tech (-2). First-year head coach Kyle Flood led Rutgers to a 9-3 record on the season, and the Scarlet Knights nearly won the Big East championship. Virginia Tech ended the season with a 6-6 record, and the Hokies narrowly defeated Boston College and Virginia to reach its 20th consecutive bowl game under head coach Frank Beamer. RUTGERS 20, Virginia Tech 16

Meineke Car Care of Texas Bowl: Minnesota vs. Texas Tech (-13). Second-year head coach Jerry Kill led Minnesota to a 6-6 record on the season, and the Golden Gophers are back in a bowl game after a three-year absence. Texas Tech posted a 7-5 record under Tommy Tuberville in his third season in Lubbock, but Tuberville left to take the head-coaching job at Cincinnati. The Red Raiders replaced Tuberville with former Texas Tech quarterback Kliff Kingsbury, who was previously the offensive coordinator for Texas A&M. TEXAS TECH 34, Minnesota 23

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