Non-SEC bowl game previews, part 2

By Cole FrederickBy Cole Frederick

December 29

Armed Forces Bowl: Air Force vs. Rice (+3). Both the Falcons and the Owls enter the contest with 6-6 records on the season. Air Force started the season 5-3, including a near upset over then-ranked Michigan. However, the Falcons and their potent rushing attack stumbled down the stretch, and they lost three of their last four games to finish the year. Rice, on the other hand, started the season 1-5. However, the Owls finished strong, as they won five out of their last six games. RICE 27, Air Force 24

Pinstripe Bowl: West Virginia vs. Syracuse (+4). In a matchup between two former Big East rivals, both teams enter this game with 7-5 records. West Virginia’s first season in the Big 12 was full of ups and downs. The Mountaineers, led by quarterback Geno Smith, started the year 5-0, and many pundits believed they were a serious national title contender. However, the Mountaineers lost five consecutive games before finishing the season 7-5. Syracuse lost several close games, including a 42-41 nail-biter to Northwestern to open up the season. The Orange won their last three games, including a road game over Missouri in November. WEST VIRGINIA 41, Syracuse 34

Fight Hunger Bowl: Navy vs. Arizona State (-14.5). Despite losing to rival Notre Dame 50-10 in Dublin, Ireland, to open the season, the Midshipmen rallied to finish 8-4 on the year. Arizona State ended the season 7-5 in head coach Todd Graham’s first season in Tempe, including a win over rival Arizona to finish the season. ARIZONA STATE 38, Navy 27

Alamo Bowl: Oregon State vs. Texas (+3). After a two-year absence from a bowl game, head coach Mike Riley and the Beavers posted a 9-3 record on the season. Oregon State won six of seven to begin the year before losing to eventual Pac-12 champion Stanford 27-23. Texas started the season 4-0, but the Longhorns followed those victories with two disappointing defeats to West Virginia and Oklahoma. Texas eventually finished 8-4, although they ended the year losing their last two games. TEXAS 31, Oregon State 27

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: TCU vs. Michigan State (+3). TCU’s first season in the Big 12 ended with a 7-5 record, although the Horned Frogs were competitive in nearly every contest throughout the season. Despite being an early favorite to win the Big Ten, Michigan State’s season ended with a lackluster 6-6 record. TCU 27, Michigan State 17

December 31

Sun Bowl: Georgia Tech vs. USC (-9.5). Georgia Tech is the only team this season that made a bowl game despite having a losing record. After losing to Florida State in the ACC title game, the Yellow Jackets finished the season 6-7. USC started the year as the top-ranked team in the nation, but the Trojans stumbled to a 7-5 record. If the Trojans lose, head coach Lane Kiffin might find himself on the hot seat to start the 2013 season. USC 41, Georgia Tech 20

Liberty Bowl: Iowa State vs. Tulsa (+1). To start the season, Iowa State defeated Tulsa 38-23. The Cyclones went on to finish 6-6, while the Hurricanes won the Conference USA championship with a 10-3 record. An 11th win for Tulsa would tie a school record for wins in a season. IOWA STATE 34, Tulsa 31

January 1

Heart of Dallas Bowl: Purdue vs. Oklahoma State (-17). Despite leading the Boilermakers to two consecutive bowl games, Danny Hope was fired as Purdue’s head coach after the season. Purdue finished the year 6-6, but the Boilermakers were outplayed in several Big Ten games this season. A year after nearly making the national title game, Oklahoma State finished this season with a 7-5 record under head coach Mike Gundy. OKLAHOMA STATE 45, Purdue 34

Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio: Wisconsin vs. Stanford (-7). The Badgers entered the year with high expectations after making two consecutive Rose Bowl appearances under head coach Bret Bielema. Although Wisconsin finished third in its own division in the Big Ten, the Badgers are back in the Rose Bowl due to postseason bans for both Ohio State and Penn State. However, Bielema left Wisconsin after the season to take the head-coaching job at Arkansas. Former Badger head coach and current athletic director Barry Alvarez will lead Wisconsin in this year’s Rose Bowl. Under second-year head coach David Shaw, Stanford is making its second consecutive BCS bowl game. The Cardinal defeated Oklahoma State last season in the Fiesta Bowl. Stanford won the Pac-12 for the first time since 1999. STANFORD 30, Wisconsin 24

Discover Orange Bowl: Northern Illinois vs. Florida State (-13). Northern Illinois is the year’s BCS buster after the Huskies finished the year 12-1 and won the MAC championship. Florida State won the ACC championship over Georgia Tech, and the Se-minoles are looking for their first BCS bowl win since they won the national championship in 1999. Not many experts are giving the Huskies a chance, and this one is already beginning to feel like the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, when Boise State upset Oklahoma 43-42. NORTHERN ILLINOIS 37, Florida State 34

January 3

Tostidos Fiesta Bowl: Kansas State vs. Oregon (-9). At one point this season, these two teams seemed destined to meet in the national championship game. On Nov. 17, however, Baylor upset Kansas State and Stanford upset Oregon. Both teams finished 11-1 and both squads have high-powered offenses. Heisman finalist Collin Klein leads the Wildcats, while speedsters Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas lead the Ducks. KANSAS STATE 38, Oregon 35
January 6 Bowl: Arkansas State vs. Kent State (+4). Under head coach Gus Malzahn, Arkansas State won the Sun Belt conference championship after going 9-3 on the season. Malzahn was hired at Auburn after the season, and he will not be coaching the Red Wolves in the bowl game. Kent State finished the year 11-2, and the Golden Flashes nearly won the MAC championship under head coach Darrell Hazell. Hazell also left after the season to take the head-coaching job at Purdue, and he will not be coaching in the bowl game either. ARKANSAS STATE 42, Kent State 35

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