In & Around the SEC - Bowl Predictions

By Cole FrederickBy Cole Frederick

Saturday, Dec. 28

New Era Pinstripe Bowl

Rutgers (6-6) vs. Notre Dame (8-4). The Fighting Irish are a year removed from a national title game appearance but could not maintain their success from a season ago. Losses to Michigan and Pittsburgh were disappointing, although the Irish did defeat big 10 champion Michigan State. For Rutgers, this is their last season before entering the Big 10. Prediction: Notre Dame 23, Rutgers 13. 

Belk Bowl 

Cincinnati (9-3) vs. North Carolina (6-6). Tommy Tuberville nearly led the Bearcats to a conference championship in his first season as head coach. North Carolina limped to a 6-6 season but Larry Fedora’s team has a chance to enter the offseason on a strong note. Prediction: Cincinnati 34, North Carolina 30. 

Russell Athletic Bowl 

Miami (Fla.) (9-3) vs. Louisville (11-1). Louisville had national championship aspirations before the season, but a loss to eventual conference champion UCF kept the Cardinals out of the conversation. Al Golden is slowly turning the Hurricanes around, and a win over Louisville would be huge for momentum entering next season. Prediction: Louisville 24, Miami 17. 

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl 

Michigan (7-5) vs. Kansas State (7-5). Kansas State nearly made the national title game a season ago, but Bill Snyder’s team struggled this year after losing quarterback Collin Klein. Michigan almost upset rival Ohio State to end the year, but 2013 was a letdown for Brady Hoke and the Wolverines. Prediction: Michigan 27, Kansas State 24.

Monday, Dec. 30

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl 

Middle Tennessee State (8-4) vs. Navy (8-4). The Blue Raiders are making their first bowl appearance since 2010, while the Midshipmen are looking for their first bowl win since 2010. Prediction: Navy 30, Middle Tennessee 22. 

Franklin American Music City Bowl

Ole Miss (7-5) vs. Georgia Tech (7-5). After disappointing losses to finish the year, Ole Miss needs a bowl win entering the recruiting season. Georgia Tech’s triple option attack can be tricky to defend, but so can the Rebels’ high-speed offense. Prediction: Ole Miss 38, Georgia Tech 31. 

Valero Alamo Bowl 

Oregon (10-2) vs. Texas (8-4). Mack Brown’s last game as the head coach of Texas won’t be easy. The Longhorns have the challenge of stopping the Ducks’ prolific offense, although Texas has had a month to prepare. Prediction: Oregon 41, Texas 33. 

National University Holiday Bowl

Arizona State (10-3) vs. Texas Tech (7-5). Texas Tech started the season 7-0 but lost its last five games. Arizona State made the Pac-12 title game but lost to Stanford for the second time this season. Prediction: Arizona State 45, Te-xas Tech 27. 

Tuesday, Dec. 31 

AdvoCare V100 Bowl 

Arizona (7-5) vs. Boston College (7-5). Boston College’s Andre Williams and Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey square off in a battle of two of the nation’s best running backs. Prediction: Arizona 34, Boston College 28. 

Hyundai Sun Bowl 

Virginia Tech (8-4) vs. UCLA (9-3). The Hokies have one of the best defenses in the country, but their offense is subpar. The Bruins have the potential to be a dynamic team, although they still haven’t put it all together under coach Jim More. Prediction: UCLA 31, Virginia Tech 16. 

AutoZone Liberty Bowl 

Rice (10-3) vs. Mississippi State (6-6). After upsetting rival Ole Miss to finish the year, the Bulldogs made another bowl game under head coach Dan Mullen. Mississippi State is facing Conference USA champion Rice. Prediction: Mississippi State 35, Rice 27. 

Chick-fil-A Bowl 

Duke (10-3) vs. Texas A&M (8-4). The Blue De-vils, who won 10 games for the first time in school history, have the challenge of stopping 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel in what might be his final college game. Prediction: Texas A&M 63, Duke 38. 

Wednesday, Jan. 1 

Gator Bowl 

Nebraska (8-4) vs. Georgia (8-4). Both teams underachieved this season, but the Bulldogs had several injuries to key players. Nebraska will be without starting quarterback Taylor Martinez, while Georgia will be without starting quarterback Aaron Murray. After disappointing seasons, a bowl win would be crucial for either team entering the offseason. Prediction: Georgia 31, Nebraska 27. 

Heart of Dallas Bowl 

UNLV (7-5) vs. North Texas (8-4). North Texas is making its first bowl appearance since 2004, while UNLV is making its first bowl appearance since 2000. Prediction: UNLV 33, North Texas 30. 

Capital One Bowl 

Wisconsin (9-3) vs. South Carolina (10-2). Before Steve Spurrier, South Carolina had never won 10 games in one season. This year, the Gamecocks are attempting to win 11 games for the third straight year. Wisconsin was the third best team in the Big 10 this year, although they were upset by Penn State to end the re-gular season. Prediction: South Carolina 37, Wisconsin 35. 

Outback Bowl 

Iowa (8-4) vs. LSU (9-3). After another solid sea-son in the Southeastern Conference, LSU has a chance to reach 10 wins for the seventh time under Les Miles. The Tigers will be without quarterback Zach Mettenberger but will get a chance to see next season’s quarterback against the Hawkeyes. Iowa went 4-8 last season. It was the fourth time the Hawkeyes failed to reach a bowl game in Kirk Ferentz’s 15-year tenure as head coach. Iowa responded nicely this year, finishing second in the Legends Division of the Big 10. Prediction: LSU 33, Iowa 31.  

Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio 

Stanford (11-2) vs. Michigan State (12-1). The Spartans upset undefeated Ohio State in the Big 10 title game to reach the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1988. Stanford is making its first Rose Bowl appearance since 2000, although they have made three straight BCS games under coach David Shaw. Prediction: Stanford 24, Michigan State 20. 

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl

Central Florida (11-1) vs. Baylor (11-1). Both team are making their first BCS appearances in school history. Baylor won its first outright conference title since 1980. UCF upset Louisville earlier in the year and won several close games throughout the season. Prediction: Baylor 48, Central Florida 41. 

Thursday, Jan. 2

AllState Sugar Bowl 

Oklahoma (10-2) vs. Alabama (11-1). Although the Crimson Tide’s chances of winning a third straight national title ended with a loss to Auburn, they still have a chance to win a BCS bowl. A.J. McCarron has only lost one game each year as Alabama’s starter and is undefeated in bowl games as Alabama’s quarterback. Oklahoma knocked off rival Oklahoma State to end the season, which earned the Sooners a BCS bowl bid. Prediction: Alabama 45, Oklahoma 16.

 
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