Thursday, April 17, 2014
By Ralph D. Russo
The Associated Press
Starting Saturday in Albuquerque, N.M., and ending Jan. 6 in Pasadena, Calif., 35 bowl games will be played. Here’s the point spread (in parentheses) for each, why you should watch, and a prediction of who will win:
Boston College running back Andre Williams jogs into the end zone for a touchdown in the first half of a game against Maryland in College Park, Md. Williams was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. Expect to see a lot of him as Boston College plays Arizona in the AdvoCare V100 Bowl.
The Associated Press
SATURDAY, DEC. 21
New Mexico Bowl
Washington State (minus 4½) vs. Colorado State
Why watch? We haven’t seen Washington Mike Leach coach a postseason game since the 2009 Cotton Bowl, when he was at Texas Tech.
Pick: Washington State 31-24.
Las Vegas Bowl
Fresno State (plus 6½) vs. Southern California
Why watch? Fresno State’s Derek Carr, who leads the nation in yards passing per game (405), against the toughest defense he has faced this season. USC is tied for 11th in the country in yards per pass allowed.
Pick: USC 35-24.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Buffalo (pick’em) vs. San Diego State
Why watch? When your favorite NFL team drafts Bulls linebacker Khalil Mack in the first round, you’ll know why.
Pick: Buffalo 26-20, OT.
New Orleans Bowl
Tulane (minus 2½) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
Why watch? A Montana playing quarterback in a bowl game. Tulane’s Nick Montana has been nursing a sore shoulder, but he is expected to be good to go against the Ragin’ Cajuns.
Pick: Tulane 23-21.
MONDAY, DEC. 23
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl
Ohio (plus 13½) vs. East Carolina
Why watch? Ohio’s costumed Bobcat mascot, Rufus, has a history of unprovoked attacks, just ask Brutus Buckeye. East Carolina’s Pee Dee the Pirate should keep his sword ready.
Pick: East Carolina 41-24.
TUESDAY, DEC. 24
Oregon State (minus 3) vs. Boise State
Why watch? Boise State’s first game without Chris Petersen as coach since 2005 and the Broncos are trying to avoid their first season with at least five losses since 1998.
Pick: Oregon State 35-21.
THURSDAY, DEC. 26
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl
Bowling Green (minus 5½) vs. Pittsburgh
Why watch? Pitt is playing in a bowl and that game is not being played in Birmingham, Ala. This must be seen to be believed. Same goes for Panthers All-America DT Aaron Donald.
Pick: Bowling Green 28-21.
Northern Illinois (minus 1½) vs. Utah State
Why watch? Jordan Lynch’s last college game comes against a Utah State defense that is seriously good.
Pick: Utah State 31-28.
FRIDAY, DEC. 27
Marshall (minus 2½) vs. Maryland
Why watch? Marshall plays fast, has a good offense and a bad defense. The possibility of 49-48 game is always high when the Thundering Herd play, and the Terps can put up points when QB C.J. Brown is healthy.
Pick: Maryland 49-48.
Minnesota (minus 4½) vs. Syracuse
Why watch: After all that excitement in the Military Bowl, you might need a nap. The Gophers rank 97th in the nation in yards per play. Syracuse is 102nd. Yep, that’ll do.
Pick: Minnesota 17-10.
Fight Hunger Bowl
BYU (plus 3) vs. Washington
Why watch? The last time we saw BYU LB Kyle Van Noy in a bowl game he scored two touchdowns, blocked a punt and had 3½ tackles for loss. Who knows what he might do for a postseason encore in his last college game.
Pick: Washington 31-21.
SATURDAY, Dec. 28
Notre Dame (minus 15½) vs. Rutgers
Why watch? One last chance to see the look on Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly’s face — a combination of rage and resignation — when Tommy Rees throws an interception.
Pick: NOTRE DAME 38-14.
Cincinnati (plus 3) vs. North Carolina
Why watch? Find out what’s Belk.
Pick: North Carolina 34-24.
Russell Athletic Bowl
Miami (plus 3½) vs. Louisville
(Continued on page 2)