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The final 2010 BCS Rankings are out, as are all of the bowl games for the 2010-11 season, and here at Bankroll Sports, we are analyzing the 35 bowl games and how everything shook out for the 70 teams that are going to be involved with bowl bashes this year, leading all the way up to the BCS Championship Game between the Oregon Ducks and the Auburn Tigers.
New Mexico Bowl: UTEP Miners vs. BYU Cougars
Game Time: Saturday, December 18th, 2:00 ET
Opening New Mexico Bowl Odds: BYU -11.5
Closing New Mexico Bowl Lines: BYU -10.5
The Buzz: The Miners are probably the least deserving of all of the bowl teams this year, as they clearly ended the season as a real downer team. BYU was on a roll before losing the Holy War. Still, they’re a deserving entrant into the New Mexico Bowl out of the MWC as a .500 club. Watch out for QB Jake Heaps to make a big time impact.
Final Wrap: The Cougs came out in this one and dominated from start to finish. The Miners just looked like a totally overmatched team and never had a shot at beating the New Mexico Bowl odds. A late TD made the score look somewhat more respectable… sort of. BYU 52 – UTEP 24
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Humanitarian Bowl: Northern Illinois Huskies vs. Fresno State Bulldogs
Game Time: Saturday, December 18th, 5:30 ET
Opening Humanitarian Bowl Odds: Northern Illinois -3
Closing Humanitarian Bowl Lines: Northern Illinois -1.5
The Buzz: This is going to be the first game for the Huskies without Head Coach Jerry Kill, as he has left Northern Illinois to go to the Big Ten with the Minnesota Golden Gophers. It was awfully upsetting to lose out on the MAC Championship, but at least this was a nice consolation prize. Fresno State was one of the better teams in the WAC this year that you probably didn’t hear a lot about, but it has already beaten the Illinois Fighting Illini, a team that these Huskies already lost to.
Final Wrap: We were wrong in this one about the Huskies, as they came out with gusto and played very well, especially offensively. Harnish and Spann were the real deal against a solid Fresno State team. The Bulldogs just never got anything going, and Hill and company finished the year with a bitter defeat. Northern Illinois 40 – Fresno State 17
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New Orleans Bowl: Ohio Bobcats vs. Troy Trojans
Game Time: Saturday, December 18th, 8:00 ET
Opening New Orleans Bowl Odds: Troy -1.5
Closing New Orleans Bowl Lines: Troy -2
The Buzz: The Bobcats were probably the last team that made it to a bowl game this year, as the Temple Owls were left behind in spite of the fact that they won eight games. The Trojans were a power once again in the Sun Belt this year, but they weren’t good enough to win the conference. They’ll look for another bowl win here in the Bayou in December. This line came off the board on Wednesday, December 15th when news broke that QB Boo Jackson was probably out of the game due to academic ineligibility.
Final Wrap: Jackson ended up playing in this game regardless, as he had his academic issues working out. However, a 24-0 second quarter for the Trojans really put the game away and made the point moot. Robinson threw for 387 yards and four scores, while Troy racked up 600+ yards of offense in a game that was never really in doubt. Troy 48 – Ohio 21
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Beef O’Brady’s Bowl: Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles vs. Louisville Cardinals
Game Time: Tuesday, December 21st, 8:00 ET
Opening Beef O’Brady’s Bowl Odds: Louisville -3.5
Closing Beef O’Brady’s Bowl Lines: Louisville -2
The Buzz: It’s great to see Louisville playing in a bowl game after seeing it get crippled by team after team in the Big East for years in the Steve Kragthorpe era. Head Coach Charlie Strong will count on RB Bilal Powell to take down the Golden Eagles, who came up just short of winning the Conference USA East Division. This isn’t a team to mess with, though. Just ask the UCF Knights, who were beaten by SMS on their home turf.
Final Wrap: Southern Miss was able to open up a 14-0 lead, but we give a lot of credit to Coach Strong for leading his troops back from a ton of bad spots to pull off a dramatic victory at the gun in the most thrilling bowl game of the year to date. The MVP of the game might have been QB Justin Burke, who was forced into action due to the injury to QB Adam Froman, and his two TDs and no picks were key to winning this game. The Beef O’Brady’s line ended up in a dead middle for the books, though the ‘Ville covered the closing number. Louisville 31 – Southern Mississippi 28
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MAACO Las Vegas Bowl: Utah Utes vs. Boise State Broncos
Game Time: Wednesday, December 22nd, 8:00 ET
Opening Las Vegas Bowl Odds: Boise State -17
Closing Las Vegas Bowl Lines: Boise State -15.5
The Buzz: What a matchup we have here! The Utes and Broncos were both Top 10 teams for quite some time this year, and they are clearly the top two teams from mid-major conferences this season. Utah is going to be counting on QB Terrence Cain to beat the Broncos, who are going to count on a probable Heisman Trophy finalist, QB Kellen Moore. The only question is whether Boise State is going to be up for this one, since it clearly doesn’t have the luster of any of the BCS bowl games.
Final Wrap: The Broncos really didn’t look like they were going to be ready for this game, but they were in a position to challenge this number, but when push came to shove, QB Kellen Moore was able to rally his troops and put together a fantastic performance. Boise State might be back in a great position next year after a dominating defense took care of business against the Utes. Boise State 26 – Utah 3
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Poinsettia Bowl: Navy Midshipmen vs. San Diego State Aztecs
Game Time: Thursday, December 23rd, 8:00 ET
Opening Poinsettia Bowl Odds: San Diego State -5.5
Closing Poinsettia Bowl Lines: San Diego State -3
The Buzz: This seems like the perfect match made in heaven for this bowl game, as the home team, the Aztecs, are taking on a Navy team that will travel to anywhere in the country. The offensive firepower of these two teams is phenomenal, as San Diego State and QB Ryan Lindley will be taking on QB Ricky Dobbs and that patented triple option offense of the Naval Academy. This should be a great one at Qualcomm Stadium.
Final Wrap: Rain really hassled the field conditions at Qualcomm Stadium, and though the thought was there that this would only hamper the host Aztecs, this was totally a different story. Navy really never got anything going offensively, while RB Ronnie Hillman was able to run for 228 yards and three TDs as a part of a 555 yard effort to help sink Navy. San Diego State 35 – Navy 14
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Hawaii Bowl: Hawaii Warriors vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane
Game Time: Friday, December 24th, 8:00 ET
Opening Hawaii Bowl Odds: Hawaii -12
Closing Hawaii Bowl Lines: Hawaii -10
The Buzz: Two of the best mid-major teams that you probably haven’t heard a lot about duke it out on the Big Island. Obviously, the Warriors are going to be at a huge advantage here due to the fact that they are the home team and are used to this type of environment. QB Bryant Moniz has 5,000 passing yards for the season in his sights, but QB GJ Kinne and the Golden Hurricane aren’t going to go down without a fight. The winner of this one probably finishes the year with a Top 25 ranking.
Final Wrap: Everyone really thought that QB Bryant Moniz and company were just going to roll all over the Tulsa offense, and though there were a ton of yards to speak of, five picks combined were really killer to the effort. Give Tulsa a ton of credit for going into Aloha Stadium and coming out with a tremendous victory on a day in which it was a severe underdog. Every time Hawaii got close, the Golden Hurricane pulled away. Moniz reached his 5,000 yards for the year, but it was a bad day to be a Warrior. Tulsa 62 – Hawaii 35
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Little Caesars Bowl: Florida International Golden Panthers vs. Toledo Rockets
Game Time: Sunday, December 26th, 8:30 ET
Opening Little Caesars Bowl Odds: Toledo -2
Closing Little Caesars Bowl Lines: Florida International -2
The Buzz: The Rockets are going to be led into battle by a freshman quarterback in this one, as QB Austin Dantin could be back after missing the end of the regular season with a shoulder injury. FIU won the Sun Belt this year and is playing in its first bowl game in school history. QB Wesley Carroll has this type of experience with the Mississippi State Bulldogs, but this is his first chance to really take a team into battle in a big time duel that is very winnable.
Final Wrap: Give both of these teams all of the credit in the world, as they really did go all out to win this one. Scoring a TD for Toledo at the end prompted the Rockets to go for two to take a one point lead with less than two minutes to play, but FIU wouldn’t be denied, marching right now the field to kick the game winning field goal as time expired. It was the first bowl win in the first bowl appearance in the history of the Golden Panthers. The oddsmakers were killed in this one, as all of the late action was on Florida International. The end result was a push, but many on the Golden Panthers proved to be triumphant. Florida International 34 – Toledo 32
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Independence Bowl: Air Force Falcons vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Game Time: Monday, December 27th, 5:00 ET
Opening Independence Bowl Odds: Air Force -2.5
Closing Independence Bowl Lines: Air Force -3
The Buzz: If you like running the football, this one is for you! Both of these triple option offenses have their injury woes right now. RB Jared Tew isn’t going to be playing for Air Force, while QB Josh Nesbitt is out for the slumping Yellow Jackets. These two teams were also nightmares for college football betting fans all year, but one will reign supreme in the Independence Bowl.
Final Wrap: Turnovers really killed Georgia Tech in this defensive showdown. Neither one of these offenses proved to be that much better than the other, but both teams sustained some tremendously long drives over the course of the game. Georgia Tech fumbled inside the Air Force 5 yard line after a drive that ate over half the third quarter, and then proceeded to lose two punts via muffs. A pick on the final drive of the game ended any hope that the Ramblin’ Wreck had of a comeback. The Falcons did a lot more throwing the football than they probably figured upon, but in the end, their one TD and two field goals were enough to best the boys from the ACC. Air Force 14 – Georgia Tech 7
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Champs Sports Bowl: West Virginia Mountaineers vs. NC State Wolfpack
Game Time: Tuesday, December 28th, 6:30 ET
Opening Champs Sports Bowl Odds: West Virginia -2.5
Closing Champs Sports Bowl Lines: West Virginia -3
The Buzz: Two teams that were probably good enough to be BCS teams from their respective conferences, and this is going to be a great matchup between two of the best teams from solid conferences. The Mountaineers have a fantastic defense and will look to use this unit to get the job done against QB Russell Wilson and the Wolfpack, who came up just shy of winning the ACC Atlantic Division.
Final Wrap: This was supposed to be a game in which the West Virginia defense shined, but instead, it was just another showing as to why the ACC was a superior conference to the Big East on the season. QB Russell Wilson and company didn’t have to do all that much, as the Mountaineers just never got anything going offensive down in the Sunshine State. NC State 23 – West Virginia 7
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Insight Bowl: Missouri Tigers vs. Iowa Hawkeyes
Game Time: Tuesday, December 28th, 10:00 ET
Opening Insight Bowl Odds: Missouri -1
Closing Insight Bowl Lines: Missouri -3
The Buzz: These two teams have to feel like they got hosed just a bit, as both were solid Top 10 teams once upon a time this season. The Tigers won ten games and nearly won the Big XII North, and this is going to be a great challenge for QB Blaine Gabbert. Meanwhile, QB Ricky Stanzi knows that this is the end of the road on a great career, but his team has really fallen flat in recent weeks and was knocked from the Top 10 clear out of the Top 25. Iowa is currently off the board in this one due to the fact that there could be as many as a dozen players suspended for the Insight Bowl, including leading rusher RB Adam Robinson.
Final Wrap: This turned out to be one of the most exciting bowl games of the season to date, as the Insight Bowl provided us with some great offense, some stellar defense, and a timely finish. A pick six by Micah Hyde made the difference with less than six minutes to play for the Hawkeyes, who overcame over 500 yards of offense from the Tigers on the day to come away with the victory to snap a three game losing skid at the end of the season. Iowa 27 – Missouri 24
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Military Bowl: Maryland Terrapins vs. East Carolina Pirates
Game Time: Wednesday, December 29th, 2:30 ET
Opening Military Bowl Odds: Maryland -7.5
Closing Military Bowl Lines: Maryland -7.5
The Buzz: This is a great prize for the Terps, who get to play right around their home for a bowl game a year after finishing near the gutter in the ACC. HC Ralph Friedgen would really rather play in one of the elite ACC bowls, but this is going to be a great battle nonetheless. The Pirates have one of the most dynamic players in the game in QB Dominique Davis, but this defense is going to be tested in a big way, just as they were by most of Conference USA. Friedgen was forced out of this job and will likely be replaced by former Texas Tech Red Raiders mastermind, Mike Leach once this game is over with.
Final Wrap: There was certainly some animosity at the end of this one, as Maryland tried to run up the score to give it 50+ points as a gift to Friedgen for his departure from the school. The Terps really did dominate this one from the get go though, as it was clear that there were no answers for RB Da’Rel Scott, who rushed for 200 yards, or RB DJ Adams, who had four TDs on the ground. Maryland 51 – East Carolina 20
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Texas Bowl: Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Baylor Bears
Game Time: Wednesday, December 29th, 6:00 ET
Opening Texas Bowl Odds: Baylor -1.5
Current Texas Bowl Lines: Illinois -2.5
The Buzz: The Bears are getting to play right near their home, which will play right into the hands of QB Robert Griffin and company. Griffin is clearly going to be the man of the hour in this one, but QB Nathan Scheelhaase and RB Mikel LeShoure could be in for great games as well. This should be a great duel in the Lone Star State between two teams that are certainly up and coming in the country.
Final Wrap: Baylor was able to move the ball, but it just couldn’t put the pigskin in the end zone. ‘Over’ bettors probably deserved better, knowing that there were nearly 1,000 yards of offense between these two teams. In the end though, QB Nathan Scheelhaase was virtually perfect, and he and RB Mikel LeShoure really led the Illini well in a dominating win at the Texas Bowl. Illinois 38 – Baylor 14
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Alamo Bowl: Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Arizona Wildcats
Game Time: Wednesday, December 29th, 9:15 ET
Opening Alamo Bowl Odds: Oklahokma State -6
Closing Alamo Bowl Lines: Oklahoma State -4.5
The Buzz: Both of these teams were Top 25 caliber squads for most of the season. QB Nick Foles was hurt for a portion of the season, but he should still have a field day against an Okie State defense that was suspect at times. It’s a shame that the Cowboys couldn’t win Bedlam and the Big XII South, and the punishment was dropping all the way to the Alamo Bowl. QB Brandon Weeden, RB Kendall Hunter, and WR Justin Blackmon make up one of the best offensive trios in the country.
Final Wrap: There was no stopping Blackmon and the Pokes on offense in this one. The game started off ominously for the Wildcats when they botched a punt and gave the ball right back to Okie State after stopping it three and out on the first possession of the game. The Cowboys made no mistakes and never looked back, as they were in front of this spread the rest of the way and were never challenged. This marks the second straight year in which UA was crushed in a bowl game by a Big XII foe after losing 33-0 last year against the Oklahoma Sooners in the Holiday Bowl. Oklahoma State 36 – Arizona 10
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Armed Forces Bowl: Army Black Knights vs. SMU Mustangs
Game Time: Thursday, December 30th, 12:00 ET
Opening Armed Forces Bowl Odds: SMU -7
Closing Armed Forces Bowl Lines: SMU -7.5
The Buzz: The Black Knights are going to a bowl game for the first time since 1996, and you know that there will be a strong black and gold contingent on hand for this one. Head Coach June Jones did a great job with SMU this year and nearly was able to win Conference USA. Though QB Kyle Padron would much rather be playing in the Liberty Bowl this year, this is a nice consolation prize for a team that is clearly on the rise.
Final Wrap: Army won its first bowl game in 25 years on SMU’s home turf thanks to a vicious defense that pitched a shutout in the first half and forced three turnovers. Still, at the end, the Mustangs could’ve won with a field goal, but the 47 yard boot sailed wide to seal their fate to finish at .500.
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Pinstripe Bowl: Kansas State Wildcats vs. Syracuse Orange
Game Time: Thursday, December 30th, 3:15 ET
Opening Pinstripe Bowl Odds: Kansas State -2.5
Closing Pinstripe Bowl Lines: Syracuse -1
The Buzz: The first annual Pinstripe Bowl isn’t going to be the greatest game of the year, but it could certainly be an entertaining one. You know that the Orange faithful are going to be out in droves for this one, as this is their first bowl game since the team was legitimate relevant. K-State struggled down the stretch after briefly hitting the Top 25, and RB Daniel Thomas is going to be leaned upon heavily to slow down a Syracuse defense that had some fantastic games in the Big East this year.
Final Wrap: It was arguably the best game of the season when these two teams hooked up, proving once again why we, the college football betting fans, absolutely love bowl games. These two teams went back to forth all game long, as neither team led by more than eight points the entire way. When push came to shove, a failed fake field goal attempt put the Wildcats in a hole, but they had a chance to tie the game. However, a personal foul call that was incredibly questionable took the two point conversion back to the 18 yard line. QB Carson Coffman failed on the convert, and the Cats never got the ball back.
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Music City Bowl: North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Tennesseee Volunteers
Game Time: Thursday, December 30th, 6:45 ET
Opening Music City Bowl Odds: North Carolina -2.5
Closing Music City Bowl Lines: Tennessee -1
The Buzz: These two teams probably underachieved for most of the season, as the Tar Heels and Volunteers really had some big time expectations. UNC really has fought well this year without a big chunk of its defense, and it will be happy to be here playing in Nashville on a season which could have ended in a disaster. The Vols won their final four games of the season to become bowl eligible, which was a great accomplishment in the SEC for Head Coach Derek Dooley and company.
Final Wrap: You will never see a crazier ending to a game than we saw in the Music City Bowl. Tennessee had this game won until the very end. Forget about the officiating and the questionable calls in the last 30 seconds. The bottom line for the Vols is that they shouldn’t have allowed North Carolina to march 60 yards with no timeouts, no questions asked. This was the first OT game of the year, and the argument could be made that UT really should have gone for two in the overtime when it had the chance. Instead, North Carolina got an INT in the second possession in the extra frame and put it away with a game winning field goal to give both ‘under’ bettors and Tennessee backers a horrendously difficult beat.
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Holiday Bowl: Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Washington Huskies
Game Time: Thursday, December 30th, 10:00 ET
Opening Holiday Bowl Odds: Nebraska -13.5
Current Holiday Bowl Lines: Nebraska -11.5
The Buzz: The Cornhuskers will be representing the Big XII one last time at the Holiday Bowl, when they take on the Huskies. One of the best, young QBs in the nation, QB Taylor Martinez will take on one of the best veterans, QB Jake Locker. This is the first time the great Locker is going to be playing in a bowl game, and it should be a great swan song for a man that is going to be one of the top draft picks this year.
Final Wrap: We knew the way this line plummeted down the stretch boded well for the Huskies. They got a tremendous amount of revenge for that loss in the regular season and essentially dominated the Huskers the same way that they were dominated back in Seattle earlier this year. QB Jake Locker went out a winner in his first bowl game, giving Head Coach Steve Sarkisian the biggest coaching win of his career.
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Meineke Car Care Bowl: South Florida Bulls vs. Clemson Tigers
Game Time: Friday, December 31st, 12:00 ET
Opening Meineke Car Care Bowl Odds: Clemson -5
Closing Meineke Car Care Bowl Lines: Clemson -4.5
The Buzz: This isn’t the sexiest game of the year by any means, but there are certainly some real stars that can shine in this one. QB BJ Daniels has led his team to a bowl game once again as a sophomore, but he is going to have a tough test trying to keep up with RB Andre Ellington and the Clemson offense.
Final Wrap: South Florida really took the “bull” by the horns in this one, as they used a great game from QB BJ Daniels to dominate this one in a lot greater fashion than the final score suggests. The Tigers really didn’t get anything going in this one until right at the very end, when it scored a pair of TDs and made things awfully interesting the final two minutes. Still, this was a game in which South Florida really never had a question about losing. South Florida 31 – Clemson 26
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Sun Bowl: Miami Hurricanes vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Game Time: Friday, December 31st, 2:00 ET
Opening Sun Bowl Odds: Miami -3.5
Closing Sun Bowl Lines: Miami -2.5
The Buzz: It will be interesting to see how the Hurricanes react to life without Head Coach Randy Shannon, as this quite often is a situation where a team rallies around its new skipper. The Fighting Irish won their last three games of the season to get into this bowl game, and QB Tommy Rees has done really well in relief of the injured QB Dayne Crist.
Final Wrap: It was an absolutely awful day for QB Jacory Harris, who was picked off three times on consecutive drives and was benched in the second quarter in favor of the banged up QB Stephen Morris. Still, the Hurricanes fought their hardest to at least make this game reasonable. In the end though, there was too much Tommy Rees and too much WR Michael Floyd for Miami to stop. Notre Dame led this sucker wire to wire and dominated the Sun Bowl. Notre Dame 33 – Miami 17
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Liberty Bowl: UCF Knights vs. Georgia Bulldogs
Game Time: Friday, December 31st, 3:30 ET
Opening Liberty Bowl Odds: Georgia -7.5
Closing Liberty Bowl Lines: Georgia -6
The Buzz: The Knights are out to really claim a big time scalp here, as the Bulldogs were one of the better teams in the SEC East down the stretch this season. UCF won Conference USA with ease and was really the best team that the conference had to offer us this year. UGA got very, very lucky with a freshman QB in Aaron Murray and having WR AJ Green suspended for the first four games of the season just to be in this spot. We figure that Head Coach Mark Richt needs to beat the Knights to keep his job, and even that might not be assured.
Final Wrap: It wasn’t the prettiest work of art in the world, but the Knights nailed down their first bowl win in school history on RB Latavius Murray’s TD run in the fourth quarter, the only touchdown of the game. Georgia’s offense never really got involved in the game, and Head Coach Mark Richt is inevitably going to find himself having to answer a ton of questions after finishing under .500 for the first time in a decade and a half. UCF 10 – Georgia 6
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Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Florida State Seminoles vs. South Carolina Gamecocks
Game Time: Friday, December 31st, 7:30 ET
Opening Chick-Fil-A Bowl Odds: South Carolina -3
Closing Chick-Fil-A Bowl Lines: South Carolina -2
The Buzz: The runner up in the ACC Championship Game earned a great trip to the Chick-Fil-A Bowl this year in Atlanta, and though the Noles probably should be taking on a lesser SEC foe, the Bulldogs are the team that they are facing. Head Coach Steve Spurrier is familiar with Florida State coming on the schedule against the Florida Gators every year. This is the first time the Ol’ Ball Coach will face the team that terrorized him for years in the Sunshine State.
Final Wrap: DB Greg Reid made a real case to be one of the best cover men and kick/punt retuners in the nation in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, as he paced the Noles to a relatively easy victory over South Carolina. The Gamecocks lost RB Marcus Lattimore on the first drive of the game and never really recovered. They also never led on the night. QB Christian Ponder didn’t make it out of the first quarter in the final game in his career, but QB EJ Manuel played well in a game that featured a ton of defense. In the end though, FSU got the best of its old nemesis for the first bowl win for Head Coach Jimbo Fisher. Florida State 26 – South Carolina 17
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Ticket City Bowl: Northwestern Wildcats vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders
Game Time: Saturday, January 1st, 12:00 ET
Opening Ticket City Bowl Odds: Texas Tech -9.5
Closing Ticket City Bowl Lines: Texas Tech -7.5
The Buzz: The Wildcats have really slumped during the end of the season since QB Dan Persa was injured for the season with a torn Achilles tendon. Truth be told, they’re probably lucky to be playing in a bowl game after such a terrible end of the year. Texas Tech has played well at times, though the Big XII really took its toll on the Red Raiders all season long. This could be a real shootout in the Lone Star State.
Final Wrap: The Red Raiders were flying high offensively from the get go, and the Wildcats just never really had enough going on defense to really make this a game again. Texas Tech was the rightful winner in this one, as QB Taylor Potts and his offense were just never stopped on a consistent basis. Give Northwestern some credit for getting so many points on the board even with so many pieces to the puzzle out on offense, but in the end, it wasn’t enough to claim the first Ticket City Bowl. Texas Tech 45 – Northwestern 38
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Outback Bowl: Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Florida Gators
Game Time: Saturday, January 1st, 1:00 ET
Opening Outback Bowl Odds: Florida -7
Closing Outback Bowl Lines: Florida -7
The Buzz: The Gators moved up on the SEC bowl ladder this year to stay in the state of Florida, but they are a very suspect team for this game. Penn State got to this point by using a pair of quarterbacks, but the ball right now belongs to QB Matt McGloin. These two storied programs have a lot to prove on New Year’s Day, and it should be a good one at Raymond James Stadium. The stunning news of Head Coach Urban Meyer’s departure from Florida has sent shockwaves through this game, as it will mark the end of an era in Gainesville. New Head Coach Will Muschamp will be looking on intently in Tampa Bay in this one as he prepares to take over his first major college program.
Final Wrap: The Nittany Lions really deserved better in this game, as they were in front of this number the entire way until QB Matt McGloin threw a pick six with less than two minutes to play. Florida had a great day offensively, using three different men to take snaps, and though the Penn State defense was admirable on the day, the pick six and a blocked punt returned for a TD were too much to overcome. Florida 37 – Penn State 24
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Capital One Bowl: Michigan State Spartans vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
Game Time: Saturday, January 1st, 1:00 ET
Opening Capital One Bowl Odds: Alabama -11
Closing Capital One Bowl Lines: Alabama -7.5
The Buzz: The Spartans were the odd team out in this mess known as the three teams stuck atop the Big Ten at 11-1, and though Head Coach Mark Dantonio didn’t take his team to the BCS, he did bring it to the Capital One Bowl, where it will face a stern challenge from the defending National Champions, the Alabama Crimson Tide. This was a very uncharacteristic three loss season for the Tide, who hope to rebound from a bad loss to the Auburn Tigers in the Iron Bowl with a ‘W’ on New Year’s Day.
Final Wrap: There was a ton of late movement on the Spartans in this one, but my, was it not warranted! This game was absolutely a romp from square one, and there was nothing that a physically dominated Michigan State team could do about it. This was the biggest beat down of the bowl season for good reason, as the defending champs made a huge statement for the start of next season. Alabama 49 – Michigan State 7
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Gator Bowl: Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Michigan Wolverines
Game Time: Saturday, January 1st, 1:30 ET
Opening Gator Bowl Odds: Mississippi State -6
Closing Gator Bowl Lines: Mississippi State -3
The Buzz: Head Coach Dan Mullen had a great season this year, taking the Bulldogs to eight wins in the toughest conference and the toughest division in America. The Wolverines are going to be in question during this whole time leading up to this bowl game, as it is going to be very questionable whether Head Coach Rich Rodriguez has done enough to keep his job. QB Denard Robinson was one of the most dynamic players in the entire country this year, and he will be on display against a tough, tough ‘D’ in this one.
Final Wrap: It was the worst day in a bowl game in the history of Michigan football, and we can’t help but wonder if this was the last time that we will see Head Coach Rich Rodriguez on the sidelines in maize and blue. QB Chris Relf had a coming out party, while the defense for the Bulldogs flexed their muscles against QB Denard Robinson and the Big Blue offense. The second quarter blew this game open, but the second half is what will probably get Rodriguez dismissed. Mississippi State 52 – Michigan 14
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Rose Bowl: TCU Horned Frogs vs. Wisconsin Badgers
Game Time: Saturday, January 1st, 4:30 ET
Opening Rose Bowl Odds: TCU -3
Closing Rose Bowl Lines: TCU -3.5
The Buzz: This is the chance for the little giants to really make a big time difference in a huge game. Bringing the Horned Frogs to Pasadena certainly breaks tradition, but it is a deserving spot for the 12-0 mid majors to be. The Badgers had a great season in the Big Ten this year, and they really could make a statement in a big way if they win this game and slay the best small team in the nation. The rushing trio of RBs John Clay, James White, and Montee Ball could all end up with 1,000 yards if this game is a blowout in favor of the Badgers.
Final Wrap: It was the case of a little man beating up the big boys on New Year’s Day, as the Horned Frogs took the best shot that the Badgers had to offer and picked up the win in the Rose Bowl. The final stand came on a two point conversion play in which the Horned Frogs came up with the stop, which marked the biggest win in the history of the program. Wisky got its cover on the Rose Bowl odds, but no one in Fort Worth really cares. TCU 21 – Wisconsin 19
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Fiesta Bowl: Connecticut Huskies vs. Oklahoma Sooners
Game Time: Saturday, January 1st, 8:00 ET
Opening Fiesta Bowl Odds: Oklahoma -17
Closing Fiesta Bowl Lines: Oklahoma -14.5
The Buzz: The Huskies are playing in their first BCS bowl game ever, but this is going to be a very, very difficult task indeed. They’ll be facing one of the best offenses in the country, and a unit that is going to have a full month to prepare for the worst that a Big East defense can present. Yikes. RB Jordan Todman is going to have to be huge for UConn in this one if it plans on making any noise whatsoever. The Sooners will deploy all of their best weapons in this one, including QB Landry Jones, RB DeMarco Murray, and WR Ryan Broyles.
Final Wrap: It was a bad night for the Huskies, who ultimately ended up getting trounced by the Sooners and lost their head coach all in one swoop. It appears as though it is Head Coach Randy Edsall that is going to the Maryland Terrapins and not Mike Leach. For Oklahoma, coming out and dominating against the Big East champs really did set aside all of the lousy play in this location in the past. Oklahoma 48 – Connecticut 20
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Orange Bowl: Stanford Cardinal vs. Virginia Tech Hokies
Game Time: Monday, January 3rd, 8:00 ET
Opening Orange Bowl Odds: Stanford -3
Closing Orange Bowl Lines: Stanford -3.5
The Buzz: The Cardinal deservedly ended up in the BCS, but they were probably treated awfully poorly by the BCS bowl committees, as they have to travel all the way across the country and already have their share of problems trying to fill games in their own stadium. Virginia Tech was a lock to play here after winning the ACC, and the Hokies are going to try to send out QB Tyrod Taylor, the ACC’s Player of the Year and the school’s winningest starting quarterback, out with a bang.
Final Wrap: If this really was the last time that we saw both QB Andrew Luck and Head Coach Jim Harbaugh in Stanford colors, it was certainly a sight to remember. A huge second half poured it on for the Cardinal to take down the ACC champs, though there is really nothing for Head Coach Frank Beamer to hang his head about. The Pac-10 clearly had its best showing of the bowl season to date. Stanford 40 – Virginia Tech 12
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Sugar Bowl: Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
Game Time: Tuesday, January 4th, 8:00 ET
Opening Sugar Bowl Odds: Ohio State -3
Closing Sugar Bowl Lines: Ohio State -3
The Buzz: The Buckeyes have to feel a bit slighted by the fact that they aren’t going to Pasadena this year, but the bottom line is that they were beaten the Wisconsin Badgers and get what they deserve for it. Arkansas made a huge run through the SEC West at the end of the season, and it owes a thank you card to the Alabama Crimson Tide for blowing that 24-0 lead against the Auburn Tigers to become the SEC’s No. 2 team. Still, QB Ryan Mallett and company deserved a BCS bid after winning ten games in the rough and tumble SEC.
Final Wrap: On a day in which the Buckeyes really thought they were going to be running away with the Sugar Bowl title, Arkansas really fought valiently, and had it picked up a blocked punt and potentially returned it for a TD instead of just falling on the ball, this might have been a different scenario. In what amounted to be one of the best bowl games of the season though, it was QB Terrelle Pryor, potentially making his last appearance as a Buckeye, who really shined, as he got it done with his legs and his arm, making the difference in a narrow escape from the Bayou. Ohio State 31 – Arkansas 26
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GoDaddy.com Bowl: Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders vs. Miami Redhawks
Game Time: Thursday, January 6th, 8:00 ET
Opening GoDaddy.com Bowl Odds: Miami -2
Closing GoDaddy.com Bowl Lines: Middle Tennessee State -1.5
The Buzz: The Blue Raiders found their way into a bowl game in spite of the fact that they got off to a horrifying start to the season that included QB Dwight Dasher getting suspended for the first month of the campaign. Miami was the shocking winner of the MAC this year, pulling off the upset as 18.5 point underdogs. Hopefully, the late bowl start time can give enough time for QB Zac Dysert to get back into the lineup.
Final Wrap: QB Dwight Dasher and RB Phillip Tanner both had some great gains on the ground in this one, but there was just no making up for some dumb mistakes and some huge plays by the Redhawks. There was never a doubt that Miami was the better team in this game, and though this was one that really did stay close for a long period of time, QB Austin Boucher was able to generate enough offense in the end to post a relatively easy victory. Miami 35 – Middle Tennessee State 21
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Cotton Bowl: Texas A&M Aggies vs. LSU Tigers
Game Time: Friday, January 7th, 8:00 ET
Opening Cotton Bowl Odds: LSU -2
Closing Cotton Bowl Lines: LSU -1
The Buzz: The Aggies and Tigers are playing in one of the annual classics that never gets ignored. The Cotton Bowl is a fantastic game every single year, and this won’t be an exception. QB Ryan Tannehill was great down the stretch, as Texas A&M won a number of games that it didn’t seem like it had a chance in, and the end result was a well deserved stay-cation in the Lone Star State.
Final Wrap: The LSU defense really excelled in this one, especially down the stretch. The Tigers got a solid game from RB Steven Ridley, who became academically eligible for the game and ended up rumbling for 105 yards and a TD. Little known RB Spencer Ware accounted for 102 yards, while QB Jordan Jefferson, who was much maligned this season, went the entire way under center, throwing for 158 yards and three TDs and rushing for 67 yards and a score to boot. LSU 41 – Texas A&M 24
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BBVA Compass Bowl: Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Kentucky Wildcats
Game Time: Saturday, January 8th, 12:00 ET
Opening BBVA Compass Bowl Odds: Pittsburgh -3
Closing BBVA Compass Bowl Lines: Pittsburgh -4.5
The Buzz: The Wildcats know that they barely snuck into a bowl game this year with six wins out of the SEC, but it’s still good to see Head Coach Joker Phillips bringing his team to a bowl in his first season in charge in Lexington. Pittsburgh was one of the biggest disappointments of the year, as it had no business ever blowing the Big East title. RB Dion Lewis and RB Ray Graham are going to be the keys to victory should the Panthers earn it in this bowl game.
Final Wrap: In the end the, the loss of suspended QB Mike Hartline really did prove to be too much for UK to overcome. The Cats never really got great play out of their offense, and the defense couldn’t stop either of the U-Pitt running backs consistently enough to make a big difference. Contrary to popular belief, the Panthers really did look like a squad that wanted to be here in Alabama, and they were easily the better team for the majority of the game. Pittsburgh 27 – Kentucky 10
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Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Boston College Eagles vs. Nevada Wolf Pack
Game Time: Sunday, January 9th, 9:00 ET
Opening Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Odds: Nevada -9.5
Closing Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Lines: Nevada -7.5
The Buzz: Two of the hottest teams in the country hook up in San Fran. The WAC champs, the Wolf Pack, are surprising entrants into this game, but it is absolutely deserving after erasing a three score deficit against the Boise State Broncos at home. BC looks like a renewed squad under the direction of QB Chase Rettig. The defense has a lot of work to do to be able to figure out how to stop the Pistol attack.
Final Wrap: The Wolf Pack seniors that worked so hard to get to this point finished out the season with flying colors, though they weren’t quite good enough offensively on this day to beat the college football odds. The Eagles were great on defense, but Rettig looked lost under center, and he just wasn’t able to capitalize on opportunities given to him. In the end, Nevada was clearly the better team, but BC was a viable option and the winning one for NCAA football picks. Nevada 20 – Boston College 13
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BCS National Championship: Oregon Ducks vs. Auburn Tigers
Game Time: Monday, January 10th, 8:30 ET
Opening BCS National Championship Odds: Auburn -3
Closing BCS National Championship Lines: Oregon -1
The Buzz: The Ducks and Tigers were two of the best teams all season long, and they were the only two teams from major college football that were able to run the table. They are both deserving candidates in this game, and two of the best players in the nation are going to be on display as well. Probable Heisman Trophy winner, QB Cam Newton is going to be squaring off against probable Heisman Trophy runner up RB LaMichael James. This should be an up and down affair in which both of these teams should be lighting up the scoreboard at will.
Final Wrap: It was supposed to be an offensive showcase. We saw plenty of thrills and spills, and there were plenty of yards, but in a game where both teams were expected to hit 40 points, it took a Wes Byrum field goal as time expired to get to 40 points in total between the two teams. RB Michael Dyer’s ridiculous 37 yard run on the closing drive of the game set up the winner, and it gave the Tigers their first title in the Gene Chizik era. Auburn 22 – Oregon 19
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