Here at Bang the Book, we have all of the top matchups of the 2012-13 NCAA football betting campaign covered! Today, we’re taking a look at all of the bowl games and their matchups for the 2012-2013 bowl season.
Nevada Wolf Pack (7-5 SU, 3-8-1 ATS) vs. Arizona Wildcats (7-5 SU, 6-6 ATS)
Spread: Arizona -8.5, Total: 78
New Mexico Bowl – Saturday, December 15th, 1:00 ET
The New Mexico Bowl is going to pit a pair of high octane offenses against one another in what should be a remarkable game to take in. RB Ka’Deem Carey and RB Stefphon Jefferson are two of the best in the nation, and we wouldn’t be surprised, against a pair of lousy rush defenses, if both men put up at least 200 yards on the ground. Nevada doesn’t have the greatest history in bowl games, winning just once in recent memory, but Head Coach Rich Rodriguez has slacked as well, and the last time he was in a bowl game, it was the game that caused him to get fired by Michigan, a brutal loss in the Gator Bowl in which his Wolverines never stood a chance against Mississippi State.
Toledo Rockets (9-3 SU, 7-5 ATS) @ Utah State Aggies (10-2 SU, 10-1-1 ATS)
Spread: Utah State -10.5, Total: 58.5
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl – Saturday, December 15th, 4:30 ET
The Aggies were here at the Potato Bowl last year, and they were beaten right in the dying seconds by Ohio. Toledo is historically a good bowl team, and it got the job done last year in Military Bowl. This is going to be another tough one for the Rockets, as they haven’t played many defenses this good this year. They did beat Bowling Green and Cincinnati, both comparable teams to this one, but this is going to feel like a bit of a road game, which is why the spread is likely so high. Utah State has only won one bowl game before, and the team is hoping that this will be its second postseason win in school history. RB Kerwynn Williams is the man to watch out for, as he is the top rusher and top receiver for the Aggies.
BYU Cougars (7-5 SU, 6-6 ATS) @ San Diego State Aztecs (9-3 SU, 8-4 ATS)
Spread: BYU -2.5, Total: 49
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl – Thursday, December 20th, 8:00 ET
The Aztecs and the Cougars have known for quite some time that they were going to be playing against each other here in the Poinsettia Bowl, as it is the automatic tie-in for the Cougs and was the logical spot for the host Aztecs to be playing a bowl game, especially after they were shipped to New Orleans last year. It’s interesting that San Diego State has the better record by two games over this BYU outlet, and it is at home, yet it is a pup by basically a field goal. Head Coach Rocky Long has done a remarkable job this year with this team, as he has built back up a club that has historically been good, and now, SDSU is a real threat as one of the best mid-major programs in the entire country for football. These two used to share the MWC together, so it should be a nice renewal of teams that know a heck of a lot about each other.
Ball State Cardinals (9-3 SU, 9-3 ATS) @ UCF Knights (9-4 SU, 6-7 ATS)
Spread: UCF -7, Total: 61.5
Beef O’Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl – Friday, December 21st, 7:30 ET
The Knights only have two bowl wins to their credit in school history, and they are going to be in search of a third when they take on the heavy underdogs from Ball State. The boys from Muncie had a banner year, winning nine games and making a case for a spot in the Top 25 for the first time since QB Nate Davis was leading the program that finished out the regular schedule at 12-0 before losing in the MAC Championship Game. These two teams combined to go 17-8 towards the ‘over’ this year, so don’t be all that surprised if this game turns out to be a track meet between teams with a heck of a lot of offensive talent. These teams were also briefly in the MAC together, though the last meeting of these clubs was back in 2004.
East Carolina Pirates (8-4 SU, 6-6 ATS) vs. Louisiana Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns (8-4 SU, 7-5 ATS)
Spread: Louisiana Lafayette -6, Total: 64
R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl – Saturday, December 22nd, 12:00 ET
Last year, the Ragin’ Cajuns won their first ever bowl game right here at the New Orleans Bowl. QB Blaine Gautier threw for 470 yards, a bowl record for this game, and he led the team from behind to beat San Diego State. Now, the Cajuns are back, but Gautier is gone, and the team looks a heck of a lot different. That being said, with eight wins and a challenge of the No. 3 team in the country in Florida, this isn’t a team that anyone would take lightly. East Carolina was a solid team out of C-USA this year, and it is on its way to the Big East in the near future. The team would have won the East Division if not for a loss to UCF that was pretty much damning for the rest of the campaign.
Washington Huskies (7-5 SU, 7-5 ATS) vs. Boise State Broncos (10-2 SU, 6-6 ATS)
Spread: Boise State -5.5, Total: 46
MAACO Las Vegas Bowl – Saturday, December 22nd, 3:30 ET
Every year, the Broncos are contenders for the BCS, and every year, they seemingly either get there, or get stuck in Sin City. This is the third year in a row in which Boise State came up short, and this is going to be the third different team from the Pac-12 that it tries to take down as a result. Head Coach Chris Petersen has been a master of bowl games in the past, as the Broncos have won their last three and eight of their 12 ever bowl games. Washington’s 7-5 record looks awfully disappointing, but when you take a closer look at the schedule, you see games against teams like Oregon, USC, Arizona, UCLA, and Stanford in conference, and a trip to the Bayou to take on LSU out of conference. Needless to say, there is no shame in how this season has played out.
SMU Mustangs (6-6 SU, 7-5 ATS) vs. Fresno State Bulldogs (9-3 SU, 11-1 ATS)
Spread: Fresno State -12, Total: 59.5
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl – Monday, December 24th, 8:00 ET
Fresno State is one of the biggest favorites on the bowl game odds this year, and for great reason. The club was one of the top teams in the MWC this year, and between the play of QB Derek Carr and RB Robbie Rouse, this is a club that can put points on the board in bunches. SMU is definitely one of these suspect teams playing in a bowl game this year that went 6-6 and just barely eked in, but Head Coach June Jones has to be happy to be coming back to his old stomping grounds in Honolulu, where he will bring his new team into battle. The Bulldogs were the best ATS team in the country this year at 11-1, and they aren’t going to want that to end on Christmas Eve night either.
Central Michigan Chippewas (6-6 SU, 5-7 ATS) @ Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (7-5 SU, 8-4 ATS)
Spread: Western Kentucky -5, Total: 57.5
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl – Wednesday, December 26th, 7:30 ET
Speaking of teams that really have no business being in bowl games whatsoever… The Hilltoppers and the Chippewas were probably the last two teams that were picked for the second season, though we at least have a bit of love for WKU after it was left out of the bowl season last year in spite of the fact that it had a solid season. The Hilltoppers also played a tougher than normal schedule, including a game against the No. 2 team in the land, Alabama. This is the first time that the Hilltoppers are going to be playing in a bowl game, and it is going to come with new Head Coach Bobby Petrino watching from the sidelines, as he analyzes the team that he is about to be taking over. Central Michigan knows that it was very lucky just to make it to a bowl game, and it should treasure the idea of being here.
Bowling Green Falcons (8-4 SU, 8-4 ATS) vs. San Jose State Spartans (10-2 SU, 10-2 ATS)
Spread: San Jose State -7, Total: 47
Military Bowl – Thursday, December 27th, 3:00 ET
The Falcons are going to hope to keep this game in the 40s. The Spartans are going to try to play it into the 60s or 70s. This is a great game between two very contrasting teams. Bowling Green played just one ‘over’ game all year long, while the Spartans played to a 7-4 record for ‘over’ bettors thanks to a fantastic offense that guided the team to a 10-2 record this year both SU and ATS. This has been one of the best years in San Jose State history, and the team is going to be looking for its sixth bowl win ever. The Spartans have only been in one bowl game since 1990, the 2006 New Mexico Bowl which it won over the de facto host Lobos 20-12. Bowling Green is going to hope to make a name for itself and for the MAC this year, as it was almost overlooked and was surely one of the last teams to make it into a bowl game.
Cincinnati Bearcats (9-3 SU, 8-4 ATS) vs. Duke Blue Devils (6-6 SU, 6-6 ATS)
Spread: Cincinnati -7, Total: 58.5
Belk Bowl – Thursday, December 27th, 6:30 ET
The Blue Devils are back in a bowl game for the first time since 1995. The team hasn’t won a bowl game since the 1960 Cotton Bowl. It wasn’t the prettiest season in the world for the Dookies, especially in ACC play, but they did get the job done to get to a bowl game, and that is a testament to the job that Head Coach David Cutcliffe has done with this job over the course of the last few years. Cincinnati was in the Big East title race for a good chunk of the year, but in the end, it just couldn’t beat any of the best teams in the conference. A road loss against Toledo really didn’t help matters any either. This is a de facto home game for Duke, as it is going to be playing at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, right in the heart of Tobacco Road.
Baylor Bears (7-5 SU, 8-4 ATS) vs. UCLA Bruins (9-4 SU, 8-5 ATS)
Spread: UCLA -1, Total: 79.5
Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl – Thursday, December 27th, 9:45 ET
Expect the Alamo Bowl to be one of the highest scoring bowl games of the season, and possibly of all-time if these two offenses play to their potential. There is no doubt that QB Nick Florence and QB Brett Hundley can really light it up. UCLA has the ability to at least play some defense, something that was foreign to the Bears for most of the season. Still, Head Coach Art Briles has done a great job with Baylor over the years, and it actually came within just one game of matching last year’s regular season win total with the Heisman Trophy winner, QB Robert Griffin III calling the shots. Baylor won its first bowl game last year since 1992, and it did so in fine fashion, winning 67-56 in a wacky game at the Alamo Bowl.
Ohio Bobcats (8-4 SU, 4-8 ATS) vs. Louisiana Monroe Warhawks (8-4 SU, 8-4 ATS)
Spread: Louisiana Monroe -7, Total: 60
Advocare v100 Independence Bowl – Friday, December 28th, 2:00 ET
The Bobcats started off the year at 7-0 and were actually ranked in the BCS for just a bit of time. They were thought to be potential BCS busters, but instead, it is Northern Illinois that is going to a bowl game. Ohio very well might not have made a bowl game had Louisiana Tech accepted a bid to the Independence Bowl, which would have rekindled the rivalry that the team used to have with the Warhawks. This is the first bowl game that Louisiana Monroe has ever played in, and it comes in a year in which QB Kolton Browning won the biggest game in the school’s history on the road against Arkansas. Little did we know that the Razorbacks were going to be awful this year, but it was still a remarkable finish for a team that hasn’t had a lot to smile about over the years in the Sun Belt.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights (9-3 SU, 7-5 ATS) vs. Virginia Tech Hokies (6-6 SU, 3-9 ATS)
Spread: Virginia Tech -2.5, Total: 41.5
Russell Athletic Bowl – Friday, December 28th, 5:30 ET
The Scarlet Knights are the team to watch in this game. They didn’t make it to the Orange Bowl, and the argument could be made that they punted away a chance to win the Big East in a game that they should have won against Louisville at home. Now, it’s the disappointment of playing in the Russell Athletic Bowl against a team that it used to call a conference mate in Virginia Tech. The Hokies were one of the biggest underachieving teams in the country this year, finishing up at 6-6 and never seriously having a chance to win the ACC in a year in which they were favored to win the Coastal Division. V-Tech is one of the worst ATS teams in a bowl game this year at just 3-9 ATS, though it has gotten a respectable bowl bid thanks to the fact that both Miami and North Carolina were ineligible for the second season.
Minnesota Golden Gophers (6-6 SU, 5-7 ATS) vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders (7-5 SU, 6-6 ATS)
Spread: Texas Tech -13, Total: 57
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas – Friday, December 28th, 9:00 ET
Minnesota made it to a bowl game this year at 6-6, and it is one of the worst big conference teams to be in the second season, as it only made it here on the back of a bad schedule that featured very little in the way of bulk. Texas Tech was only a game better, but it played in the significantly better Big XII, where there was only one freebee game in the bunch (Kansas). QB Seth Doege is going to be challenged by a solid secondary that ranked 11th in the country this year, and matters are going to be even more difficult without Head Coach Tommy Tuberville, who has left the team. The Gophers are in the midst of some controversy though, as QB Max Shortell is going to transfer, and that comes on the back of WR AJ Barker leaving the football team a few weeks ago. In both cases, Head Coach Jerry Kill has come into some serious questioning. This could be a disaster for the Gophers if they aren’t careful.
Air Force Falcons (6-6 SU, 3-9 ATS) vs. Rice Owls (6-6 SU, 7-4-1 ATS)
Spread: Air Force -1, Total: 61
Armed Forces Bowl – Saturday, December 29th, 11:45 ET
The Falcons and Owls were both 6-6 teams this year, and this is one of the many middling bowl games that probably shouldn’t exist, as they only reward mediocrity. Not only were these two teams both mediocre at 6-6, but they both played in mediocre conferences as well. Rice only beat up on the bad teams in Conference USA and won the lousier non-conference games that it scheduled. Air Force had plenty of fluff as well at the bottom of the Mountain West, which was nowhere near as good as the top of the conference this year. This is going to be a tremendous contrast of styles, as the Falcons are going to run the triple option, while Rice is going to be a lot more aggressive and spread out in its nature.
West Virginia Mountaineers (7-5 SU, 5-7 ATS) vs. Syracuse Orange (7-5 SU, 6-6 ATS)
Spread: West Virginia -4, Total: 73.5
New Era Pinstripe Bowl – Saturday, December 29th, 3:15 ET
QB Geno Smith and QB Ryan Nassib are both headed to the NFL, and they are both probably going to be starting quarterbacks in the near future. That could make the Pinstripe Bowl a heck of a lot of fun this year, as these two former Big East foes face off against one another. Syracuse had a great season under Head Coach Doug Marrone, as he really has the team playing well at the moment before it heads to the ACC. West Virginia was a streaky team all year long, winning five straight, then losing five straight, before settling at 7-5 and coming to the Pinstripe Bowl. The team didn’t cut it when push came to shove in the Big XII this year, but Head Coach Dana Holgorsen knows that he has a team that is really headed in the right direction even though this is the end of the road for Smith in Morgantown.
Navy Midshipmen (8-4 SU, 4-8 ATS) vs. Arizona State Sun Devils (7-5 SU, 7-4-1 ATS)
Spread: Arizona State -14.5, Total: 56
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl – Saturday, December 29th, 4:00 ET
Navy doesn’t have the greatest history of playing in bowl games, as the triple option generally gets figured out over the course of the few weeks between the last game of the year and the bowl game. On top of that, the team gets a look at the Middies during the Army/Navy Game, something that few other teams have the luxury of doing. Arizona State won the battle of the desert this year against Arizona, and that’s why it is going to get a chance to play in this game against the Midshipmen. Head Coach Todd Graham really did a great job this year with a team that has underachieved for so many consecutive years under Head Coach Dennis Erickson. This should be an exciting game between two teams that have a lot of potential to put some points up on the board.
Oregon State Beavers (9-3 SU, 8-4 ATS) vs. Texas Longhorns (8-4 SU, 5-7 ATS)
Spread: Oregon State -2, Total: 56.5
Valero Alamo Bowl – Saturday, December 29th, 6:45 ET
Both of these teams have to be disappointed that they fell this far down the bowl ladder this year, as both had a chance to be BCS teams if they had tripped one fewer time over the course of the season. However, both are going to meet in the Alamo Bowl. Oregon State is in its first bowl game since the 2009 Las Vegas Bowl. The club has a good history, going 5-1 over the course of its last five bowl games, and a win here would really validate Head Coach Mike Riley and the job that he did in a year in which he started off on one of the hottest seats in America. Instead, it is now Head Coach Mack Brown that is ironically on the hot seat, as he is on the verge of getting pushed out at Texas, and he might be removed if he doesn’t at least put up a good showing in the Alamo Bowl on the 29th.
TCU Horned Frogs (7-5 SU, 5-7 ATS) vs. Michigan State Spartans (6-6 SU, 4-8 ATS)
Spread: TCU -2.5, Total: 41
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl – Saturday, December 29th, 10:15 ET
The Spartans were one of the more disappointing teams of the season this year, as they were just a 6-6 team in spite of the fact that they started off ranked nationally and have a bunch of NFLers on their Top 10 ranked defense. It was QB Andrew Maxwell that really let this team down this year, replacing the departed QB Kirk Cousins. TCU’s first year in the Big XII has to be considered a success. The team was really up against it after the removal of QB Casey Pachall from the team and the injuries to virtually every single running back on the roster. Yet Head Coach Gary Patterson figured it all out and got his team to a bowl game, and arguably the most illustrious bowl that the team has played in, save for the BCS bowls. These two teams combined to go just 6-16-1 for ‘over’ bettors this year.
NC State Wolfpack (7-5 SU, 5-6-1 ATS) vs. Vanderbilt Commodores (8-4 SU, 8-4 ATS)
Spread: Vanderbilt -6.5, Total: 52
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl – Monday, December 31st, 12:00 ET
The Commodores have been fantastic under Head Coach James Franklin over the course of the last several years, and they are having one of their best seasons ever this year. They finished 8-4, were relatively competitive in the SEC East, and are getting the reward of playing in a de facto home bowl game. NC State had a respectable year as well, including beating eventual ACC champs, Florida State, but in the end, Head Coach Tom O’Brien was sacked anyway. The Wolfpack did go just 5-6-1 ATS, and they really didn’t have a heck of a lot of quality victories, but they did have that one win against the Seminoles, and that should serve notice to the Commodores that this won’t be the easiest game in the world.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (6-7 SU, 8-5 ATS) vs. USC Trojans (7-5 SU, 3-9 ATS)
Spread: USC -10, Total: 64
Sun Bowl – Monday, December 31st, 2:00 ET
This is the type of game that the Trojans could win by 50 if they really want to play, and they could lose by 20 if they really don’t. USC has the speed on defense to stop the triple option offense, and if the club puts the time and the effort in to stopping the Ramblin’ Wreck between now and December 31st, G-Tech will have a tough time scoring anything. Of course, the Men of Troy have to be furious with themselves after being ranked No. 1 in the country at the outset of this year, to be playing in the Sun Bowl against a team that finished 6-7 and needed a waiver just to play in a bowl game this year. Georgia Tech gave Florida State the fight of its life in the ACC Championship Game, and now, it is going to take its best shot at the Trojans in what could be an exclamation point to an otherwise shaky season in Atlanta.
Iowa State Cyclones (6-6 SU, 5-7 ATS) vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane (10-3 SU, 8-5 ATS)
Spread: Pick ‘Em, Total: 51.5
AutoZone Liberty Bowl – Monday, December 31st, 3:30 ET
Tulsa being in the Liberty Bowl is no shock, as the Golden Hurricane were always one of the two best teams in Conference USA all year long, along with UCF. However, a win in the regular season against the Golden Knights put the league title game at Skelley Field, where Tulsa won in OT to move on to this game. Iowa State though, is a bit of a surprise. The SEC is normally in this game, and eligibility is rarely an issue. The Cyclones are going to be a rare Big XII team. The Golden Hurricane had won three straight bowl games and put up at least 45 points in their last three bowls before losing the Armed Forces Bowl last year to BYU. Meanwhile, Iowa State lost the Pinstripe Bowl last year, and the last bowl game that the Cyclones won was the 2009 Insight Bowl.
Clemson Tigers (10-2 SU, 8-4 ATS) vs. LSU Tigers (10-2 SU, 5-7 ATS)
Spread: LSU -3.5, Total: 58.5
Chick-fil-A Bowl – Monday, December 31st, 7:30 ET
This is the first bowl game this year that will be played between a pair of double digit wins. Both of these sets of Tigers had great seasons this year. LSU was a good enough team to be in the BCS, and it is going to be sending Florida State a lump of coal this year for not beating Florida in the Sunshine State showdown a few weeks ago. Had FSU won that game, UF would be in the Capital One Bowl or here in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, while LSU would be in the Sugar Bowl in all likelihood. Tis the life of the ACC, though. Clemson knows about the ACC all too well, having gone 7-1 in conference play this year. The two losses that the team suffered were to Florida State and South Carolina, and the latter of the two games came at home in Death Valley against a Gamecocks team that absolutely outclassed it.
Purdue Boilermakers (6-6 SU, 6-6 ATS) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (7-5 SU, 7-5 ATS)
Spread: Oklahoma State -16.5, Total: 70
Heart of Dallas Bowl – Tuesday, January 1st, 12:00 ET
To prove just how good the Big XII was this year and just how bad the Big Ten was, this is the biggest point spread of the bowl season. Oklahoma State is favored by more than two touchdowns, and many expect it to beat the snot out of that line. The Boilers were unlucky not to finish the year in a lot better shape, especially knowing that they had Notre Dame dead to rights in South Bend. The Cowboys are clearly the superior side though, especially down the stretch, as they really got their offense going in some big time wins. Head Coach Mike Gundy was rumored to be leaving Stillwater for a lot of the bigger jobs out there that were open, but he is staying with the Pokes and should, at minimum lead the team to a win, if not a total romp in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
Northwestern Wildcats (9-3 SU, 11-1 ATS) vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs (8-4 SU, 6-6 ATS)
Spread: Mississippi State -2.5, Total: 51.5
Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl – Saturday, January 1st, 12:00 ET
The Wildcats covered 11 of their 12 games this year, and they really still aren’t considered a respected team against a middling SEC squad. Mississippi State was a nationally ranked team once upon a time, but once the big time games came on the slate, it just wasn’t able to compete. RB Venric Mark is one of the best running backs that you probably don’t know a whole heck of a lot about, but he is a man that you are going to want to watch. The Bulldogs were in the Gator Bowl two years ago, and that year, they absolutely smoked Michigan in what proved to be a landmark win for the program. Northwestern has been in a bowl game for four straight years at this point, but the team still hasn’t won a postseason clash since the 1948 Rose Bowl. Since then, there has been nothing but nine losses spread over 16 years.
Nebraska Cornhuskers (10-3 SU, 6-6-1 ATS) vs. Georgia Bulldogs (11-2 SU, 7-6 ATS)
Spread: Georgia -10, Total: 59.5
Capital One Bowl – Tuesday, January 1st, 1:00 ET
As has been the case over the course of the last few years, the second best team in the Big Ten and the third best team in the SEC are playing against each other in the Capital One Bowl, which is largely looked upon as the sixth major bowl game. Both of these teams had a chance to be in the BCS this year, but the Huskers and the Bulldogs both lost out on their respective conference title games and were relegated here as a result. This is still the biggest bowl game that Nebraska has played in since joining the Big Ten. Georgia is back in a Sunshine State bowl game once again this year after losing in overtime to Michigan State in a thrilling Outback Bowl. This is one of the few games this year in the bowl season that feature a pair of 10+ win teams.
Michigan Wolverines (8-4 SU, 5-7 ATS) vs. South Carolina Gamecocks (10-2 SU, 8-4 ATS)
Spread: South Carolina -5, Total: 48
Outback Bowl – Tuesday, January 1st, 8:00 ET
The South Carolina defense is clearly one of the best in the country, and it is going to take a heck of a lot of planning to figure out how to stop DE Jadeveon Clowney. The Wolverines know that they are going to have their work cut out for them for sure. The Big Blue Nation didn’t have a great year this year, going just 8-4, but what we have to remember is that this team lost all of its games this year against teams that have great defenses, so this is going to be difficult. The Gamecocks won double digits worth of games again, but the problem this year is that they were no more than the third or fourth (or fifth… or sixth…) best team in the SEC. This is still a nice reward playing in the Outback Bowl though, and we wouldn’t be all that surprised to see the SEC dominate against the Big Ten once again.
Wisconsin Badgers (8-5 SU, 6-7 ATS) vs. Stanford Cardinal (11-2 SU, 8-5 ATS)
Spread: Stanford -6.5, Total: 47.5
Rose Bowl – Tuesday, January 1st, 5:00 ET
Both of these teams got off to suspect starts to the season, but a lot of it has been established as to why. The Badgers were nearly beaten by a fantastic Utah State team, and Stanford was at least remotely challenged by Duke and San Jose State, both of which are bowl teams this year as well. Wisconsin has been through it all this year, including three starting quarterbacks and now losing Head Coach Bret Bielema, but in the end, RB Montee Ball broke the D-I record for touchdowns in a career, and the team is back in the Rose Bowl for the third straight year against the third straight different foe. Stanford is being rewarded with a trip to the Rose Bowl this year, something that it wasn’t able to do with QB Andrew Luck and Head Coach Jim Harbaugh down on “The Farm.” That’s not a slight on Harbaugh or Luck, but it is a testament to just how great of a season Head Coach David Shaw has had.
Northern Illinois Huskies (12-1 SU, 9-4 ATS) vs. Florida State Seminoles (11-2 SU, 4-9 ATS)
Spread: Florida State -12.5, Total: 58.5
Discover Orange Bowl – Tuesday, January 1st, 8:30 ET
The BCS has been busted once again, and this time, it’s a team out of the MAC that has done the deed. The Huskies are clearly a tremendous mid-major team, and the program has been going in the right direction for years and years leading up to this point. QB Jordan Lynch is clearly one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation, and he is going to be a real problem for the Florida State defense, which is as banged up as could be. Still, the Seminoles have posted two very good bowl games under Head Coach Jimbo Fisher, and they are once again continuing their streak of consecutive years in a bowl game. The big question? Will this be a case of Boise State vs. Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, or Hawaii vs. Georgia in the Sugar Bowl?
Louisville Cardinals (10-2 SU, 5-7 ATS) vs. Florida Gators (11-1 SU, 7-5 ATS)
Spread: Florida -13, Total: 45.5
Allstate Sugar Bowl – Wednesday, January 2nd, 8:30 ET
The last time the Gators were the second best team in the Sugar Bowl playing against a Big East champ, they blew away Cincinnati by four touchdowns. The Cardinals are clearly the least of all of the BCS teams this year, and that almost certainly includes Northern Illinois. The good news though, is that Head Coach Charlie Strong is staying with the ‘Ville, presumably for the long run. Florida went 11-1 this year, but it really feels like the team did it with smoke and mirrors. Teams like Bowling Green and Louisiana Lafayette challenged the Gators this year, but against some of the top teams that they played this year, Florida State and South Carolina, the boys in blue and orange posted two of their biggest triumphs of the campaign.
Kansas State Wildcats (11-1 SU, 10-2 ATS) vs. Oregon Ducks (11-1 SU, 7-5 ATS)
Spread: Oregon -9.5, Total: 75.5
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl – Thursday, January 3rd, 8:30 ET
It was only a few weeks ago that Oregon and Kansas State were both slated to be in the BCS National Championship Game. However, just as quickly as both teams were supposed to be playing for all the marbles, both were taken out of the chase for the title when they were beaten by Baylor and Stanford respectively. These two offenses combined to average over 91 points per game this year, and that’s why this could be one of the highest scoring bowl games of the year. Kansas State covered 10 of its 12 games, and its one regular season loss to Stanford was one of those outings. This reminds us of the Fiesta Bowl last year when Okie State played Stanford, as it is a game between a Big XII team that blew its chance of playing for it all against what might have been the best team in the Pac-12 that just happened to lose a conference game.
Texas A&M Aggies (10-2 SU, 7-5 ATS) vs. Oklahoma Sooners (10-2 SU, 6-6 ATS)
Spread: Texas A&M -4.5, Total: 71.5
Cotton Bowl – Friday, January 4th, 8:00 ET
There isn’t going to be a game this bowl season with more bad blood in it than the Cotton Bowl. Texas A&M left the Big XII to join the SEC, and the end result was that the Aggies were made a lot better for it. They have the Heisman Trophy winner on their side now in QB Johnny Manziel, and they beat the team that is probably going to go on to win the National Championship, Alabama. Oklahoma meanwhile, did only lose twice this year, but it felt a whole heck of a lot worse than that. These teams did combine to average 85 points per game this year, and they did win 20 total games. This should be a great game between two teams that are very used to each other, having battled it out for years and years in the Big XII.
Pittsburgh Panthers (6-6 SU, 8-4 ATS) vs. Ole Miss Rebels (6-6 SU, 9-3 ATS)
Spread: Ole Miss -3.5, Total: 52
BBVA Compass Bowl – Saturday, January 5th, 1:00 ET
This is the third straight year that the Panthers are in the BBVA Compass Bowl, and that has to be depressing for a team that really hasn’t made any steps in the right direction over the course of those three years. Meanwhile, Head Coach Hugh Freeze has the Rebs, another 6-6 team, here in a bowl game this year, and they have to be thrilled about it after being one of the worst teams in the SEC West for years and years. QB Bo Wallace is rounding into a great quarterback, and he has high hopes for the future of this program. The Panthers are going to need to be on their A-Game to get the job done against an Ole Miss side that is going to be as hungry as any bowl team to walk away with a victory.
Arkansas State Red Wolves (9-3 SU, 8-4 ATS) vs. Kent State Golden Flashes (11-2 SU, 11-2 ATS)
Spread: Arkansas State -3.5, Total: 61
GoDadd.com Bowl – Sunday, January 6th, 9:00 ET
Kent State has to be kicking itself right now. The team almost surely would have been in the BCS had it won the MAC Championship Game, but now, it is going to be in the GoDaddy.com Bowl. Arkansas State is back here for the second straight season, and it is going to be up for the challenge even if Head Coach Gus Malzahn isn’t here. QB Ryan Aplin still is, and he is going to remember what happened last year when Northern Illinois beat the heck out of this club. The Red Wolves have never won a bowl game in their history, but neither has Kent State. In fact, this is only the second ever bowl game for the Golden Flashes, who lost in the 1972 Tangerine Bowl. This will be a game to watch for sure once the NFL playoffs are over with.
Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1 SU, 6-7 ATS) vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (12-0 SU, 7-5 ATS)
Spread: Alabama -10, Total: 41.5
BCS National Championship Game – Monday, January 7th, 8:30 ET
Notre Dame is the only undefeated team in the country that is eligible to win the title, but it is still a severe underdog to finish its comeback trail to greatness. Head Coach Brian Kelly has done a remarkable job this year, but Head Coach Nick Saban is still the dean of collegiate coaches as we see it, and he is going to be looking for its second straight title. It’s still a flawed Alabama team, as it was beaten by Texas A&M for a second straight season with a loss in Tuscaloosa, but in the end, titles are all that matters, and the Crimson Tide are going to be looking for their second in as many years. These two defenses were arguably the two best in the nation this year, and they are going to be battling it out in a big time way in Miami on the final day of the collegiate season.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.
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