Picking through the bowls 

End Zone

We could devote this space to discussing whether Alabama deserves a second chance at LSU for college football's national championship. We could spend thousands more words debating how contradictory the current system really is, putting huge weight on some regular-season games and ignoring others.

But there's no sense in that now. The postseason pairings are set, the first three bowls are Saturday and we can't forget our annual ritual here, dutifully supplying you with predictions for every remaining college matchup.

In last year's picks, we went 19-16, including 4-1 in the Bowl Championship Series games. This year's upset special is saved for the end. And with that, let's jump in...

New Mexico, Dec. 17: Wyoming 27, Temple 24. Cowboys in an upset, with fans on their side.

Idaho Potato, Dec. 17: Utah State 30, Ohio 21. Two running teams, Aggies much closer to home.

New Orleans, Dec. 17: San Diego State 44, Louisiana-Lafayette 27. Aztecs running back Ronnie Hillman dominates.

St. Petersburg, Dec. 20: Florida International 20, Marshall 6. Two straight bowl wins for FIU.

Poinsettia, Dec. 21: TCU 41, Louisiana Tech 20. Frogs head for Big 12 with romp.

Las Vegas, Dec. 22: Boise State 57, Arizona State 24. Ugly, ugly, ugly.

Hawaii, Dec. 24: Nevada 37, Southern Mississippi 33. USM caught in a coaching change, which means more partying than practice in Honolulu.

Independence, Dec. 26: Missouri 26, North Carolina 24. Heels also awaiting new regime (Larry Fedora, hired from Southern Miss), and Missouri's solid.

Little Caesars, Dec. 27: Purdue 17, Western Michigan 12. Big Ten should beat Mid-American in any kind of bowl scenario.

Belk, Dec. 27: North Carolina State 34, Louisville 27. Wolfpack at home in Charlotte, while Louisville still feels it should've been in the BCS.

Military, Dec. 28: Air Force 40, Toledo 37. Rockets are favored, but they won't stop AFA senior quarterback Tim Jefferson in his finale.

Holiday, Dec. 28: California 31, Texas 26. Could go either way, but go with Bears.

Champs, Dec. 29: Florida State 37, Notre Dame 36. Good matchup, but Seminoles are faster and were 6-1 down the stretch while Irish sagged at the end.

Alamo, Dec. 29: Baylor 45, Washington 34. Showcase for Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III with his stable of receivers, close to home in San Antonio.

Armed Forces, Dec. 30: Brigham Young 39, Tulsa 27. Could turn into a higher-scoring shootout, and the Cougars averaged 41.7 points a game in November.

Pinstripe, Dec. 30: Rutgers 22, Iowa State 20. Rutgers can ride the bus to Yankee Stadium, where they handled Army earlier, but it's a long way from Iowa to the Bronx.

Music City, Dec. 30: Mississippi State 16, Wake Forest 13. Not a lot of offense here.

Insight, Dec. 30: Oklahoma 38, Iowa 17. Sooners find outlet for their frustrations.

Texas, Dec. 31: Northwestern 27, Texas A&M 19. Aggies in transition.

Sun, Dec. 31: Georgia Tech 18, Utah 15. If the Utes couldn't beat Colorado...

Liberty, Dec. 31: Vanderbilt 35, Cincinnati 30. Means more to the Commodores.

Fight Hunger, Dec. 31: UCLA 24, Illinois 9. Bruins avoid a 6-8 finish.

Chick-fil-A, Dec. 31: Virginia 23, Auburn 20. Cavaliers are a program on the rise.

TicketCity, Jan. 2: Houston 40, Penn State 28. UH star Case Keenum's farewell.

Outback, Jan. 2: Michigan State 27, Georgia 21. All because of QB Kirk Cousins.

Capital One, Jan. 2: Nebraska 31, South Carolina 16. Down year for Southeastern.

Gator, Jan. 2: Ohio State 19, Florida 17. Dripping with Urban Meyer ironies.

Rose, Jan. 2: Oregon 44, Wisconsin 41. Guessing it'll go overtime in Pasadena.

Fiesta, Jan. 2: Oklahoma State 32, Stanford 29. Cowboys finish No. 2 in last polls and might get a lot of renegade No. 1 votes if they win big and LSU loses.

Sugar, Jan. 3: Michigan 28, Virginia Tech 13. Why is this a BCS game?

Orange, Jan. 4: Clemson 38, West Virginia 20. Tigers have more playmakers.

Cotton, Jan. 6: Arkansas 36, Kansas State 34. Hogs' senior receivers on parade.

BBVA Compass, Jan. 7: Pittsburgh 25, SMU 20. Maybe not this close.

GoDaddy.com, Jan. 8: Northern Illinois 37, Arkansas State 24. NIU is underrated.

Championship, Jan. 9: Alabama 20, LSU 17. Just a hunch that Tide runner Trent Richardson and coach Nick Saban will steal the show this time from LSU's defense.



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