With apologies to colleague columnist Bob Dunning, I thought I’d take a crack at predicting football bowl game outcomes this year.
I’ve found it to be another interesting gridiron season and can’t resist tip-toeing into Dunning’s heretofore hallowed ground.
With most eyes focused on the Jan. 6 Vizio BCS National Championship match between Florida State (13-0) and Auburn (12-1), there remain some blockbuster undercard games and some intriguing confrontations down in supporting-cast bowls.
Players like Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton and Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks certainly will turn heads, and a defensive battle like the Rose Bowl (Stanford vs. Michigan State on Jan. 1) will remind fans of the head-knocking era of Ara Parseghian, Woody Hayes and Darrell Royal teams.
There’s a lot of bowls to cover, so let’s going …
Gildan New Mexico: Washington State (6-6) vs. Colorado State (7-6) kicks the bowl season off on Saturday. Cougars easily, 34-20.
Royal Purple Las Vegas: USC (9-4) has no idea what Fresno State’s (11-1) offense can do to the unsuspecting. Nonetheless, Trojans, 27-17.
Famous Idaho Potato: Really? 8-4 Buffalo + jet lag = 34-10 loss to San Diego State (7-5).
R&L Carriers New Orleans: The All-Cajun Conflict features Louisiana-Lafayette (8-3) against Tulane (7-5). Despite Tulane finishing seventh in Conference USA, me thinks the Sun Belt champ falls to the Green Wave, 41-30.
Beef O’Brady’s St. Petersburg: One of seven food-sponsored bowls, this one could get a little jerky with Ohio (7-5) and East Carolina (9-3). The Pirates are better, close to home in Florida and sport decent talent on both sides of the ball. ECU wins, 40-17.
Sheraton Hawaii: Sean Mannion will direct Oregon State (6-6) past Boise State (8-4), 44-41. Bob Gregory takes over as interim Bronco coach with former Aggie and BSU coach Chris Petersen off looking at houses in Seattle.
Little Caesars Pizza: Bowling Green (10-3) vs. Pittsburgh (6-6) will be all BG, 33-14.
S.D. County Credit Union Poinsettia: Any San Diego bowl means fireworks. Northern Illinois (12-1) is reeling from losing out on a BCS starring role so look for Utah State (8-5) to take this one on the chin, 51-20.
Northrop/Grumman Military: Marshall (9-4) over Maryland (7-5), 31-24.
Texas: Minnesota (8-4) went 1-3 against top-25 teams and Syracuse (6-6) went nowhere in a much easier conference. Gopher glory, 24-14.
Fight Hunger Bowl: Washington (8-4) versus Brigham Young (8-4). Flip a coin. Heads! It’s the Cougars by 28-21.
New Era Pinstripe: Notre Dame (8-4) will handle Rutgers (6-6). The 17-point spread favoring the Irish is the largest among this season’s bowl games. Make it 41-21 Green and Gold.
Belk: How is North Carolina (6-6) only a 1-point choice over Cincinnati (9-3)? The ‘Cats win, 44-16.
Russell Athletic: Teddy Bridgewater is the difference is this one. Louisville (11-1) over Miami (9-3). With the Hurricanes losing three of their last five, Bridgewater prevails, 40-24.
Buffalo Wild Wings: Michigan (7-5) and Kansas State (7-5) present another coin flip. The way the Wolverines played Ohio State … Michigan wins, 26-17.
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces: Middle Tennessee (8-4) may never see the ball against the ground-oriented Navy. Midshipmen by 37-17.
Franklin American Mortgage Music City: Georgia Tech (7-5) rambles over Mississippi (7-5), 31-20.
Valero Alamo: There isn’t a football fan outside of Oregon that doesn’t want to see Texas coach Mack Brown go out a winner. In one of the great bowl games on the agenda, the Longhorns stick the Ducks, 44-41.
National University Holiday: Arizona State (10-3) over Texas Tech (7-5), 38-31.
AdvoCare V100: A surprise package of a bowl … Two All-American running backs in Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey and Boston College’s Andre Williams go toe-to-toe. The Wildcats (7-5) nip the Eagles (7-5), 30-28.
Hyundai Sun: UCLA (9-3) served notice — finally — in the recent win over USC. Virginia Tech (8-4) falls, 30-20.
AutoZone Liberty: Rice (10-3) loses to Mississippi State (6-6), 24-17.
Chick-Fil-A: Johnny Football and Texas A&M (8-4) handle upstart ACC entry Duke (10-3), 51-17.
TaxSlayer.com Gator: Nebraska (8-4) vs. Georgia (8-4). Will the real Huskers please stand up? Nah, not on this day. Bulldogs, 37-20.
Heart of Dallas: In its first bowl in more than two decades, UNLV (7-5) celebrates by beating North Texas (8-4), 31-16.
Capital One: In a defensive battle, Wisconsin (9-3) upsets South Carolina (10-2) and its old ball coach, 17-10.
Outback: LSU (9-3) all day long against Iowa (8-4), 41-13.
Vizio Rose Bowl: The only thing that will make this game more Old School would be rain. Michigan State (12-1) is not to be underestimated. Spartans get ‘er done over Stanford (11-2), 24-17.
Tostitos Fiesta: The first of the corporate-sponsored bowls leans to Baylor (11-1) over Central Florida (11-1), 45-31.
Allstate Sugar: Oklahoma (10-2) has no chance against a mad and focused Alabama (11-1). Roll, Tide … 40-21.
AT&T Cotton: Oklahoma State (10-2) and Missouri (11-2) in another high-scoring affair. Cowboys, 51-45.
Discover Orange: Ohio State (12-1) should get past Clemson (10-2), but something says upset to me. Let’s say Tigers, 24-16.
BBVA Compass: Houston (8-4) will lose to Vanderbilt (8-4), 41-27.
GoDaddy.com: Ball State (10-2) over Arkansas State (7-5), 31-10. Why is this being played on Jan. 5?
BCS Championship: Jameis Winston, take one more bow. Florida State (13-0) over Auburn (12-1), 44-27.
Happy holidays. May your favorite team be competitive. Stay classy, San Di … er, Davis.
— Bruce Gallaudet is a staff writer for The Davis Enterprise. Reach him at [email protected] or 530-320-4456.