1st Week of Bowls (4-3)

New Mexico Bowl (CORRECT)

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BYU (6-6) v. UTEP (6-6) - Saturday, December 18th (2:00PM)
Albuquerque, New Mexico 

While both teams are coming in with the same record, don't think that this game is going to be a complete nail-biter. Both teams were lucky enough just to become bowl eligible, and yet neither really did anything all that solid to make it this far. Brigham Young University gets the nod, as it did start the season off with a "W" against Washington this year. 

However, while BYU lost to teams like Nevada, TCU, Utah, and Florida State, UTEP lost to Tulane, Marshall, and UAB (and Arkansas to be fair). The Cougars also had a better place in a stronger conference than the miners, but it could be anyone's game? It's not a bad watch and should be some fun. If nothing else, it's a pretty evenly matched game to open up bowl season. 




uDrove Humanitarian Bowl (CORRECT)

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Northern Illinois University v. Fresno State - Saturday, December 18th (5:30PM)
Boise, Idaho

Yes, Northern Illinois plays in the cellar-dweller MAC conference (no disrespect to the MAC). However, Northern Illinois has been a dominant force in the MAC this year ... going a perfect 8-0 with in conference play, 2 of their losses came against Iowa State and Illinois; both teams of supposed higher prestige. Northern Illinois also has also dropped 45+ points in 5 of their games against the MAC, and also won 9 of their last 10 after a slow 1-2 start. 

Fresno State is a team that shouldn't be taken lightly, but at the same time they were only mediocre in a fairly unimpressive WAC conference. In fact, they only won 3 of their last 5, and those 3 wins were by a combined 11 points (or 3.75 points per win). Don't look too much into the pure numbers, though. Just realize that for who they played, Northern Illinois showed up to play every week, and Fresno State barely beat anyone.  




R & L Carriers New Orleans Bowl (WRONG)

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Ohio v. Troy - Saturday, December 18th (9:00PM)
New Orleans

This is a tough matchup through and through. On one hand, Troy enters this game only losing to Oklahoma State by a field goal. They also lost to South Carolina by 45 points. Ohio comes in after a 43-7 sacking by Ohio State, but also only lost 2 of their 3 total losses by a combined 8 points. Both teams are going to enter this game prepared to play, and this game could be a toss up. 

If we HAD to pick (and this isn't a game that you bet on) ... the edge just barely goes to the Ohio Bobcats. They were in every game, but were actually able to pull away on some of their conference teams. However, by no means is this a call for betting or even telling your buddies they are going to win. This should be a close game.  




Beef 'O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl (WRONG)

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Southern Miss v. Louisville - Tuesday, December 21st (8:00PM)
St. Petersburg

This could be a good game as there are no indicators on who could win. Southern Miss may get the nod as they have been more consistent, but Louisville can't be counted out. One could point to the Big East as weak this year, then again, you could also say that they are fairly evenly matched and every game is more of a dogfight. Whatever the case, Southern Miss just seems to have the numbers and the stats to favor them in this game. 





MAACO Las Vegas Bowl (CORRECT)

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Utah v. Boise State - Wednesday, December 22nd (8:00PM)
Las Vegas

Sorry Utah, as good as you have been throughout the year, you just shouldn't show up. Joking of course as this could be an exciting game and you can bet that Utah will be ready. They can move into second place all time of consecutive bowl wins here, but it seems like it could all be for naught. Boise State has become the most dominant non-BCS school in the land (and they hold the advantage over TCU in recent years and reputation as well). This should be one of the most exciting Bowls until we hit new years day, so I recommend making sure that you can see this game. Edge: Boise State (but it should be close).




San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl (CORRECT)

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Navy v. SDSU - Thursday, December 23rd (8:00PM)
San Diego

As much as you might like the fact that all three service academies are in a bowl this year, I don't like the look of what Navy is up against. Yes, Navy played well and never really lost a game until the closing minutes (all three losses were within a score). However, San Diego State had 4 losses: 3 of which were on the road, all 4 of which were within 5 points, 2 were against ranked opponents, and  they also beat the common opponent of Air Force ... who Navy lost to. Navy's run game could give them a new look, but I think that this one is going to be San Diego State University.



Sheraton Hawaii Bowl (WRONG)

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Hawaii v. Tulsa - Friday, December 24th (8:00PM)
Honolulu

Hawaii started off slow in terms of wins and losses, however they haven't played a bad game (other than Boise State) since the beginning of the season. Even with the opener against USC, they still gave the Trojans a run for their money.  Hawaii is a team that started off with little to no expectations, and yet were able to blow teams out of the water by 20 to 30 points on average. In fact, if they didn't play Nevada or Boise State, they could have swept their schedule by 40 point blowouts week in and week out. 

Now to be fair, Hawaii isn't perfect and Tulsa may have played a few opponents that were tougher. But, Tulsa also played some of the teams that weren't anything special this year. This is another game with no clear favorite, but Hawaii has the edge on paper.