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Fearless Rick's 2011-12 College Football Bowl Week 1 - Early Games

Rick Gagliano | December 17-24, 2011

All times Eastern - Click here for late games.

Saturday, December 17

Gildan New Mexico Bowl, Albuquerque, New Mexico
2:00 pm Temple (-7, 49) vs. Wyoming - Both teams finished their regular seasons with 8-4 records, but that's where the similarity ends. Wyoming had zero differential in points scored and points allowed, scoring and allowing 27.0, whereas Temple has a decided advantage on defense, giving up only 13.8 points per contest, third best in the country, behind Alabama and LSU, two teams that just happen to be playing for the national championship.

Still, one can argue that the Cowboys, playing in the Mountain West conference, faced a far tougher schedule than that of Temple, hailing from the Mid-America conference.

Indeed, the four Wyoming losses were to Boise State, TCU, Nebraska and Utah State. Three of those teams are ranked in the Top 25. Also, in their last three wins, over Air Force, New Mexico and Colorado State, the Cowboys only allowed a total of 46 points, or, an average of 15.3 per game, so their stats may be skewed.

Wyoming will focus its defense on Bernard Pierce, who averaged 125.5 yards per game. After that, there really isn't much to Temple's offense. Wyoming will run the football, using as many as four backs in their rotation and should provide the bowl season's first upset.

Prediction: Cowboys 23 Owls 17

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Boise, Idaho
5:30 pm Utah State (-3, 57) vs. Ohio U. - The Aggies of Utah State finished second, at 5-2, in the WAC behind Louisiana Tech and did so by winning their final five games of the regular season, heading into the bowl game with a full head of steam.

Utah State is probably best known to college football fans for blowing a healthy 4th quarter lead to Auburn in their season opener, losing 42-38, but two other losses came by one and three points, and their other two lesses were also close games, 7 and 10 point losses to Louisiana Tech and Fresno State, respectively. The Aggies are a heady bunch that seems to play up or down to the competition. Their final five wins were by a total of just 19 points.

Similarly, the Ohio Bobcats won five straight to end their season, but lost by a field goal in the MAC championship game to Northern Illinois. Led by mobile QB Tyler Tettleton, a true gamer, the Bobcats can score from virtually anywhere on the field and no deficit is too big for them to overcome.

Look for the 9-4 Bobcats to get off to a fast start and keep the Aggies at bay. In what seems almost certain to be a close game, the three points given to Ohio may come in handy.

Prediction: Bobcats 34 Aggies 31

--- Story continues below ---

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R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, New Orleans, LA
9:00 pm Louisiana-Lafayette vs. San Diego State (-4 1/2, 58 1/2) - If there's a game this bowl season mired in obscurity, this is probably it.

The Ragin' Cajuns of Louisiana finished third in the Sun Belt, while the Aztecs were fourth in the Mountain West.

Both teams enter the fray with 8-4 records, and have offenses which can put up points in a hurry, either on the ground or through the air. Both defenses aren't much to speak of, but the Aztecs are a little better statistically, especially against passing teams, which is primary for the Cajuns.

The Cajuns won eight games for the first time since 1993 and are ending one of the nation's longest bowl droughts, but beating San Diego State seems a tall order, even though the game is right in their back yard. The Aztecs four losses came against some real powerhouse teams: Michigan, TCU, Boise State and Wyoming, and appear to have the better of this, winning four of their last five to close out the regular season.

Prediction: Aztecs 38 Ragin' Cajuns 24

All times Eastern - Click here for late games

Copyright 2011, 2012, Rick Gagliano, Downtown Magazine. All rights reserved. Downtown Magazine is located in the Uinted States of America and is not affiliated with the National Football League or the NCAA. For more information, contact us here. Use of this site is for entertainment purposes only.


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