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Fearless Rick's 2011-12 College Football Bowl Week 2 - Early Games

Rick Gagliano | December 26-29, 2011

All times Eastern - Click here for late games.

Saturday, December 24

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, Honolulu, HI
8:00 pm Nevada vs. Southern Miss (-6 1/2, 61 1/2) - The Golden Eagles of Southern Miss should soar into Hawaii on a high note, following their stunning, 49-28, victory over heavily-favored Houston in the Conference USA championship game.

With three full weeks since that epic conquest, the Eagles should be back on stable emotional grounds, so no letdown is expected. Southern Miss has an 11-2 record.

7-5 Nevada lost two close games to pretty stubborn opponents - Louisiana Tech, 24-20, and Utah State, 21-17, before blasting Idaho, 56-3, in their season finale.

While Southern Miss captured a good deal of attention with their win over previously-unbeaten Houston, the Wolf Pack seems to be a determined bunch with a semblance of defense, though they are just 1-4-1 ATS over their last six games. All signs point to a Southern Miss victory, capping a sensational season.

Prediction: Golden Eagles 31 Wolf Pack 14

Monday, December 26

AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl, Shreveport, LA
5:00 pm North Carolina vs. Missouri (-5, 52 1/2) - Talk about up-and-down seasons and both of these schools come to mind. With plenty of talent on both sides of the ball, each of these went 7-5 over the regular season and have spotty records ATS.

Similarly, both have been off since November 26, so there's likely to be some rust, especially on offense, which needs solid timing to execute properly.

North Carolina lost three of their last five coming in, though the losses were to pretty good teams - Clemson, NC State and Virginia Tech. Only the Virginia Tech game was close - 3 points - and the Tar Heels have been torched by big plays, an area in which Missouri excels.

The Tar Heels are a bit banged up and Missouri, which ended its regular season with wins over Texas, Texas Tech and Kansas, has their defensive intensity cranked up.

Prediction: Tigers 34 Tar Heels 13

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Tuesday, December 27

Little Caesars Bowl, Ford Field, Detroit MI
4:30 pm Western Michigan vs. Purdue (-2 1/2, 60) - This looks like a pretty odd game, but one which may turn out to be highly entertaining. The Western Michigan Broncos have the ability to light up the scoreboard, as they scored 38 or more points in six games this season, including a 63 point effort in a loss to Toledo and a 68-19 win over Akron to close out their regular season.

6-6 Purdue is about as even a team - and thus, difficult to dignose - as there is in the country. They score almost as many points on average as they allow, 26.1 vs. 26.4 but with Western Michigan they share two common foes - Michigan and Illinois.

The Boilermakers beat the Illini at home, 21-14, while the Broncos lost on the road, 23-20. Both teams were pounded by Michigan, with the Broncos losing, 34-10, and Purdue bounced, 36-14, so those scores indicate a pretty even match.

It's doubtful that the Broncos can score 38 points on Purdue, even though the Boilermaker defense fell apart in the final stages of the season, in which they lost three of five, allowing an average of 35.5 ppg, but those were all against Big Ten opponents.

With the chance to prove they can play with big conference schools, the Broncos should have enough incentive to pull off the minor upset.

Prediction: Broncos 27 Boilermakers 24

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Belk Bowl, Charlotte, NC
8:00 pm Louisville vs. North Carolina State (-2 1/2, 44 1/2) - Both teams were 7-5 over the regular season, and the Big East and ACC were not exceptionally strong this year, but these are two teams which really got thing going in the right direction at the end of the season.

Louisville won four of its last five games, while the Wolfpack won three of its last four, including a shocking, 37-13 rout of Clemson.

Against the spread, Louisville was 8-4, NC State 5-6-1. With home field advantage - the game is in North Carolina - the Wolfpack should not be ignored here. Their offense, behind QB Mike Glennon, who started all 12 games, has picked it up in the final month of the season and has all their key players healthy. Glennon threw for 28 TDs with 11 picks and he hit six different players with 25 or more passes.

While Louisville's defense was sound, the Wolfpack will attack their weakest links and exploit the secondary and linebackers. With a short line, NC State should cover handily.

Prediction: Wolfpack 27 Louisville 17

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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