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Fearless Rick's 2012-13 College Football Bowl Week 2 - Early Games

Rick Gagliano | December 22-27, 2012

All times Eastern - Click here for late games.

Saturday, December 22 12:00 pm
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl New Orleans, LA ESPN
East Carolina vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (-5, 65)
- Match-up of a pair of 8-4 teams both of which had positive conference experiences.

The Ragin' Cajuns boast a prolific running game, averaging 187.3 yards per contest on the ground, which should bode well for them, as East Carolina allows 145.7 yards per game and have been off the field since the day after Thanksgiving, when they won a shootout with Marshall in a 65-59 no-defense extravaganza.

Louisiana-Lafeyette last played on December 1, topping Florida Atlantic, 35-21, a tribute to their defense, an improving unit over the course of the season.

Both teams are coming off three game winning streaks, but notably, the last loss by the Cajuns was to the Florida Gators, 27-20, on enemy turf, no less, an impressive showing against a team that was one loss from possibly playing for a national championship. The Pirates last defeat was a blowout, 56-28, defeat by Navy at East Carolina, and not a very positive showing.

While the Pirates have shrugged off that loss and finished 6-1 in Conference-USA, losing out to UCF on a tie-breaker for the championship game, the Ragin' Caguns get the added benefit of playing in the Superdome, which will, no doubt, be filled with local supporters. A semblance of home cooking and a prolific offense should produce a ninth win for the team from the Sun Belt.

Prediction: Ragin' Cajuns 45 Pirates 31


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Saturday, December 22 3:30 pm
MAACO Bowl Las Vegas Las Vegas, NV ESPN
Washington vs. Boise State (-5 1/2, 45 1/2)
- PAC-12's Washington reached this game with a 7-5 record, while the Broncos went 7-1 in the dissolving Mountain West conference and 10-2 overall, their only losses coming in the first week of the season (17-13 at Michigan State) and in early November, a gut-wrenching, 21-19, defeat at the hands of an underrated San Diego State squad.

Boise State's defense was among the best in the nation, clocking in with the sixth-best scoring defense in the country at 14.9 ppg. While Boise spent most of the 2000s piling up points, this season was typified by a stingy defense and an efficient, though not necessarily explosive offense. The Broncos held all but one opponent (New Mexico, 32-29 W) to 21 points or less, and eight of 12 foes scored just 14 or fewer points.

While the Broncos were piling up wins over some decent teams (BYU, Fresno State, Nevada), the Huskies had a streaky, up-and-down campaign, at one point losing three straight - to Oregon, USC and Arizona - before piling up four straight wins over Oregon State, Cal, Utah and Colorado, before losing the season finale at Washington State, 31-28.

Washington's defense was pretty good, especially considering the rough and rugged PAC-12 schedule. They allowed 23.8 points per outing and are a disciplined bunch which got better though the course of the season, especially near the end.

This should prove a competitive, low-scoring affair, but give a nod to the Huskies with points.

Prediction: Huskies 23 Broncos 21


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Monday, December 24 8:00 pm
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl Honolulu, Hawaii ESPN
SMU vs. Fresno State (-13, 59 1/2)
- Somewhat of a disappointment, SMU limps into bowl season off a 66 campaign, with big, blowout losses to the likes of Baylor, Texas A&M, UCF and even Rice!

If any team qualifies as not being even remotely bowl caliber, it would be the Mustangs, which is why they are getting nearly two touchdowns from the batting Bulldogs from Fresno State, currently riding a five game winning streak with a 9-3 mark overall.

Losses came against Oregon (42-25), Tulsa (27-26) and Boise State (20-10) and all of them were on the road, which brings up the question of how well the Bulldogs will perform on foreign soil.

The fact that this will be Fresno's second trip to the islands in a little over a month weighs high on the positive factors which will produce a resounding win.

The Bulldogs went out to play the Warriors in the first week of November, whipping up on their hosts, 45-10. Fresno finished up their season with solid wins at Nevada (52-36) and home to Air Force (48-15). Fresno scored at least 42 points in each of their final five games, winning all of those contests by wide margins.

SMU's inconsistent offense and shadow defense will prove no match for an emerging West coast powerhouse. If the cards fall in place for the Bulldogs with a big win and some losses by lower-rung Top 25 teams, they could end the season as a ranked squad, and deservedly so.

Incidentally, Fresno State was the best play all season, going an incredible 11-1 ATS. Impressive.

Prediction: Bulldogs 44 Mustangs 20

All times Eastern - Click here for late games

Copyright 2012, 2013, 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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