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Fearless Rick's 2012-13 College Football Bowl Week 3 - Early Games

Rick Gagliano | December 28-29, 2012

All times Eastern - Click here for late games.

Friday, December 28 2:00 pm
AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl Shreveport, LA ESPN2
Ohio vs. Louisiana-Monroe (-7, 61)
- This is the first Division 1 bowl appearance by Louisiana-Monroe, the Warhawks' first postseason game since their appearance in the I-AA playoffs in 1993.

Finishing in a three-wa tie for second place in the Sun Belt, the Warhawks went 8-4 overall and 6-2 in the conference.

Ohio had an off year, going 4-4 in the MAC, but won all of their non-conference games, finishing, like their opponents, with an 8-4 record on the season.

The Bobcats will be looking to run the football and stop the pass, something at which they excel and also the strongest part of Louisiana-Monroe's offensive plan of attack. The Warhawks threw for an average of 296.7 yards per game, while the Bobcats allowed a shade under 230 through the air.

Unfortunately, Ohio's four conference wins came against teams with a combined MAC record of 5-27 and they have lost four of their last five games running, while Louisiana-Monroe is on a two-game win streak and won seven of their last nine. They also beat Arkansas in their season opener (34-31) and lost to Auburn and Baylor by three and five points, respectively, and are clearly the superior squad.

Prediction: Warhawks 42 Bobcats 24


Friday, December 28 5:30 pm
Russell Athletic Bowl Orlando, FL ESPN
Rutgers vs. Virginia Tech (-2, 41)
- Rutgers was one of four teams that finished atop the Big East with a 5-2 record, but lost the tie-breaker for a BCS bowl to Louisville.

Still, the Scarlet Knights had an excellent 9-3 season, winning their first seven games and gaining some national noteriety before stumbling home with a 2-3 record, including key losses to Pitt and Louisville, though that final loss to the Cardinals was by a mere three points.

Usually a stalwart of the ACC, Virginia Tech needed to win their final two games of the season (against Boston College and Virginia) just to become bowl eligible and neither the offense, defense or special teams were up to their usual standards of excellence. V-Tech was roundly routed by the likes of Pitt, North Carolina, Clemson (38-17) and Miami (30-12), finishing up at 6-6 overall and 4-4 in conference.

While Rutgers seems to have an edge, the game will be close if the Scarlet Knights don't find a way to generate more offense. They averaged just 22.4 points per game, but, their defense was among the best in the nation, giving up just 14.3 points, on average. Look for a low-scoring, defensive outcome.

Prediction: Scarlet Knights 20 Hokies 13


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Friday, December 28 9:00 pm
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas Houston, TX ESPN
Minnesota vs. Texas Tech (-13, 56 1/2)
- At first blush, the nearly two TD line appears to be way off, considering the Red Raiders only went 7-5 and were 4-5 in the Big 12.

However, the Golden Gophers were just 2-6 in the Big Ten, at the bottom of the Legends Division, and 6-6 overall and an offense that averaged just 21.3 points per game.

While the Red Raiders weren't exactly world beaters, they do have a strong passing offense, which clicked for 361.9 yards and they scored 37.8 points per game.

Minnesota allowed an average of 23.9 points per game as compared to 31.9 for the Red Raiders, but the stats may be a bit deceiving, because the Big 12 featured high-energy offenses while grinders were the order of the season in the Big Ten. The favorite has covered the line in eight of the last 11 Meineke Car Care Bowls. It could be a match-up problem, but in this game it appears the speed of Texas Tech will dominate the slower plodding of the Gophers.

Prediction: Red Raiders 37 Golden Gophers 17


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Saturday, December 29 11:45 am
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl Fort Worth, TX ESPN
Air Force (-2, 61) vs. Rice
- This is a really early start (10:45 Central) which should actually benefit the Falcons, their military-style training used to early morning hours.

Despite identical 6-6 records, these two teams seem to be headed in different directions, however. Rice finished with a four-game win streak, one of those wins a 36-14 mashing of SMU, which smacked 14-point favorite, Fresno State, 43-10 in the Hawaii Bowl, Christmas Eve.

That same Fresno State team handed the Falcons one of their three losses in their last four games, a 48-15 blowout.

Teams from Conference USA - of which Rice is one - have been ignored all season long. Not a single team from the forgotten conference has been ranked all season long, but they certainly appear more competitive than those from the soon-to-be-dissolved Mountain West (Air Force).

Prediction: Owls 38 Falcons 21

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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