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Fearless Rick's 2013-14 College Football Bowl Week 2 - Early Games

Welcome to the very best in winning NFL and College Football picks.
Rick Gagliano | December 26-28, 2013

All times Eastern - Click here for late games.

Military Bowl, Annapolis, MD, Dec. 27, 2:30 pm, ESPN
Marshall (- 2 1/2, 62 1/2) vs. Maryland - This could be somewhat of a layup for the Thundering Herd, which finished atop the Conference USA East division, losing their only conference game (7-1) to Rice in the title game, 41-24. Marshall's 9-4 record includes three close losses, to Ohio (34-31), Virginia Tech (29-21, in three OTs), and at Middle Tennessee (51-49). They are a high scoring offense (43.0 ppg, 7th nationally) with a solid defense which held six opponents to 14 points or less.

Maryland had a mid-season stumble, losing four of five ACC games, including a 63-0 whipping at Florida State and an unsightly, 20-3, defeat to Syracuse. The Terrapins came back to win two of their last three, at Virginia Tech (27-24, OT) and at NC State, 41-21, though that final win, which made them 7-5, didn't prove much as the Wolfpack was 3-9 and losers of all eight of their conference games.

There's nothing remarkable about the Maryland squad, which may make them road kill for the Thundering Herd, which could cap an excellent season by claiming a bowl victory, especially if the offense gets off early.

Prediction: Thundering Herd 38 Terrapins 23


Texas Bowl, Dec. 27, Houston, TX, 6:00 pm, ESPN
Syracuse vs. Minnesota (-4 1/2, 47 1/2) - The Golden Gophers started out 4-0, winning all of their non-conference games and went through the Big Ten with a 4-4 record, but were at times impressive defensively, especially in their final three games, even though they lost the last two. After whipping Penn State, 24-10, Minnesota was solid in losing efforts to Wisconsin, 20-7, and Michigan State, 14-3.

What the Gophers lack offensively (26.4 ppg), they more than make up for it on the other side of the ball, which bodes well for their success against Syracuse, a team that produced an average of just 22.8 points per outing.

The 6-6 Orange stumbled through a 6-6 season - their first in the ACC, with some very ugly losses, including being on the wrong side of scores in a 49-14 loss to Clemson, a 56-0 road loss to Georgia Tech and a 59-3 embarrassment at Florida State. If Syracuse can't generate early offense, the Golden Gophers will knuckle them under and record a substantial bowl win.

Prediction: Golden Gophers 31 Orange 13


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Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, San Francisco, Dec. 27, 9:30 pm, ESPN
Washington (-3, 60) vs. BYU - Brigham Young, an independent, finished 8-4 with wins over Utah State, georgia Tech and Houston to their credit, and played well in losses to Utah (20-13), Virginia (19-16), Wisconsin (27-17) and Notre Dame (27-17). They're primarily a defense-first kind of team (21.3 ppg), which has been somewhat limited offensively, though the offense did manage to generate 31.3 ppg, though much of that was against pushovers on their schedule.

The Cougars will find the going tougher against the Huskies, also 8-4, which scored 38.5 ppg while allowing just 23.4 per outing, much of that against solid PAC-12 opponents.

The O/U here is surprisingly high, considering the levels of defensive expertise on both teams. BYU should be able to contain the Huskies, but eventually will fall victim to their own uninspired offensive scheme which Washington will find easy to defense.

Prediction: Huskies 27 Cougars 17


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Pinstripe Bowl, Bronx, NY, Dec. 28, Noon, ESPN
Rutgers vs. Notre Dame (-14 1/2, 52 1/2) - The Irish are one of the heaviest favorites of bowl season, expected to completely overwhelm the 6-6 Scarlet Knights, and probably for good reason. Rutgers won just twice in their final six games, making themselves bowl eligible in their final game of the regular season with a 31-6 win against pushover South Florida, a program that's gone from great to horrible in a very short span of seasons.

Rutgers has also dropped off the national radar, and losses like their 49-14 loss to Houston, a 52-17 loss to Cincinnati and their 41-17 road loss at UCF point to a troubling predicament against the Irish, a team that was steady, though unspectacular, throughout the season.

Notre Dame isn't very flashy on offense, but they've run their pro-style offense with efficient design, though they scored, on average, just 27.1 ppg, a fraction less than Rutgers. The defense allowed just 22.9 points per game and it has to be said that Notre Dame played a far tougher schedule.

Unless the Irish aren't prepared or are overconfident (both unlikely scenarios), they should confidently throttle the Scarlet Knights here.

Prediction: Fighting Irish 42 Scarlet Knights 13

All times Eastern - Click here for late games

Copyright 2013, 2014, 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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