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Fearless Rick's 2016 College Football Picks - Bowl Games Week 2 late games

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Bowl Games WEEK 2 NCAA Footall Picks - late games

All times Eastern

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Monday, December 26

St. Petersburg Bowl
Miami (Ohio) vs. Mississippi State (-13, 58), 11:00 am, ESPN, Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FL
- Looking like a classic mismatch, the Bulldogs were not quite competitive in the SEC, going 3-5 in conference play and just 5-7 overall, proving again that there are TOO MANY BOWL GAMES.

Mississippi State did end the regular season on a high note, ripping apart arch-rival Ole Miss, 55-20 and they did whip Texas A&M, 35-28 back on November 5, so the talent is obvious.

The Miami RedHawks had the oddest of seasons, starting 0-6 and finishing 6-0 for a steady 6-6 mark, but the early out-of-conference losses (like 45-21 at Iowa and 27-20 at Cincinnati) were telling. The defense is solid, but they didn't play SEC teams. This one is different.

Coin Flip: Miami (Ohio)

Rick's Pick: Bulldogs 42 RedHawks 21


Quick Lane Bowl
Maryland (-1, 43 1/2) vs. Boston College, 2:30 pm, ESPN, Ford Field, Detroit
- why play this game? Maryland lost - in successive weeks - to Michigan, 59-3, Ohio State, 62-3, and Nebraska, 28-7, before evening their record at 6-6 with a 31-13 win over Rutgers.

BC was also 6-6, coming out of the ACC, with back-to-back losses to Louisville 52-7, and Florida State, 45-7. They lost earlier to Clemson, 56-10.

Both teams stink. Take the Eagles. They poop on Terrapins as a matter of course.

Coin Flip: Boston College

Rick's Pick: Eagles 23 Terrapins 13


Camping World Independence Bowl
NC State (-4, 44) vs. Vanderbilt, 5:00 pm, ESPN2, Independence Stadium, Shreveport, LA
- Simply put, if Vanderbilt can get going offensively, the Wolfpack will not have any answers, and, even it they do, the Vandy defense will not allow many scoring opportunities.

Even though NC State finished up just 6-6, they had a rough schedule, including losses to Louisville, Clemson, Florida State and Miami. How about the Commodores? Their 6-6 mark included defeats to Florida, Auburn and Georgia Tech, but they finished with a flourish, winning their last two game, dumping Ole Miss, 38-17 and Tennessee, 45-34.

Coin Flip: NC State

Rick's Pick: Commodores 23 Wolfpack 17


Tuesday, December 27

Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl
Army (-10, 49) vs. North Texas, 12:00 pm, ESPN, Cotton Bowl, Dallas, TX
- The North Texas Mean Green wasn't exactly mean down the stretch, losing four of their last five to finish up with a mediocre 5-7 record, including losses to LA Tech, Western Kentucky (45-7) and UTEP (52-24).

The Black Knights got a much-needed shot in the arm defeating Navy on December 10th, 21-17, boosting their mark to 7-5. Army was second nationally in rushing, behind New Mexico, and if they get things rolling early, this could be a slaughter. For comparison purposes, Army defeated UTEP in September by a score of 66-14. One caveat: these two met back on October 22, with North Texas winning, 35-18.

Coin Flip: North Texas

Rick's Pick: Black Knights 30 Mean Green 14


Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman
#23 Temple (-13, 40 1/2) vs. Wake Forest, 3:30 pm, ESPN, Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD
- The line indicates that this could be one of the major mismatches of the entire bowl season, and with good reason. Temple has one of the most oppressive defenses in the country, checking in at #8, allowing 17.2 points per game, tied with Washington. They allowed a mere 145.2 yards passing per game, second only to the Michigan Wolverines. It is a distinct probability that the Owls will be hooting over turning the Deacons into a one-dimensional offense en route to a smashing victory.

The Owls were 10-3 and champions of the American Athletic conference (7-1, plus a 34-10 whipping of Navy in the championship game), while the Demon Deacons were a mediocre 6-6.

Coin Flip: Wake Forest

Rick's Pick: Owls 34 Demon Deacons 6


National Funding Holiday Bowl
Minnesota vs. Washington State (-6 1/2, 60), 7:00 pm, ESPN, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA
- The Gophers had more or less an above average season in the Big Ten, going 5-4 in conference and 8-4 overall, including a win over Colorado State, 31-24. Their best effort in the Big Ten was likely a 29-26 overtime loss at Penn State, their other losses to Iowa, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. Ranked teams took their measure.

Washington State came out of nowhere to emerge as an offensive juggernaut in the PAC-12, scoring on average, 40.3 points per game, 14th nationally. The Cougars lost their first two games, then reeled off eight straight wins over the likes of UCLA, Stanford, and Oregon, before dropping their final two games to Colorado and Washington. If the Cougars get off the mark early on the Gophers, it could be ugly.

Coin Flip: Washington State

Rick's Pick: Cougars 35 Golden Gophers 21


Motel 6 Cactus Bowl
Boise State (-7 1/2, 67) vs. Baylor, 10:15 pm, ESPN, Chase Field, Phoenix, AZ
- Baylor is so one-dimensional it isn't funny. while they can score many points on occasion, they cannot prevent anyone from scoring on what turns out to be one of the most porous defense in the NCAA. The Bears were 82nd in points allowed, at 30.4 given up per game.

Boise scores more than they do, 35.6-34.9, and has a better defense by far, allowing just 22.7.

Coin Flip: Baylor

Rick's Pick: Broncos 45 Bears 26




Wednesday, December 28

New Era Pinstripe Bowl
#22 Pittsburgh (-5 1/2, 66) vs. Northwestern, 2:00 pm, ESPN, Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY
- The 8-4 Panthers have had a sensational season and are among the highest-scoring teams in the country, averaging 42.3 points per game (11th). By contrast, the Wildcats scored a mere 25.6 per outing, making them the 91st most efficient scoring team in the country.

What Northwestern lacks on offense, they make up for on defense, allowing 22.1 points per meeting, mostly in the rugged Big Ten conference. Pitt was 109th overall, giving up a whopping 35.6 on average. It's hard to see the Wildcats putting a stop to Pitt's overwhelming offensive prowess, but they are stout. They allowed just 24 points to both Ohio State and Nebraska, and though both were losing efforts, the defense was impressive. Pitt is another story and Northwestern hasn't beaten a ranked team this season.

Coin Flip: Northwestern

Rick's Pick: Panthers 35 Wildcats 27


Russell Athletic Bowl
#14 West Virginia vs. Miami (-3, 56), 5:30 pm, ESPN, Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL
- This ought to be one of the better games of the entire bowl season, pitting the Big 12 against the ACC.

Miami had an up-and-down season, ending up with an 8-4 record, with all of their losses coming in succession midseason. They lost to Florida State by a point and Notre Dame by three, 30-27, but finished up with four straight wins, over Pitt, Virginia, NC State and Duke. They are scary good on defense, allowing 18.9 points per contest, tied with Army for 13th nationally and they have an above average, balanced offensive attack which should keep west Virginia's defenders guessing.

In contention for the Big 12 title almost all season, the Mountaineers finished 10-2, their only losses to Oklahoma (56-28) and Oklahoma State (37-20). Other than those two, West Virginia was just about the only other solid team in the conference. Capable of lighting it up on occasion, the Mountaineers were oddly just 45th in points scored, at 32.6 per game. Miami should be able to keep them bottled up most of the game.

Coin Flip: Miami

Rick's Pick: Hurricanes 31 Mountaineers 24


Foster Farms Bowl
Indiana vs. Utah (-8, 54), 8:30 pm, Fox, Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
- In the hunt and ranked for most of the season, Utah only fell apart late in the season, dropping three of their final four games, to Washington, 31-24, Oregon, 30-28, and Colorado, 27-22. They finished 8-4, the other loss an inexplicable defeat at the hands of Cal, 28-23.

Indiana has an above average offense and a below average defense, which does not bode well for them in this game. They went 6-6. In a rational world, their players would be studying or home for Christmas break, rather than being punched out by a bunch of angry Utes.

Coin Flip: Indiana

Rick's Pick: Utes 38 Hoosiers 24


AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl
Texas A&M (-2, 56 1/2) vs. Kansas State, 9:00 pm, ESPN, NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
- At 8-4, Kansas State was more or less an afterthought in the Big 12, a conference that is unbalanced on top, with patsies below. The Aggies were likewise 8-4, but just 4-4 in the SEC, losing to Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Alabama, and LSU, the last one a 54-39 thrashing.

A&M may be just a little overrated, whereas the Wildcats are of an unknown quantity. If K-State wins, it will be only a mild upset.

Coin Flip: Kansas State

Rick's Pick: Wildcats 33 Aggies 30

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