Thirty-five bowls; three sentences each. Part One is here. However, we must change our prediction for the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, where we had Boise losing to an inferior Oregon State squad. With former OC Brian Harsin's return to be the head man, after one season as HC at Arkansas State, we think the ship can get righted and Boise will now prevail. Also, even though USC appears to have a new interim coach with Ed O's hissy fit/departure...something called a “Clay Helton”...we're still sticking with the Men of Troy.
Northrop Grumman Military Bowl - Maryland vs. Marshall (December 27, 2013)
Congratulations Marshall, good to see you bowling again on the back of an awfully quiet 9-win season (despite some road woes) --your reward for going on this tear is the Terps. Poor Randy Edsall's Maryland team, they of the allegedly stout defense, ran into a Seminole buzzsaw early and just never regrouped. The better team wins this one; and that better team is the Thundering Herd.
Texas Bowl - Minnesota vs. Syracuse (December 27, 2013)
Syracuse is incredibly inconsistent, but certainly a streaky enough offensive team to beat a middling BCS AQ team. The challenge for the one-dimensional Golden Golphers will be to stick to its script: power running, defense, pray for mistakes. We don't think Goldie has enough in the tank in this one, as the Orange win a close, ugly game.
Fight Hunger Bowl - Washington vs. BYU (December 27, 2013)
BYU is a ridiculously good 8-win team that can beat you power running, through the air, but mainly with a nasty defense. Perpetual 7-win Washington has the better talent, the best individual player, and now probably the better coach. We don't care about the latter; BYU is better and has won more against a tougher top-to-bottom schedule, and it finishes its season with a win.
New Era Pinstripe Bowl - Notre Dame vs. Rutgers (December 28, 2013)
All you need to know about Rutgers is that they gave up 52 points (largely through the air) to Fresno, and made Arkansas' passing attack look decent. All you need to know about Notre Dame is they may have the best tandem of OL/DL in the game, and are the only ones to hand Sparty a loss. In this fart-blower of “Oh, God, why,” the Fighting Irish win what should be a one-sided laugher.
Belk Bowl - Cincinnati vs. North Carolina (December 28, 2013)
How North Carolina parleyed its midseason spoiler role into a nice run to make a bowl is a credit to Fedora and the talent the Heels have on offense. The Bearcats meanwhile went on their own run, largely by playing defensive in the AAC, and Tubs is a career .700 bowl coach. This should be a very good, under-the-radar game, but give us Bryn, Ebron, and the overall ACC talent advantage as the Heels take this one.
Russell Athletic Bowl - Louisville vs. Miami (December 28, 2013)
Miami has all the speed and talent in the world, yet not much on-field success to show for it in the Golden revamp of Coral Gables (in fairness, tons of injuries on offense this year). Louisville, though overrated, was three-points away from the BCS discussion, and a New York invite for Teddy Bridgewater (which should have still been forthcoming). There is absolutely no secret that I dislike Louisville, and have all season, but, in a battle of “okay, not good resumes”, we're taking a wrongly-snubbed Bridgewater, the better coach and the better all-around team: Louisville.
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl - Kansas State vs. Michigan (December 28, 2013)
This is one of the most interesting pairings all bowl season: Kansas State lacks the Michigan talent, but tries; Michigan has the talent, but lacks the Wildcats give-a-damn. We knew KSU would have a down-ish season, but SO. QB Daniel Sams held the team together, and provided an identity to an otherwise bland squad. I have zero faith at this point in Brady Hoke, Al Borges, the offensive line aside from Lewan, and especially the Wolverine's nougaty-soft interior defense: EMAW is the call.
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl - Navy vs. Middle Tennessee State (December 30, 2013)
Middle Tennessee State's resume is summed up thusly: Get overmatched and blown out of the water; or overmatch another middling foe and subsequently win in a blowout. Navy, meanwhile, plays its games -and wins or loses, in close, often agonizing fashion, as you would expect from a triple option team not named Georgia Tech. In this gross matchup of mediocrities, give us the better mediocrity (the one, we add, without onerous admissions requirements): Mighty Mitzu, in a close one.
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl - Ole Miss vs. Georgia Tech (December 30, 2013)
Ole Miss is America's most baffling team: stockpiled with almost as much the talent as the SEC's elite
the best that timber money can buy, but a vomitous offense coordinated by the SEC's worst in-game coach. Georgia Tech meanwhile runs a Chinese fire drill on both sides of the ball, and dares teams to play catchup with its triple option/all-blitz play (or, as has happened too often lately, blow the Jackets out). We're guessing at this point, but the suspicion is that the poorly-coached Rebels will have a hard time staying disciplined, and the Yellow Jackets' scheme and coaching prevails over talent.