Part One, here. Part Two, here. The final refrain, next Monday, shall be the BCS bowls and various dot.coms. Commence the Third Act.
Valero Alamo Bowl - Texas vs. Oregon (December 20, 2013)
The wheels absolutely fell off the Ducks about the same time opponents figured out they could just line and mash Oregon in the running game, while playing fundamentally sound on defense. Texas certainly has the skills on offense to stick to this script, but they are far less competent in stopping option-based attacks. This would have been a helluva BCS bowl three or four years ago; but in 2013, we'll take the disappointed Ducks in a lopsided affair over Texas with its own Lame Duck.
National University Holiday Bowl - Texas Tech vs. Arizona State (December 30, 2013)
Kliff did a good job at his alma mater (at least against the B12 patsies in the first half), and particularly juggling his never-ending injured QB shuffle. Arizona State in this mood-swing season, has rebounded mainly from the Ericson-era, and played for the P12 title -mainly on the strength of its passing game, and hyperactive defensive line. On paper, as in real life, this isn't close and the Sun Devils should lay it to the Red Raiders.
AdvoCare V100 Bowl - Boston College vs. Arizona (December 31, 2013)
Arizona: good-not-great team from a Big 5 power conference, scores a few upsets and has a top-5 national rusher out of the West Virginia spread formations. Boston College: good-not-great team from a Big 5 power conference, scores a few minor upsets, and has a top-5 rusher out of a series of power formations. I am absolutely looking forward to this game, with these teams, taking very different paths to ground success; but, in bowls, I trust Rich Rod.
Hyundai Sun Bowl - UCLA vs. Virginia Tech (December 31, 2013)
Virginia Tech: typical Three Faces of Eve season made all the worse by the inexplicable hiring of “offensive” coordinator Shane Loeffler. UCLA's LB corps will shut down any nascent attempt at the Tech run, then move the ball around with balanced pro formations. Mora ,at this point, is leaps and bounds better than Beamer's staff, and so are the Bruins.
AutoZone Liberty Bowl - Mississippi State vs. Rice (December 31, 2013)
Rice, like Tulsa, has been one of America's best offenses for almost a decade, despite absorbing myriad coaching losses, and this season is no different. Mississippi State meanwhile righted its midseason swoon about the time it found the lethal (for Mississippi State) tandem of Perkins and Prescott, and the played so much better down the stretch. America's least heralded elite defensive line gets turned loose, Dak grows more as an SEC starter, and the Bulldogs win a scrimmage against the overmanned Owls.
Chick-Fil-a Bowl - Duke vs. Texas A&M (December 31, 2013)
Congratulations to the somehow, 10-win Duke Blue Devils, who played for the ACC title on the shoulders of a very opportunistic defense. The Devils' consolation prize is a rested, healthy Johnny Manziel-to-Mike-Evans, in what will likely be their last games at the collegiate level. Good luck with that, guys: Manziel and the Aggies have an absolute field day before getting p-a-i-d.
Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl - Nebraska vs. Georgia (January 1, 2014)
When healthy, motivated, and well-disciplined there is not a team on this earth as frightening as the Georgia Bulldogs. The Cornhuskers, not particularly gifted at anything, just have the Earth's most frightening mongoloid as their spokesperson and head man. We'll take the Damn Good Dawgs in a bludgeoning.
Heart of Dallas Bowl - North Texas vs. UNLV (January 1, 2014)
Quick: name UNLV's head coach. Quick: name who coaches the North Texas Mean Green? A: It doesn't matter here, because as great of a job as Dan McCarney (UNT) has done, Bobby Hauck's Rebels have done a little better, in a tougher conference, and UNLV is your call, despite the de facto home game for Denton's finest.
Capital One Bowl - South Carolina vs. Wisconsin (January 1, 2014)
Wisconsin did great things under first-year USU coach, Gary Andersen, particularly in moving to run-first, but balanced attack. What can be said about Steve Spurrier that need be added: his Gamecocks win on gritty QB play, a ferocious front seven and the legs of Mike Davis. If Wisconsin's QB Stave were just a little better, then take the Badgers; he's not, so South Carolina it is.
Outback Bowl - LSU vs. Iowa (January 1, 2014)
If you can tell me how Iowa won 8 games with a serviceable QB, few playmakers on the outside, and the second-slowest RBs in the Big Ten, I'll buy you a beer. If you can tell me how LSU lost four games with a senior QB, those WRs and the best indicted RB in the SEC, I'll buy you a beer.The last time these teams met, LSU was in a bit of a tailspin as Saban was departing, and Iowa was very good; no such repeat is forthcoming as LSU blows the doors off the Hawkeyes.