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Happy New Year Bowl Games! HTW and Quick Picks

Four games on tap today, though three of them are playing at the same time for some reason.

ReliaQuest Bowl - Mississippi State v Illinois Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

While the remaining four bowl games have no national implications, there are some intriguing match-ups.

Tampa Bowl: Mississippi State vs. Illinois 11am/noon ESPN2

It has been three weeks since Mike Leach suddenly died. Is there still some emotion left in the Bulldogs (8-4) for them to win one for the Pirate?

The Illini (8-4) have had one of the best seasons in a very long time but the season ended with a clunk as they lost 3 of 4 with the only win coming against doormat Northwestern.

It will be a high-flying air raid offense versus pound-and-ground offense and a tough blue-collar defense.

QUICK PICK: MSU is favored by 3.5. I am taking the +3.5.

Citrus Bowl: LSU vs. Purdue Noon/1pm ABC

The Tigers (9-4) also did not finish the season too well, losing the last two in a embarrassing loss to TAMU and getting routed by UGA. LSU has a list of player not playing due to opt-outs, injuries, or transfer portal entries that is long enough to field a whole other team.

PU (8-5) will be without their starting QB Aidan O’Connell (opt-out) which hurts.

QUICK PICK: LSU is a gigantic -15.5 favorite. That makes me a little nervous. I’m going +15.5.

Cotton Bowl: Southern Cal vs. Tulane Noon/1pm ESPN

So Cal (11-2) will be without WR Jordan Addison, and RB Travis Dye due to injury. Ailing QB Caleb Williams is probable.

The Green Wave (11-2) is a fun team worth rooting for but I don’t see them winning this game - even against back-ups.

QUICK PICK: Trojans win, cover -2.

Rose Bowl: Utah vs. Penn State 4pm/5pm ESPN

Utah (10-3) is a plucky underappreciated team, who like Alabama, had some tough losses and shoulda coulda woulda been undefeated this season.

PSU (10-2) had a pretty soft schedule and lost to the only two ranked teams they faced (Mich, OSU).

QUICK PICK: The Nittany Lions are favored at -1.5. I’ve got Utah in a straight up win.