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OFD Bowl Preview Part II- Bring On The Good Stuff!

Welcome back, I hope that everyone had an outstanding holiday weekend. Now let's get back to talking about some college football! Bowl season is heating up and we have much to discuss. I previewed the first 10 bowl games last week to include the two that are being played today. The OFD Bowl Challenge has been entertaining thus far and there have actually been some pretty good games. I got burned by Utah St, SDSU and FIU but I'm not totally out of the hunt just yet.

This installment of the preview will take us through the last four days of December. Over the course of the next four days 13 more bowl games will be played and the quality of those games is steadily getting better. Here's to hoping that you don't have any other plans. Enjoy this lead into the big finish and have an outstanding New Year!

For those interested in the full TV schedule utilize the link below or one of the others in our left sidebar.

mattsarzsports.com (Bowl Schedule)

Rankings are per the BCS Standings.

*All times listed below are EST.

Games after the jump.

Wednesday 28 December

Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman

Toledo (8-4) vs. Air Force (7-5)

4:30pm ESPN

You can't pick against Air Force in the Military Bowl can you? It just doesn't sound right. This is actually an interesting matchup on paper. One would assume that Air Force would just run up and down the field in this game as surely no MAC squad can stand up to their #2 ranked rushing attack. Right? Perhaps but Toledo has a respectable rushing attack themselves and the Falcons have been horrendous against the run all season. So this game really has the potential to turn into a track meet with some obscene rushing statistics. Flip a coin on this one but I'll give the nod to the Air Force.

Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl

Cal (7-5) vs. #24 Texas (7-5)

9:00pm ESPN

How is Texas #24 in the BCS again? I will be venturing back to the temporarily re-designated Snapdragon Stadium by Qualcomm for this one. You actually care what kind of processor is in your mobile device right? Whatever. Despite the pure advertising genius surrounding the cruddy stadium this should actually be a pretty decent game. The Horns travel well and Cal is in state so the crowd should be pretty decent for this one. Texas holds a significant advantage in the run game on both sides of the ball which I see as their distinct advantage here. I like them to control the line of scrimmage and get it done in a close and relatively low scoring game.

Thursday 29 December

Champs Sports Bowl

Notre Dame (8-4) vs. Florida State (8-4)

5:30pm ESPN

Our own Eric Murtaugh dropped his full preview this morning and Burger will be following that up with some X's and O's stuff so I will leave the heavy lifting to them. Both teams had a few disappointing losses this season and find themselves on the fringe of the Top 25 in the assorted polls. Both programs could really use a quality win in this game to give them a little momentum heading into the offseason.

This is going to be a very tough contest for the Fighting Irish for a multitude of reasons. Miami wanted nothing to do with playing in the cold weather in El Paso last year but the Irish will have no such advantage in Orlando. FSU will be fired up and ready to mix it up with the Irish in their home state.

The Irish defense matches up pretty well in this game and if they can keep EJ Manuel from moving the sticks with his feet Notre Dame should be able to keep the Noles point total down low enough that the Irish offense won't have to have a huge day to win.

The greater question is whether or not the Irish offense will be able to put up a respectable point total against a stingy Seminole defense. The underlying QB battle also looms large in this game for ND. I think turnovers will ultimately determine the outcome in this one and those haven't been exactly friendly to the Irish this season. I'll be a homer here and still take the Irish in a close and hard fought game.

Valero Alamo Bowl

Washington (7-5) vs. #12 Baylor (9-3)

9:00pm ESPN

The RG3 show will be on display in San Antonio Thursday night. Will it be his curtain call as a Bear? If you have never taken the time to watch this kid play now is your chance. As a side note if you have never experienced the River Walk you need to. Good time. Baylor fans will dominate the seats in the oversized gymnasium that is the Alamodome and RG3 could very well have a field day at the expense of a very poor Husky defense. I wonder if Sarkisian and Holt will ever get that Husky train back on the tracks? Baylor rolls.

Friday 30 December

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl

BYU (9-3) vs. Tulsa (8-4)

12:00pm ESPN

Check it out, another military themed bowl but this one has no service academy participating. Uh oh. Damn Navy for not winning 6 games! The BYU defense actually matches up well against a productive Tulsa rushing attack. When the script is flipped the Tulsa pass defense is atrocious. Cougars.

New Era Pinstripe Bowl

Rutgers (8-4) vs. Iowa State (6-6)

3:30pm ESPN

This was a really tough pick for me. Rutgers has been kind of schizophrenic this season and is tough to get a true read on. Nothing on their resume' convinces me that they are really any better than the Clones. Iowa State dropped 6 games but 5 of those were to ranked teams and the 6th was to Mizzu. The Clones also upset Okie Light, ultimately keeping them out of the BCS Championship Game. Paul Rhoads tips the scale for me in this one. Despite this game being played in Rutgers back yard I think the Cyclones are going to show up ready to play and steal one from the favored Scarlet Knights.

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl

Mississippi State (6-6) vs. Wake Forest (6-6)

6:40pm ESPN

6-6 SEC team > 6-6 ACC team. That's all the logic I can muster for this thriller.

Insight Bowl

Iowa (7-5) vs. #14 Oklahoma (9-3)

10:00pm ESPN

On paper Iowa shouldn't even bother to show up for this game. Then again we are talking about an Oklahoma squad that did find a way to lose to Texas Tech. The Hawkeyes have a history of showing up for bowl games under Ferentz while the Sooners have had a bit of a propensity for doing the opposite. Despite this the talent differential is too vast for me to bet against the ghost of The Boz.

Saturday 31 December

Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas

Texas A&M (6-6) vs. Northwestern (6-6)

12:00pm ESPN

TAMU is headed to the SEC and Kevin Sumlin is inbound to College Station. I still think the SEC deal was a bad move for TAMU but we will have to see how that one plays out over time. In their final appearance as a Big 12 school the Ags have to square off with a 6-6 Northwestern squad. Remember when Pat Fitzgerald was a flyer? I think the Ags get it done in front of a home crowd in Houston.

Hyundai Sun Bowl

Georgia Tech (8-4) vs. Utah (7-5)

2:00pm CBS

This is not a great draw for the Sun Bowl this season. Of course anything was going to be a letdown after having an ND vs. Miami matchup a year ago. I always go for a Paul Johnson offense against anyone not used to defending it. Jackets.

AutoZone Liberty Bowl

Cincinnati (9-3) vs. Vanderbilt (6-6)

3:30pm ABC

This is another tough one. At a glance you would think that Cincy runs away with this one. Then you remember that Zach Collaros is questionable and that Vandy gave some pretty good SEC teams a run for their money this year. I'll take the Commodores in an "upset."

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl

Illinois (6-6) vs. UCLA (6-7)

3:30pm ESPN

Craptastic. Seriously. Both teams share a single sideline for this game. I consider that the exclamation point on a truly pathetic bowl game. If/ when they start trimming the bowl games back down a bit I hope they start with this one. If the Bruins lose they will finish 6-8. Pure awesomeness! I think the Illini snap their 6 game losing streak at the expense of UCLA.

Chick-Fil-A Bowl

Virginia (8-4) vs. #25 Auburn (7-5)

7:30pm ESPN

I have yet to buy into the hype that UVA is actually any good. Sure they squeaked out a wun against FSU but they also barely survived Indiana and Idaho. Despite the 5 losses War Eagle still has some horses and I think they get it done against the Hoos.

What do you all think?