What Lincoln is Thinkin' - Bowl Breakdown

New Mexico Bowl, Dec. 18th – BYU vs. UTEP – Winner: BYU  The Cougars missed Max Hall this season, and started the year 2-5, but they finished with a winning record in the Mountain West.  UTEP finished 3-5 in a pitiful Conference USA.  In this game that kicks it all off, but very few of us care about, take the Cougs.

uDrove Humanitarian Bowl, Dec. 18th – Northern Illinois vs. Fresno State – Winner: Fresno State "Using the functionality of your smart phone, uDrove replaces in-cab paperwork and delivers the data instantly to a web account – allowing you to manage your business faster, smarter and more cost effectively!" Now that you know what the heck uDrove is, know this about Northern Illinois – their coach and many of his assistants are on their way to take over the Minnesota Gophers.  Plus, they've had about two weeks to prepare without them.

R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, Dec. 18th – Ohio vs. Troy – Winner: Ohio  I love New Orleans. It's one of my top 3 cities in the world to visit.  And yes, I've been to all of them. But you still couldn't pay me to go watch this game.   But one thing I do know – always bet against the team from the Sun Belt.

Beef O'Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl, Dec. 21st – Louisville vs. Southern Mississippi Winner: Louisville.  Good thing there are not other bowl games going on during the 21st.  Because there would be people requesting in Beef O'Brady's all over the country that the Beef O'Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl get turned off.  Both of these teams struggled heavily at times this year, but I like Charlie Strong as a coach.  I'll take the Cards, over a Southern Miss team that doesn't have a very good defense.

Maaco Bowl Las Vegas, Dec. 22nd – Boise State vs. Utah Winner: Boise State – This one is easy – the Broncos will roll, even if they are a little down that they are playing weeks before they had hoped a month ago. The Broncos beating the Hokies was no fluke – that was two very good teams playing early in the season, and one team just made more plays at the end.  The Dukes beating the Hokies? Now that was a fluke.

San Diego Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, Dec. 23rd – San Diego State vs. Navy Winner: Navy – One thing that's incredibly overrated in bowl games, is home field advantage. The whole experience of going on a bowl trip is what makes the games worthwhile. Teams that get to go to big cities get excited to play in places like the Louisiana Superdome, or Tropicana Field, or Vegas baby Vegas. But playing out your front door? Please I'd rather go on vacation. Take Navy.

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, Dec. 24th – Hawaii vs. Tulsa Winner: Hawaii – So remember that way of thinking for the Poinsettia Bowl? Scrap that for this one. The Warriors are just better – 10 wins, only losses came to a Big 12 team, USC and conference champ Boise State. Tulsa is playing well, but the Warriors have a lot of pride in that home bowl.  Also an odd stat from this game: Avg pts scored per game: Hawaii 39.9, Tulsa 39.7.  Warriors have the edge.

Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl, Dec. 26th – Toledo vs. Florida International: Winner: Toledo. This is a Sunday. Just watch the NFL.

AdvoCare v100 Independence Bowl, Dec. 27th – Georgia Tech vs. Air Force Winner: Air Force From the Orange Bowl, to the Independence Bowl. From Miami, to Shreveport. From toughest team in the ACC, to lucky to even still have a game.  These two teams play a lot of like – the Yellow Jackets won't shock Air Force with their triple option – they'll get it right back in their face.  GT won't have Josh Nesbit, I'll take AF. May the force be with me.

Champs Sports Bowl, Dec. 28th – North Carolina State vs. West Virginia Winner: North Carolina State Finally a game worth watching. Both of these teams were ever-so-close to bigger and better things.  The Wolfpack let a division championship slip through their fingers, and West Virginia lost the tiebreaker to UConn and have to watch the Huskies play in a BCS Bowl. I'm putting my faith in the best player on the field – Russell Wilson.

Insight Bowl, Dec 28th – Iowa vs. Missouri Winner: Missouri. The Hawkeyes are falling apart – their star wide receiver got booted off the team for running a drug house, their starting running back got suspended for failing to comply with some unnamed team policy, and their second string running back transferred.  Here's some insight for you – pick Mizzou.

EagleBank Bowl, Dec 28th – East Carolina vs. Maryland Winner: Maryland. Terps got screwed, once again showing why this bowl system blows. Despite being the third or fourth best team in the ACC, bigger bowls kept on bypassing them because they weren't sexy. And while I agree there is nothing sexy about Ralph Friedgen, that doesn't mean those players that deserved to play in a bigger bowl shouldn't be there.  But I still don't think they'll lose to the Pirates.

Texas Bowl, Dec 29th – Baylor vs. Illinois, Winner: Baylor. It may have never happened before, but Baylor has the most exciting player in the Big 12.  Quarterback Robert Griffin is very dangerous… and Illinois is a team that lost a game 67-65 this year.  I like the Bears over a team that never beat anyone better than Northwestern all year long.

Valero Alamo Bowl, Dec 29th – Arizona vs. Oklahoma State, Winner: Oklahoma State. Is there anyone in Arizona that would travel to San Antonio to watch the Wildcat football team? Will there be 20 Oklahoma State fans for every 1 Arizona fan? Cowboys are too good to lose this game.

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, Dec 30th – Army vs. SMU, Winner: SMU.  Yuck. You've got to be really into football to spend Friday night before New Year's weekend watching this game.

New Era Pinstripe Bowl, Dec 30th  – Syracuse vs. Kansas State, Winner: Syracuse.  Sure, accuse me of homerism, but the Cuse likes to market itself as "New York's team".  To be one of those, you need to win games at Yankee Stadium.  And that's where this game is.

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, Dec 30th  - Tennessee vs. North Carolina, Winner: North Carolina. I like the fight that the Heels have had all season. They were gutted of all their best players, and still bounced back to become bowl eligible. I think Derek Dooley is a terrible fit in Knoxville, and he's going to get embarrassed in his home state.

Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl, Dec. 30th, Washington vs. Nebraska – Winner: Nebraska. The Cornhuskers defense is too good, and Jake Locker has been too bad in big games.

Meineke CarCare Bowl, Dec. 31st, Clemson vs. South Florida, Winner: Clemson. This was not the season Kyle Parker was looking forward to after he lost about a million dollars from the Colorado Rockies to come back to Clemson and play one more year of football.  The Tigers really don't have one point in this season they can go back and hang their hat on.  This, would be it.

Hyundai Sun Bowl, Dec. 31st, Miami vs. Notre Dame, Winner: Miami. Usually I pick against teams that lose their coach after their final game.  Miami is a talented team, and their season got derailed when Jacory Harris went down vs. UVA. I believe he'll play in the bowl game, and the Irish will not be able to stop him.

Autozone Liberty Bowl, Dec. 31st, Central Florida vs. Georgia, Winner: Georgia. SEC vs. Conference USA. Next game please.

Chick-fil-A Bowl, Dec. 31st, South Carolina vs. Florida State, Winner: South Carolina. This is one of my favorite games, the Gamecocks have not played well in bowls under Spurrier.  Talent-wise right now South Carolina could run circles around the 'Noles.  This is the best team by far that Spurrier has had, and I think they turn their bowl record around.

Dallas Football Classic, Jan. 1st, Northwestern vs. Texas Tech, Winner: Northwestern. This game is at noon on New Year's Day.  Sleep in.

Outback Bowl, Jan. 1st, Florida vs. Penn State, Winner: Florida. Urban will not let them lose. Tim Tebow will give a pregame speech.  The stands will be packed with Gator fans.  It's a huge day for Gator nation.  It's just another day of many for JoePa.

Capital One Bowl, Jan. 1st Alabama vs. Michigan State, Winner: Alabama.  I see Saban having the Tide ready after a devastating loss in the Iron Bowl. This is the best game on New Year's Day.

Konica Minolta Gator Bowl, Jan. 1st Michigan vs. Mississippi State, Winner: Mississippi State. Big Blue fans are still not happy, and the Wolverines are back playing on New Year's Day. Another big job will come one day, and Dan Mullen will leave Starkville, but he's still there doing great things, and they'll be able to top Michigan.

Rose Bowl presented by Citi, Jan. 1st TCU vs. Wisconsin, Winner: Wisconsin.  No one loves the non-BCS schools as much as me, but I just think Wisconsin is more talented offensively. Both teams have great defenses, but the Badgers rushing attack is special, and they may be playing better than anyone the last month-plus.

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, Jan. 1st Oklahoma vs. Connecticut, Winner: Oklahoma. Sure, pick the upset if you'd like, but the Huskies just don't have enough fire power to hang with the Sooners.

Orange Bowl, Jan. 3rd Virginia Tech vs. Stanford, Winner: Virginia Tech. I agree with Frank Beamer – this Hokie team has had something special going on since halftime of ECU. It's like this team became a national championship caliber team, two and a half games in. The world will be tuning into this game to watch Andrew Luck, but they'll wind up leaving impressed with Tyrod Taylor.

Allstate Sugar Bowl, Jan. 4th Arkansas vs. Ohio State, Winner: Ohio State. I think this is the first time I went against the SEC, but Ryan Mallett struggles against good defenses. And Arkansas doesn't have a great defense.  Pryor gets it done.

GoDaddy.com Bowl, Jan. 6th Miami (OH) vs. Middle Tennessee St., Winner: Miami (OH). Is this over yet?

AT&T Cotton Bowl, Jan 7th Texas A&M vs. LSU Winner: LSU. The Tigers know how to win close games, and I like them finding a way to beat the Aggies.

Birmingham Bowl, Jan 8th Pittsburgh vs. Kentucky Winner: Kentucky.  Again I'm going with the SEC, and against a team that fired its coach. Joker Phillips has done a great job in his first year, and the Wildcats will be excited to play in this game.  I don't believe the Panthers will be.

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, Jan 9th Nevada vs. Boston College Winner: Nevada.  I'll take an upset. I like Chris Ault, and I don't believe Coach Spaz is going to last much longer at BC.

Tostitos BCS Championship Game, Jan. 10th, Auburn vs. Oregon. Winner: Auburn. This is Cam Newton's world, and we're all just living in it.