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We still have the Russell Athletic Bowl still pending with our prediction being made on UL-Monroe to win by more than 7, but have gone 6-5 so far in the early bowls and are looking at .500 as the potential worst case scenarion through the first 3rd of the 2012 bowl games. As the more-televised teams start to play their bowl games we expect the predictions to improve quite a bit. Listed below is the 2nd part of our college football bowl predictions and there are some good looking games in this bunch.
Record against the point spread - year to date: 46-59
Record against the point spread in bowl games: 6-5 (with UL-Monroe -7 still pending)
Rutgers vs. Virginia Tech -1
We have to face the fact that this year's Virginia Tech team simply isn't very sound at decision making. They look good statistically but make crucial mistakes game after game. Rutgers is a team that is better at avoiding those mistakes and they'll win outright because of it.
Minnesota vs. Texas Tech -13
The Red Raiders should have no problem covering this large point spread. Texas Tech doesn't have a great defense but Minnesota can't score on anyone, and they simply don't have the defense to stop the favorite here. Look for a blowout by 24 or more.
Air Force -2.5 vs. Rice
We have two excellent offenses that will be playing against two terrible defenses in this bowl game. Both will run the ball for a million yards but ultimately we like Rice as the small underdog because they can pass if they need to, while Air Force doesn't have that facet.
Navy vs. Arizona State -14
We know that Arizona State is going to score quite a few points as they completely overmatch the Navy defense, but the question is will the Midshipmen score as well. The Sun Devils don't have a strong defense and I expect Navy to score 20 or more, but it won't be enough to cover the point spread here. Go with Arizona State.
West Virginia -3.5 vs. Syracuse
Syracuse and West Virginia both have offenses that can put up huge points, but only the Orange have a unit on the other side of the ball that resembles a defense. This high-scoring affair could go either way so you have to like the underdog.
Oregon State -3 vs. Texas
The Beavers can pass the ball very well and that has given Texas problems at times this year. The Longhorns are going up against a very good defense and I'd look for Oregon State to win by double digits by being the more complete team.
TCU -2.5 vs. Michigan State
I firmly believe that the entire Big Ten is very poor this year and you have to overlook Michigan State's defensive statistics because of the weak offenses they've faced. The Spartans are simply not as good as they have looked and TCU can score here while holding their opponent in check. The Horned Frogs roll.
N.C. State vs. Vanderbilt -7.5
Vanderbilt's offense has really taken off in recent weeks and I don't see them having any trouble scoring in this bowl game. N.C. State has a powerful passing offense but they are going up against one of the elite secondaries in college football. I don't think the Wolfpack can keep up as Vanderbilt wins by double digits.
Georgia Tech vs. USC -8.5
Georgia Tech has plenty of issues, but ultimately I can't trust USC as this large of a favorite. The Trojans' defense makes terrible reads and this run-based offense should put up points while keeping their opposition off the field. Matt Barkley isn't around to play quarterback in the bowl game so the Yellow Jackets should keep the score close.
Iowa State -1 vs. Tulsa
The Cyclones won by 15 in the early portion of the season against Tulsa, but much has changed since then. The Golden Hurricane has improved a ton on offense and should be able to score quite a bit here, while Iowa State will be squaring off against a much-improved defense. I like Tulsa to win the rematch.
Clemson vs. LSU -5.5
Clemson can't stop anyone and even LSU's troubled offense should be able to move the ball without much resistance. The Tigers can score points themselves but are going up against an elite defense and lost by 10 last week against South Carolina who I consider a slightly weaker version of the Tigers. Go with LSU to prove the SEC is once again the dominant conference in college football.