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Bowl Pickoff (cont.)

Posted: Monday December 11, 2006 5:17PM; Updated: Monday December 11, 2006 6:19PM
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Jan. 1
No. 17 Tennessee (9-3) vs. Penn State (9-3)
This will be the last college game for one of the greatest defensive players of the past decade, Penn State's Paul Posluszny. The ferocious linebacker will play his heart out as always and help render Tennessee's running game moot, but the Nittany Lions' offense won't be able to take advantage.
Tennessee 24, Penn State 20
No. 10 Auburn (10-2) vs. No. 22 Nebraska (9-4)
Just for kicks, FOX should let Brian and Stewie from Family Guy call the action.
Stewie: "What the deuce? Nebraska appears to be lining up for an onsides kick. How dare they?"
Brian: "This reminds of that time I got kicked in the tail by Sebastian Janikowski." (Cue up random flashback)
Nebraska 26, Auburn 17
No. 13 West Virginia (10-2) vs. Georgia Tech (9-4)
No coach in the country garnered more headlines this month than Rich Rodriguez. The revered Mountaineers coach said no to Alabama and received a hefty raise. Now he needs to fix his secondary and figure out how to counter a fast defense.
Georgia Tech 24, West Virginia 21
No. 6 Wisconsin (11-1) vs. No. 12 Arkansas (10-3)
Bret Bielema was an accomplished defensive coordinator at Kansas State and Wisconsin. The 36-year-old had the smarts to lead his team to an 11-1 record in his first season as a head coach. He's probably figured this out by now, but just in case, a helpful hint: MAKE ARKANSAS PASS.
Wisconsin 30, Arkansas 28
No. 3 Michigan (11-1) vs. No. 8 USC (10-2)
And now we come to yet another lesson in bowl handicapping: Never bet on the team that feels it got shafted. The Wolverines are better than the Trojans, but whereas Michigan may be angry, the Trojans are flat-out embarrassed over the UCLA loss. There isn't a more powerful motivator.
USC 31, Michigan 30
No. 7 Oklahoma (11-2) vs. Boise State (12-0)
Boise State is a great story, but unfortunately for the Broncos, they're running into another one: The return of Adrian Peterson for what will surely be his last collegiate game. The guess here is that A.D., as he's done so many times before, will take over the game in the second half.
Oklahoma 28, Boise State 17
Jan. 2
No. 5 Louisville (11-1) vs. No. 15 Wake Forest (11-2)
Brian Brohm has led the Cardinals to a 17-3 record as a starter and has thrown for more than 6,000 career yards, but this is really his first bowl game (he threw five passes in the 2004 Liberty Bowl and missed last year's Gator Bowl). Wake's defense is tough, but I smell a big game from Brohm.
Louisville 27, Wake Forest 20
Jan. 3
No. 4 LSU (10-2) vs. No. 11 Notre Dame (10-2)
It's a rematch of the 1997 Poulan/Weed Eater Independence Bowl, in which Rondell Mealey and the Tigers ruined Irish QB Ron Powlus' last collegiate game, beating the Irish 27-9. The state of Louisiana doesn't figure to be much kinder to Brady Quinn, who's likely to be engulfed by LSU's pass-rushers all night.
LSU 38, Notre Dame 27
Jan. 6
Western Michigan (8-4) vs. Cincinnati (7-5)
This will be the first exposure to college football for many of the Canadians in attendance, and boy are they going to be confused. The Cincinnati coach, he coached the other team, right? No, he coached Central Michigan. That's different than Western Michigan Umm ... not sure.
Western Michigan 23, Cincinnati 17
Jan. 7
Ohio (9-4) vs. Southern Miss (8-5)
It's been 28 years since the Bobcats last reached a bowl game. If only OU had thought sooner to hire a head coach who'd spent 30-plus years at one of the nation's most respected programs, won 75 percent of his games as a head coach and led a team to the national championship game.
Southern Miss 26, Ohio 22
Jan. 8
No. 1 Ohio State (12-0) vs. No. 2 Florida (12-1)
I can't reveal this pick just yet, but if my thought-process mirrors that of my final AP ballot, as well as most coaches and Harris voters, I'll probably spend most of the next month espousing the virtues of one team, then, the night before the game, pull a 180 and anoint the other team.
Check back Jan. 8


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