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BOWL PREVIEW 2011
ANDY STAPLES
December 19, 2011
SI's pick for the BCS championship game won't be revealed until the Jan. 9 issue, but here's how the 34 other bowl games will turn out
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December 19, 2011

Bowl Preview 2011

SI's pick for the BCS championship game won't be revealed until the Jan. 9 issue, but here's how the 34 other bowl games will turn out

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The Yellow Jackets, who averaged 316.8 rushing yards behind QB Tevin Washington, were dominated by Georgia in the season finale, and they're about to face another stout run D: Utah held six teams to fewer than 100 rushing yards. On the other side of the ball, the Utes will rely on QB Jon Hays, who transferred from Nebraska-Omaha after the Mavericks dropped football last March. Prediction: Georgia Tech 31, Utah 27

FIGHT HUNGER Dec. 31 | 3:30 p.m. | San Francisco

ILLINOIS (6--6) versus UCLA (6--7)

The Illini limped to the finish, losing their final six and costing Ron Zook his job. UCLA backed into the Pac-12 title game after a 50--0 beatdown by USC, costing Rick Neuheisel his job. As the fans in San Francisco ponder Who's the least worst? Illini receiver A.J. Jenkins (84 catches, 1,196 yards, seven TDs) and defensive end Whitney Mercilus (14½ sacks) will lead Illinois to its first win since Oct. 8. Prediction: Illinois 30, UCLA 17

LIBERTY Dec. 31 | 3:30 p.m. | Memphis

CINCINNATI (9--3) versus VANDERBILT (6--6)

Vanderbilt quarterback Jordan Rodgers hasn't been quite as successful as older brother Aaron, but he has combined with tailback Zac Stacy to create a potent offense. That Commodores combo will have to outduel Cincinnati's Munchie Legaux, who replaced the injured Zach Collaros on Nov. 12 and has five touchdowns against just two interceptions in successive wins over Syracuse and Connecticut. Prediction: Cincinnati 32, Vanderbilt 24

CHICK-FIL-A Dec. 31 | 7:30 p.m. | Atlanta

AUBURN (7--5) versus VIRGINIA (8--4)

The Cavaliers haven't played in a bowl since the 2007 Gator, while Auburn won the BCS championship game last January. This season the Tigers struggled with a young team that included a true freshman at center (Reese Dismukes) and a rotating cast at quarterback. Those signal-callers will need to be careful when they throw in the direction of Virginia cornerback Chase Minnifield, an All-ACC selection. Prediction: Auburn 21, Virginia 18

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