Bowl Predictions – Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Bowl prediction record: 13-12 SU, 11-14 ATS, 13-11-1 O/U

Armed Forces Bowl
California (7-5) vs. Air Force (8-5), Fort Worth, 2 p.m., ESPN
California -7 – O/U 68

Scoring Offense: California, 36.5 (22nd); Air Force, 33.6 (39th)
Rushing Offense: California, 155.7 (88th); Air Force, 322.1 (2nd)
Passing Offense: California, 368.8, (4th); Air Force, 130.6 (123rd)
Scoring Defense: California, 30.3 (88th); Air Force, 23.2 (39th)
Passing Defense: California, 251.8 (94th); Air Force, 190.4, (23rd)
Rushing Defense: California, 203.5 (104th); Air Force, 146.7, (39th)
Turnover Margin: California, +0.17 (51st); Air Force, -0.23 (87th)
Key Players: California – QB Jared Goff, 4,247 yards, 37 TDs; LB Hardy Nickerson, 100 tackles; DE Kyle Kragen, 6 TFL, 7 sacks; Air Force – QB Karson Roberts, 1,446 passing yards, 674 rushing yards, 18 total TDs; RB Jacobi Owens, 1,013 yards, 6 TDs; DE Alex Hansen, 15.5 TFL, 7.5 sacks; LB Claude Alexander, 10.5 TFL, 4 sacks; LB D.J. Dunn Jr., 12.5 TFL, 6 sacks.
Bottom line: California was very competitive in the Pac-12, but struggled with the better teams in the conference. Air Force looked great against a very average Mountain West schedule. Best predictor: California blew up the MWC champ, San Diego State, which Air Force lost to in the MWC title game. The Golden Bears’ ability to move quickly through the air at the end of the game will make the difference.  Prediction: California 38, Air Force 34.

Russell Athletic Bowl
North Carolina (11-2) vs. Baylor (9-3), Orlando, 5:30 p.m., ESPN
North Carolina -3 – O/U 68.5

Scoring Offense: North Carolina, 40.9 (10th); Baylor, 48.0 (1st)
Rushing Offense: North Carolina, 222.9 (21st); Baylor, 300.2 (4th)
Passing Offense: North Carolina, 264.0 (34th); Baylor, 304.4 (20th)
Scoring Defense: North Carolina, 22.6 (33rd); Baylor, 27.5 (69th)
Passing Defense: North Carolina, 194.5 (27th); Baylor, 232.7 (76th)
Rushing Defense: North Carolina, 216.8 (110th); Baylor, 156.3 (51st)
Turnover Margin: North Carolina +0.62 (26th); Baylor, -0.08 (74th)
Key Players: North Carolina – QB Marquise Williams (2,825 yards passing, 867 yards rushing, 32 total TDs; RB Elijah Hood (1,345 yards, 17 TDs); LB Shakeel Rashad, 110 tackles, 7.5 TFL; Baylor – QB Seth Russell (189.7 rating) (injured); QB Jared Stidham (199 rating) (injured); RB Shock Linwood (1,329 yards) (injured); WR Corey Coleman (1,363 yards, 20 TDs) (injured); LB Taylor Young (12.5 TFL); DE Jamal Palmer (14.5 TFL, 5.5 sacks); DT Andrew Billings (14 TFL, 5.5 sacks); DE Shawn Oakman (14.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks)
Bottom line: The key points here is Baylor’s key offensive players – all of whom are injured. With the full crew, the Bears might have been in the College Football Playoff. Without them, they lost to lowly Texas. Johnny Jefferson might carry the load at RB, but QB Chris Johnson simply isn’t Russell or Stidham. Baylor’s defense was left hanging against an average Texas offense. Against a good North Carolina offense and defense, they’ll simply be unable to keep up.  Prediction: North Carolina 38, Baylor 27.

Arizona Bowl
Colorado State (6-6) vs. Nevada (7-5), Tuscon, 7:30 p.m., ASN (syndicated)
Colorado State -3 – O/U 56

Scoring Offense: Colorado State, 30.2 (60th); Nevada, 26.1 (87th)
Rushing Offense: Colorado State, 195.8 (34th); Nevada, 205.6 (29th)
Passing Offense: Colorado State, 221.3 (66th); Nevada, 172.1 (112th)
Scoring Defense: Colorado State 27.2 (64th); Nevada, 27.2 (64th)
Passing Defense: Colorado State, 186.3 (19th); Nevada, 206 (41st)
Rushing Defense: Colorado State, 208.5 (108th); Nevada, 188.8 (87th)
Turnover Margin: Colorado State, -0.92 (114th); Nevada, +0.67 (21st)
Key Players: Colorado State – RB Dalyn Dawkins (805 yards, 21 TDs); WR Rashard Higgins (932 yards, 8 TDs); LB Kevin Davis (95 tackles, 14 TFL, 3 sacks); Nevada – RB Don Jackson (1,026 yards, 8 TDs); RB James Butler (1,156 yards, 8 TDs); DE Lenny Jones (10.5 TFL, 6 sacks); DE Ian Seau (15.5 TFL, 9 sacks); S Dameon Baber (6 INTs)
Bottom line: Two average Mountain West teams will line up in what amounts to one more conference game. These two didn’t face each other in the regular season, but they did play similar schedules, and fared about the same against their common competition. Both teams have great rushing offenses and terrible rushing defenses. This one will come down to the wire. Prediction: Colorado State 34, Nevada 30.

Advocare V100 Texas Bowl
LSU (8-3) vs. Texas Tech (7-5), Houston, 9 p.m., ESPN
LSU -7 – O/U 73.5

Scoring Offense: LSU, 30.7 (54th); Texas Tech, 46.6 (2nd)
Rushing Offense: LSU, 245.9, (1oth); Texas Tech, 204.8 (30th)
Passing Offense: LSU, 173.1 (111th); Texas Tech, 389.7 (1st)
Scoring Defense: LSU, 24.0 (44th); Texas Tech, 42.6 (125th)
Passing Defense: LSU, 211 (50th); Texas Tech, 268.3 (115th)
Rushing Defense: LSU, 131.5 (26th); Texas Tech, 271.8 (126th)
Turnover Margin: LSU, +0.64 (23rd); Texas Tech +0.17 (51st)
Key Players: LSU – RB Leonard Fournette (1,741 yards, 18 TDs); LB Deion Jones (10.5 TFL, 4 sacks); DE Lewis Neal (8.5 TFL, 7 sacks); S Jamal Adams (4 INTs); Texas Tech – QB Patrick Mahomes (4,283 yards, 32 TDs); Deandre Washington (1,455 yards, 14 TDs); WR Jakeem Grant (1,143 yards, 7 TDs); LB Pete Robinson (13.5 TFL, 5 sacks); S J.J. Gaines (4 INTs)
Bottom line: There may not be a greater imbalance between two bowl teams, but only if the real LSU Tigers show up for the game. Yes, Texas Tech has a great offend, 2nd best in the nation, in fact. But they also possess one of the bottom four defenses in the nation. This is the same team that posted 53 points against Oklahoma State, but still lost by 17. LSU will run the ball at will on a team that gave up more than 250 yards per game. Meanwhile, their defense will be good enough to keep the Red Raiders’ score below their own. Prediction: LSU 35, Texas Tech 27.



About Douglas Blaine

Capnpen is a writer who was a newspaper and magazine journalist in a previous life. A college journalism major, he now works as an administrator, but gets his writing fix by blogging about a variety of topics, including politics, religion, movies and television. When he's not working or blogging, Capnpen spends time with his family, plays a little golf (badly) and loves to learn about virtually anything.
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