From Lions to Tigers With a Touch of Orange, Fiesta and Sugar: The Other College Football Bowl Predictions

We'd first like to point out that we're absolutely exhausted after watching highlights of The Alamo Bowl. The game wasn't a great advertisement for defenses, but it was for college football and fun. If that game was a NFL game, everyone would be talking about it as being the 'Game Of The Century' -regardless of who the two teams were. Since it was Baylor and Washington, we doubt it's going to get talked about again.

Anyway, there's a lot of college football left in the New Year. Jan 2 sees some of the big SEC teams come into play, and then it's BCS, BCS and more BCS until the end of the National Championship Game (we reserve the right to say that the Game Of The Century II between LSU and Alabama was boring on Jan 9th, by the way!).

So here we go:

Jan 2

Houston vs Penn State (TicketCity Bowl, Dallas)

At first we couldn't conceal the fact that PSU was given a TicketCity Bowl berth against a team who wasn't in the SEC, but the more we thought about it, the more we liked it. After all, Case Keenum's a hell of a quarterback, and Penn State's going to have to pull out all the stops to not only deal with the Cougars offence, but also produce some points of their own. And since Penn State hasn't exactly added to its credibility in the off-season by actually finding a coach, many people are predicting a long day for the blue and white. PREDICTION: Including us. Houston wins by 7.

Nebraska vs South Carolina (Capital One Bowl, Florida)

Although we anticipate the stadium to be packed with both sets of fans, the game could be rather a long one for the neutral. Nebraska and South Carolina are not the most dynamic and interesting of offenses (we look forward to when The Clown (Jadevon Clowney) devours Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez, or on the other side when David Shaw is eaten alive by Jared Crick) but both defenses are stout. This is going to be interesting. PREDICTION: South Carolina by 3 in a defensive war.

Michigan State vs Georgia (Outback Bowl, Tampa)

Georgia isn't the second-best team in the SEC, despite the fact that it won the SEC East and played in the National Championship Game. Having said that, the Georgia fans still rabbit in your ear about how well they played in the first half against LSU - and bemoan the fact that Malcolm Mitchell somehow managed to drop a pass that would have seen the Dawgs run up a 17-0 lead. Georgia comes in facing a Michigan State who has been tough all season long. Remember - they've beaten both Wisconsin and Michigan - that's two quality opponents who would have caused some panic in the SEC this year. This IS going to be fun. PREDICTION: Georgia by 4 in a classic.

Ohio State vs Florida (Gator Bowl, Jacksonville)

The last time Florida played in a stadium in Jacksonville that was one half blue, and the other half red they disappointed. The fans won't be happy if it's twice in a row - particularly as the man watching from the other sidelines will be one Urban Meyer, who is now taking the reigns at OSU after a year away from the game dealing with stress  being a pundit for ESPN. Both sides were horrible last season. Florida was horrible because their quarterbacks couldn't get out of injury trouble and Ohio State because their players weren't able to get out of trouble at the start of the season. Watch out for OSU quarterback Braxton Miller though -he's one for the future. PREDICTION: Ohio State wins by 7 in an awful game.

Wisconsin vs Oregon (Rose Bowl, LA)

Oregon is always a lot of fun to watch nowadays, and Montee Ball and Russell Wilson has made the Badgers very watchable in 2011 (unless they are running up the score on your team - which they do). Oregon's offense is going to cause real problems for Wisconsin's 'D' - and Wilson and Ball are going to do the same to Oregon. Expect a lot of points, folks. PREDICTION: Oregon by 10 in a post-Christmas cracker.

Stanford vs Oklahoma State (Fiesta Bowl, Phoenix)

This game is going to be AWESOME. How else could you describe a night when you get to watch the NFL No.1 pick-designate (Andrew Luck) throwing against an amazing offense featuring a NFL first-round pick (Justin Blackmon) and a mature, excellent QB (Brandon Weedon) too. This is going to be fun. Oklahoma State is definitely going to struggle against Stanford's big, burly tight ends, but as we saw in the Oregon game - Stanford could well hurt against OSU's speed - which they have in abundance. PREDICTION: An absolute classic. Oklahoma State by 6.

Jan 3

Michigan vs Virginia Tech (Sugar Bowl, New Orleans)

Both sides participated in 'Games Of The Season' (Michigan's win against Notre Dame and VT's win over Miami). Both have rabid fanbases (if VT will show up for the game - because we know Michigan's will). Both have great mobile quarterbacks (Michigan's Denard Robinson and Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas). Both teams have leaky defenses, which Michigan's and VT's spending a ton of time on vacation this year. But more importantly, both sides can score points. PREDICTION: Michigan by 10, mostly thanks to Denard Robinson

Jan 4

West Virginia vs Clemson (Orange Bowl, Miami)

A note on Twitter made us giggle: "West Virginia fans be warned. All Miami bars require a shirt and shoes at all times". And apart from alienating the West Virginia fanbase with our remark, this game could be quite cool. West Virginia simply needs to get back in the National Spotlight after years of disappointment (I mean, how many times have you heard the Moutaineers being called a 'Dark Horse For The National Title' in recent years before screwing it up?), while Clemson won the ACC despite everyone wondering when they, well, would be Clemson (ie screw it up). Sammy Watkins is going to cause no end of problems for West Virginia's defense, who isn't exactly vaunted. PREDICTION: Clemson by 10 in a high-scoring game.

Jan 5

Kansas State vs Arkansas (Cotton Bowl, Dallas)

With both sets of fans really excited about being there, we just can't wait. We hope that Joe Buck doesn't drone on about Kansas State coach Bill Snyder and try and put him in the next old people's home - he's still got a few years' yet before retirement. Bobby Petrino's offense, though is something else and we look forward to seeing how KSU will be able to deal with the speed that made the Razorbacks once the No.3 team in the nation this season (they also had a 14-point lead over LSU on the road that they subsequently made). Offensively, the Wildcats' offense isn't particularly interesting, but it seems to work - ask Baylor and Oklahoma State for details. PREDICTION: Arkansas by 14

Jan 7

SMU vs Pittsburgh (Compass Bowl, Birmingham, Alabama)

Both sides were 'under the radar' this season (for that read: non-entity) on both their divisional and national scale. Both are missing their leading rushers, and both could have been playing with new coaches had June Jones NOT decided to stay at SMU instead of going to Arizona State. As you can see, we're not exactly flushing with joy at this one. PREDICTION: I go to bed and not watch this game - and SMU wins by 7 to give 'Coach Jones' his 100th collegiate victory.

Jan 8 

Arkansas State vs Northern Illinois (GoDaddy.Com Bowl, Mobile, Alabama)

Northern Illinois' offense is a lot of fun, averaging 38.3 points per game. The team has also endured their fair share of hardship, having come from 20-points down to win the MAC Championship. And this team's on a tear too - it's on an eight-game winning streak.
But get this, Arkansas State knows about tears, too. It's on a nine-game streak, and throws up 33.5 points per game.  For names to check out, look for NI's rushing/passing quarterback freak Chandler Harnish, who threw for more than 2,000 yards and rushed for another 1,000. Yes, you got the numbers right), and Arkansas State's quarterback Ryan Aplin, who threw the ball for - oh - 3,000 yards this season. This one's going to be fun. PREDICTION: Northern Illinois by 7 in a shoot-out.

Jan 9

LSU vs Alabama (National Championship Game, New Orleans)

You remember the Game Of The Century in Tuscaloosa, right? It was the game before that 9 billion articles were written, both coaches were chatted to in their cars, and every college football fan seemed much more excited about THAT game that any others. Funnily enough, if fans had actually switched over to ABC to watch the Kansas State- Oklahoma State, they would have got a more high-scoring, incident-fuelled game, whereas the game in Tuscaloosa was highlighted by bad field goal kicking and a controversial interception call that made you swear that The Mad Hatter had made a deal with the devil before going into that game. This year's National Championship Game - hopefully - will promise more of the same defensively, but we'd like something to talk about in the end-zone, too. We hope that Les Miles is going to use the mobility of Jordan Jefferson to haunt Alabama's line (they struggled when he replaced Jarrett Lee in Tuscaloosa), while we hope that Tyrann Mathieu can deal with Marquis Maze in a way that does NOT include a violent hit in the way that it did when he was facing Dre' Kirkpatrick. Anyway, this one's going to be fun. We hope. PREDICTION: Alabama by a......field goal.