Preview & Predictions for Every Bowl Game, Including the National Championship

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Nov 15, 2014; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels defensive tackle Nazair Jones (90) reacts after the game. The Tar Heels defeated the Panthers 40-35 at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

December 26

Heart of Dallas Bowl: Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech. Tim Beckman has earned another year at Illinois, as the Fighting Illini somehow squeaked out 6 wins despite not being very good on offense or defense. In their final game of the year (a 47-33 win against Northwestern), Illinois jumped out to their largest lead in any game this season… 23. That was the only game all year that Illinois led by 20+ points at any point of the game. Yet here we are, talking about this team in a bowl game. Louisiana Tech, meanwhile, was one of the most-improved teams in America this year. They started 2-3, with blowout losses to Oklahoma and Auburn and a stunning loss to FCS team Northwestern State. Since then, the Bulldogs have gone 6-2, scored 76 points in their regular season finale against Rice and had their chances to beat Marshall for the C-USA title. LTU has explosive weapons on offense (QB Cody Sokol and RB Kenneth Dixon have combined for 50 touchdowns this season). I think the Bulldogs take down Illinois in a big way. Louisiana Tech 35, Illinois 17

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Auburn vs. Texas A&M Prediction, Odds, Trends and Key Players for College Football Week 4
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  • Quick Lane Bowl: North Carolina vs. Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights had a solid first year in the Big Ten, going 7-5. However, when Rutgers fell, they fell hard. From late October to early November, against Big Ten powers Ohio State, Nebraska and Wisconsin, Rutgers lost by a combined score of 136-41. North Carolina, meanwhile, started the season ranked. However, the Tar Heels’ season unraveled, thanks to a porous defense. In their six losses, UNC allowed 47.6 PPG (70 vs. ECU, 50 vs. Clemson and Notre Dame, 47 vs. Miami). UNC QB Marquise Williams however, is a dynamic weapon (20 passing touchdowns, 12 rushing touchdowns and a receiving touchdown) who will torch the Scarlet Knights. North Carolina 49, Rutgers 21

    St. Petersburg Bowl: UCF vs. NC State. Dave Doeren’s second season in Raleigh was much better than the first, which saw the Pack go 3-9 (0-8 ACC). This year, the Wolfpack went 7-5 and ended the season without blowout wins against in-state rivals Wake Forest (42-13) and North Carolina (35-7). Florida transfer QB Jacoby Brissett has been lights-out this year, accounting for 25 touchdowns. Now, he faces a stiff UCF defense that’s 9th in the FBS in points allowed (17.9). The Knights are 9-1 in their last 10 games after season-opening losses to Penn State and Missouri. The Hail Mary win at ECU gave UCF a share of the AAC title. This should be an entertaining battle, but the Knights’ defense will be the difference. UCF 27, NC State 24

    Next: December 27