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

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Oct 4, 2014; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers running back Cameron Artis-Payne (44) gets past LSU Tigers safety Rickey Jefferson (29) at Jordan Hare Stadium. Auburn beat LSU 41-7. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

New Year’s Day

Outback Bowl: #18 Wisconsin vs. #19 Auburn. To be honest, neither team probably wants to be here. Wisconsin is fresh off a 59-0 stomping by Ohio State, Gary Andersen is gone (so in comes Barry Alvarez, again) and Melvin Gordon’s already making his NFL Draft plans. Auburn struggled down the stretch, firing defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson. Will Muschamp is in at Auburn now, but he won’t coach the bowl game. Charlie Harbison will serve as Auburn’s interim defensive coordinator against the Badgers. Both teams love to run the ball. The Tigers lead the SEC in rushing (258.5 YPG) while Wisconsin has the nation’s 4th-best rushing attack (314 YPG), led by Heisman finalist Melvin Gordon (2,336 yards and 26 TDs). This will be a close, high-scoring affair, but Nick Marshall, Cameron Artis-Payne, Sammie Coates and others on their way out will refuse to finish their careers with a loss. #19 Auburn 37, #18 Wisconsin 34

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Auburn vs. Texas A&M Prediction, Odds, Trends and Key Players for College Football Week 4
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  • Cotton Bowl: #5 Baylor vs. #8 Michigan State. Oh, yes. The classic offense vs. defense game. Baylor has been lighting up the scoreboard all year, scoring almost 49 points per game. Michigan State’s defense has been strong this year (12th in scoring defense, allowing 19.9 PPG). A concerning stat for Michigan State, though, is that in their two games against elite offenses, they allowed Oregon to score 46 points and Ohio State to score 49 points. The game’s in Arlington, too, so it will be a home-field advantage for Art Briles and company. However, Mark Dantonio is a great motivator and he and DC Pat Narduzzi have a month to prepare for Baylor’s scoring machine. The Spartans’ offense has flown under the radar all year, averaging 43.1 points (7th in the FBS) and 496.5 yards (14th in the FBS) per game. Michigan State has the ability to slow down Baylor’s offense. I’m not sure Baylor has the defense to slow down Michigan State’s powerful offense. #8 Michigan State 42, #5 Baylor 35

    Citrus Bowl: #16 Missouri vs. #25 Minnesota. If I had to summarize Missouri’s 2014 season in a word, that word would be, “Wut?” The Tigers went 10-2, won the SEC East and Gary Pinkel was named SEC Coach of the Year. The defense was dominant. Yet, there was something off about the Tigers. When they won, it was close. When they lost, it was in a big way (i.e. losing at home to Indiana or being shut out 34-0 by Georgia). The gap between the SEC West and the SEC East showed itself (yet again) as Mizzou was crushed 42-13 in the SEC Championship Game by Alabama. Now, the Tigers face 8-4 Minnesota, which almost won its division and has a solid defense along with one of the nation’s best running backs, David Cobb. Jerry Kill has done a fantastic job in Minneapolis. This game’s almost too close to call, so I’ll go with the more reliable offense. #25 Minnesota 23, #16 Missouri 20

    Next: January 2-4