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

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November 22, 2014; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins players taunt the Southern California Trojans bench before the second half at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

January 2-January 4

Armed Forces Bowl: Houston vs. Pittsburgh. Want a rarity in college football? This game might be between two teams that no longer have the head coach they had in the regular season. Houston fired Tony Levine after a 7-5 regular season. Paul Chryst, meanwhile, appears to be destined to become Wisconsin’s next head coach. No decision has been made, which makes his status for this game questionable. Boy, Pitt’s bowl practices must be extremely awkward right now. Anyways, Pitt wins because they have RB James Connor and WR Tyler Boyd (which makes you wonder how they’re 6-6). Pittsburgh 34, Houston 17

TaxSlayer Gator Bowl: Tennessee vs. Iowa. Here are two programs heading in opposite directions. Tennessee’s happy to be 6-6 and play in their first bowl since 2010. Butch Jones is doing well on the recruiting trail and he seems to be poised to have Tennessee contending for the SEC East in the very near future. Iowa, meanwhile, had yet another forgettable season, going just 7-5 and losing several games they should have won. Tennessee is close to becoming relevant in the SEC, and they very well could win the SEC East in 2015, but that’ll be after another offseason and recruiting class. The Hawkeyes take this one. Iowa 28, Tennessee 24

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Alamo Bowl: #11 Kansas State vs. #14 UCLA. Jim Mora’s Bruins were once considered a prime national title contender, but problems on the offensive line and on defense prevented UCLA from reaching their potential in 2014. A second-consecutive 10-win season is still achievable for UCLA and star QB Brett Hundley, who has to make a decision about his NFL future. Kansas State clocked in another solid season under Bill Snyder, also going 9-3 with losses against Auburn, TCU and Baylor. The Wildcats have weapons to work with, including one of America’s best wide receivers, Tyler Lockett. This is the pick I might be least confident in, as these two teams are very evenly-matched. I’ll call for this one to come down to a last-minute score. #11 Kansas State 29, #14 UCLA 24

Cactus Bowl: Washington vs. Oklahoma State. After spurning big job after big job, Chris Petersen shocked everyone by leaving Boise State for Washington, a school without a 10-win season since 2000. His first season was a roller coaster, as the Huskies started 4-0, then went 2-5 in their next 7 games before blowing out Oregon State and Washington State to end the season. Oklahoma State, meanwhile, almost suffered a complete collapse down the stretch, though 2014 was considered to be a rebuilding year from the beginning. The Pokes lost five straight games against TCU, West Virginia, Kansas State, Texas and Baylor by a combined score of 201-68, before rallying to beat Oklahoma in Norman in overtime. That win gave the program a lot of momentum, but the Huskies are the better team. Washington 31, Oklahoma State 23

Birmingham Bowl: Florida vs. East Carolina. This should be a very close game, mainly because there’s about a 0.1% chance any of Florida’s players care about this game. Will Muschamp is out, obviously, and it’s just the Birmingham Bowl. Back in the day, a trip to Legion Field was a big deal, but now, it’s almost better to just not make a bowl at all. Yes, Legion Field is that bad. I’m not joking. It’s the worst stadium in college football. It’s so bad that it helped trap UAB and kill it. Anyways, Florida has more talent than ECU, so they’ll sleepwalk to an unimpressive win against a solid Pirates team. Florida 24, East Carolina 20

GoDaddy Bowl: Arkansas State vs. Toledo. Man, Arkansas State must be sick of Mobile at this point. This marks the Red Wolves’ FOURTH-consecutive season playing in the GoDaddy Bowl. The senior class of this team has made a bowl game every season, but have only played said bowls in one stadium. Toledo is also in their fourth-consecutive bowl, but this is their first trip to Mobile. The difference in this game will be Toledo’s strong run game against the Wolves’ weak run defense. Toledo 30, Arkansas State 20

Next: Rose Bowl