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Fearless Rick's 2013-14 College Football Bowl Week 1 - Early Games

Welcome to the very best in winning NFL and College Football picks.
Rick Gagliano | December 21-24, 2013

All times Eastern - Click here for late games.

New Mexico Bowl, Albuquerque, NM, Dec. 21, 2:00 pm ESPN
Colorado State vs. Washington State (-5 1/2, 65) - 35 games and 17 days worth of bowl games kicks off with this Mountain West vs. PAC-12 meeting. The Cougars get the nod from the Vegas oddsmakers due to their sometimes explosive offense (44 points vs. Cal; 49 points vs. Utah) which was the fourth-ranked passing offense in the country (364.5 yards per game).

At 6-6, the Cougars limp into bowl season, so the Colorado State defense may not be too concerned as all they have to do is stop the passing attack. Washington St. only gained an average of 58.7 yards per game. The Rams aren't very adept at coverage, allowing 265.4 yards passing per game, which makes this match-up all the more intriguing.

The Rams actually look much improved from the start of the season; they were 2-4 before finishing with five wins in their last seven games, including a 66-42 stomping of New Mexico and a 58-13 pounding of Air Force in their finale. Getting some points may prove prescient, as the kids from the MWC may show up their high-flying PAC-12 rivals.

Prediction: Rams 45 Cougars 35


Las Vegas Bowl, Las Vegas, NV, Dec. 21, 3:30 pm, ABC
USC (-6 1/2, 62) vs. Fresno State - Fresno State had a sensational season going, undefeated until a meeting at San Jose State ended up in a 62-52 loss. Still, the Bulldogs managed to end up 11-1 after a 24-17 win over Utah State in the Mountain West conference championship.

Led by QB Derek Carr, the Bulldogs led the nation in passing offense, going for 4917 yards (409.8 per game) and will not be stopped completely by the Trojan defense, which had its moments but also occasionally disappointed, as in their 35-14 defeat to UCLA in their final regular season game.

USC is no chump team, though, having beaten Stanford, 20-17, in their signature win of the season, but the offense can go cold as well, and motivation for this game could also be an issue. Fresno State missed out on a possible BCS invitation, but their one loss put them in an early bowl game, and the Bulldogs will be out to prove they are a high quality team.

Predicton: Bulldogs 31 Trojans 24


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Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Boise, Idaho, Dec. 21, 5:30 pm, ESPN
Buffalo vs. San Diego State (even, 53) - While the Aztecs garnered some degree of notoriety for taking Fresno State to overtime, eventually losing, 35-28, and winning seven of their last nine games, lopsided losses to UNLV (45-19), Ohio State (42-7) and Eastern Illinois (40-19) are serious mars to their overall 7-5 record.

The Buffalo Bulls labored in relative anonymity in the Mid-American conference, but compiled a solid, 8-4 record. Included were some serious routs, like 41-12 over UConn, 33-0 at Western Michigan and 44-7 over Miami (OH). They lost their season-ender to eventual MAC champion Bowling Green, 24-7, though that's not a disgrace. The Bulls actually had Ohio State on the ropes in the second half of their season opener, eventually losing 40-20, but they've proven that if they come to play, they can play with anyone.

The defenses in the Mountain West being pretty porous, Buffalo could easily run up the score on the Aztecs in a game that Vegas appears undecided upon. The Buffalo defense is also not to be disregarded. They averaged giving up just 22.3 points per game, which is in the top 1/4 of all FBS teams.

Predicton: Bulls 31 Aztecs 26


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New Orleans Bowl, New Orleans, LA, Dec. 21, 9:00 pm, ESPN
Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Tulane (-1, 50) - Remarkably, even a team that lost 52-17 at Syracuse and lost three of their final four games can finish 7-5 in Conference USA and qualify for a bowl game.

The Green Wave may be one of the weaker participants in this season's bowl crop, but they may provide a good match for Sun Belt champions, Louisiana-Lafayette, who went 8-4, won, 23-7, at their main rival, Arkansas State, and only threw in one clunker, a 30-8 defeat to South Alabama after they had already captured the conference title.

Having won eight straight during the regular season, the Ragin' Cajuns distinguished themselves with a 70-7 win over Nicholls State, and regular wins over conference opponents. Though they are not particularly strong defensively, the Cajuns are balanced and should be motivated in a game featuring some of the finest players from the deep South.

Predicton: Ragin' Cajuns 35 Green Wave 20

All times Eastern - Click here for late games

Copyright 2013, 2014, Rick Gagliano, Downtown Magazine. All rights reserved. Downtown Magazine is located in the Uinted States of America and is not affiliated with the National Football League or the NCAA. For more information, contact us here. Use of this site is for entertainment purposes only.

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