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Fearless Rick's 2013-14 College Football Bowl Week 3 - Early Games

Welcome to the very best in winning NFL and College Football picks.
Rick Gagliano | December 30-31, 2013

All times Eastern - Click here for late games.

Armed Forces Bowl, Fort Worth, TX, Dec. 30, 11:45 am, ESPN
Middle Tennessee vs. Navy (-6 1/2, 56 1/2) - The 8-4 Blue Raiders won their final five games of the season, clobbering their final three Conference USA opponents (FIU, Southern Miss, UTEP) by a combined score of 138-38, as both the offense and defense picked it up in the latter half of the schedule.

Navy, fourth nationally in rushing yards, scored 34.3 points per game, also finished 8-4, winning five of their last six, the only loss during that span a 38-34 thriller at Notre Dame. They also beat Pitt, a winner over the Irish, who just topped Bowling Green in the Little Caesar's Bowl. The Middies run the triple option to near-perfection, as displayed in their 34-7 season-ending victory over Army, so they are a true threat to the Blue Raiders, a team deficient against the run.

That known, Navy's defense is not a strength and Middle Tennessee should be able to move the ball at will along with the Midshipmen. In a game that may come down to turnovers, special teams and execution late in the game, the points appear to offer a real edge.

Prediction: Blue Raiders 34 Midshipmen 31


Music City Bowl, Nashville, TN, Dec. 30, 3:15 pm, ESPN
Mississippi (-3, 56 1/2) vs. Georgia Tech - The SEC usually gets favoritism in these cross-conference games, but the idea that the Rebels are just a field goal better than the Yellow Jackets has to raise some eyeballs.

First, Georgia Tech is a little better in the points allowed category (22.7 vs. 24.3 ppg). Second, their offense - the triple option - can really run it up if undefended, as shown in their 70-0 win over Elon and a 56-0 rout of Syracuse, a bowl team. They were 22nd in points scored, at 36.6 per game, as compared to Mississippi's 30.4.

Both teams were 7-5, though the big Yellow Jacket losses were on the road (45-30 at Miami, 38-20 at BYU and 55-31 at Clemson), while Ole Miss suffered defeat at home to Texas A&M (41-38) and Missouri (24-10) and finished their regular season with a loss at rival Mississippi State, 17-10. Overall, Georgia Tech seems a little better, and, unless the Rebels boned up on defending the triple option, the Yellow Jackets should be able to move the ball at will.

Prediction: Yellow Jackets 38 Rebels 28


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Alamo Bowl, San Antonio, TX, Dec. 30, 6:45 pm, ESPN
Texas vs. Oregon (-13 1/2, 67) - Difficult to imagine the Longhorns staying competitive in this contest past the first quarter, given their own topsy-turvy season and the retirement of head coach Mack Brown and Oregon's month-long preparation for this one game.

The Ducks missed out on playing in the PAC-12 championship and competing in a BCS game for the second straight year, but they did finish up 10-2 and really walloped more than a fair share of opponents, including wins over bowl teams like Washington (45-24), Washington State (62-38) and UCLA (42-14).

The Longhorns did well to finish 8-4 after a 1-2 start, running up a six-game win streak before faltering down the stretch with key losses to Oklahoma State (38-13) and Baylor (30-10). Texas has a so-so offense and a so-so defense and they played a so-so schedule, so they are not really up to the caliber of Oregon and the Ducks will prove that early and often.

Prediction: Ducks 49 Longhorns 23


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Holiday Bowl, San Diego, CA, Dec. 30, 10:15 pm, ESPN
Texas Tech vs. Arizona State (-14, 71 1/2) - Don't exactly know why or how these two teams were scheduled together, but mismatches happen in bowl season and this appears to be the most egregious of errors.

The Red Raiders were distinguished at 7-0 before melting down their final five games with losses to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Baylor and Texas. They lost to the Sooners by just eight points, but then were defeated by 18, 23, 29 and 25 to finish the season 7-5.

Arizona State went 8-1 in the PAC-12 and were 10-3 overall, losing twice to Stanford, 42-28 during the regular season and 38-14 in the conference championship. Their other loss was a 37-34 defeat at the hands of the Fighting Irish. The Sun Devils scored 41 points per game (9th nationally) and Texas Tech has shown no ability to stop any offense, making this possibly one of least-interesting meetings of the season.

Prediction: Sun Devils 52 Red Raiders 17

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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