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Fearless Rick's 2013-14 College Football Bowl Week 4 - Early Games

Welcome to the very best in winning NFL and College Football picks.
Rick Gagliano | January 1-5, 2014

All times Eastern - Click here for late games.

Gator Bowl, Jacksonville, FL, Jan. 1, Noon, ESPN2
Nebraska vs. Georgia (-9, 60) - Suffering through a season of major injuries to an assortment of offensive players, the Bulldogs earned the respect of the handicappers, who installed them as nine-point favorites against the on-and-off Nebraska Cornhuskers.

The Bulldogs finished 8-4, but a healthy team could have possibly been in contention for a national title. Georgia finished a strong 4-1 down the stretch and will have nearly their full complement of players for this meeting. Georgia's defense has been susceptible to big plays, though the Cornhuskers haven't displayed much ability to produce many.

Both teams are 8-4, but that's where the similarity ends. Nebraska lost badly to all the ranked teams it played and was stomped by Iowa in its season finale, 38-17. With Aaron Murray at QB for the Bulldogs with his fleet of receivers and backs, Georgia should dominate.

Prediction: Bulldogs 44 Cornhuskers 24

Heart of Dallas Bowl, Dallas, TX, Jan. 1, Noon, ESPNU
UNLV vs. North Texas (-6 1/2, 54 1/2) - This is one of those bowls that people complain about, matching also-rans from the Mountain West (UNLV, 7-5) and Conference USA (North Texas, 8-4), and the match-up may be a bad one as well. The Rebels finished up in strong fashion, whipping Air Force, 41-21, before ending their season at home with a 45-19 pounding of San Diego State but are otherwise undistinguished.

The Mean Green of North Texas went 6-2 in conference, winning six of their last seven games including a solid, 28-16 win over C-USA champion, Rice. Defensively, North Texas is one of the best in the country, allowing just 18.1 ppg, ninth-best in the nation. Only Georgia scored more than 27 points against them, in a 45-21 victory for the Bulldogs. Otherwise, the Mean Green was downright nasty, holding seven opponents to 16 points or less.

UNLV will be hard-pressed to reach their seasonal average of 31.3 ppg against the North Texas defenders, and, if the Mean Green can put up points early, could turn this into a rout.

Prediction: Mean Green 36 Rebels 13

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Capital One Bowl, Orlando, FL, Jan. 1, 1:00 pm, ABC
Wisconsin (-1 1/2, 51) vs. South Carolina - This is probably the best non-BCS game, as both teams were strong contenders in their respective conferences.

The 9-3 Badgers received slight favoritism, even though the Gamecocks produced a better record, going 10-2, with six wins coming against SEC foes.

Wisconsin relies on a strong running game and defense, but they'll be up against an efficient and sometimes explosive offense from South Carolina. The game will feature plenty of players who will be in the NFL within a year or two, but the Gamecocks finished on a five-game roll, topping off their win total with a 31-17 wasting of in-state rival, Clemson. Wisconsin lost to Arizona State, Ohio State and Penn State, and held seven opponents to 10 points or less.

This should be a well-played, tight contest, and hopefully, South Carolina won't need any points.

Prediction: Gamecocks 29 Badgers 24

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Outback Bowl, Tampa, FL, Jan. 1, 1:00 pm, ESPN
Iowa vs LSU (-7, 49) - The Tigers from the Bayou of LSU were one of the more highly-touted teams preseason and seemed to be on their way to a date with destiny against Alabama, but, three-point losses to Georgia and Ole Miss derailed their dreams. The Crimson Tide hammered them, 38-17, for the Tigers' third loss in the SEC and a 9-3 record overall, though LSU remains one of the most-feared teams in the country with a solid offense led by QB Zach Mettenberger and a defense that can produce losses and turnovers. LSU scored 37 points per game and allowed 22.7.

Iowa will try to keep up with the Tiger offense or limit it to less than their average, though that will be a tall task. The Hawkeyes fell off the radar after a 34-24 defeat at Ohio State dropped them to 4-3, but they won four of their last five to finish a respectable 8-4. Iowa scored at a 27.3 per game clip, and allowed 18.8, a positive spread. They get a touchdown from the Tigers and that may prove to be enough to cover in a game may turn into a defensive struggle.

Iowa was outclassed by the three best teams in the Big Ten - Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin - but should produce a strong effort against the Tigers. Special teams and turnovers will likely determine the outcome.

Prediction: Tigers 23 Hawkeyes 19

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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