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NCAA College Football 2015-16 Bowl Week 4 Picks

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Fearless Rick's 2015-16 College Football Bowl Week 4 - Early Games

Rick Gagliano | January 1-2, 2016

All times Eastern - Click here for late games.

Friday, January 1

Outback Bowl, Northwestern vs. Tennessee (-8, 47 1/2), Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL, 12:00 pm ET, ESPN2 - Quite the match-up here between second-tier teams from the SEC and Big Ten. The Volunteers had one of their best seasons in years and there's reason for optimism in the land of Rocky Top.

The Vols finished up 8-4, winners of their last five straight, and the only game they lost by more than four points was a double overtime loss to Oklahoma, 31-24, and the Sooners are national championship playoffs.

Northwestern ended the regular season with a gaudy 10-2 record, though their two losses - to Michigan and Iowa - were by whopping scores. They lost 38-0 to the Wolverines and 40-10 to the Hawkeyes. They too have won five straight, making this game one of the more intriguing of bowl season. The Wildcat offense leaves much to be desired, but their defense was ranked #7 in the nation, allowing just 16.4 points per game. For that reason, they cannot be dismissed.

Prediction: Wildcats 23 Volunteers 20

Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl, Michigan (-4 1/2, 39) vs. Florida, Orlando Citrus Bowl Stadium, Orlando, FL, 1:00 pm ET, ABC - Both of these teams grew up quickly, and, if not for a few stumbles along the way, the Wolverines might be in the national championship picture. Michigan went 9-3, the losses to Utah, Michigan State and Ohio State.

Florida cruised through their SEC schedule, capturing the East division with a 71 mark in conference play. The issue for Florida is how to generate offense. They lost their last two games to Florida State, 27-2, and Alabama, 29-15, in the SEC championship. Against a Michigan defense that allowed just 17.2 ppg. (11th), it's going to be a tough slog for the Gators.

Prediction: Wolverines 30 Gators 20

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Fiesta Bowl, Notre Dame vs. Ohio State (-6 1/2, 57), U. of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ, 1:00 pm ET, ESPN - While the Buckeyes only lost one game this season (11-1), it cost them a chance at both the Big Ten title and the national championship. That 17-14 defeat at the hands of Michigan State pushed them into second place in the Big Ten East division and out of the limelight.

Notre Dame was likewise in the national championship hunt until their final game, when they were handled by Stanford, 38-36. The only other loss suffered by the Fighting Irish was a 24-22 setback at Clemson in early October.

It could be said that these two teams (along with Iowa and Stanford) would still be in the national championship hunt if the playoff standard were a bit wider, and doubtless, these are tow of the best teams in the country. Notre Dame's losses were by a total of four points. It's hard to see the Buckeyes winning by more than three.

Prediction: Fighting Irish 24 Buckeyes 23

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Rose Bowl, Iowa vs. Stanford (-6, 53 1/2), Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA, 5:00 pm ET, ESPN - Yet another game featuring two of the top teams in the country. Stanford was champion of the PAC-12 with an 11-2 mark; Iowa was 12-1, their only loss in the Big Ten championship game, a 16-13 loss to Michigan State after winning 12 straight.

Without going into specifics, it would be foolhardy to give any team with one three-point loss in a conference championship game any points, much the less six. Iowa may not win the Rose Bowl, but Stanford may not either. This should be one of the best games of this or any weekend.

Prediction: Hawkeyes 20 Cardinal 17

Allstate Sugar Bowl, Oklahoma State vs. Mississippi (-7, 67 1/2), Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA, 8:30 pm ET, ESPN - The question for the Cowboys is whether Mason Rudolph or J.W. Walsh will start at quarterback. Just days before their meeting with the Rebels, coach Mike Gundy still hasn't named a starter, but it may not matter.

Ole Miss has a defense that the Cowboys will have trouble beating, and the offense put on the field by the Rebels should shred Oklahoma State's porous secondary.

While Oklahoma State was #9 in scoring offense (41.2), Ole Miss was #12 (40.3), the difference being that Ole Miss played in the SEC while the Cowboys ripped through the largely-defenseless Big 12. To get an idea of the magnitude of this mismatch, consider that Oklahoma State allowed 29 points per game (86), while the Rebels gave up only 22.8 (36).

Prediction: Rebels 49 Cowboys 28

All times Eastern - Click here for late games

Copyright 2015, 2016, 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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