NCAA College Football Bowl Week 2 Picks - Early Games

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NCAA College Football Bowl Week 2 Early Games

All times Eastern

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Bowl Week 1 results: Rick: 5-0; Coin: 2-3
Cumulative: Rick: 104-98-1; Coin: 87-115-1

Thursday, December 24

New Mexico Bowl
3:30 pm Hawaii vs. Houston (-13, 59 1/2) - On the surface, this looks like a game that shouldn't even be played. Houston went 3-3 in the AAC, and 3-4 overall. Hawaii was 4-4, all of its games in the Mountain West conference.

Both teams surrendered more points than they scored. Houston, 228-226; Hawaii, 234-208. Ideally, neither team should be allowed to win, if only to give college football a morsel of integrity. From a handicapping standpoint, this is a complete no-brainer. Taking the points is a must.

Coin Flip: Houston

Prediction: Cougars 40 Rainbow Warriors 40, 3 OT

Friday, December 25

Camellia Bowl
2:30 pm Marshall vs. Buffalo (-3, 54) - The Bulls from Buffalo had a solid season, going 5-0 in the MAC, more than doubling the points allowed by the points scored, 287-143 over six games and a 5-1 record, the sole loss coming in the MAC championship game, 38-28, to Ball State.

On offense, the Bulls feature running back Jaret Patterson, who leads the nation with 178.7 yards per game, so it will be up to the Thundering Herd defenders to stop the run as a primary priority.

Marshall as 7-0 before losing their final two games, a 20-0 defeat by Rice, where QB Grant Wells threw five interceptions, and a 22-13 loss to UAB in the conference championship game last week. Those 22 points are the most the Herd has allowed in a single game. Their path to victory is obvious, stop Buffalo's Patterson, play solid defense as they always do, and don't turn the ball over.

Coin Flip: Buffalo

Prediction: Thundering Herd 27 Bulls 20

Saturday, December 26

First Responder Bowl
3:30 pm #19 Louisiana (-13, 57 1/2) vs. UTSA - Awarded a share of the Sun Belt title because the championship game was COVID-cancelled, Louisiana's Rajin' Cajuns went 9-1 over the course of the season, losing only to undefeated Coastal Carolina, 30-27, so they were just three points from a perfect season, which also included a 31-14 win over a quality Iowa State team in the season opener.

While the Cajuns are a quality act, UTSA finished up 7-4, second in Conference-USA's West division, but three of those losses were without regular starting QB Frank Harris, and one of those losses was by a score of 27-20 to BYU. The Roadrunners won their last three and look to be quite competitive against Louisiana.

Coin Flip: Louisiana

Prediction: Rajin' Cajuns 35 Roadrunners 30

Lending Tree Bowl
3:30 pm Western Kentucky vs. Georgia State (-4 1/2, 52 1/2) - Fans may be a little underwhelmed by the match-up of the 5-6 Hilltoppers (C-USA) and the 5-4 Panthers of Georgia State out of the Sun Belt, but the game figures to be an offensive showcase, at least for Georgia State, averaging 32.7 points per game.

Western KY only averaged 18.8 during the regular season, but it wasn't entirely their fault. They played a pretty tough schedule, including games against Louisville, Liberty, Marshall, UAB, and BYU, all of which they lost. The Hilltoppers won their final three straight and scored 38 and 37 in the last two, so this could be a surprise, or overtime, or both.

Coin Flip: Western Kentucky

Prediction: Panthers 41 Hilltoppers 38

FBC Mortgage Cure Bowl
7:30 pm #17 Liberty vs. #9 Coastal Carolina (-6 1/2, 60) - As befits their namesake, the Liberty Flames are an independent and apparently chose their opposition well enough to go 9-1 this season, averaging 38.3 ppg while allowing 19.2. Their closest games came against ACC opponents, where they topped Syracuse, 38-21, Virginia Tech, 38-35, and lost at NC State, 15-14, spoiling their perfect record in their penultimate contest.

Liberty will have to be at their best against unbeaten Coastal Carolina (11-0), because the Chanticleers just don't know how to lose. They averaged 37.5 ppg and allowed 18.7, making this game look like a toss-up on paper. As opposed to some of the bowl mismatches, it's a shame either of these deserving teams have to lose, but Coastal Carolina has gotten the job done all season and there's no reason to believe they won't again.

Coin Flip: Liberty

Prediction: Chanticleers 38 Flames 27

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