NCAA Bowl Week 2 Picks - Early Games

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NCAA Bowl Week 2 Early Games

All times Eastern

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Bowl Week 1 Results: Rick 6-3; Coin: 6-3
Cumulative: Rick: 112-118-5; Coin: 117-113-5


Wednesday, December 22

Armed Forces Bowl
8:00 pm Missouri vs. Army (-4, 56 1/2) - Missouri finished the regular season at 6-6, but were just 3-5 in SEC play, winning against Vanderbilt, Florida, and South Carolina. Notable losses were to Tennessee, 62-24, Georgia, 43-6, and Texas A&M, 35-14. The Mizzou couldn't keep up with other offenses, especially good ones, but that's not what they'll be facing against Army, which slogs the ball down the field on the ground.

The last time the Black Knights took the field they were upended by Navy, 17-13. Their 8-4 record may be a little bit questionable, as some of the wins over teams like Bucknell and UMass are not exactly resume-builders, though victories over the likes of Western Kentucky, Liberty and Air Force were OK. Why they're favored is a good question, since Missouri has a more balanced offense and the defense seems willing and improving.

Coin Flip: Missouri

Prediction: Tigers 34 Black Knights 24


Thursday, December 23

Frisco Football Classic
3:30 pm North Texas vs. Miami (OH) (-3, 55 1/2) - The Mean Green of North Texas had an unusual season, winning their opener, then losing six straight before winning their final five to reach 6-6 (5-3 in Conference USA). Hard to tell what turned them around. Maybe the 30-24 OT win at Rice sparked something, because they hammered Southern Miss the following week on the road, 38-14, and had wins over UTEP, Florida Int., and UTSA down the stretch. The UTSA win may be misleading, because the Roadrunners rested their starters for that game.

Finishing second in the MAC East, Miami was right in the mix for the championship until losing 48-47 in overtime to Kent State, knocking them out of the title game. The Redhawks were 5-3 in conference play; 6-6 overall. They were competitive in all but two games, a 49-14 loss at Cincinnati to open the season and a 23-10 defeat at Army in late September. They didn't have a 100-yard rusher all season, but are quite effective through the air and tough defensively.

Coin Flip: North Texas

Prediction: Redhawks 30 Mean Green 23


Gasparilla Bowl
7:00 pm UCF vs. Florida (-6 1/2, 55 1/2) - Since taking over the QB spot for Central Florida the first week of October, Mikey Keene is 6-3 as a starter, the losses coming against Navy, Cincinnati, and SMU, quality losses. This bodes well for the 8-4 Knights in what is considered an off year for them. They usually are good for 10 wins or more, but, going 5-3 in the up-and-coming American Athletic Conference is not too shabby. The conference champ, Cincinnati, is in the CFP, so UCF is a solid team on both sides of the ball.

Florida was 6-6 on the season, as their defense seemed to fall apart mid-season when they lost three straight, to LSU, Georgia, and were hammered, 40-17 at Both Carolina. The Emory Jones - Anthony Richardson QB rivalry didn't help matter any and has split the team's loyalties. Going 2-6 in any conference is bad, but beating just Tennessee and Vanderbilt in the SEC is criminal for a usually-proud school.

Coin Flip: Florida

Prediction: Knights 31 Gators 27



Friday, December 24

THIS GAME WAS CANCELED
Hawaii Bowl
8:00 pm Memphis (-8 1/2, 56) at Hawaii - Both teams were 3-5 in there respective conferences, but Hawaii finished 6-7 and had the worst defense in the Mountain West, while the Tigers held their own, going 3-1 in non-conference games, with wins over Nichols, Arkansas State and Mississippi State.

The Rainbow Warriors, like Memphis, had their share of blown out losses, but some surprising wins, like a 27-24 victory over Fresno State and a 38-14 win in their season finale, at Wyoming. Being home for this game and their ability to score on big plays gives them added advantages.

Coin Flip: Memphis

Prediction: Rainbow Warriors 35 Tigers 27


Saturday, December 25

Camellia Bowl
2:30 pm Georgia State (-5 1/2, 50) vs. Ball State - After a 1-4 start, Darren Grainger took over full time as the Georgia State QB and the Panthers won six of their last seven to end up 7-5, the only loss a 21-17 setback at conference champion Louisiana. They are one of four teams in bowls from the Sun Belt, where they went 6-2, and they should represent well with balanced offense and a capable defense.

Ball State enters at 6-6 (4-4 in the MAC), getting bowl eligibility with a 20-3 win over Buffalo in their regular season finale. The offense isn't particularly prolific and the run game often stalls drives. The defense has been gashed for big plays and will be vulnerable to the Panthers' scheme.

Coin Flip: Georgia State

Prediction: Panthers 34 Cardinals 21


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