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Dec
20
2014

#ACC Bowl Previews

ACC-F

It’s Bowl Season and the ACC fared very well with 11 teams qualifying for a bowl. There are some intriguing matchups for us to analyze as well. With that being said, here are some predictions!

Friday, December 26

Quick Lane Bowl

Detroit, MI

Rutgers (7-5) vs. North Carolina (6-6)

North Carolina and Rutgers meet in what should be an offensive shootout. While UNC ‘s 6-6 record doesn’t exactly scream “Competitive!,” Rutgers is 2-5 against teams with records of .500 or better which fares well for quarterback Marquise Williams and the Tar Heels.

The Tar Heels can hang their hats on victories over Duke and Georgia Tech but the Scarlet Knights are no slouch either. Junior receiver Leonte Carroo will be a popular name for Rutgers this game before it’s over as well. It also doesn’t help UNC has no defensive coordinator.

Prediction

UNC 35 – Rutgers 30

BitCoin St. Petersburg Bowl

Saint Petersburg, FL

NC State (7-5) vs. UCF (9-3)

It was a surprise to see the Wolfpack finish the season on a high note on the road dominating UNC 35-7.. UCF, however, finished on an even higher note, beating East Carolina on the final play of the game to close out their 2014 season. This game may be tough sledding for NC State as they face a UCF team that gives up only 17.9 points a game.

After starting the season 4-0, NC State struggled mightily in the conference, going 3-5. They did snap their conference losing streak of 12 games so that’s always good but UCF may be the superior opponent in this game.

Prediction

UCF 27 – NC State 20

Saturday, December 27

Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman

Annapolis, MD

Cincinatti (9-3) vs. Virginia Tech (6-6)

Since starting the season 2-3, the Cincinatti Bearcats have won 7 straight games. Since starting the season 2-0, the Virginia Tech Hokies lost 6 of their last 10 games. Needless to say, it’s been a bit of a culture shock for these two teams this season and the bowl game should be no different.

With a lot of time to rest players and game plan, this game may go in the Bear Cats. The Bear Cats are 2-2 in the last four meetings including a 27-24 victory at FedEx Field in 2012. Considering the Bear Cats are riding a wave victories into this game and the Hokies are just happy to be bowl eligible, it’s hard to pick against Cincinatti.

Prediction

Cincinatti 24 – Virginia Tech 20

Hyundai Sun Bowl

El Paso, TX

#15 Arizona State (9-3) vs. Duke (9-3)

Once upon a time, the Duke Blue Devils were in prime position to win the ACC Coastal division and face Florida State in Championship week. Since then, the Blue Devils dropped 2 must-win games and despite their 9-3 record, they missed an opportunity to gain some respect in the conference as a football team.

The Arizona State Sun Devils almost look like the Pac-12’s version of Duke. Despite dominating Arizona in their annual rivalry game, the Sun Devils couldn’t actually win the game against the Wildcats thus losing their shot at the Pac-12 South title.

With both teams at 9-3 and very similar styles of play, the game probably comes down to defense. As an ACC fan, you have to expect Coach Cutcliffe will have his players under a renewed focus after how the season played out for them as well. Expect an upset here, I’m going with the Blue Devils.

Prediction

Duke 20 – Arizona St 17

Duck Commander Independence Bowl

Shreveport, LA

Miami (6-6) vs. South Carolina (6-6)

It wasn’t too long ago that we were looking at Miami to finally “turn that corner” of success and finish atop the ACC, then they slammed on the brakes hard and lost their last 3 games. The Gamecocks haven’t fared much better but this game will speak to coaching.

Al Golden vs. Steve Spurrier. Unless you’re a Canes fan, you’re probably going to pick Spurrier. In a year where Canes fans barely cared to show up to games, one has to imagine things going South Carolina’s way here despite the talent laden Miami roster.

Prediction

South Carolina 35 – Miami 21 

New Era Pinstripe Bowl

New York, NY

Boston College (7-5) vs. Penn State (6-6)

It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster season for Boston College but this bowl matchup favors their style of ground & pound style of play. The Golden Eagles rush for an average of 251 rushing yards a game and despite their five losses, they’re still a competitive football team.

Penn State went 2-6 in the Big Ten but this is their first bowl since the fallout from the Sandusky scandal. They do have the nation’s #1 rushing defense, allowing only 85 rushing yards a game. However, Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett rushed for 219 rushing yards something that has to be in the back of BC quarterback Tyler Murphy’s head every snap.

Prediction

Boston College 20 – Penn St 17

Monday, December 29

Russell Athetlic Bowl

Orlando, FL

Oklahoma (8-4) vs. #17 Clemson (9-3)

The Clemson Tigers are 9-3 but it’s hard to ignore how different their offense looks with Cole Stoudt at quarterback. Their defense has been stellar all season though and the Sooners are 0-3 against ranked opponents this year. If Cole Stoudt can manage the game and limit the turnovers, look for Clemson to win.

The Sooners have faltered in big games, including a home loss to rival Oklahoma State. They’re finally healthy but defense isn’t their strong suit. As a run-heavy team, the Sooners may have a tough time running the ball against this Clemson defense. But what works in their favor is Cole Stoudt calling plays. This may be a rough game for Clemson but the Tigers should pull out the win.

Prediction

Clemson 21 – Oklahoma 17

Tuesday, December 30

Belk Bowl

Charlotte, NC

#13 Georgia (9-3) vs. #21 Louisville (9-3)

Rest allows Louisville’s offense to get healthy for a tough Georgia team. The Cardinal defense is one of the nation’s best, but with an inefficient offensive attack they’ve been unable to win big games. If Reggie Bonnafon can stay healthy all game, the Cardinal have a chance to upset the Bulldogs and win a big bowl game for the ACC.

Georgia is still fuming from their loss to rival Georgia Tech. Expect them to come out the gates running a lot and challenging the Cardinal rushing defense. With the talent of Nick Chubb at running back, the Bulldogs could open up the field and score a lot of points, something that doesn’t work in Louisville’s favor.

Prediction

Georgia 35 – Louisville 25

Wednesday, December 30

Capital One Orange Bowl

Miami, FL

#7 Mississippi St (10-2) vs. #12 Georgia Tech (10-3)

The Yellow Jackets had a good season, lets be honest here. After starting dropping two games to Duke and UNC in back to back weeks, they won five of their last six games before falling short against the Seminoles in the ACC Championship game. The Triple Option offense has given teams fits this year behind 333.6 rushing yards a game, but Mississippi State may be up for the challenge this game.

The Bulldogs are a good defensive team. If they can make the Yellow Jackets pass the ball, they could pull out the victory. The Yellow Jackets are without receiver Deandre Smelter who was lost to an ACL tear. If quarterback Dak Prescott can limit the turnovers, the Bulldogs could win a close one. They score a lot of points (37.2) and don’t give up many either (19.4).

Prediction

Mississippi State 30 – Georgia Tech 20

Thursday, January 1

Rose Bowl – College Football Playoff Semifinal

Pasadena, CA

#2 Oregon (12-1) vs. #3 Florida St (13-0)

The Seminoles made the College Football Playoff. They also managed to go undefeated through the regular season and are 27-0 behind quarterback Jameis Winston. The emergence of running back Dalvin Cook has allowed the Seminoles and Winston to find points when they need them. In this game, however, points won’t be at a premium. If it comes down to the last possession, the Seminoles will win. The long layoff allows for the Seminoles to get healthy and get rest, something they’ve looked to need at times all season.

The Ducks are a fast-paced offense behind newly recognized Heisman quarterback Marcus Mariota. The Seminoles haven’t faced an opponent like the Ducks all season and that could be a thing for the Ducks. The Oregon defense is without their best defensive player cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu who is lost for the season due to a knee injury. Without Ekpre-Olomu, the Oregon secondary may have a hard time adjusting but Jameis Winston is prone to turnovers as we’ve seen in the past. If they can force Winston into mistakes like they have other opponents, look out.

Prediction

Oregon 35 – Florida State 20

Friday, January 2

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

Fort Worth, TX

Houston (7-5) vs. Pittsburgh (6-6)

Pittsburgh finished the season on a high note, becoming bowl eligible in the process. However, their coach was fired, as was Houston’s. With the game being dependent on talent, one has to expect Pittsburgh and sophomore running back James Conner have the upper hand here. The Panthers should control the game from the start here, hopefully they hire a good coach.

Prediction

Pittsburgh 23 – Houston 13

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