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Bowl Game Pick 'Em: Picking & Ranking All The Games

Mario Puig

Mario Puig

Mario sets the direction of RotoWire's college football and NFL draft content, with his other responsibilities primarily resting in those same subjects. He's a fan of Ishmael Butler, James Harrison and David Bowie.

Iím putting together this list based on the 35-point confidence point system (assigning 35 points to my most confident pick, 1 to the least). Hopefully itíll be fairly self-explanatory.

Questions/criticisms of the rationale in the comments are encouraged and appreciated. Itíd also be cool if you told me how smart I am.

35. Oklahoma over Connecticut (Fiesta Bowl, January 1st)

Quarterback Zach Frazer just isnít good enough to keep Connecticut in this one, and whatever damage running back Jordan Todman can do to the Sooners defense wonít be able to keep up with Landry Jones, DeMarco Murray and Ryan Broyles.

34. Boise State over Utah (MAACO Bowl, December 22nd)

Thereís no way Boise State loses this one, no matter how many sub-30-yard field goals Kyle Brotzman misses. Utah got beat decisively by Notre Dame, got nuked by TCU, and just barely beat teams like San Diego State and BYU. This shouldnít be particularly close.

33. Maryland over East Carolina (Military Bowl, December 29th)

Marylandís disastrous 2-10 season in 2009 had it looking very possible that coach Ralph Friedgen would make a disgraceful exit from his longstanding position at the university, but he deserves credit for turning things around this year. The Terrapins finished 8-4 and the program appears to be on the upswing, largely because they may have found a star in redshirt freshman Danny OíBrien. OíBrien finished with 23 total touchdowns versus six interceptions despite basically playing in just nine games.

East Carolinaís offense is dangerous, as all of quarterback Dominique Davis, running back Jonathan Williams and wideouts Lance Lewis and Dwayne Harris have put up big numbers this year. But the Pirates defense was shockingly bad in 2010, allowing 43.4 points per game.

Marylandís vicious pass defense should hold the Pirates Air Raid attack in check, but the same canít be said for the hopeless East Carolina defense against OíBrien and company, especially since the game is being played in Washington, D.C.

32. Nebraska over Washington (Holiday Bowl, December 30th)

These teams already faced off once this year, and it was a laugher as Nebraska cruised to a 56-21 victory. Washington has a bit more hope this time around as quarterback Taylor Martinez might still be a bit gimpy with turf toe and ankle issues, but I have trouble seeing how it will change much. Running backs Roy Helu and Rex Burkhead alone will be able to provide the necessary offensive output for Nebraska, while the Cornhuskersí pass defense should once again prove too much for Jake Locker.

31. Hawaii over Tulsa (Hawaii Bowl, December 24th)

With a huge home-field advantage, a loss for Hawaii would be devastating. The Warriors were able to take down Nevada in their home stadium, so it would hardly be surprising if they took this one with a double-digit margin. This is probably the best Hawaii team since the 2006 squad that whooped a 7-5 Arizona State team in the 2006 Hawaii Bowl.

30. Alabama over Michigan State (Capitol One Bowl, January 1st)

The Spartans are a nice feel-good story and everything and they certainly did earn every bit of praise theyíve received this year, but they just donít have the talent to match a team like Alabama. The Spartans might be able to keep up for a half or so, but this one should be concluded by the end of the third quarter.

29. Georgia over UCF (Liberty Bowl, December 31st)

UCF should probably be in the ACC or Big East instead of Conference USA, but I still think theyíll be significantly overmatched against the Bulldogs, who are significantly better than their 6-6 record might lead you to believe. Redshirt freshman Aaron Murray might be the most underrated quarterback in the country, and itís doubtful that the Golden Knights will be able to do much to stop A.J. Green at wideout. True freshman quarterback Jeff Godfrey looks like a star for UCF, but he hasnít seen a defense nearly as good as Georgiaís, and he could be in for a rough day.

28. Texas Tech over Northwestern (TicketCity Bowl, January 1st)

If Texas Tech had to face Dan Persa (Achilles) and the game wasnít being played in Texas, this wouldnít be nearly as easy of a call. But Northwestern just doesnít have the defensive talent to match the speed of the Red Raider offense, and the Northwestern offense, led by a quarterback timeshare between a redshirt freshman (Evan Watkins) and a true freshman (Kain Colter), is not particularly intimidating.

27. SMU over Army (Armed Forces Bowl, December 30th)

SMU gets a boost because itís basically a home game (played in Dallas), but Army should be overmatched regardless of location.

SMU lost by seven points on the road against Navy earlier this year, but Army in Dallas shouldnít be as much of a challenge. Expect Army to put up some points and keep up for most of the game, but SMUís well-rounded and fast offense should outrun the Army defense before the end.

26. Florida over Penn State (Outback Bowl, January 1st)

Florida is nowhere near its past standards, but itíd still shock me if they lost this game.

Even if the Gators went with the Bourbon Bowl strategy (punt every play), I bet they would have a 50/50 shot at winning. The game is being played in Tampa, and the Gator defense is very opportunistic when itís well-rested. With their last game having been played on November 27th, they should have plenty of energy.

But since the Gators probably wonít punt every play, itís worth considering what effect their offense might have. Given how bad the Penn State defense has been this year (19 touchdowns to nine interceptions in pass defense while allowing 4.5 yards per carry), the Florida offense should find moderate success in this one, and that should be enough.

25. Wisconsin over TCU (Rose Bowl, January 1st)

On paper, this is a very interesting matchup. I think the strengths of both teams face off against weaknesses of the other.

TCUís defense can force turnovers if the Badgers throw it too much, but itís doubtful that the Horned Frogs can smother the Wisconsin ground attack if the Badgers have the luxury of taking their time on offense. If the entirety of the 2010 season is any indication, itís doubtful that Wisconsin will test their luck by throwing any more than they have to.

The TCU offense in general should have an advantage against the Wisconsin defense, which isnít as good as you might expect. If TCU can keep quarterback Andy Dalton safe in the pocket, the fast and deep group of Horned Frog receivers can definitely run circles around the Badger secondary. Even the running game, led by Ed Wesley, can tear through the Badgers if theyíre not careful.

In the end, however, I think Wisconsin should win this because theyíll be more able to keep the TCU offense off the field than vice versa. I just donít see the TCU defense holding up against the Wisconsin offensive line. As long as Wisconsin avoids turning the ball over and doesnít give up special teams touchdowns (which is hardly a guarantee, as TCUís return teams are elite), I think theyíll turn the corner in the 4th quarter by exhausting the Horned Frogs defense.

24. Missouri over Iowa (Insight Bowl, December 28th)

I originally had Iowa for this one, but that team seems to be a mess right now. Starting running back Adam Robinson is suspended for the game, former starting wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos got kicked off the team due to a variety of disturbing drug offenses, former starting running back Jewel Hampton is bailing on the program, and everything in general just doesn't seem right with them. It'd be remarkable if Kirk Ferentz could get these guys to win despite all these distractions, not to mention being without Robinson and DJK.

23. South Carolina over Florida State (Chick-fil-A Bowl, December 31st)

South Carolina is a goofy team that can beat or lose to just about anyone, but Iím guessing Spurrier will take this matchup personally and make sure his players get the job done.

I doubt whether Christian Ponder (elbow) is able to play will make much of a difference. I donít think heís that much better than E.J. Manuel, anyway, and I think whichever one plays might take a beating due to Florida Stateís likely inability to run the ball.

The main reason South Carolina should win comes back to the running game. The South Carolina run defense is tough, and Florida Stateís backfield is beat up. On the other side, Marcus Lattimore should be able to have success on the ground, allowing Spurrier to control the tempo of the game.

22. Mississippi State over Michigan (Gator Bowl, January 1st)

This is a tough one to guess. All Ďdefense-optionalí matchups tend to be that way.

The only reason that I feel like I can distinguish the Bulldogs from the Wolverines in this one is because I think Mississippi State is going to run the ball almost literally at will. I think Michigan will put up big yardage numbers and probably go over 30 points, but I just canít see the Wolverines even remotely slowing down the rushing attack of quarterback Chris Relf and running backs Vick Ballard and LaDarius Perkins.

I can see the Bulldogs defense giving Michigan at least a little bit of trouble in short-yardage situations, but I canít see the same happening in the opposite scenario. One failed third-down conversion might seriously be all it takes to make the difference in this one.

21. Arkansas over Ohio State (Sugar Bowl, January 4th)

I gave a bit of a preview of my thoughts on this game in the individual fantasy rankings article (http://www.rotowire.com/cfootball/showArticle.htm?id=11344), but Iíll have to finally pick a side here.

I expect this game to be close, but I just donít have the guts to pick against Arkansas with how good their offense has been since installing Knile Davis at running back. They quite simply seem capable of running and throwing against anyone. While I think the Buckeyes might be able to contain the running game or the passing game, I donít think they can accomplish both, and I think whichever aspect they necessarily neglect will burn them badly.

The Razorbacks are three-deep with wideouts who could be No. 1 receivers for a lot of teams (Cobi Hamilton, Jarius Wright and Joe Adams), and Ryan Mallett can get it to them just about anywhere on the field. Tight end D.J. Williams is a pesky receiving threat on the short and intermediate routes, complementing the more vertical orientation of the wideouts.

When you factor in Davis and his ridiculous production (1,183 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground despite starting just six games), I just donít see how theyíre going to be stopped, or even slowed. It also doesnít hurt the Razorbacks that the game is being played in the Deep South (New Orleans).

20. Troy over Ohio (New Orleans Bowl, December 18th)

This sort of matchupóteams that were good in low-quality conferences from drastically different regionsó is always a dangerous one to call. Itís difficult to know where to start.

The only place we can start with these two teams provides no answer at allóboth faced Louisiana-Lafayette at their respective homes during the regular season, and both teams won by one touchdown.

It seems safe to say that Ohioís defense is significantly better than Troyís. But it also seems safe to say that Troyís offense is much better than Ohioís.

The reason I like Troy to come ahead in that cancel-out is this: the Trojans can get to the quarterback, even if they canít cover his receivers. Jonathan Massaquoi and Mario Addison combined for 19 sacks this year, and Ohio quarterback Boo Jackson is quite turnover prone.

I think what will separate these two teams is Troyís ability to run consistently with Shawn Southward, DuJuan Harris and Chris Anderson, and their ability to make Jackson make mistakes with their pass rush. It also is nice to have a top-tier playmaker like wideout Jerrel Jernigan on their side.

19. Kentucky over Pittsburgh (BBVA Compass Bowl, January 8th)

Itís tough to guess how one of the best Big East teams will compare to one of the mediocre SEC squads, but there are a few conclusions it seems safe to reach.

One conclusion is that Pittsburghís defense is pretty good. They allowed just 6.1 yards per pass attempt this year and allowed just 3.5 yards per rush attempt. Defensive ends Jabaal Sheard and Brandon Lindsey combined for 19 sacks on the season, so they can get to the quarterback, too.

Another safe conclusion is that the Kentucky defense is bad. How bad? They allowed 10 points to Akron. Not good.

But I think Kentucky has the upper-hand in this game for a couple reasons. The first is that they arenít a team the just got rid of its head coach, and they donít have any star players on offense that recently blasted the teamís offensive coordinator and starting quarterback. Thanks to Jon Baldwin, the same canít be said of Pittsburgh.

The second reason is that the Kentucky offense is much better than Pittsburghís. Randall Cobb is an ace of all trades, while Derrick Locke is one of the countryís most underrated running backs. Chris Matthews is a big, dangerous receiver who should mirror whatever impact Baldwin has for Pitt.

Kentucky might be without quarterback Mike Hartline, who was arrested on December 10th for alcohol-related shenanigans, but backup Morgan Newton should be able to replace him adequately, as Hartline was never anything more than average at best.

18. Boston College over Nevada (Fight Hunger Bowl, January 9th)

Itís difficult for me to pick a Boston College team that averaged fewer points scored than it did points allowed over a team that just beat Boise State, but itís even harder for me to pick a Nevada team that lives and dies with the running game against the best run defense in the country.

The Eagles were the only team in the country who allowed less than 1,000 yards on the ground this year, or last year, for that matter. I just donít see quarterback Colin Kaepernick and running back Vai Taua finding success against that.

On the other hand, I can see running backs Montel Harris and Andre Williams wearing down the Wolf Pack defense.

Thatís all it comes down to for me in this one. One team should be able to run it, the other shouldnít.

17. Miami (FL) over Notre Dame (Sun Bowl, December 31st)

Notre Dame has the advantage of playing with their original head coach in this one, but I think the talent differential between the two teams will be too much.

The Irish are playing this without their top quarterback (Dayne Crist), running back (Armando Allen) and tight end (Kyle Rudolph), and the Hurricanes defense can be quite disruptive, particularly against the pass. The following pass defense stats are just absurd: 49.3 percent of passes completed, 5.9 yards per attempt, seven touchdowns and 16 interceptions.

For the Miami offense, the plan should just be to give the ball to Lamar Miller, Damien Berry and Mike Jamesóconstantly. Particularly Miller.

16. Clemson over South Florida (Meineke Bowl, December 31st)

This one should be ugly. Neither team can throw the ball, neither team has a particularly strong running game, and both teams have pretty good defenses.

The only reason Iím going with Clemson is because they at least have a few hints of star talent, and because the game is being played in Charlotte.

South Florida is basically a team full of no-names that play with solid fundamentals under the direction of their up and coming coach (Skip Holtz), while Clemson at least has perhaps the nationís top defensive player in defensive lineman DaíQuan Bowers, as well as standouts like DeAndre McDaniel and Rashard Hall in the secondary.

15. Georgia Tech over Air Force (Independence Bowl, December 27th)

Thereís no doubt that Air Force is a dangerous and impressive team, but this curious showdown between option offenses, I think, has to favor the team with the huge recruiting advantage.

Air Force is capable of taking this one, but three and four star recruits are considered standout talents for a reason. Theyíre expected to and usual do simply overpower and outrun than the type of guys that make up the Air Force squad.

Itís hard not to root for Air Force here, but itís also hard to feel optimistic for them.

14. Texas A&M over LSU (Cotton Bowl, January 7th)

I see Iím in a vast minority with this pick (81 percent of Yahoo! players are taking LSU), but I think the Aggies match up very well with LSU.

Thereís little doubt that the Tigers have more brute strength, but I think the rigid nature of their offense will bite them in this one. They simply canít throw the ball against decent defenses, and Texas A&Mís defense has been surprisingly strong this year. They're allowing just 3.3 yards per carry on defense to go along with just 5.9 yards per attempt through the air.

That leads me to believe theyíll have the luxury of stacking against the Stevan Ridley-led running game, leaving the weak quarterback duo of Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee with the task of making the big plays.

The LSU defense is hardly a good matchup for the Aggies offense, but I do like the fact that A&M has more options on offense than LSU does. Known as a passing team heading into this year, itís actually running back Cyrus Gray who has become the focal point of the offense. He's been an absolute killer since taking over the starting running back spot, and he comes into the game with six straight games of at least 100 yards on the ground, including a 223-yard performance against Texas in the regular season finale.

If LSU sells out on the run to slow down Gray, quarterback Ryan Tannehill might be just good enough to move the ball sufficiently through the air, in no small part because of A&Mís extremely talented group of wideouts.

13. Oklahoma State over Arizona (Alamo Bowl, December 29th)

Although I was big believer in the Cowboys before this season, Iím for some reason distrustful of them in this one.

Quarterback Nick Foles has been playing great for Arizona lately, and I suspect Arizona will be able to push the 30-point mark in this game, if not more.

While I would normally be fully confident that the Cowboys would outdo that pace, Iím a bit concerned that quarterback Brandon Weeden might have trouble with Arizonaís surprisingly tough pass rush, which is led by defensive end Ricky Elmore, who has 21.5 sacks the past two years (11 this year).

Weeden can get a bit goofy when heís pressured, so I think a key for Oklahoma State is to get running back Kendall Hunter going in this one, both to keep the Arizona defensive linemen tired and to keep the pressure off Weeden. If they have to rely on anyone but Justin Blackmon in the passing game, I think theyíre asking for trouble.

Still, I see a lot more firepower with the Cowboys, and I think they should win this one by at least seven if they avoid turnovers.

12. Louisville over Southern Mississippi (Beef ĎOíBradyís Bowl, December 21st)

Southern Mississippi is probably more talented than your typical Conference USA squad, but I think their lack of a strong defense will burn them in this game.

Louisville will probably give up a decent amount of rushing yardage to the talented Kendrick Hardy, but the Cardinalsí pass defense is very tough. I donít think quarterback Austin Davis is in for a good day.

On the other hand, I doubt Southern Missí defense can stop any part of the Louisville offense, especially star running back Bilal Powell. Powell has been a monster all year, and itís doubtful that the Golden Eagles can stop him even if they sell out on the run. But since theyíll have no choice but to try, it should open things up for the Louisville passing game, particularly if starting quarterback Adam Froman (thigh) is ready to play.

11. West Virginia over North Carolina State (Champs Sports Bowl, December 28th)

This is a tough one to call, and the outcome will depend mostly on what version of each team shows up in this game.

If itís the early-season Mountaineers against the early-season Wolf Pack, then North Carolina State has the advantage. If itís the late-season Mountaineers against the late-season Wolf Pack, then West Virginia has the advantage. Thereís obviously a time gap between the last week of the regular season and this game, but I have to tend toward the late-season version of both teams just because of proximity.

Another reason I gravitate toward West Virginia in this one is because I think their personnel matches up favorably against the Wolf Pack. North Carolina Stateís heart and soul is quarterback Russell Wilson, and Wilson has his bad days when he faces good pass rushes. The Wolf Pack offensive line just canít protect him on those days.

West Virginia has quietly allowed just 12.8 points per game this year, and a lot of that has to do with the team's pass rush, which totaled 40 sacks this year. Bruce Irvin and Julian Miller in particular are dangerous edge rushers, totaling 20 sacks between them.

Another point in West Virginiaís favor is that North Carolina Stateís pass defense is not good. Mountaineer quarterback Geno Smith, on the other hand, is quite good. Look for him to have success, and look for Russell Wilson to have slightly less.

The only reason this one isnít easier to call is because Wilson is such a gamer. Itís just not easy to count him out.

10. Navy over San Diego State (Poinsettia Bowl, December 23rd)

I previously went with San Diego State here, but now I need to go with Navy. San Diego has had some ridiculous flooding just about wreck the field that the two teams are playing on, meaning that downfield passing games might have trouble working. That helps Navy, a lot. Ricky Dobbs and company might have an advantage if this game comes down to running game versus running game.
9. Stanford over Virginia Tech (Orange Bowl, January 3rd)

Iím approaching this one with caution, but most people are confidently backing Stanford (79 percent on Yahoo!). I think both of these teams match strengths with strengths, and I think both are quite strong in those regards, so Iím a bit indecisive here.

Iím especially curious to see what effect Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams might have on this game with a few extra weeks for his bad hamstring to heal. Williams was shockingly good in 2009, but he was only decent this year, largely due to that injury.

You also canít underestimate the importance of the experience differential between coaches Frank Beamer (Virginia Tech) and Jim Harbaugh (Stanford). A game of this scale is something a bit new for Harbaugh, and it could present some unanticipated challenges. Beamer, however, is unlikely to flinch or get caught off guard in this particular setting.

Still, I canít bet against Stanford. I think both teams will move the ball well in this game, and the score should be close. What it will come down to, I think, is who plays better between Andrew Luck and Tyrod Taylor. Taylor is capable of making great plays, but the fact that Luck is more reliable makes me inclined to pick Stanford.

8. Oregon over Auburn (BCS National Championship, January 10th)

The most important factor for Auburn in this game wonít be Cam Newton. Heís an absolute constantóhe will lead Auburn to at least 30 points.

The critical variable for Auburn will be defensive tackle Nick Fairley. He needs to kill at least one or two drives by himself to stop Oregon from keeping pace with Newton, I think. I think heís entirely capable of doing it, but Iím not so confident that Iíd pick Auburn over Oregon.

The rest of the Auburn defense just isnít good enough to make the necessary impact, or at least it hasnít been to this point all year. If Darron Thomas and LaMichael James have all the time they need to execute their various misdirections and option tosses, I think Oregon can match Newton step for step.

The reason I ultimately side with Oregon is because I think they have a defense and special teams group that is more opportunistic than the Auburn counterparts. Despite the pressure that Fairley provided all season, Auburn intercepted just 10 passes. Oregon intercepted 20. They also returned five punts for touchdowns.

Oregonís defense might be the fastest one that Newton has seen all year. The Tigers should be able to overpower Oregonís defense, but if they get cute, and theyíll probably need to at least a couple times if they want to pull away from the Ducks offense, then the Ducks defense is a huge threat to make them pay for it.

7. Tennessee over North Carolina (Music City Bowl, December 30th)

I think these teams mostly cancel out from a talent standpoint, and Iím largely going with Tennessee just because the game is in Nashville.

True freshman quarterback Tyler Bray is looking really good for Tennessee. He only completed 54.7 percent of his passes this year, but when that includes an average of 8.6 yards per attempt and 14 touchdowns to seven interceptions, it's more than acceptable. With an incredibly talented group of wideouts to throw to in Denarius Moore, Gerald Jones, Justin Hunter and the like, as well as a mean running game provided by Tauren Poole, I think Bray should lead Tennessee past the 30-point mark.

Of course, Tennesseeís weak defense could easily see to the same result for North Carolina. T.J. Yates is hardly special, but he should have a good game throwing to emerging star receiver Dwight Jones. Also, Anthony Elzy is an underrated runner who is a major threat to catch passes out of the backfield.

But in the end, the home-field advantage and Tennesseeís explosiveness on offense makes the difference for me in this one.

6. BYU over UTEP (New Mexico Bowl, December 18th)

Ugh. What an unfortunate game this is.

Anyway, I think you have to go with BYU in this one because they improved quite a bit in the second half of the season. The run defense allowed under 3.5 yards per carry in each of the team's final six games, and UTEP quarterback Trevor Vittatoe can be a bit mistake prone.

I think BYU takes this one because theyíll be able to run the ball effectively with J.J. Di Luigi, whereas UTEP will struggle to run it. But I doubt Iíll watch to find out if Iím right.

5. Fresno State over Northern Illinois (Humanitarian Bowl, December 18th)

This could be a fairly entertaining game.

The Northern Illinois offense, led by quarterback Chandler Harnish and running back Chad Spann, is capable of steamrolling many defenses. Fresno Stateís run defense is not particularly impressive, so the Huskies should be able to put up some points in this one.

But Iím just slightly more confident in Fresno Stateís ability to move the ball on the ground in this one. Robbie Rouse (hand/ribs) is apparently almost fully healthy for this one, and thatís a big deal. He burned Nevada for over 200 yards on the ground, so I think he can run well against the Huskies.

4. Baylor over Illinois (Texas Bowl, December 29th)

Playing in Houston canít hurt Baylor in this one, neither can the fact that Illinoisí quarterback, Nathan Scheelhaase, is a redshirt freshman.

But this should be close, I think. Mikel Leshoure is a monstrous runner for Illinois, and the Baylor defense is not particularly adept at stopping anything. And while Robert Griffin is one of the nationís absolute best quarterbacks and running back Jay Finley was extremely productive during the second half of the season, the Illinois defense shouldnít be underestimated.

Still, I think Finley can match Leshoureís numbers in this one, and I think Griffin can easily outdo Scheelhaase. The main reason that I have this one ranked so low is because of how bad Baylorís defense is, as well as the fact that Iíve never been impressed with the game management of Baylorís coaches.

3. Florida International over Toledo (Little Caesars Bowl, December 26th)

Toledo receiver Eric Page is one of my favorite players in college football, but I think Florida International just has the better athletes in this one. Page might be able to will Toledo to about 21 points, but I think the FI offense will have the advantage due to a more reliable running game and the presence of the explosive T.Y. Hilton in the return and receiving game.

I ranked this game low because the game is being played in Detroit, which could cause some weirdness for FI, and because these games just have a habit of being unpredictable in general.

2. Middle Tennessee State over Miami (OH) (GoDaddy.com Bowl, January 6th)

Miami (OH) has been impressive lately, with two dangerous wideouts in Armand Robinson and Nick Hartwell putting up big numbers, as well as a BCS talent in running back Thomas Merriweather running wild.

But I have to go with Middle Tennessee State, just because of the old Ďsouthern states over northern statesí copout. Someone like Middle Tennessee quarterback Dwight Dasher, miserable as he was all season, would put up gigantic numbers in the MAC (see: Alex Gillett).

1. Syracuse over Kansas State (Pinstripe Bowl, December 30th)

This one is kind of difficult to justify, but hereís the best I have:

First, the game is being played in the Bronx. Second, Kansas Stateís defense is shockingly bad. Third, Syracuseís defense is pretty decent.

Basically, I think both teams will run it and neither will be able to pass it. I think the ineptitude of the Kansas State run defense (5.9 yards allowed per carry!!!) will give the upper-hand to Syracuse, who are capable of running the ball with Delone Carter and Antwon Bailey.

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And finally, I'm going with this National Championship score for the tiebreaker:

Oregon - 36
Auburn - 34