Pat Picks: Bowl Games, Part 3

College Football Hall of Fame coach Pat Dye picks the winners and losers in the found round of college football bowl games.

Editor's Note: This Pat's Picks column features the games on New Year's Day and the others that follow include Auburn's showdown vs. Oregon at the BCS Championship Game.

Northwestern vs. Texas Tech at the TicketCity Bowl, Dallas, Jan. 1--With Northwestern's quarterback out of the game with an injury look for Texas Tech to provide the Big 12 a victory over the Big 10.

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Florida vs. Penn State at the Outback Bowl, Tampa, Jan. 1--Both teams have seven wins and haven't done a whole lot to get excited about this season. The Gators are playing close to home, but Florida's offense has struggled so much I am going with Penn State.

Michigan State vs. Alabama at the Florida Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Jan. 1--Another SEC vs. Big 10 matchup, this one should go to the SEC as Alabama defeats one of the Big 10's co-champions.

Mississippi State vs. Michigan at the Progressive Gator Bowl, Jacksonville, Fla., Jan. 1--Mississippi State's defense should be able to trump a Michigan team that can score a lot of points but gives them up in bunches.

Wisconsin vs. TCU at the Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif., Jan. 1--Big 10 heavyweight Wisconsin won't be able to deal with TCU's speed.

Connecticut vs. Oklahoma at the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, Glendale, Ariz., Jan. 1--Oklahoma has more talent and should win easily as long as the Sooners show up focused, ready to play.

Stanford vs. Virginia Tech at the Discover Orange Bowl, Miami, Jan. 3--This should be a bowl worth watching with one of the hottest teams from the West playing one of the hottest team from the East. There are a lot of things to like about Stanford, but the edge goes to Virginia Tech with its better overall team speed.

Ohio State vs. Arkansas at the Allstate Sugar Bowl, New Orleans, Jan. 4--If Arkansas plays the way it did down the stretch the Razorbacks are going to win this game and I think that is what will happen at the Super Dome.

Middle Tennessee vs. Miami of Ohio at the GoDaddy.com Bowl, Mobile, Ala., Jan. 6--Miami of Ohio won the MAC with a strong defense and should pick up victory No. 10 in Mobile.

LSU vs. Texas A&M at the AT&T Cotton Bowl, Arlington, Tex., Jan. 7--Both teams finished 6-2 in their conferences. That is more impressive in the SEC, particularly the SEC West. Look for LSU to win this one.

Pittsburgh vs. Kentucky at the BBVA Compass Bowl, Birmingham, Ala., Jan. 8--Kentucky won't have its senior starting quarterback Mike Hartline, who had a really good season, because he is suspended for the game. However, the Wildcats still have Derrick Locke and Randall Cobb plus a backup quarterback with starting experience in Morgan Newton. That should be enough for the Wildcats to beat a mediocre Pitt team.

Jan. 9--Nevada vs. Boston College at the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, San Francisco, Calif., Jan. 9--If you haven't seen Nevada's star, senior Colin Kaepernick, this game is worth watching to see the dual threat quarterback do his thing. Nevada is 12-1 and should cap a memorable season with another victory against Boston College.

Tailback LaMichael James is Oregon's star player on offense.

Jan. 10--Auburn vs. Oregon at the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game, Glendale, Ariz., Jan. 10--Oregon has had a great year and the Ducks have very impressive statistics, but they haven't played the competition Auburn has.

A key for the Tigers will be to manage the speed of the game when Oregon's offense is going against Auburn's defense. This is an offense that plays at an exceptionally quick tempo. The Tigers need to do a great job of conditioning and preparation for that hurry-up offense.

Cameron Newton won a variety of national player of the year awards as Auburn's quarterback.

There has been a lot of talk about Auburn having to deal with the speed of the Oregon players. That doesn't concern me at all because the Tigers see speed on a weekly basis in the SEC and have plenty of their own.

The way Auburn ended the season the Tigers are playing as well as I have seen them play. I don't see any reason for that to change when they play in Arizona and I like Auburn's chances of bringing home the championship trophy.

(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)


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