Clary's Pigskin Picks: Bowl Special

A regular season record can be easily whipped out by a bad postseason performance. This normally would not be good for me, but the last two years I've correctly picked over 75% of the winners in the bowl games. What does that mean? Pretty much nothing. This is a brand new year and, things can easily change, but with a 50-15 record and a 24-11 SEC vs. SEC record, I'm feeling good.

So here we go ladies and gentlemen. Here are your 2006-2007 bowl picks, and I guarantee that these could be right. Maybe.

Poinsettia Bowl: TCU vs. Northern Illinois

I'll make something very clear early. I like teams who can run the ball well to win in bowl games. With a long layoff, it's easier to get the run game going quicker. Don't get me wrong, passing teams win too, however I just like running teams in a lot of these games. Both teams rush for over 180 yards per contest, but TCU is just more consistent. Northern Illinois has a great one in Garrett Wolfe, but TCU will stack the box thick due to Northern Illinois QB Phil Horvath being out for the year. These teams are more even than their record shows, so it will be close.

TCU 28 NI 24

Las Vegas Bowl: BYU vs. Oregon

Oregon QB Dennis Dixon is explosive and will present BYU with a weapon they are not used to. If Oregon can hold on to the ball for once, they should stay with the BYU offense. BYU is very well coached and usually doesn't make too many mistakes. Look for QB John Beck to come out firing and this one will be a lot of fun to watch.

BYU 41 Oregon 35

New Orleans Bowl: Rice vs. Troy

Sometimes in a bowl game, a big time player can make all the difference. Rice WR Jarrett Dillard can be that guy. With 82 catches, 20 touchdowns, and a TD in 14 straight games, does he remind you of someone else you know?

Rice 21 Troy 17 Bowl: South Florida vs. ECU

Whichever team has the fewest turnovers and penalties will win. Both teams have struggled in those departments. The South Florida defense is average, but they'll be the better of the two on the field that day. I'm pulling for Skip Holtz, but it doesn't look good.

South Florida 17 ECU 13

New Mexico Bowl: New Mexico vs. San Jose St.

Look for New Mexico RB Rodney Ferguson to have a big game. Yes, San Jose State won 8 games this year, but anytime a team has their name in the name of the bowl game, I like their chances.

New Mexico 31 SJ St. 17

Armed Forces Bowl: Tulsa vs. Utah

This game features two average team who are boring to watch, so I won't waste your time.

Tulsa 28 Utah 27

Hawaii Bowl: Hawaii vs. Arizona St.

Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan is outstanding and will be in this shootout. The fact that it's on Christmas Eve is an advantage for Hawaii because most of those guys are already home. Playing for Dirk Koetter will be a factor for ASU, but I always take Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl. Plus, 560 yards in the air per game... WOW!

Hawaii 49 ASU 31

Motor City Bowl: Middle Tenn. St. vs. Central Michigan

Central Michigan lost their coach, are more careless with the ball, and their run game is terrible. However, they are much more talented than the better coached Blue Radiers. I am pulling for Rick Stockstill, but it just won't happen. Talent wise, it's just too big of a gap.

CM 35 MT St. 10

Emerald Bowl: FSU vs. UCLA

Yes, UCLA is coming off their biggest win since I've been alive, and FSU is struggling. Yes, FSU will be disappointed they're here and UCLA is on cloud nine. Yes, FSU is good on defense, and yes their offense is laughable, BUT, well but nothing.

UCLA 27 FSU 16

Independence Bowl: Oklahoma St. vs. Alabama

A coach usually helps. I've been down on the Tide all year, and although they're going up against a bad Oklahoma State defense, I refuse to pick them. Look for this one to be low scoring and not very entertaining.

Okla St. 14 Alabama 10

Holiday Bowl: California vs. Texas A&M

This will be one of the best games of the bowl season with two very good rushing attacks that will do everything they can to set the tone. Cal's defense is 90th in the country, and A&M's is pretty solid. Cal RB Marshawn Lynch must be a big factor, and Cal will want to make it a shootout. In the end, Cal will be too fast for A&M.

Cal 24 Texas A&M 20

Texas Bowl: Rutgers vs. Kansas St.

Kansas State's quarterback has thrown 6 touchdowns and 13 INT's. Rutgers won't be as excited as they were last year to be in a bowl, but they are the much better team. The first blow out of the bowl season will be here.

Rutgers 35 Kansas St. 10

Music City Bowl: Clemson vs. Kentucky.

I'm not going to talk about stats here, because we know Clemson will run on Kentucky, and the Wildcats will throw down the middle on Clemson. I am going to mention that during every bowl season, there is a good team that is upset to be where they are facing a team that is thrilled to be in a bowl game. Clemson is way more talented, but Kentucky will be more focused. This game will be a lot closer than Tiger fans wish and it will cost them.

Kentucky 34 Clemson 28

Sun Bowl: Oregon St. vs. Missouri

Who would have ever thought that the Big 12 team would have the more explosive offense than the Pac 10 team? Missouri will try to come out firing, and it will work, but Oregon State will give Missouri a piece of its own medicine and have a big comeback. This game will come down to the final drive. Oregon State running back Yvenson Bernard will be a big factor late, and look for Missouri to lose the game because of turnovers.

Oregon St. 30 Missouri 28

Liberty Bowl: South Carolina vs. Houston

Houston QB Kevin Kolb will complete lots of passes but will get introduced to the pass rush of the Gamecocks at some point. This will slow Houston down, whereas the Gamecock offense will never slow down. If South Carolina quarterback Blake Mitchell can figure out the Houston 3-4 defense, it could be a long day for the Cougars. Also, if the Gamecocks can have the one-two punch of Cory Boyd and Mike Davis like they had against Clemson, it won't be close

South Carolina 34 Houston 21

Insight Bowl: Texas Tech vs. Minnesota

Minnesota runs, runs, and runs, while Tech passes it almost as much as Hawaii. You know, I like to take rushing teams, but the Tech defense can contain the run, and Minnesota will struggle. Tech quarterback Graham Harrell will shine in another high scoring shootout.

Texas Tech 35 Minnesota 31

Champs Sports Bowl: Purdue vs. Maryland

The Maryland rushing attack will come out smoking, as will the Purdue passing attack, but I'm taking the rushing team. Purdue has the 112th rushing defense in the country, and it will drop again after this game. Purdue quarterback Curtis Painter has thrown 18 interceptions this year, and I look for more of the same.

Maryland 23 Purdue 17

Meineke Car Care Bowl: Navy vs. Boston College

Navy's rushing offense vs. BC's rush defense is really what this game will be about. BC will score, but can Navy get enough points on the board? Yes, with my logic, I should take Navy because they are the better rushing team, and they'll be more excited to be there than Boston College, but BC running backs L.V. Whitworth and Andre Callender can run as well. BC's rush defense will bunker down in the red zone. Look for Navy to score early, but BC to score more.

B.C 31 Navy 19

Alamo Bowl: Texas vs. Iowa

If Texas quarterback Colt McCoy plays, Texas wins big. If he doesn't, then Iowa will have a chance. Iowa QB Drew Tate will try his best to go out a winner, but this game will be more about who wins the battles up front. Look for Texas to use its multiple weapons on offense, and for Iowa's slow defense to struggle.

Texas 35 Iowa 17

Chick-fil-a Bowl: Georgia vs. Virginia Tech

I know Georgia is pretty much at home and is playing its best football all year, but I will never pick against the number one defense in the country. Georgia may score early, but once both teams settle down, I look for Virginia Tech to shut Georgia down. Clemson fans can tell you all about Branden Ore, and after this game, Georgia fans will too. If Georgia can force some turnovers, this game will be closer than expected, but I just don't see it happening.

Va Tech. 27 Georiga 7

MPC Computers Bowl: Miami vs. Nevada

Miami will be another one of these teams that will be angry to be playing where they are. If Miami QB Kirby Freeman can escape the Nevada pass rush and create more time to throw, Miami will score, but Nevada will too. Running back Robert Hubbard will do enough against the speed of the Miami defense to allow Nevada to throw down field. I believe Miami is just spent, especially after winning the BC game for teammate Bryan Peta.

Nevada 23 Miami 21

Outback Bowl: Tennessee vs. Penn St.

I believe Penn. State's defense will do enough to keep it low scoring, but not enough to win. Tennessee WR Robert Meachem will cause problems for the Penn State secondary, and turnovers will doom the Nittany Lions. Both teams run the ball well, but Penn State won't have the cold weather to give them a hand.

Tennessee 30 Penn St. 17

Cotton Bowl: Auburn vs. Nebraska

Both Auburn and Nebraska have solid defenses, but Auburn's offense is terrible. Nebraska QB Zac Taylor will make enough big plays to put the Cornhuskers in position. Red zone scoring will be a big factor. The team who punches it into the end zone instead of through the uprights in red zone situations will come out on top. Nebraska's strong front seven will be the difference.

Nebraska 17 Auburn 10

Gator Bowl: West Virginia vs. Georgia Tech

Reggie Ball will try his best to go out a winner. The problem is, he hasn't been one his entire career. Tech's success is not due to Ball, whereas their failures are. West Virginia QB Pat White and RB Steve Slaton will make the GT defense look like they did against Clemson. If Ball can get WR Calvin Johnson involved against a bad West Virginia secondary, then the Yellow Jackets will keep it close. Don't count on it.

West Virginia 42 GT 20

Capital One Bowl: Arkansas vs. Wisconsin

I can't wait to see this game. Two great teams will try to run it down each other's throat. We all know about the rushing attack that Arkansas brings, but Wisconsin brings 175 yards per game to the table. Wisconsin tailback P.J. Hill and quarterback John Stocco will pose lots of problems for the Arkansas defense that is shaking after the SEC Championship game. The problem for Wisconsin is they just haven't beaten anybody this year. If Arkansas can get any passing attack going against a solid Wisconsin secondary, then Arkansas will come out on top. This one will be a classic.

Arkansas 24 Wisconsin 21

Rose Bowl: USC vs. Michigan

I really hope this becomes the game that it can be. However, here we have two teams upset to be where they are, and it may cost one of them. USC WR Dwayne Jarrett is a very special player, and Michigan will have to find a way to slow this passing attack down. Pete Carroll knows they'll come after USC QB John David Booty, so look for extra protection in the pocket. Michigan RB Mike Hart needs to get off to a good start and set the tone for the game. USC's inconsistent rushing attack will hurt the Trojans chances, and could bring back memories of last year's Rose Bowl loss. If Carroll can find a way to get the best out of his players, they have a strong chance, but Michigan is far better than anyone they've seen all year.

Michigan 31 USC 28

Fiesta Bowl: Boise St. vs. Oklahoma

Boise State will be out to prove they belong. They have a very talented and balanced offense, however, they haven't seen a defense like Oklahoma's. Look for Boise State to come out firing, and the trick plays to be a big part, but I just see the Oklahoma defense to be too much. If the Sooners can get past the fact that they aren't playing a usual power house and get focused, they'll be fine.

Oklahoma 31 Boise St. 28

Orange Bowl: Louisville vs. Wake Forest

Louisville's fast shooting offense will have to get in rhythm early and set the tone. If this happens, this game could be over early. Wake will want to make this one as boring as possible. The Demon Deacons have defeated good teams this year, but nothing with the offensive weapons like Louisville has. QB Brian Brohm has plenty of targets and a running game that is 10th best in the country. The ACC is better than the Big East, but not at the top.

Louisville 35 Wake Forrest 13

Sugar Bowl: LSU vs. Notre Dame

Brady Quinn is a special player, and Notre Dame will play this game to let him go out a winner. LSU, on the other hand, plans on showing up, which is bad news for the Irish. Both teams average exactly 415.2 yards of offense per game, but LSU did it against the SEC, and Notre Dame did it against the military academies. LSU QB JaMarcus Russell will be licking his chops against the Notre Dame defense, and look for him to have maybe the best game of his career. Don't forget, however, Notre Dame has continued to hear everyone say they can't beat anyone, so look for them to come out smoking early.

LSU 34 Notre Dame 21

International Bowl: Western Michigan vs. Cincinnati

Cincinnati is the better team, but with a new coaching staff in place, look for confusion on their part, especially on defense. Western Michigan QB Ryan Cubit will have fun against a defense learning new schemes. However, Western Michigan has the 92nd ranked offense in the country, so don't get too excited. RB Mark Bonds needs to get going to open up a shaky passing game. If Western Michigan can get an early lead, look for Cincinnati to get frustrated.

Western Michigan 20 Cincinnati 17

GMAC Bowl: Ohio vs. Southern Miss

My favorite bowl that sucks actually has two pretty good teams in it this year. Two horrible passing attacks will try and see which running game can carry them the furthest. Neither team can stop the run very well, so look for the team with the fewest turnovers to simply win for that very reason. It's a toss up, but Southern Mississippi's speed and rushing attack should do enough

Southern Miss 24 Ohio 17

National Championship: Ohio St. vs. Florida

I really want to see a good game here, but this won't be anything like last year's title game. Ohio State is clearly the better team and just needs to get settled in after a 50 day layoff. Florida has a lot of sneaky talent and should provide some match up problems for the Buckeye defense. Again, Florida will be hearing how they can't compete, and that will get into their heads, just like for Texas last year. However, Ohio State is too balanced and dangerous for Florida's inconsistency. This won't be a blow out, but I'd be shocked if there was any real drama. Look for Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith to confuse the Gators defense and complete the perfect season.

Ohio St. 31 Florida 21

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