Goin bowling: NCAA Bowl picks

TODD SAELHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:21 AM ET

CALGARY - Break out the wobbly pops and pizza pies ó itís bowl season in the NCAA.

Woohoo! Time for football nearly every day.

It kicks off this Saturday with a trio of games and continues through to the BCS National Championship between LSU and Alabama on Jan. 9.

So with that in mind, and while weíre still trying to figure out how Baylor QB Robert Griffin III won the Heisman Trophy with three losses this season, letís get to part one of our bowl predictions here at NCAA Football Frenzy.

After a 31-21-1 with picks in the regular season, hereís hoping we can bring you a happy holidays with positive post-season prognostications:

***NEW MEXICO BOWL

Temple (-7) vs. Wyoming (Saturday, 2 p.m., Albuquerque, N.M.)

These Owls donít fly as well as they run, and they might well run for 300 yards against the Cowboys. Weíve been on Temple all year, so weíll stick with them.

PICK: TEMPLE

IDAHO POTATO BOWL

Utah State (-11/2) vs. Ohio (Saturday, 5:30 p.m.. Boise, Idaho)

The Bobcats make a third straight bowl appearance and come in 9-4 in 2011, but the run-first Aggies have won five straight tilts and know how to win the close one.

PICK: UTAH STATE

NEW ORLEANS BOWL

UL Lafayette vs. San Diego State (-41/2) (Saturday, 9 p.m., New Orleans)

The Rajun Cajuns? Donít ya just love it? They donít love the road, where they become the Bruisered Losers, but this oneís not far from home in the Superdome.

PICK: UL LAFAYETTE

**ST. PETERSBURG BOWL

Marshall vs. Florida-Intl (-4) (Dec. 21, 8 p.m., St. Petersburg, Fla.)

Golden Panthers vs. Thundering Herd ó gotta love it. But this is a runaway for the defensively-stout Cats. Meantime, they are Marshall ó a not-so-high scoring Marshall.

PICK: FLORIDA-INTL

*POINSETIA BOWL

Louisiana Tech vs. (18) TCU (-101/2) (Dec. 22, 8 p.m., San Diego)

Both teams are strong on the road, but the Bulldogs bring more bite to SoCal. Meanwhile, the Horned Frogs jump into a bowl game thatís less than flattering to them.

PICK: LOUISIANA TECH

***LAS VEGAS BOWL

Arizona State vs (7) Boise State (-14) (Dec. 22, 8 p.m., Las Vegas)

Disappointing spot for the Broncos, who for the second straight year miss out on a BCS bowl because of a botched field goal late. But Boise State can sleepwalk through anybody not ranked in the top 25, and whereís the incentive for Arizona State to play for fired coach Dennis Erickson? Besides, itís QB Kellen Mooreís final game ó watch him light up the Sun Devils.

PICK: BOISE STATE

*HAWAII BOWL

Nevada vs. (21) Southern Mississippi (-61/2) (Dec. 24, 8 p.m., Honolulu)

Could be 100-plus points scored in this shootout. The Wolfpack average 500 yards a game, while the Golden Eagles score at will, as once-unbeaten Houston found out.

PICK: Southern Mississippi

INDEPENDENCE BOWL

Missouri (-5) vs. North Carolina (Dec. 26, 5 p.m., Shreveport, La.)

Better competition year-long gives SEC-bound Mizzou the edge here. But is it enough to run away from the Tar Heels, who have a penchant of hanginí around? Maybe.

PICK: NORTH CAROLINA

LITTLE CAESARS BOWL

Western Michigan vs. Purdue (-2) (Dec. 27, 4:30 p.m., Detroit)

Mmmm Ö pizza! This tilt should get you thinkiní bout a pie at halftime. On-field, the topper is if the Broncos can break out their eighth-ranked passing game in the nation.

PICK: WESTERN MICHIGAN

BELK BOWL

Louisville vs. North Carolina State (-3) (Dec. 27, 8 p.m., Charlotte, N.C.)

Which Cardinals club will show up? Which Wolfpack pack will show up? Both have been inconsistent, but Louisville has enough offensive clout to hit a home run here.

PICK: LOUISVILLE

**MILITARY BOWL

Toledo (-3) vs. Air Force (Dec. 28, 4:30 p.m., Washington, D.C.)

Air Force is a run-first team ó that makes me laugh. But the Falcons will have to run a ton to keep up with the high-flying Rockets, who average 42-plus points a game.

PICK: TOLEDO

*HOLIDAY BOWL

California vs. (24) Texas (-3) (Dec. 28, 8 p.m., San Diego)

The Longhornsí tough schedule pays off here. A solid defence will shut down Calís mediocre attack, while the offence will grind it out along the ground to control a close tilt.

PICK: TEXAS

CHAMPS SPORTS BOWL

Florida State (-3) vs. Notre Dame (Dec. 29, 5:30 p.m., Orlando, Fla.)

The two teams played similar schedules down the stretch, with the Seminoles faring better against common foes. The Fla St. defence slows down the Irish when it counts.

PICK; FLORIDA STATE

***ALAMO BOWL

Washington vs. (12) Baylor (-9) (Dec. 29, 9 p.m., San Antonio, Texas)

Robert Griffin III is riding high after the Heisman heist. Soooo, whatís up for an encore? How bout one last dance on the Huskies before taking on the NFL draft? Bears eat up Dogs.

PICK: BAYLOR

**ARMED FORCES BOWL

BYU (-21/2) vs. Tulsa (Dec. 30, Noon, Dallas)

Donít let the records fool ya. The 9-3 Cougars havenít beaten any winners in months, while the 8-4 Golden Hurricane were beaten only by bigtime ranked teams.

PICK: TULSA

PINSTRIPE BOWL

Rutgers (-2) vs. Iowa State (Dec. 30, 3:20 p.m., Bronx, N.Y.)

Yee-haw! Itís a big trip to the big city for the offensively challenged Cyclones. Thereís the zoo, Yankee Stadium and Ö oh ya Ö a loss to the defensively stout Scarlet Knights.

PICK: RUTGERS

*MUSIC CITY BOWL

Mississippi State (-61/2) vs. Wake Forest (Dec. 30, 6:40 p.m., Nashville, Tenn.)

The Demon Deacons stumbled down the stretch, losing four of five. Meanwhile, the stubborn Bulldogs had plenty of bite to scare SEC foes throughout the season.

PICK: MISSISSIPPI STATE

*INSIGHT BOWL

Iowa vs. (14) Oklahoma (-131/2) (Dec. 30, 10 p.m., Tempe, Ariz.)

Away from home, the Hawkeyes canít score, while the Sooners score no matter where they play. If OK is OK, maybe Iowa keeps it close. If OK is on its game, itís a buttkickiní.

PICK: OKLAHOMA

todd.saelhof@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SUNToddSaelhof


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