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Bowl Predictions: Part 1

We will be taking a look at (and predicting) each bowl this season. First off, we start with the games for today.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The first set of bowl games is today, and we have all of them covered, with my (typically wrong) predictions of how each one is going to go.  Check out the schedule below for the games that are covered in this set of predictions.

Sat, Dec 20, 2014
11:00 AM ET
ESPN
Louisiana-Lafayette vs.
(New Orleans Bowl)
Nevada
2:20 PM ET
ESPN
UTEP vs.
(New Mexico Bowl)
Utah State
3:30 PM ET
ABC
Colorado State vs.
(Las Vegas Bowl)
(22) Utah
5:45 PM ET
ESPN
Western Michigan vs.
(Famous Idaho Potato Bowl)
Air Force
9:15 PM ET
ESPN
Bowling Green vs.
(Camellia Bowl)
South Alabama

New Orleans Bowl - Nevada has not been a very good bowl team in recent years, losing 6 out of their last 7 trips.  Throw in that Louisiana Lafayette is trying to win this bowl for the 4th consecutive year, and the deck seems to be stacked against the Wolfpack.  This should be an entertaining way to start off the year, but with so many similarities between the two squads, I have to go with the team that is most familiar with these surroundings.  Louisiana-Lafayette 35, Nevada 31.

New Mexico Bowl - Back in a bowl for the first time since 2010, the UTEP Miners are looking to keep the Utah State Aggies from extending their bowl win streak to three.  The strong running game of UTEP will match up against the strong Utah State defense, which is trying to get back on track after getting thrashed by Boise State in their season finale.  Utah State has the experience and the defense in what appears will be a low-scoring game.  Plus they are heavily favored.  Utah State 28, UTEP 13

Las Vegas Bowl - Utah comes in having survived a brutal Pac-12 schedule with a respectable 8-4 record, Utah has the added advantage of  facing a team with an interim coach, as Jim McElwain has already moved on to his new job at Florida.  However, the system is strong, and Colorado State has been particularly impressive this year.  You can't put all of that on the coach's presence.  CSU's Garrett Grayson was among the best QBs in the nation this year, but Utah led the nation in sacks.  It should entertaining, but I see this being a shootout, and I'll take the better QB every time in that situation.  Colorado State 42, Utah 38

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl - Both of these teams have capped off amazing turnaround seasons this year, having combined for just 3 wins last year.  Both of these teams have stout rushing defenses, but Air Force has had some issues against the pass, where Western Michigan excels.  Give me the Broncos for their first EVER bowl victory.  Western Michigan 31, Air Force 27

Camellia Bowl - Having finished the season 7-5 and earning the right to serve as the sacrificial lamb to Northern Illinois in the MAC championship game, Bowling Green is looking to end a 3 game skid and finish above .500 for the year.  South Alabama is trying avoid ending their season on a 3-game skid as well, and is actually slightly favored in the game.  I'm not sure how much of that is due to their school initials (USA), but I can't be unpatriotic about this, so I'll go with the line.  South Alabama 28, Bowling Green 24.

I'll be keeping track of my record throughout the bowl games.  Feel free to throw your predictions in the comments and see how you do against my picks.