Bowl Games 2013: Part V, New Year’s Eve Edition

Tuesday, December 31
12:30: Boston College vs. Arizona (Advocare V100 Bowl @ Shreveport, LA; ESPN): Both these are going to want to rush the ball. The problem for Boston College is that Arizona is likely better able to defend against it. I’m expecting a comfortable Arizona win.
Previous meetings: Three, and they were all awhile ago. Texas Tech won the first meeting in 1961, 14-6. BC’s only win was a 42-13 romp a year later, and then in 1971 Texas Tech won 14-6 once again.
Last bowl game: BC hasn’t been to a bowl since the 2010 Fight Hunger Bowl, where they lost to Colin Kapernick and Nevada 20-13. Arizona’s last bowl game was last year and also against Nevada, but they won the New Mexico Bowl 49-48.
Announcers: Tom Hart and John Congemi

2:00: Virginia Tech vs. California-Los Angeles (Sun Bowl @ El Paso, TX; CBS): Virginia Tech has been one of college football’s most maddeningly inconsistent teams over the course of the season, but losses to Duke, Boston College, and Maryland do not bode well for their recent body of work. (But in between those losses? A win over Miami. Go figure.) The defense remains a lone, but consistent, bright spot for VPI. UCLA meanwhile, had only three losses, and really those were the only three teams on the schedule that UCLA wasn’t better than. (Stanford, Oregon, and Arizona State.) While UCLA doesn’t have quite as good of a defense, they are still much more consistent on offense (as in, they actually have one), which means they should able to score the requisite 17-24 points it will take to beat the Hokies.
Previous meetings: This is the first meeting between these two teams.
Last bowl game: VPI has made 21 straight bowl games, a streak dating back to the 1993 Independence Bowl, which they won 45-20 over Indiana. They technically won last year’s Russell Athletic Bowl 13-10 over Rutgers. This is UCLA’s third straight bowl game. Their mini-streak started with the 2011 Fight Hunger Bowl, which they lost to Illinois, 20-14. Last year they were massacred by Baylor in the Holiday Bowl, 49-26.
Announcers: Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson

4:00: Rice vs. Mississippi State (Liberty Bowl @ Memphis, TN; ESPN): Miss State has some major problems on offense, ranking 80th in the country in scoring. That said, by all rights, Miss State should win this game, so this one of those bowls that could come down more to motivation than anything else.
Previous meetings: Just one, a 28-14 Miss State win back in 1975.
Last bowl game: Rice beat Air Force in last year’s Armed Forces Bowl 33-14. This is Miss State’s fourth straight bowl game. Their streak started with the 2010/2011 Gator Bowl, wherein they routed Michigan 52-14. Last season’s Gator Bowl was somewhat less successful, though. They lost to Northwestern 34-20.
Announcers: Bob Wischusen and Rod Gilmore

8:00: Duke vs. Texas Agricultural and Mechanical (Chick-fil-a Bowl @ Atlanta, GA; ESPN): I have this as my highest confidence pick on ESPN. I simply cannot fathom any way Duke wins this football game. Texas A&M’s offense will simply be too much for Duke’s undersized and undermanned defense. The only other offense they’ve faced that comparable is Florida State’s and the Seminoles dropped 45 on them. The only possible chance they have is to make it a shoot-out, which isn’t impossible cause TAMU’s defense is inexcusably awful.
Previous meetings: This is the first meeting between these two teams.
Last bowl game: This is the first time in the history of Duke’s football team that they have gone to back-to-back bowl games. They lost last year’s Belk Bowl 48-34. This is TAMU’s fifth straight bowl game, a streak dating back to what is likely an otherwise forgettable game for A&M partisans, a 44-20 loss to Georgia. Last season they destroyed Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, 41-13.
Announcers: Rece Davis, Jesse Palmer, and David Pollack