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New Years Day Bowls Preview

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Gator Bowl
Mississipi State vs. (20)Northwestern
Noon ESPN2
If you look back at Northwestern's three loses, they actually came very close to pulling off a miraculous undefeated season. The Wildcats didn't just look good for Northwestern this year. They looked like a very talented team in all three phases who should only get better next year with most of the starters returning in 2013. Mississippi State got off to a 7-0 start, but the season fell apart once they faced the meat of their schedule, suffering blowout losses to Alabama, Texas A&M, LSU and Ole Miss.
Prediction: Northwestern- 31 Mississippi State- 17

Heart of Dallas Bowl
Purdue vs. Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State has coaching stability and a team capable of playing with some of the top-ranked teams in the nation. Purdue has neither. The Boilermakers finished the season with victories of the three worst teams in the Big Ten to become bowl eligible, then failed up thanks to the sanctions against Penn State and Ohio State. Anything is possible. but it's hard to think of any way that Purdue comes out a winner in this one.
Prediction: Oklahoma State- 42 Purdue- 14

Capital One Bowl
(7)Georgia vs. (16)Nebraska
1 p.m. ABC
December 1st tells you all you need to know about the discrepancy between these two teams. Georgia came a few yards away from playing Notre Dame for a national title, while Nebraska gave up 70 points to a 7-5 team that finished third in their division. Georgia may be disappointed they aren't in a bigger bowl, but it's hard to imagine them dropping this one.
Prediction: Georgia- 35 Nebraska- 14

Outback Bowl
(10)South Carolina vs. (18)Michigan
1 p.m. ESPN
It's easy to write off Michigan, but it's four losses came to the top three teams in the nation, as well as a loss at Nebraska after Denard Robinson suffered an elbow injury in the first half. South Carolina looked like a possible national title contender until its season was derailed by consecutive losses against LSU and Florida. Michigan could pull this one off if they figure out how to use Robinson and Devin Gardener simultaneously (a plan that was oddly scrapped in the second half against OSU, likely costing them the game). This game will likely hinge on Michigan's ability to slow down South Carolina's ferocious defensive line. If the Wolverines offensive line doesn't bring it's "A" game, it will be a very long afternoon.
Prediction: Michigan- 20 South Carolina- 17

Rose Bowl
Wisconsin at (6)Stanford
5 p.m. ESPN
Stanford is a much better team overall, but Wisconsin matches up well enough that the Badgers could pull off the upset. Both teams wil want to establish their ground games early. Stanford has an edge in the passing game and a more physical defense, which should make a difference if Wisconsin comes out ready to play.
Prediction: Stanford- 21 Wisconsin- 17

Orange Bowl
(12)Florida State vs. (15)Northern Illinois
8:30 p.m. ESPN
For those of you that did not watch the BCS Selection Show way back in early December, you essentially missed two hours of whining because the BCS system is so broken that it allowed Northern Illinois into one its illustrious match-ups. However, not a word was said about unranked Louisville or Wisconsin gaining access to the BCS. Regardless, Northern Illinois has mountains of bulletin board material in case it needs any motivation to knock off Florida State. If nothing else, Huskies QB Jordan Lynch is extremely confident coming into this game. The Seminoles put together a big season thanks to a dominating defense and improved quarterback play which sunk them in previous seasons.
Prediction: Florida State- 34 Northern Illinois- 23