By Brad Carroll
As we get closer to the BCS national championship game between Florida State and Auburn the matchups get bigger in bowl games across the nation. That's no different with the four games slated for Tuesday. Here we preview and our college football experts pick against the spread the AdvoCare V100 Bowl between Boston College and Arizona, the Sun Bowl between Virginia Tech and No. 17 UCLA, the Liberty Bowl between Rice and Mississippi State and the Chick-fil-A Bowl between No. 24 Duke and No. 21 Texas A&M.
AdvoCare V100 Bowl
Boston College vs. Arizona, 12:30 p.m., ESPN
The Spread: Boston College +7.5; Arizona -7.5
Brad's Breakdown: A better name for this bowl, and anything would be better than what it's called now, would be the Running Back Bowl. Or Beast Mode Bowl. Something to highlight the fact Boston College and Arizona have two of the best running backs in the nation on their rosters. As a treat for all of us, they will go head-to-head Tuesday afternoon. For Boston College, it's Heisman trophy finalist Andre Williams, who rushed for 2,102 yards and 17 touchdowns this season. For Arizona, it's Ka'Deem Carey, who has picked up 1,716 yards and 17 scores on the ground. There might be better team matchups this bowl season, but not many can rival an individual matchup like this one. Team wise, Boston College and Arizona are both 7-5 and come into this game after suffering losses in their season finales. The Eagles lost to Syracuse, while the Wildcats lost by 37 to Arizona State. That Arizona loss came a week after shocking Oregon. Wildcats quarterback B.J. Denker could be a difference-maker, as he can pass and run. Boston College is one of the few teams to stick with Florida State this season, losing by 14. The Eagles also lost by 10 to Clemson and beat Virginia Tech. This game should come down to the end.
Brad's Pick: Boston College 27, Arizona 24
Craig's Pick: Boston College 24, Arizona 20
Glenn's Pick: Arizona 38, Boston College 28
Virginia Tech vs. No. 17 UCLA, 2 p.m., CBS
The Spread: Virginia Tech +7.5; UCLA -7.5
Brad's Breakdown: There's some who believe the top quarterback possibly entering the NFL draft in a few months isn't Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater but UCLA's Brett Hundley. Throwing for 2,845 yards and 22 touchdowns, plus gaining another 587 yards and nine scores on the ground, will do that for the sophomore. Hundley leads the 9-3 Bruins into this matchup with a struggling Virginia Tech program. The Hokies went 8-4 this season, but are far removed from the team that was playing in BCS games every year. Virginia Tech has trouble scoring, averaging just 23.4 points per game. The Hokies beat Miami 42-24 for their biggest win of the season. But the following week, Virginia Tech lost to Maryland in overtime. Luckily for the Hokies, they have one of the best defenses in the country, ranked fourth in yards allowed and eighth in points against. The Bruins have had trouble protecting Hundley, which plays right into the hands of the Virginia Tech defense. But UCLA does have Myles Jack, who has taken college football by storm, playing both offense and defense. The Hokies' defense will keep them in the game, but the better team will prevail. That's UCLA.
Brad's Pick: UCLA 24, Virginia Tech 20
Craig's Pick: UCLA 31, Virginia Tech 21
Glenn's Pick: UCLA 35, Virginia Tech 20
Rice vs. Mississippi State, 4 p.m., ESPN
The Spread: Rice +7; Mississippi State -7
Brad's Breakdown: Rice is having one of the best seasons in school history. The Owls won the Conference USA championship and could win 11 games for the first time ever if they can beat the SEC's Mississippi State Tuesday. Rice has won nine of its last 10 games. But getting win No. 11 will be tough going considering this could be a virtual home game for Mississippi State in Memphis. The Bulldogs' campus is just 165 miles away. The last time they played in the Liberty Bowl, in 2007, the game set an attendance record, with mostly Mississippi State fans in the stands. The Bulldogs come into this game on a roll, winning two straight games and getting bowl eligible by beating rival Ole Miss in the season finale. The Bulldogs allowed just 47 total points in their final three games, which includes holding Alabama to 20, its season low. Rice will have to run the ball to beat the Bulldogs, as it averages 240.2 rushing yards per game. Mississippi State allows an average of 151.1 yards per game on the ground. The Bulldogs are a step up in class for the Owls, however. Rice has had a tremendous season, but Mississippi State will end it on a sour note.
Brad's Pick: Mississippi State 31, Rice 21
Craig's Pick: Mississippi State 31, Rice 17
Glenn's Pick: Mississippi State 28, Rice 17
No. 24 Duke vs. No. 21 Texas A&M, 8 p.m., ESPN
The Spread: Duke +13; Texas A&M -13
Brad's Breakdown: Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel will most likely play the final game of his collegiate career in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, as there isn't much more for the Heisman trophy winner to accomplish in school. He will likely become a first round draft pick if he does leave early, which most believe is already a foregone conclusion. Experts vary on just how good Manziel will be in the pros, but there's no doubt how good the A&M quarterback has been in college. He became the first freshman in history to win the Heisman last year and had another explosive season this year. Manziel threw for 3,732 yards and 33 touchdowns. He rushed for another 686 yards and eight touchdowns. Texas A&M has gone 8-4 in a disappointing season, mostly done in by its suspect defense, which allows 30.9 points per game. The Aggies offense scores 43.6 points per game. Duke, which has the tough task of facing Heisman trophy winners in back-to-back games, will have trouble stopping Manziel and company. The Blue Devils allowed 45 points to Florida State in the ACC championship game. While most teams have been able to stick with the Aggies by taking advantage of their defense, that might be hard for Duke to do. The Blue Devils, which were held to seven against the Seminoles, just don't have an explosive enough offense to make A&M pay. Duke has had a magical season, winning eight straight games and shocking everyone by playing for the conference title. But the Blue Devils will face what should be a motivated Manziel wanting to go out on a high note with a huge performance on the national stage. It should lead to a big victory by Texas A&M.
Brad's Pick: Texas A&M 45, Duke 28
Craig's Pick: Texas A&M 42, Duke 24
Glenn's Pick: Texas A&M 45, Duke 28
Brad's Bowl Record: 9-10 (spread); 10-9 (straight-up); 2-4 (upset picks)
Brad's Season: 99-91-2 (spread); 141-51 (straight-up); 9-16 (upset)
Craig's Bowl Record: 11-8 (spread); 11-8 (straight-up); 2-3 (upset picks)
Craig's Season: 95-95-2 (spread); 142-50 (straight-up); 9-16 (upset)
Glenn's Bowl Record: 15-4 (spread); 13-6 (straight-up); 3-2 (upset picks)
Glenn's Regular Season: 99-91-2 (spread); 139-53 (straight-up); 13-23 (upset)