College Football Expert Bowl Picks: Bahamas Bowl, Central Michigan vs Western Kentucky, Hawai'i Bowl, Fresno State vs Rice

December 23, 2014

By Brad Carroll

 

For those who love college football, there will be a couple of early Christmas presents powered by your remote Wednesday afternoon and night. First up is the Bahamas Bowl, featuring Central Michigan against Western Kentucky. Then, it's the Hawai'i Bowl, with Fresno State playing Rice.

 

We preview both of those games and our college football experts pick each against the spread. Follow all of our picks and more on Twitter here.

 

[New Orleans Bowl, New Mexico Bowl, Las Vegas Bowl, Idaho Potato Bowl, Camellia Bowl picks against the spread here]

 

[Miami Beach Bowl picks against the spread here]

 

[Poinsettia Bowl and Boca Raton Bowl picks against the spread here]

 

Bahamas Bowl

Nassau, 12 p.m., ESPN

Central Michigan (7-5) vs. Western Kentucky (7-5)

The Spread: Central Michigan +4; Western Kentucky -4

 

Brad's Breakdown: This is the first bowl game that will be played outside of the United State and Canada since the 1937 Bacardi Bowl in Havana, Cuba. Fans will get to see a high-powered offense in Western Kentucky, which is third in passing yards and sixth in both total yards of offense and scoring offense in the nation. The Hilltoppers average 44 points per game led by Conference USA MVP and quarterback Brandon Doughty. Doughty has passed for 44 touchdowns. Western Kentucky does allow 39.1 points per game on defense, however. Central Michigan will rely on its defense to slow down the Hilltoppers, as it allows 23.2 points per game. The Chippewas score just 25.2 points on offense, though. Western Kentucky won its biggest game against then-undefeated Marshall 60-59 in overtime. Central Michigan won at Purdue and at Northern Illinois, two big victories, but comes into this game after losing to Western Michigan. 

Brad's Score: Western Kentucky 49, Central Michigan 42

Craig's Score: Western Kentucky 38, Central Michigan 24

Glenn's Score: Central Michigan 35, Western Kentucky 32 (upset pick)

Matt's Score: Western Kentucky 35, Central Michigan 17

 

Hawai'i Bowl

Honolulu, 8 p.m., ESPN

Fresno State (6-7) vs. Rice (7-5)

The Spread: Fresno State +2; Rice -2

 

Brad's Breakdown: Fresno State comes into this bowl game under .500 after losing in the Mountain West championship game to Boise State. The Bulldogs kept that game close against the Broncos, losing 28-14. Fresno State has been a streaky team, losing its first three games this season, then winning three, then losing three, and then winning three more before the conference title game loss. The Bulldogs offense is solid, scoring 28.1 points per game, but the defense is more than suspect, allowing 32.6 points per game, 101st in the nation. That latter number could be inflated a bit after Fresno State allowed 52, 59 and 55 points to USC, Utah and Nebraska in its first three games of the year. In its last four, Fresno hasn't allowed more than 28 points. Rice is a similar team, with a solid offense, averaging 28.7 points per game, and a bad defense, which has allowed 30.3 points per game. Rice won six games in a row in the middle of the year but has since lost two of its final three games leading into this bowl game. The Owls lost 41-14 to Marshall and 76-31 to Louisiana Tech in those two losses. Both teams have obvious motivation, but Fresno's will be a little bit greater as it can avoid an under-.500 season with a victory.

Brad's Score: Fresno State 28, Rice 21 (upset pick)

Craig's Score: Fresno State 27, Rice 21 (upset pick)

Glenn's Score: Fresno State 35, Rice 31 (upset pick)

Matt's Score: Fresno State 41, Rice 35 (upset pick)

 

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