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Fortune Teller: 2009 Bowl Predictions (Part 1)

For the third straight year, we preview the upcoming college football postseason. Here are our picks for bowls 1-17, which takes you from the New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque to El Paso, Texas for the Sun Bowl.

Leave your thoughts on any of the first 17 matchups below.

 

New Mexico (December 19)

Matchup: Fresno State (8-4) vs. Wyoming (6-6)
The Line: Fresno State -11.5

The Lead: Wyoming makes only its second trip to a bowl this decade while Fresno State makes its 9th bowl appearance in the last 10 years. Fresno State returns to New Mexico for the second straight year (losing to Colorado State 40-35 last year).

Brian Pick: Fresno State -11.5
Jeff Pick: Wyoming +11.5

 

St. Petersburg presented by Beef ‘O’ Brady’s (December 19)

Matchup: UCF (8-4) vs. Rutgers (8-4)
The Line: Rutgers -2.5

The Lead: Rutgers just making a bowl game game is no longer exciting for their players and fans who had higher hopes coming into this season than to finish 3-4 in the Big East. UCF meanwhile will be playing less than three hours from their campus and should be thrilled to be there.

Jeff Pick: UCF +2.5
Brian Pick: Rutgers -2.5

 

R + L Carrier New Orleans (December 20)

Matchup: Southern Miss (7-5) vs. Middle Tennessee (9-3)
The Line: Southern Miss -3.5

The Lead: Southern Miss returns to the New Orleans Bowl for the second straight year. Last year, Southern Miss blocked a field goal in overtime to defeat Troy 30-27 in one of the more entertaining 2008 bowl games. Middle Tennessee State is one of the hottest teams in the country, having won 6 straight and reaching the 9 win plateau for the first time since joining Division I-A in 1999. Southern Miss has a perfect 3-0 record in the New Orleans Bowl.

Brian Pick: Southern Miss -3.5
Jeff Pick: Southern Miss -3.5

 

MAACO Las Vegas (December 22)

Matchup: Oregon State (8-4) vs. BYU (10-2)
The Line: Oregon State -2.5

The Lead: BYU was on top of the world after beating Oklahoma to start the season. Oregon State was on top of the college football world in the final Thursday night of the season when playing Oregon for the Pac-10 title. Things didn't work out as either team had hoped from those points on though and they both fell to the pre-Christmas Las Vegas Bowl. Oregon State has plenty to prove though as they attempt to beat BYU, TCU and Boise State in the next 11 months and serve as the non-BCS school killer.

Jeff Pick: Oregon State -2.5
Brian Pick: Oregon State -2.5

 

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia (December 23)

Matchup: Utah (9-3) vs. California (8-4)
The Line: California -3

The Lead: With BC losing to Vanderbilt last season, Utah now owns the longest active winning streak in bowl games, having won their last 8 games including last year’s Sugar Bowl over Alabama. Cal is riding a seven game streak for bowl apperances, the longest in school history.

Brian Pick: Utah +3
Jeff Pick: Utah +3

 

Sheraton Hawaii (December 24)

Matchup: Nevada (8-4) vs. SMU (7-5)
The Line: Nevada -15

The Lead: This game features a very good WAC team against a very good C-USA team but does that mean that they are actually good teams? It's tough to say. Neither team has a very impressive win this season and both seemed to lose all their games when they had opportunities to prove themselves. Will anyone watch the Christmas Eve game in Hawaii? Other than Brian?

Jeff Pick: SMU +15
Brian Pick: Nevada -15


Little Caesars (December 26)

Matchup: Marshall (6-6) vs. Ohio (9-4)
The Line: Ohio -2.5

The Lead: This game renews a rivalry game between the two schools located only 80 miles apart. Ohio and Marshall used to compete in the Battle for the Bell which is set to be renewed in 2010. Ohio leads the all-time series 29-17-6, however Marshall has won 8 of the last 10 matchups between the two geographic neighbors.

Brian Pick: Ohio -2.5
Jeff Pick: Ohio -2.5

 

Meineke Car Care (December 26)

Matchup: Pittsburgh (9-3) vs. North Carolina (8-4)
The Line: Pittsburgh -3

The Lead: What a disappointing finish to the season for Pittsburgh. Pitt lost to their backyard brawl rival West Virginia before losing to Cincinnati in a de-facto Big East Championship game. The Panthers led the entire game against Cincinnati but could not finish so now instead of the Orange Bowl they get a trip to Charlotte to play North Carolina in a "road" bowl game. Good luck getting your team fired up for this one, Dave!

Jeff Pick: North Carolina +3
Brian Pick: Pittsburgh -3

 

Emerald (December 26)

Matchup: Boston College (8-4) vs. USC (8-4)
The Line: USC -9

The Lead: The 8-4 Eagles travel to San Francisco for the second time this decade to take on the 8-4 USC Trojans. This is the first time in seven years that USC hasn’t played in a BCS bowl game (5 Rose Bowls, 2 Orange Bowls). Good news for the Eagles is the last time Pete Carroll found himself in a non-BCS bowl game, the Trojans lost 10-6 to Utah in the Las Vegas Bowl. You don't think we would pick against BC now, do you?

Brian Pick: Boston College +9
Jeff Pick: Boston College +9

 

Gaylor Hotels Music City (December 27)

Matchup: Kentucky (7-5) vs. Clemson (8-5)
The Line: Clemson -7.5

The Lead: If Boston College's 2008 performance in the Music City Bowl is any indication of how Clemson might play this year after the disappointing ACC Championship Game, it's is going to be tough to watch for Tiger fans. But after losing to South Carolina, the ACC really doesn't need Clemson, or any of its top programs, to lose to mediocre SEC teams. Clemson ticket sales for the bowl have been soft but hopefully Dabo can rally this team to victory.

Jeff Pick: Kentucky +7.5
Brian Pick: Clemson -7.5

 

AdvoCare V100 Independence (December 28)

Matchup: Texas A&M (6-6) vs. Georgia (7-5)
The Line: Georgia -7

The Lead: Georgia wraps up an otherwise disappointing, up-and-down season in Shreveport, Louisiana. For every quality win for UGA, there seemed to be an equally puzzling loss this year. Defeat Arkansas, get crushed at Tennessee. Defeat Auburn, lose to Kentucky at home, come back and defeat in-state rival Georgia Tech. Texas A&M has had a similar up-and-down season, but seemingly backed into the postseason having lost 3 of their last 4 games.

Brian Pick: Georgia -7
Jeff Pick: Georgia -7

 

EagleBank (December 29)

Matchup: UCLA (6-6) vs. Temple (9-3)
The Line: UCLA -4

The Lead: UCLA had to wait to see the result of the Army-Navy game before getting officially invited to this bowl game. In the bowl's second season, I don't imagine that their will be much hype this year compared to last year's geographically favorable matchup of Wake Forest vs. Navy. Look for Temple to surprise some people and possibly knock off a BCS school in this one.

Jeff Pick: Temple +4
Brian Pick: Temple +4

 

Champs Sports (December 29)

Matchup: Miami (Fla.) (9-3) vs. Wisconsin (9-3)
The Line: Miami -3

The Lead: This year’s Champs Sports Bowl is a matchup of 9-3 ranked teams. Both teams are coming off strong finishes, each winning 4 of their final 5 games. Wisconsin finished the season with a 51-10 drubbing of Hawaii on the road, while Miami took care of USF 31-10. Miami is 2-0 all-time in the Champs Sports Bowl. Wisconsin played in Orlando last season, losing to Florida State 42-13. This is the last year the Big 10 will be represented in this bowl as the Big East will send a team to face an ACC opponent starting next season.

Brian Pick: Miami -3
Jeff Pick: Miami -3

 

Roady’s Humanitarian (December 30)

Matchup: Bowling Green (8-5) vs. Idaho (7-5)
The Line: Idaho +1.5

The Lead: Another game that might set an attendance record this season but not the kind of record that you want to be setting if you are putting this bowl together. Boise fans might already be on their way to the Fiesta Bowl so even getting a few locals to come out for this game will be difficult. Bowling Green has a pretty good WR, and Idaho plays home games in a dome. That's all I have for this one.

Jeff Pick: Bowling Green -1.5
Brian Pick: Idaho +1.5

 

Pacific Life Holiday (December 30)

Matchup: Arizona (8-4) vs. Nebraska (9-4)
The Line: Arizona -1.5

The Lead: Arizona - having defeated the Trojans 21-17 to move to 6-3 in conference - will represent the Pac-10 as its #2 team in the Holiday Bowl. Nebraska won the Big 12 North, finishing the season at 9-4, 6-2 in conference. The Cornhuskers are coming off a heartbreaking 13-12 loss to Texas in the Big 12 Championship Game.

Brian Pick: Arizona -1.5
Jeff Pick: Nebraska +1.5

 

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces (December 31)

Matchup: Houston (10-3) vs. Air Force (7-5)
The Line: Houston -4.5

The Lead: The mighty Houston Cougars who knocked off Oklahoma State at home are only 4.5 point favorites against Air Force? Oh right, we later found out that Oklahoma State was not nearly as good as anyone thought the would be and failed to make a push for a BCS bowl by nearly losing to Colorado and then getting destroyed by Oklahoma to end the season. Air Force had another nice season but only managed a 1-5 record against bowl bound teams this season.

Jeff Pick: Air Force +4.5
Brian Pick: Houston -4.5

 

Brut Sun (December 31)

Matchup: Oklahoma (7-5) vs. Stanford (8-4)
The Line: Oklahoma -8

The Lead: This should be an intriguing matchup between the unstoppable force (Heisman runner-up Toby Gerhart and the 15th ranked Stanford Cardinal offense) and the immovable object (Oklahoma's 7th ranked defense). Oklahoma has had an otherwise disappointing season, that is, up until they put a 27-0 hurtin' on in-state rival Oklahoma State in Bedlam. Stanford may or may not be playing without the services of starting freshman quarterback Andrew Luck.

Brian Pick: Stanford +8
Jeff Pick: Oklahoma -8