USC has too much D, while the crystal ball belongs to the Gators
Bowl season has started out pretty well. I'm 13-4 against the line through the Dec. 30 games, putting me 22 over .500 for the season. The recap for the past week: The good: picking Oregon to win by double digits; the bad: picking West Virginia to win with a bit more room to spare; the ugly: Nevada to handle Maryland. Here is the final batch of guesses for the season.
Thursday, Jan. 1
Iowa 27, South Carolina 13: Shonn Greene has had a phenomenal season and now he faces a solid run defense (36th in the country), but Carolina floundered down the stretch, surrendering 87 points in the final two games of the season. I like Iowa to roll through Carolina, which is one of the worst teams in the country along the O-line and too inconsistent at quarterback.
Friday, Jan. 2
Saturday, Jan. 3
UConn 35, Buffalo 20: Even though the Huskies lost five of their last seven, I still like them here because of their outstanding running back, Donald Brown, against the nation's 83rd-ranked run defense. Turner Gill's team has some dangerous weapons, but it'll be matched up against a very underrated secondary (eighth in the country in pass D).
Monday, Jan. 5
Texas 28, Ohio State 20: Expect the Buckeyes to come out fired up and move the ball well, but eventually the UT D-line will make some big plays and force a couple of mistakes from Terrelle Pryor. I do expect the OSU secondary to do a solid job of slowing down the UT offense, though.
Tuesday, Jan. 6
Ball State 48, Tulsa 38: I don't see Tulsa's defense slowing down Nate Davis enough to win a shootout. Tulsa is one of the nation's worst pass defense units while BSU is a little more formidable on defense. Tulsa also is a lot sloppier taking care of the ball (96th in turnover margin).
Thursday, Jan. 8
Florida 38, Oklahoma 31: I think Florida's back seven will be as good as OU has seen all season and should be good enough to hold OU below 35 points for the first time this season. I expect Tim Tebow and the UF speed to hit on a few big plays and also to capitalize on a few mistakes from the Sooners' shaky kickoff coverage unit (105th in the nation).
Bruce Feldman is a senior writer with ESPN The Magazine. His book, "Meat Market: Inside the Smash-Mouth World of College Football Recruiting," is on sale now.
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