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Bowl Predictions 2014-2015: Peach Bowl to Orange Bowl

Sam Carter
Peach Bowl: Georgia Dome, Atlanta on December 31st
Ole Miss Rebels (9-3) vs. TCU Horned Frogs (11-1)

After being snubbed from the Playoff, the Horned Frogs are going to play angry, and that is not going to be a good thing against an Ole Miss team having a rough second half. TCU QB Trevone Boykin continues to impress and lead a Horned Frogs' offense that is among the nation's scariest. Joining him are B.J. Catalon and lighting rod Aaron Green, along with a plethora of options at receiver. Ole Miss has one of the nation's best secondaries, led by Cody Prewitt and Senquez Golson, but they will have their work cut out for them against TCU's deep threats. TCU also brings a solid defense to the equation, led by Chucky Hunter, who anchors the line, and do-it-all linebacker Paul Dawson, one of the Big 12's best defenders. Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace just hasn't regained his magic that he had following the Rebels' upset over Alabama and the loss of Laquon Treadwell has not helped. Too often Wallace has forced things into tight coverage, something that won't work against the ball-hawking defensive backs Gary Patterson has at TCU, which include safety Sam Carter. Look for Ole Miss to lean heavily on speedy back Jaylen Walton, who had a strong showing in the Egg Bowl, especially if Wallace struggles. Defensively for the Rebels, they will not only need Prewitt and the rest of their "Landshark" secondary to make some plays, they need to pressure Boykin. Boykin is still a young quarterback and he still struggles to sense and read pressure, which is one of the key ways to contain him. Ole Miss' season really ended after their heartbreaking second loss to Auburn, where Treadwell went down with a horrific leg injury. While they should still compete, they are not at the level of a hungry TCU team, who should spread their defense thin. Unless Wallace has a Alabama-like performance in his final collegiate game, TCU should handle the Rebels without too much troubles.
TCU, 37 Ole Miss, 21

Fiesta Bowl: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona on December 31st
Boise State Broncos (11-2) vs. Arizona Wildcats (10-3)

The Fiesta Bowl has been awfully kind over the years to Boise State, who had memorable victories over TCU and Oklahoma (the infamous "Statue of Liberty" game), and they are back after a number of years in relatively pedestrian bowl games. The Broncos have been all about the run this year, led by junior back Jay Ajayi, who has announced this be his final game for Boise. Ajayi is a load to bring down and he offers something as a receiver out of the backfield. Boise QB Grant Hedrick hasn't been superb as a passer this year but he has proven to be a dangerous dual threat, rushing for over 500 yards. The Wildcats' defense is led by one of the nation's best players, Scooby Wright, who was miraculous in key moments for 'Zona throughout the year. The extremely athletic Wright can impact the game as a pass rusher, tackler or as a coverage linebacker, he is so versatile. The Broncos will look for ways to move the ball away from Wright, but he is so instinctive and quick he will find ways to make a serious impact. Hedrick will most likely have to make some big throws if Boise wants to win this game, that is where sophomore Thomas Sperbeck could be extremely lethal. A speedster who just finds ways to get open, Sperbeck averages over 17 yards a reception. While the Broncos can put up points, Arizona can clearly counter, evident in a number of their wins this year. Quarterback Anu Solomon has only improved as the season has worn on, throwing to the wealth of riches Rich Rodriguez has stockpiled at receiver. Nick Wilson makes an impact as an agile runner who can also do a variety of different things, and the offensive line has been solid. On defense, first-year Bronco head coach Bryan Harsin has a defense that constantly finds ways to force turnovers. Dangerous defensive back Darian Thompson is a stud, he has seven interceptions on the year, while Kamalei Correa's presence up front disrupts offenses, he has ten sacks on the season. Linebackers Tanner Vallejo and Tyler Gray are do-it-all contributors and they will need to support in coverage situations, if Arizona throws five wide at Boise. While the Wildcats are probably the better, deeper and more explosive team this game could well be a trap. Boise might get overlooked because they are a Group of Six school but it is hard to bet against their Fiesta Bowl magic and their aggressive defense. Scooby Wright and 'Zona could certainly find a way to make this pick look stupid, but I'm picking the upset in what will be a usual Fiesta Bowl, high-scoring and exciting.
Boise State, 45 Arizona, 42

Orange Bowl: Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida on December 31st
Mississippi State Bulldogs (10-2) vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (10-3)

For a big chunk of 2014, Mississippi State looked like the team to beat in the college football world. Though, their wins over Texas A&M, Auburn and LSU soon began to look less impressive by the passing day, and lackluster performances against Alabama and reeling Ole Miss have put some doubt into many people's minds on just how good Miss. State actually was this year. Dak Prescott is a great quarterback but turnovers have been a problem for him, as well as his accuracy. At times, his throws are superb, but at other moments he lacks the zip on the football. Josh Robinson is a beast at back and the Bulldogs have a number of weapons at receiver, meaning they can put up points in a hurry if Prescott does play well. Mississippi State's defense has been strong all year, but they haven't faced an offense like Georgia Tech's yet this year. Paul Johnson and the Yellow Jackets still run their patented triple-option attack, which has been run masterfully by quarterback Justin Thomas throughout the year. Thomas clearly doesn't have to throw much, but he has shown the ability to surprise defenses with his arm and he is about as fast as a quick back or receiver. Johnson and Tech have their usual fair share of solid ball carries, including the powerful Zach Laskey and explosive Synjyn Days, a scary threat in the open field. The Yellow Jackets bring an underrated defense to the table, one that did a good job containing Georgia's offense just a couple weeks ago. Linebacker Paul Davis is one of the ACC's most underrated players, racking up 108 tackles, four sacks and an interception which he returned to the house. Davis will provide pressure to Prescott and also spy him often, hoping to contain the dual threat if he decides to tuck it and run. A major question for Mississippi State will be if they can provide much pressure. Georgia Tech guard Shaq Mason is as good and powerful as they come and the unit as a whole is very experienced. Once more, Mississippi State might be the better team in this matchup, though Tech has been overlooked for much of the year and they have ended the year well. On the contrary, Miss. State has ended the year very poorly and they don't give me enough confidence, especially if Prescott isn't superb, which he might need to be.
Georgia Tech, 31 Mississippi State, 24

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