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Bowl Picks 2017-2018: New Orleans Bowl to Camellia Bowl

Brett Rypien, Boise State (Las Vegas Bowl)
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Troy Trojans (10-2) vs. North Texas Mean Green (9-4)
Two of the best Group of Five teams meet in the New Orleans Bowl, which kicks off bowl action on Saturday, December 16th. Troy is led by an efficient, methodical offense and one of the country's most underrated defenses (17.5 points against per game, 11th in the nation) and have been flaming hot, ending the regular season with six straight victories. North Texas relies more on their offense, and are very explosive through the air. However, veteran QB Mason Fine will be in store for a tough game against the Trojans' opportunistic defense, which feeds off turnovers.
Troy, 27 North Texas, 24

AutoNation Cure Bowl
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (6-6) vs. Georgia State Panthers (6-5)
Old Sun Belt foes (WKU is now in the C-USA) square off in Orlando, and things should be highly competitive. Western Kentucky slipped a little bit without head coach Jeff Brohm this season, but they still move the ball down the field and are a disciplined football team. The Panthers are led by solid quarterback Conner Manning and stud wide receiver Penny Hart, who has attracted the attention of some NFL scouts. With Western Kentucky trending down over the past couple weeks, losing four of their last five, it looks like Georgia State should be able to pull off this one.
Georgia State, 30 Western Kentucky, 27

Las Vegas Bowl
Boise State Broncos (10-3) vs. Oregon Ducks (7-5)
The last time these two West Coast squads met, LeGarrette Blount made headlines with a sucker-punch following a loss. Don't expect that type of drama in this game, but it should still be a good one. Boise has a terrific down the field passing attack, and running back Alexander Mattison has done a fine job replacing star Jeremy McNichols. They also feature a well-coached, well-built defense, which will be key against an Oregon offense that still loves to go fast. The Ducks have missed injured signal-caller Justin Herbert, but will still run the ball well. Motivation could be an important factor; Oregon just lost head coach Willie Taggart to Florida State. Will the players play harder for the coaching staff, or come out flat?
Boise State, 33 Oregon, 31

Gildan New Mexico Bowl
Marshall Thundering Herd (7-5) vs. Colorado State Rams (7-5)
After a rough end-of-the-year stretch, Colorado State hopes to end the year on a high note, facing a quality Marshall opponent. The Rams still have some serious issues on defense, but offensively, they are one of the nation's most explosive. QB Nick Stevens, back Dalyn Dawkins and wide out Michael Gallup are one heck of a trio, and should be able to give the Herd headaches. Marshall will need their own offense to show up, which has some real talent, but has struggled to find any consistency.
Colorado State, 35 Marshall, 24

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
Arkansas State Red Wolves (7-4) vs. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (6-6)
While they still played their way into the postseason, Middle Tennessee's 6-6 mark was disappointing to some. They will hope to end the year with some momentum, which will require them to beat one of the Sun Belt's most consistent programs. Injuries have crippled the Blue Raiders, as they've missed star QB Brent Stockstill and receiver Richie James, but the offense still has proven it can move the ball. However, Arkansas State has a rock-solid defense and should be able to attack Middle Tennessee's thin secondary, with QB Justice Hansen leading the country's sixth-best aerial attack.
Arkansas State, 27 Middle Tennessee, 20

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