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College football's bowl-nanza is about to start

By Ralph D. Russo

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Dec. 17 2010 12:22 p.m. MST

The first of three MAC-Sun Belt showdowns. ... TROY 35-21.

TUESDAY, DEC. 21

Beef'O'Brady's Bowl

Louisville (minus 3) vs. Southern Mississippi

Nice first season for Cardinals coach Charlie Strong, but ... SOUTHERN MISS 37-28.

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 22

MAACO Bowl

No. 20 Utah (plus 17½) vs. No. 10 Boise State

The all-business Broncos won't come to Las Vegas sulking. ... BOISE STATE 42-21.

THURSDAY, DEC. 23

Poinsettia Bowl

San Diego State (minus 6) vs. Navy

Aztecs are home, have time to prepare for triple-option, but it's never easy vs. Middies. ... SDSU 30-28.

FRIDAY, DEC. 24

Hawaii Bowl

No. 24 Hawaii (minus 10½) vs. Tulsa

Golden Hurricane own 119th-ranked pass defense in nation. ... HAWAII 55-35.

SUNDAY, DEC. 26

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl

Toledo (minus 1½) vs. Florida International

Rockets score one for MAC over Sun Belters. Player to watch: Toledo WR Eric Page. ... TOLEDO 31-17.

MONDAY, DEC. 27

Independence Bowl

Georgia Tech (plus 3) vs. Air Force

Triple-option everywhere. Teams combine for 645 yards on ground per game. ... GEORGIA TECH 28-21.

TUESDAY, DEC. 28

Champs Sports Bowl

North Carolina State (plus 2½) vs. No. 22 West Virginia

Underrated QB matchup: Wolfpack's Russell Wilson vs. Mountaineers' Geno Smith. ... WVU 27-21.

INSIGHT BOWL

No. 14 Missouri (minus 1½) vs. Iowa

Hawkeyes seem like team in turmoil. ... MISSOURI 24-14.

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 29

Military Bowl

East Carolina (plus 7) vs. Maryland

Terps and WR Torrey Smith should feast on nation's worst defense. ... MARYLAND 42-28.

Texas Bowl

Baylor (minus 1½) vs. Illinois

Two teams that fizzled late. Bears had only one win against winning team. ... ILLINOIS 41-27.

Alamo Bowl

Arizona (plus 5½) vs. No. 16 Oklahoma State

Last team with the ball wins? ... OKLAHOMA STATE 42-38.

THURSDAY, DEC. 30

BEST BET

Armed Forces Bowl

SMU (minus 8) vs. Army

Cadets pass defense has been solid, 24th in nation, but SMU out of their league. ... SMU 35-17.

Pinstripe Bowl

Syracuse (pick) vs. Kansas State

Long-range forecast: High of 40 degrees, low of 28. ... SYRACUSE 24-21.

Music City Bowl

North Carolina (minus 2) vs. Tennessee

Vols psyched just to be playing; Tar Heels' season has been a mess. ... TENNESSEE 24-21.

Holiday Bowl

No. 17 Nebraska (minus 14) vs. Washington

Remember when they played in regular season and Huskers ran wild? Same deal. ... NEBRASKA 42-21.

FRIDAY, DEC. 31

Meineke Bowl

Clemson (minus 5) vs. South Florida

Talented but enigmatic Tigers trying to avoid losing season. ... CLEMSON 24-10.

UPSET SPECIAL

Sun Bowl

Notre Dame (plus 4) vs. Miami

It's a long way from the glory days of the rivalry, but still a neat matchup. ... NOTRE DAME 24-17.

Liberty Bowl

Georgia (minus 6½) vs. UCF

Knights won 10 games, one against a winning team (7-6 SMU). ... GEORGIA 27-17.

Chick-fil-A Bowl

No. 19 South Carolina (minus 3) vs. No. 23 Florida State

Jimbo Fisher can put a topper on first season by beating former 'Noles nemesis Steve Spurrier. ... FSU 28-24.

Championship week: 9-2 (straight); 6-5 (vs. points).

Season: 193-59 (straight); 127-116-4 (vs. points).

Best bets: 6-4. Upset specials: 4-5.

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