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35 bowl games, 35 reasons to watch

Saturday - 12/21/2013, 5:00pm  ET

FILE - In this Nov. 23, 2012 file photo, Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey (25) jumps into the end zone for a touchdown as teammate Drew Robinson (87) watches during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Arizona State in Tucson, Ariz. Carey, Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley, and Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton have been selected to The Associated Press All-America team for the second straight season, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Wily Low, File)

RALPH D. RUSSO
AP College Football Writer

Starting Saturday in Albuquerque, N.M., and ending Jan. 6 in Pasadena, Calif., 35 bowl games will be played.

You should watch all of them. Here's why.

SATURDAY, DEC. 21

New Mexico Bowl

Washington State (minus 4½) vs. Colorado State

Why watch? We haven't seen Washington Mike Leach coach a postseason game since the 2009 Cotton Bowl, when he was at Texas Tech.

Pick: WASHINGTON STATE 31-24.

Las Vegas Bowl

Fresno State (plus 6½) vs. Southern California

Why watch? Fresno State's Derek Carr, who leads the nation in yards passing per game (405), against the toughest defense he has faced this season. USC is tied for 11th in the country in yards per pass allowed.

Pick: USC 35-24.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Buffalo (pick'em) vs. San Diego State

Why watch? When your favorite NFL team drafts Bulls linebacker Khalil Mack in the first round, you'll know why.

Pick: BUFFALO 26-20, OT.

New Orleans Bowl

Tulane (minus 2½) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette

Why watch? A Montana playing quarterback in a bowl game. Tulane's Nick Montana has been nursing a sore shoulder, but he is expected to be good to go against the Ragin' Cajuns.

Pick: TULANE 23-21.

MONDAY, DEC. 23

Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl

Ohio (plus 13½) vs. East Carolina

Why watch? Ohio's costumed Bobcat mascot, Rufus, has a history of unprovoked attacks, just ask Brutus Buckeye. East Carolina's Pee Dee the Pirate should keep his sword ready.

Pick: EAST CAROLINA 41-24.

TUESDAY, DEC. 24

Hawaii Bowl

Oregon State (minus 3) vs. Boise State

Why watch? Boise State's first game without Chris Petersen as coach since 2005 and the Broncos are trying to avoid their first season with at least five losses since 1998.

Pick: OREGON STATE 35-21.

THURSDAY, DEC. 26

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl

Bowling Green (minus 5½) vs. Pittsburgh

Why watch? Pitt is playing in a bowl and that game is not being played in Birmingham, Ala. This must be seen to be believed. Same goes for Panthers All-America DT Aaron Donald.

Pick: BOWLING GREEN 28-21.

Poinsettia Bowl

Northern Illinois (minus 1½) vs. Utah State

Why watch? Jordan Lynch's last college game comes against a Utah State defense that is seriously good.

PICK: UTAH STATE 31-28.

FRIDAY, DEC. 27

Military Bowl

Marshall (minus 2½) vs. Maryland

Why watch? Marshall plays fast, has a good offense and a bad defense. The possibility of 49-48 game is always high when the Thundering Herd play, and the Terps can put up points when QB C.J. Brown is healthy.

PICK: MARYLAND 49-48.

Texas Bowl

Minnesota (minus 4½) vs. Syracuse

Why watch: After all that excitement in the Military Bowl, you might need a nap. The Gophers rank 97th in the nation in yards per play. Syracuse is 102nd. Yep, that'll do.

Pick: MINNESOTA 17-10.

Fight Hunger Bowl

BYU (plus 3) vs. Washington

Why watch? The last time we saw BYU LB Kyle Van Noy in a bowl game he scored two touchdowns, blocked a punt and had 3½ tackles for loss. Who knows what he might do for a postseason encore in his last college game.

Pick: WASHINGTON 31-21.

Saturday, Dec. 28

Pinstripe Bowl

Notre Dame (minus 15½) vs. Rutgers

Why watch? One last chance to see the look on Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly's face -- a combination of rage and resignation -- when Tommy Rees throws an interception.

Pick: NOTRE DAME 38-14.

Belk Bowl

Cincinnati (plus 3) vs. North Carolina

Why watch? Find out what's Belk.

Pick: NORTH CAROLINA 34-24.

Russell Athletic Bowl

Miami (plus 3½) vs. Louisville

Why watch? To see that Cardinals QB Teddy Bridgewater is most certainly ready for the NFL. But, hey, Teddy, if you want to give college another year we're all for it.

Pick: LOUISVILLE 28-27.

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl

Kansas State (minus 3½) vs. Michigan

Why watch? Gronk is playing! Glenn Gronkowski II is Kansas State's starting fullback and the brother of New England Patriots star tight end Rob, who is out for the season with a knee injury. Glenn has one rushing attempt for no yards, but has caught four passes for 148 yards (37 per catch) and three touchdowns.

Pick: MICHIGAN 28-23.

MONDAY, DEC. 30

Armed Forces Bowl

Middle Tennessee (plus 6½) vs. Navy

Why watch? Navy QB Keenan Reynolds is a record-breaker. He tied an NCAA record with seven touchdowns in an overtime victory against San Jose State and set a record for a quarterback with 29 rushing TDs this season.

Pick: NAVY 37-35.

Music City Bowl

Mississippi (minus 3) vs. Georgia Tech

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