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Fearless bowl predictions: Dec. 31

Meineke Car Care Bowl
Texas A&M vs. Northwestern, 12 p.m.: There were huge hopes for Texas A&M this season, but the Aggies ended up with a disappointing 6-6 season and saw head coach Mike Sherman get fired (Houston’s Kevin Sumlin will take over). The Aggies have a high-powered offense, led by quarterback Ryan Tannehill (3,415 yards and 28 touchdowns). The defense, however, has been bad this season. Northwestern is a similar team – 6-6 record, good offense, led by quarterback Dan Persa, and a bad defense. The Wildcats haven’t won a bowl game since 1949. Texas A&M 38, Northwestern 35

Sun Bowl
Georgia Tech vs. Utah, 2 p.m.: This could be a grind-it-out type of game with both teams eager to run the ball. Georgia Tech is third nationally with 317 rushing yards per game. Utah running back John White IV has 1,404 yards and 14 touchdowns this season. Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham is 6-1 in bowl games and the Utes’ defense is pretty good. Utah 24, Georgia Tech 20

Fight Hunger Bowl
Illinois vs. UCLA, 3:30 p.m.: These teams are similar in terms of how their respective seasons have gone and also statistically. Both Illinois and UCLA will have interim head coaches in this game. Illinois started the season 6-0 and then lost six straight. UCLA is 6-7 after blowout losses to USC and Oregon to end the regular season. Illinois appears to have the slight edge in overall talent. Illinois 17, UCLA 13

Liberty Bowl
Cincinnati vs. Vanderbilt, 3:30 p.m.: If quarterback Zach Collaros is healed from his broken ankle and able to play, Cincinnati should be in good shape. Vanderbilt was just 2-6 in the SEC, but played well in close losses to Georgia, Arkansas, Florida and Tennessee. Cincinnati 27, Vanderbilt 23

Chick-fil-A Bowl
Virginia vs. No. 25 Auburn, 7:30 p.m.: Virginia ended the regular season on a down note, getting blown out 38-0 by archrival Virginia Tech with a spot in the ACC title game on the line. Auburn has been wildly inconsistent all season and got blown out badly in four huge games this season – Arkansas, 38-14; LSU, 45-10; Georgia, 45-7; and Alabama, 42-14. A big concern is Auburn’s defense, which is allowing 29 points per game this season. Virginia 27, Auburn 17

Tags: Meineke Car Care Bowl , Northwestern , Texas A&M , Sun Bowl , Georgia Tech , Utah , Fight Hunger Bowl , Illinois , UCLA , Liberty Bowl , Cincinnati , Vanderbilt , Chick-fil-A Bowl , Virginia , Auburn

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