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Fearless Predictions: New Year's Day

Outback Bowl
Northwestern vs. Auburn (-8):
Two teams headed in different directions at the end of the regular season. Auburn lost five of its last six SEC games. Northwestern won four of five to end the regular season. But the Tigers played No. 1 Alabama very tough in the Iron Bowl, losing 26-21. The combination of Chris Todd (2,377 yards and 21 touchdowns) and Ben Tate (1,254 yards and eight touchdowns) should be too much for the Northwestern defense. Northwestern quarterback Mike Kafka can cause problems, but Auburn's Antonio Coleman has nine sacks this season. Auburn 31, Northwestern 23

Gator Bowl
Florida State vs. No. 16 West Virginia (-3):
Florida State will play with plenty of emotion in Bobby Bowden's final game. But I just can't see the Seminoles' defense stepping up to the challenge. Florida State is ranked 110th nationally in total defense, giving up 443.50 yards per game. The Seminoles allowed more than 40 points in a game four times this season. West Virginia's Noel Devine, who has rushed for 1,297 yards and 12 touchdowns this season, should have a big game. West Virginia 38, Florida State 34

Capital One Bowl
No. 12 LSU vs. No. 13 Penn State (-3):
LSU's three losses came to Alabama, Florida and Mississippi. The Tigers' defense, which is considered a strength, has yielded 326.58 yards of total offense per game this season. Still, LSU has only allowed 16 points per game this season. LSU is 107th nationally in total offense (309.67 yards per game) and will likely be without star tailback Charles Scott. So this game comes down to Penn State's tough defense, ranked eighth nationally in yards allowed and fourth in scoring (11.83), stopping speedster Trindon Holliday. Penn State's defense has plenty of speed to force LSU's Jordan Jefferson into some problems. For Penn State, Daryll Clark needs to have a big game against a very good defense. Clark struggled in both of Penn State's losses this season to Iowa and Ohio State. Ultimately, the Nittany Lions have enough offensive talent on the field to win this game. Penn State 23, LSU 20

Rose Bowl
No. 8 Ohio State vs. No. 7 Oregon (-4):
After a surprising loss to Purdue, Ohio State won five straight with a punishing running attack and nasty defense. Ohio State has allowed just 12 points per game and is fifth nationally in total defense (262.50 yards per game). The Buckeyes average just under 200 rushing yards a game. Oregon is sixth nationally in rushing offense, averaging 236 yards per game with quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and running back LaMichael James leading the way. Oregon's defense is a bit undersized, but there's plenty of speed in that group. It's going to be interesting to see how Terrelle Pryor plays in this game. Pryor recently admitted that he's playing with a torn PCL. Plus, he'll be playing on the biggest stage of his career. But I think Masoli, who has been electrifying this season, is going to have a big day. Oregon 27, Ohio State 23

Sugar Bowl
No. 3 Cincinnati vs. No. 5 Florida (-13):
For Florida, you have to think the Gators will come out fired up in Urban Meyer's final game before his indefinite leave of absence. On the Cincinnati side, how will the players come out after having Brian Kelly leave after the Pittsburgh game to coach Notre Dame? Cincinnati quarterback Tony Pike is capable of putting up big numbers. And wide receiver Mardy Gilyard is a star. But the Bearcats have not faced a defense like what Florida will put on the field. Cincinnati has allowed 350 yards per game this season and gives up 21 points per game. Even with Florida's offensive problems this season, the Gators should be able to put up points. Florida 37, Cincinnati 23

New York Sports